Reproducing Pressure

While I was pregnant, I was fortunate enough to work alongside a woman in my office suite who was due a mere six weeks before I was.  She and I complained together, waddled together, and decorated our nurseries completely different from one another.  She says to me the other day, with heavy resign in her voice, “Well, I’m going to have to have another one soon here, you know…”  We talked about the general pressure to have more than one child, and a weird sociological expectation that parents should have more than one.  Like one of them commandments of parenthood: “Thou shall be pregnant while holding your two year old’s hand to cross the street.” and “Thou shall own a double jogging stroller (and then sell it on CraigsList).”

Now I loved being pregnant.  Seriously.  Loved it in all of its glorious awfulness, its morning sickness, its 3/4″ length sleeves, and its swollen faceness.  I would love for RR to have a sibling to commiserate with when they realize that my wife and I are making up arbitrary parenting rules “because we said so.”  I’d also love to have two kids, because it makes as easier equation for roller coaster riding, and blaming someone else when they have to put one of us in a home when we’re old.

I would NOT love, rather, having a three year old and a 14 month old like RR.  RR, who is, a delightfully wonderful baby.  RR, who didn’t have colic, or grow horns, or spit-up more than maybe five times in her whole life.  This is simply to say, if baby #2 was anything less that COMPLETELY AWESOME, then I don’t know how I would handle having two of them.  RR, who might be COMPLETELY NOT AWESOME when she’s three.  Does this make me a total parenting pussy?  If so, OK!

But should RR’s kids have cousins?  Or aunts or uncles?  Or a lot of therapy?  Does it matter?  Who thinks that far ahead, anyway?

For what it’s worth, my wife and I are in a good amount of agreement to stop while we’re ahead and be a three-lady family from here on out.  And, honestly, I think the pressure is off a bit on those of us homos or folks having a hard time conceiving.  But for the fertile hetero folks out there, it’s pressure just as real as “When will he propose?” and “He got it at Jared!”

So poll-time!

Folks with one kid already – do you feel pressure to have another one?  If so, from yourself?  Partner?  Family?  Friends with more than one kid?

Folks with more than one kid already (ages unimportant) – did having the second (third, fourth, fifth) one completely rock your world?  If so, in a good or bad way?  Do you wish you had less, or more(!) kids?  Was it “so worth it!”?

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Posted on August 30, 2011, in everyday. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. We’re right there with you on one’s enough. Me maybe more so than Ching. Almost everyone we know who has two year olds is having # two about now. It’s crazy. Noah’s been the best baby ever – but like you say, even if # two managed to be as good, omg a baby and a two year old?? I’m way too old for that!!

    I think I’m sometimes more sad for Noah having old moms than I am him not having siblings.

    But it is what it is. We love him more than life itself and will be the best parents we can be.

  2. The pressure for more than one is one I have put on myself – I grew up an only child and LONGED for siblings. My mother was infertile and desperately wanted a large family and I think all of that combined meant I knew I was always going to have more than one.

    My first was a high school “oops” baby and he was 6 when I had (and lost) my second. We knew the moment we saw him that we wanted lots of kids, and made no secret of it!

    I do, though, see the pressure/the questions put to other friends with one kid, started before the kid even turned ONE! (and they are 2 mum families too) I think it is something you really have to want for yourself or for your kid – and ignore everyone else’s opinions.

  3. My partner (now spouse! Thank you NY!) and I don’t have a child, but I grew up as an onlyand loved every second of it. I had a ton of cousins (all on my father’s side; my mom’s only sibling died before I was born) and friends who were close in age. There’s no way I would have had the opportunities my parents gave me if I’d had a sibling. I think only childhood is pretty awesome.

  4. I grew up an only as well and to be honest with you I kind of wished that I had a sibling. Especially now that I have my own (step) kids and my parents are aging. I have to worry about their care into the future vs. sharing that with a sibling (or fighting with a sibling over it).

    That being said…if you think 14 months is bad wait until you meet the F*cking fours. So glad we’re past that stage. 2 and 3 has nothing on the 4’s.

    And in conclusion. I absolutely love your blog, the love you have for your wife and daughter, and seeing your family grow (and I just recently found you in a random search too).

  5. It’s so subjective, just like the choice to have the first one. We have a 4 year old and a 1 year old. We absolutely had the second because we wanted the first to have a sibling – particularly for later in life. We have personal experience with leaning on a sibling when it’s time to make parental care decisions, then later, funeral arrangements, and it’s really comforting. Also, there’s something about growing up with someone in the house with you who’s been through all the same experiences, who will be there if the sibling needs something after we’re both gone. Those sound so grim, but our intention was that they would be a gift to each other. It’s a risk – they may not speak again in life after they turn 18 – but with no cousins, we were willing to do it. And I loved reading about your being pregnant while I was newly pregnant with my youngest – I hated it, and it was nice to see you enjoying it!

  6. We have a 9 month old son, and have been pressured to have more kids since before he was born! We are not decided yet, but have wondered all along if the one child lifestyle is more for us. When other people hear that we may not give our son a sibling by choice they say things like “You have to have another, it would be cruel to make him grow up without a brother or sister”, and “What happens when you are both gone, he will be all alone!”. To these people I say that I do not agree with creating a whole nother life just so my son will have a companion (who he may not even like or get along with!), and that if he grows up to have friends, a partner, or a child of his own, he will never be alone. Many times the people we rely on for support are not blood relations, and siblings may not be able to help in that regard even if you have them (as in my case where my sister has brain damage from an accident).

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