06 November 2009

Does Only Mean Lonely? The Question of Having More Than One Child

I remember back in the early days of parenthood when we were zombies surviving on three and four hours of sleep here and there that parents would come over and coo at Zora. Sometimes they would say, "When she gets to be about one, you'll start thinking about another one." We'd smiled politely and then said to ourselves, There's no way in God's green earth we're doing this again!

Zora's one-year birthday came and went, and we were content with one. Besides, there was still time.

Around Zora's second birthday, I started hearing the question: when are you going to have Number Two? Many of the women who had been pregnant and given birth around the same time as me were swollen with their second child or popping the prenatal vitamins in anticipation. I wasn't. I felt as though I could go either way.

Zora has just gotten to the point where she can play by herself for five to 10 minutes at a time, and I relish the time to sit down and flip through a magazine or cook dinner while she plays. She sleeps through the night. She's getting close to being potty-trained. She can talk. She makes me laugh and in many ways gives as much to me emotionally as I give to her, something I never expected as a mom.

Newborns don't do any of those things. Newborns are demanding. Another child would be expensive. We'd have to move.

But then, again, all this passes. Zora would have a brother or sister. And I think of my own struggles of dealing with an aging parent with no sibling to share the burden of responsibility. I think of the conversations that Rodney and his sister have. There's an implicit understanding between them. They "get" each other, and they share a history that they can giggle about or commiserate about.

Do I answer that deep emotional desire to provide Zora a brother or sister, or do I yield to the pressures of cost and Rodney's need to have more time to pursue his own interests? Are the two mutually exclusive?


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