About three months after the birth of our first baby, Madeline, the reality of life as a mom really hit me. I was part frantic and part overwhelmed. I had a very rewarding career, and was anxious to return to it while balancing motherhood. Within three months of becoming a mom, I realized this was not possible. People started asking when we were going to start working on baby number two. I hadn’t even got my head around life with baby number one! Even my doctor suggested we get moving soon, because at my age, the opportunity was dwindling, so we had to act fast if we wanted another child.
We had always imagined a family with two children . . . until the baby blues hit. And then postpartum. The first few months of motherhood compromised my sanity and my marriage. I didn’t know if I—or we—would pull through. I missed my career. I love my baby beyond words, but life was starting to feel a bit mind-numbing. I needed a light at the end of my tunnel.
A week before my due date, a test revealed that something may have been missed, and our baby may be unhealthy. The week between the results of the first test and the second were the longest of our lives. The second test returned healthy and positive results, although we were still nervous. When my husband exclaimed, “It’s a girl!” and added, “A very healthy girl!” I could breathe again. Could we go through this again? Could we live through the unknown?
Maddie slowly developed into a little person. We were in awe of her newly developed skills and talents. Why jeopardize our new-found routine and happiness? Would I still feel balanced and happy if we had to go through it again? And who were we having another child for—Maddie or ourselves?
I’m sad my daughter won’t have a sibling; however, I have one brother and we aren’t very close. I do have a big family, though—my family consists of those who are friends and even cousins who I am very close to. They are my siblings and my allies. What if we weren’t so lucky the second time? An unhealthy pregnancy and baby could mean a lot of stress, and I would definitely have a super-human struggle to balance a career and family that is functioning happily and peacefully.
When it comes to having a second child, we’ve decided to let that ship sail. I know my capabilities, and I would rather be a great mom to Maddie than a stressed-out and exhausted mom to two. I fully admire the women who can do it. No one but another mother can really appreciate just how hard they work. To my daughter, I must apologize—mommy chose sanity over a sibling. At least you won’t have to split your allowance.