Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Jumping Off The Fence

unnamed-1Next Wednesday, Drew turns 44 and Jackson turns 2 1/2. In September, I will be 38. Thirty-eight!! How did I get here already? This year marks twenty years since I graduated from high school  — twenty years since I started college! I look at my friends whom I met when I was 17, 18, 19, 20 and I can’t believe we are full-fledged grownups now (whatever that means) when it seems like last month we were sitting on someone’s porch swing on a sticky Saturday night in Missouri sipping Zima and hoping whomever we were interested in would notice us.

It’s all moving too fast and I wish I could hit a “pause” button and just hang out for a while without worrying so much about whatever tomorrow might bring. But, of course, I can’t. None of us can. And the weight of decisions feels heavier than ever if only because there’s more at stake and time, as infinite as it may sometimes seem, is running out.  For me, right now, the decision I’m thinking about the most is whether or not to have another baby (or, try to have another baby, I should say, since I don’t take for granted the ability to do so). Before Jackson was born — before I was even pregnant — I thought I wanted two kids. And even after he was born, that was still my desire. But then, for a while, things got harder than I anticipated. I wondered if the joy to stress ratio would continue being in our favor if we added another child to the mix. I thought maybe it would not.

There were a lot of discussions and some tears and a lot of anxiety. For a while, I thought I was pretty sure I was done. Drew has never wavered in his desire for a second child but has also never pressured me and has let me know he is very content with our family as it is now and will respect whatever decision I make. I am grateful for this, of course — for his understanding. But in some ways, knowing the decision is really mine to make has made the decision even harder.

A friend of mine whose son is a year older than Jackson told me that she didn’t know she wanted a second baby until her first was about 18 months old. “And then it was like a switch,” she said. “All of a sudden, I really, really wanted another baby.” Since Jackson turned 18 months old, I kept waiting for that switch to happen to me, too, but it didn’t. Even as the women I knew whose first kids were Jackson’s age started getting pregnant with their second babies, I didn’t feel any desire to join them in the second wave. What I mostly felt was relief that I wouldn’t be juggling a toddler and a newborn and that I wouldn’t have two young kids in diapers at the same time and that I wouldn’t be paying childcare costs for two.

But then, about two or three months ago, something happened. The switch! And suddenly, I have baby fever. It’s just like it was the first time around — a sort of manic desire to do this, make it happen, right now. Only, this time, I have some idea what “this” actually entails and I’m not quite ready for all of it yet, logistically speaking. Ideally, I would like to wait a few more months, but at my age, — and, frankly, Drew’s age, too — I do feel like each month counts. I got pregnant within weeks of trying with Jackson, but who’s to say we would be so lucky the next time around? I have friends who also got pregnant right away with their first babies and then couldn’t have a second. Plus, I don’t want to be hitting the re-set button too far in the future. I don’t want to have, like, a 5 year-old and a newborn, for example. I’m ok with a 3 1/2 year-old and a newborn or maybe a just-turned 4 year-old and a newborn, but anything past that and I think I’ll just feel too far removed from the baby days — too far over them — to do them all over again.

The window feels small. I’m not even quite ready to open it just yet and I already feel its impending closure weighing on me.  I guess that makes me sound more anxious than I actually feel. I am anxious, but not terribly so. I’m excited, really. I’m excited to know what I want, and to know that, one way or another, we are moving forward. Because as much as I would love to hit the pause button and hang out right here for a while, I can’t, so moving forward with conscious actions and behavior that reflects some sort of plan feels better than just letting life happen. It’s the relief of jumping off the fence where I’ve been sitting for the last year or so and moving again, comfortable with either destination I — we — may end up (and hopeful that any unwelcome detours or surprise destinations aren’t anything we can’t handle). And I’m excited about the idea of adding more to our life — more joy and more love and more laughter (along with more chaos and stress, I’m sure).

For those of you with kids, did you ever waver in your decision to have (or not to have) another? Did you even actively make a decision to try for another or did you just let whatever might happen, happen (or not)? And in what ways does having another baby change your family dynamic?

102 comments… add one
  • lemongrass April 1, 2014, 1:11 pm

    Perfect timing for me, Wendy. I never considered having an only child, I have tons of siblings and I couldn’t imagine not having one to call with good news or to help you through bad times. My closest sister is my best friend and although we occasionally fight she is the one person who knows me best next to Mr. Grass. I want that for my kids, I want them to have a built-in playmate, someone to swap halloween candy with and open stockings with. I want someone to comfort them and grieve with when we die.

    We started trying last October, or “not preventing” which then turned into “trying”. I wasn’t nearly as crazy about it as I was last time, I knew it would happen when we were all ready for it and I got pregnant with pretty much impeccable timing to the sale of our house.

    I am worried about a few things- how I will shower with a baby and a toddler? What if my sometimes violent kid hurts the baby? Will I be stressed out too much? Am I a good enough parent to handle two kids? Will I ever sleep through the night again? But I know that things have a way of working themselves out. I’ll take it day by day with deep breathes through the hard moments and cherishing the good moments. When my baby is two then E will be going to preschool and then school after that. We will handle it. I know that my strong marriage will help, Mr. Grass is a great father, very involved and always dependable to pick up the slack when I need a break.

    Reply Link
    • lemongrass April 1, 2014, 1:12 pm

      That was in paragraphs! Not sure what happened.

      Reply Link
    • lemongrass April 1, 2014, 2:30 pm

      I’m going to add another worry. Parenting a baby (after the newborn stage) was really easy for me. Maybe it was just my kid or maybe I’m a baby-parent but I loved it. Now that E is walking and throwing tantrums and demanding more of me I find it much harder. I have more days that I’m frustrated with and want to just be over by 11 am. So I worry that things are just going to get harder and harder. Which they likely will. But I counteract that with knowing that this time is fleeting and before I know it they will both be in school and then on and on.

      Reply Link
      • sarahhhh April 1, 2014, 2:35 pm

        I completely agree with this. I thought I was supermom when my oldest was a baby, it was just that natural and fun and easy to me. As she got older (around 3 is when it really started to get tougher) and started having really strong opinions about things that are just non-negotiable (eating things that aren’t treats and wearing clothes, mainly) and I started to feel like maybe I wasn’t as great as I thought. Now I have a one year old and once again I find that parenting a baby is so easy for me, even though they don’t have the same communication skills or reasoning abilities that older children do.

    • lets_be_honest April 1, 2014, 2:58 pm

      All of those reasons in your first paragraph…they were hard to not give my daughter. Having siblings has been the greatest. I feel sad I won’t give that to Lil. Luckily, she never wanted a sibling. She’s got her “aunt” and “uncle” at least who are about as close to siblings as it gets.
      I probably would’ve had at least 1 more if my life wasn’t all upside down, and I guess if I actually had someone to have another with, haha! By the time I was in any position to have another, too much time had passed and like Wendy said, I was far too removed from baby days, and life was finally getting easier, and I guess I just selfishly decided I was done and looking forward to my future as an adult without a little one.

      Reply Link
      • bethany April 1, 2014, 3:02 pm

        But even if she did have a sibling, there’s no guarantee that they would have had a close relationship, or even any relationship at all. I know tons of people who are really close to their siblings, but I know others who barely talk to theirs and never got along while growing up.

      • lets_be_honest April 1, 2014, 3:05 pm

        That’s very true bethany. Good point!

      • LadyinPurpleNotRed April 1, 2014, 3:09 pm

        Yeah, my brother and I aren’t close at all. Between the physical distance and our personalities, we’re just very different and being in different states means we don’t see each other regularly and we don’t really talk, except sporadically to exchange dog pictures. Nothing specific happened, but we just aren’t close. If I needed him, I’m sure he would help out, and vice versa, but we just aren’t all that close

      • BriarRose April 1, 2014, 4:09 pm

        Yep, I’m not close to any of my 3 siblings. I always tell people–siblings are no guarantee of anything. Have another kid because you (the parent) want to, not just to give your child a sibling! (Not saying that anyone here is suggesting that or has done that).

      • lets_be_honest April 1, 2014, 4:24 pm

        I guess its hard to relate to that? I have 5 siblings and am really close with each of them, and they are with each other. Most of my friends are really close with their siblings too. But it is a good reminder to people like me who just assume they’ll be best buds. Has your’s ever asked for a sibling? I don’t know how I’d handle that if Lil did (well, I do know, I wouldn’t have another, but it would pull at me I think).

  • kerrycontrary April 1, 2014, 1:15 pm

    All I have to say is: YAYYYYYY. If it helps calm your nerves, you have 9 months of pregnancy. So Jackson will be a little older and a lot more mature by then. He most likely won’t be in diapers anymore! Imagine that! And he’ll be getting to the age where he can help out rather than hinder you. 3 can be a doozy but I know people whose 3 year olds help clear the kitchen after dinner and sweep etc… (they’re all Montessori). Ok anyways. YAYYY I’m so excited for the possibility of another wendy/drew-baby.

    Reply Link
  • rachel April 1, 2014, 1:18 pm

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s giddy at the thought of another adorable Wendrew! I wish you the best of luck in moving forward Wendy!

    Reply Link
  • Lyra April 1, 2014, 1:19 pm

    Aww, I’m glad you found yourself able to jump off the fence, Wendy! 🙂
    I have zero baby fever right now (26). At this point I feel like “my kids” are my students. Obviously it’s not even close to being the same thing, but I love being there for them and I love helping them and I love when they tell me how much they appreciate me. I love reaching a difficult student and helping them “get it”. But at the same time I love coming home to just my cat.
    I’m pretty sure I have kitten fever right now though! Hah. I realllllly want another cat…

    Reply Link
  • Jess April 1, 2014, 1:21 pm

    Timely for me too. Firstly, I would love it if you would get pregnant IMMEDIATELY so that I can track your pregnancy at the same time as mine.

    But aside from that….

    I’m so glad you were able to come to a decision!

    These are great questions. Personally, I have long felt that I want just one. My husband is the same. But we sometimes wonder if we’ll want a second after having one. How can you know? I hear a lot about second baby fever coming on suddenly 🙂

    Wish you lots of luck navigating the timeline. And if you need any advice on how to increase your chances of conception, I am a treasure trove of knowledge. Way, way, way too much knowledge 🙂

    Reply Link
    • FireStar April 1, 2014, 1:41 pm

      How did I not know you are pregnant???? CONGRATS!!!!! So happy for you…..!

      Reply Link
      • Jess April 2, 2014, 11:06 am

        It’s been less than a week so you are not toooo far behind 😉 DW got the super, super, early sneak preview. Baby due first week of December (god willing) and we are ecstatic.

    • Dear Wendy April 1, 2014, 1:25 pm

      Ha, thanks. I’m so excited for you!
      Right now, I feel like if I don’t get pregnant the old-fashioned way in a six-month (or so) timeframe than it’s not meant to be and that’s fine and we’ll move on. But I realize I may feel differently about that once I’m in the whole baby-making mindset. And I’ll know whom to ask for advice to increase chances of conception!

      Reply Link
    • honeybeenicki April 1, 2014, 2:48 pm

      I already congratulated you in the forums Jess, but I thought I’d do it again 🙂 And just so you know, I saw the title to your forum post the other day and didn’t have time to read it, so the minute I got home I grabbed my computer to go on there and as I was doing it, I was telling my husband that I thought you were pregnant. And now he thinks a) that I’m a crazy person and b) that I’m psychic.

      Reply Link
      • Jess April 2, 2014, 11:05 am

        Oh my gosh, that is so funny and I am so flattered! Thank you!!! All is going well so far. Blood test confirmation earlier this week. Tests getting darker and I am feeling super queasy so… all good signs.

  • FireStar April 1, 2014, 1:40 pm

    I’ve been wondering about having another baby too. If I do it will have to be in the next couple of years which means I have get pregnant in the next year or so. I always thought I wanted 2 or 3 but after X – I just don’t know anymore. I don’t know if I will love another baby as much – or more precisely – if I l like another baby as much. She is such a happy , easy baby (so far) – what are the chances I get another one like her? If I had had a boy then I feel I would have tried for a girl for sure – but I already have the girl I wanted. And the second one won’t get as much attention…not with a toddler around…I kinda feel bad about that. Added in is that my pregnancy was a little wretched and since X came early I will high risk for any future little ones. My husband wanted a soccer team but he is fine with what I decide – but he comes from a family of 5 kids so wants plenty of siblings X whereas my only brother turned into a huge disappointment as an adult. Maybe I will just wait to see if that switch flips…Were going to Jamaica in November which would give us a summer baby next year 2 years younger than X – which I kinda like for the gap. But then maybe just her and the two dogs are enough….I just have no experience with only children up close to know that that would be okay.

    Any only children who longed for siblings…. or were glad they were just the only one?

    Reply Link
    • Elle April 1, 2014, 2:17 pm

      I am an only child, and while I was growing up, I really wanted a sibling. My mom is a narcissist, and it was very hard to put up with all the pressure from her. I basically wanted someone else just to take some of the pressure off me, and maybe someone I could commiserate with.
      Now I live on another continent, and I have moved to 3 new cities in the past 4 years. I made friends along the way, but then I lost them. I wish I had a constant throughout this. I do have my best friend, she’s amazing. Something more would have definitely helped.
      Congrats on the baby, I’m glad to hear she’s easy. Hope she’ll bring you lots of joy and happiness!

      Reply Link
      • FireStar April 1, 2014, 2:39 pm

        Thanks Elle! She does bring lots of happiness…today my husband emailed me a video of her standing in her playpen and waving… we clearly have to lower it before little miss decides to go exploring…

    • lets_be_honest April 1, 2014, 3:10 pm

      I worried about that too, Firestar! How could I possibly like another person as much as I like Lil? And she was so “easy” (and really still is) so I figured that meant the next one might be a terror.

      This is all so exciting! Wendy wanting to have another! Jess! Lemon! I can’t take it!!!

      Reply Link
  • Amanda April 1, 2014, 1:51 pm

    I am 31, about to finish graduate school and just had my daughter at the end on January. My husband and I always wanted to have a few children. Since having our daughter, I must say that the desire is stronger than ever for me, even with the hell that was my 35 hour labor. We both wish we could try to get pregnant again, but we don’t have full time jobs yet and that would be irresponsible. So, I have an IUD and am enjoying our time as a family of three. It’s really funny to me that I was never a baby person nor did I have the strong desire for a baby that Wendy mentioned, but I love having a baby! The two best parts are witnessing my husband as a father and anytime the baby smiles and sings to me. It’s really wonderful.

    Reply Link
  • SasLinna April 1, 2014, 1:55 pm

    I’m having a weird day thinking about various future-related decisions, and coming from that place I say go for it. I think if after a time of going back and forth you’re now clearly feeling excited about the possibility of a 2nd child, then that’s quite strong sign.

    Reply Link
  • GatorGirl April 1, 2014, 1:55 pm

    It must be a relief to have made a decision! I can’t remember if you went back and forth about trying for the first, but that’s totally where we are now. I hope things go swimmingly for you!

    Reply Link
  • Becky April 1, 2014, 2:18 pm

    I had my first and only child at 37. At the time my husband wasn’t even sure he wanted one, but of course we fell in love with her immediately. I would have had a second in a heartbeat. but both my husband’s uncertainty and timing/finance issues precluded it. By the time we were ready (I was 44 by then) it just didn’t happen. Honestly, I am so grateful for our little family, I can’t say that I regret not having another one. We have been able to focus all of our love and attention on our daughter, we can travel easily, she will be able to go to any college she wants, our small house is big enough, we have overcome most of the terror and uncertainty that comes with a child, and we’ve had none of the sibling drama that is inevitable. I’m sure I would have loved a second child, but I don’t miss what I never had.

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy April 1, 2014, 3:13 pm

      I think about all those things — especially the financial aspect — and imagine that if I don’t get pregnant in the timeframe I have in mind right now and it’s just the three of us and no second child, I will feel exactly how you describe.

      Reply Link
  • sarahhhh April 1, 2014, 2:31 pm

    My first child was a total accident. As in, I was a senior in high school. My second child was closer to on purpose – I was married and we were talking about the logistics of having a second child and entertaining the idea of starting to try within the next couple of months – then, we had a condom break and we just decided not to do anything about it (no plan B) and that was that. I was actually amazed at how easily I got pregnant the second time, I really wasn’t expecting that because I was on various types of birth control for a few years and then I got off because of hormonal problems and then my periods were irregular and I had had a lot of stress for a long time and I just thought it might take a while to try.

    Anyway, my oldest was 5 1/2 when my baby was born. I think the biggest challenge for us has been making sure we continue to carve out individual time for the older child, and also feeling like maybe we’re short changing the younger child because she doesn’t get as much undivided attention as the older child did. I’m sure the more children that you have, the less individual time you have for each of them, and that can be hard. But the plus side is that your children have potential lifelong best friends who will always be there for them, and that’s a beautiful thing. My husband and I are both very close to our siblings and it is important to us that our children experience that.

    Now my youngest is nearly one and we are struggling with whether or not we will have another one. The main reason that I’m not 100% gung ho about another child is how hard pregnancy is for me and what a huge toll it takes on my parenting abilities. I don’t know how I can manage a baby AND a 6-7 year old while being pregnant, it was hard enough when it was just my 5 year old. Other than that, I’m pretty much certain I want another. Either way, we want to decide relatively quickly because (since I started so young) we want to have them all somewhat close together so that we can be done and then he will get a vasectomy. Then when they are all grown up and we are in our fifties we can (hopefully) travel a lot and go out together more!

    Good luck though Wendy! You seem like the best mom ever and I’m sure whatever path you go down will be the right one for you!

    Reply Link
  • Addie Pray April 1, 2014, 2:55 pm

    Yay, Wendy, more babiezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! I have always wanted a ton of babies. I love the idea of a large family with a lot of kids. I’m definitely like lemongrass in this regard. It’s just somewhere along the line I forgot to actively pursue that life, damnit.

    Reply Link
    • Addie Pray April 1, 2014, 2:57 pm

      I’m so envious of my coworker, for example, He’s the nicest guy and has 5 kids under the age of 8. 5! I just love his wife and all the kiddos and I think, goddamnit why can’t I have a wife at home with 5 kids! Or better yet, why can’t *I* be the wife at home with 5 kids!
      But enough self pity….. I’m really happy for all the pregnant dearwendiers!

      Reply Link
  • Stefanie April 1, 2014, 2:57 pm

    My daughter is just about to turn one and I have been going crazy with baby fever since she was nine months. A week after she was born I suffered a sub-arachnoid brain hemorrhage, I’m incredibly lucky since I really don’t have any residual effects from it, at least any that people can see.
    After many doctor visits they really can’t say if the pregnancy caused the stroke. My husband is good with one but I have always wanted two. I agonize over having an only child but I just can’t see risking all that I have. Adoption or surrogacy is just to far out of our reach financially. I know I just have to make sure my girl is involved with activities and hopefully, fingers crossed, make some great friendships!
    I wish you the best of luck with your decision!

    Reply Link
  • lets_be_honest April 1, 2014, 3:12 pm

    Am I the only one who skipped to the end to see if Wendy was announcing that she was pregnant?

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy April 1, 2014, 3:17 pm

      Not pregnant! And don’t have plans to even start trying for a few more months. After the winter we had, I want to enjoy the spring and summer.

      Reply Link
      • lets_be_honest April 1, 2014, 3:19 pm

        Good idea! Can’t start Spring off without at least a few mimosas!

      • bethany April 1, 2014, 3:28 pm

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who wants to enjoy summer before getting knocked up! Wendy, GG and I should all get pregnant at the same time.

      • GatorGirl April 1, 2014, 3:42 pm

        That would be so weird. haha.

  • Lianne April 1, 2014, 3:32 pm

    Congrats on a decision, Wendy! I am totally ready to start trying but my BF wants to wait until we’re married, and I am all, but WHY?? However, I turn 35 this year and told him that was when I absolutely wanted to start trying…especially after my doctor told me I should have started at 30…thanks for that!

    Reply Link
    • betsy April 1, 2014, 3:53 pm

      Doctors can be assholes.

      My husband was the same way, “what’s the rush, we have plenty of time.” I was about 35 when we started trying and a year and a half later I’m just over 4 weeks pregnant after a second cycle of IVF. Not saying your path will go this way, but getting pregnant is very difficult for a lot of people.

      I’m overjoyed about finally being pregnant and terrified I won’t stay that way, but dammit happy hour is just not going to be the same with a club soda.

      Reply Link
      • Lianne April 1, 2014, 4:08 pm

        Congrats on getting pregnant! I am sending positive vibes your way.

        And yes, I know it gets harder every year after 30, but I am just trying to remain positive about it all and take it all as it comes.

      • FireStar April 1, 2014, 4:17 pm


      • Lemongrass April 1, 2014, 4:20 pm


      • betsy April 1, 2014, 4:36 pm

        Thank you all!

        I never thought it would be so difficult for us, I feel compelled to warn others and hope they don’t have to go through what we did.

  • snarkymarc April 1, 2014, 3:59 pm

    My wife and I always planned on having at least two children that were relatively close in age, but life often gets in the way. When my daughter was two we started trying. After 6 months of nothing we went to see the doctor to have a fertility discussion. We did th basic testing and everything looked fine. After this my wife found a lump in her breast. We’ve always thought she didn’t get pregnant because her body just knew it wasn’t the right time. We went through a year of surgery, chemo, radiation and recovery. We waited a couple of more years because we both feared she would a reoccurence. I was scared to death. We eventually started trying again but it just didn’t happen. Given all her body went through and all the time we spent in hospitals we didn’t even entertain fertility treatments. We spent a year in the domestic adoption process, then another year in the international adoption process. After all this time we brought our 5 months old son home. He was meant to be with us. The 6.5 year age difference has worked beautifully for us. He keeps us young. He keeps my daughter grounded. He is so, so different from her.

    I’m not worried about being an older father because I have some much to give my son. Sometimes I look and the calendar an realize I’ll need to work into my late 50’s to put him through college, but I not-so-secretly need my family to need me. My son and daughter often drive us crazy with their inane, petty arguments, but we are a family – not like I envisioned, but even better.

    Reply Link
    • Lianne April 1, 2014, 4:12 pm

      Oh I am so sorry for the troubles your family has had! But sounds like your wife is healthy now and your family is recently complete – congrats!!

      Reply Link
    • FireStar April 1, 2014, 4:13 pm


      Reply Link
    • Lemongrass April 1, 2014, 4:18 pm

      That is a really sweet story. I don’t think I’ll ever regret being a young(er) mom but I don’t know what I’ll do when they move out.

      Reply Link
      • lets_be_honest April 1, 2014, 4:21 pm

        Just don’t let them move out. Bribing them with cars works pretty well I’ve heard.

      • GatorGirl April 1, 2014, 4:28 pm

        rent free living works pretty well too 🙂

      • lets_be_honest April 1, 2014, 4:37 pm

        I’ll add that to the list GG. 🙂
        God I really hope Lil ends up liking me when she’s older and we can still spend a ton of time together.

      • snarkymarc April 1, 2014, 4:30 pm

        Some other things to consider about having two or more kids… Siblings often can’t stand each other. My brothers and I used to fight like cats and dogs. It wasn’t pretty or cute in any manner. I think some of this has to do with how we were raised and same gender rivalries, but a lot of it is just our personalities. The workload is also probably more than 2x because you have to deal with each child’s workload and the workload of them interacting. For us group activities like camping and amusement parks have been more fun with two kids. The endless itinerary of kids birthday parties has gotten old with the 2nd kid, so have all the soccer games.

      • snarkymarc April 1, 2014, 4:33 pm

        OMG, the thought of only having three more years of seeing my daughter everyday is unfathomable. I’m pretty sure she will move away for college and it absolutely blows my mind and is already breaking my heart, even when she is being a not-so-nice teenager. Maybe by the time she is 18 I’ll be ready to kick her out, but I kind of doubt it.

      • lets_be_honest April 1, 2014, 4:39 pm

        I’m really enjoying your comments today! But this one was just mean. Mean and sad. And sad and mean.
        Tip: scroll up and read my comments about bribing them with cars.

      • lets_be_honest April 1, 2014, 4:41 pm

        FFS, as soon as I got this, she called asking if she could have snapchat/facebook/twitter (yes, all 3). Have fun at college Lil!

      • sarahhhh April 1, 2014, 5:46 pm

        travel! go out! experience culture and stuff! read all weekend! redecorate! sleep in! the possibilities are endless!

        I dunno, these are things I’m looking forward to. Since I had a kid so young and had to grow up so fast I didn’t get to do any of that stuff that normal college-aged people do. I don’t feel like I missed out on binge drinking but I am excited for the other stuff haha.

    • snarkymarc April 1, 2014, 4:28 pm

      Some other things to consider about having two or more kids… Siblings often can’t stand each other. My brothers and I used to fight like cats and dogs. It wasn’t pretty or cute in any manner. I think some of this has to do with how we were raised and same gender rivalries, but a lot of it is just our personalities. The workload is also probably more than 2x because you have to deal with each child’s workload and the workload of them interacting. For us group activities like camping and amusement parks have been more fun with two kids. The endless itinerary of kids birthday parties has gotten old with the 2nd kid, so have all the soccer games.

      Reply Link
    • sarahhhh April 1, 2014, 5:44 pm

      this story was so sweet. I love your family.

      Reply Link
  • RedroverRedrover April 1, 2014, 4:11 pm

    I’m in the middle of this right now. My son’s almost one, and I’m 38. In November I’ll be 39. It’s pretty much now or never, but it was so hard the first time around, I don’t know if I want to do it again. I certainly don’t want to wait a year or two to see how I feel, though, because then I’ll be over 40, and it was stressful enough waiting for the genetic testing to come back when I was 35+ and pregnant with my first.

    My best friend had her first, and got pregnant again like 6 months later. Now she’s got two, and she’s all done. If I got pregnant now, I’d be done with babies in a year and a half or so. Of course, then I’d have two toddlers. So I really have to decide if I’m ok with just one, or if I want another. And you know what’s really pushing me the most to have another? This sounds awful, but the fear of losing my first. What if something happens to him? Could I get through life without being a parent, having been one already? If I’d never had any I would have been totally fine with it, but to have one and lose him, how could I deal? Especially if he was my only? It’s so messed up that that’s where my mind goes, but I think I’m not the only one with these kinds of thoughts. Right? Tell me I’m not!

    Reply Link
    • lets_be_honest April 1, 2014, 4:19 pm

      My mom said something like that to me once…about having another child to keep you going god forbid you lose one. I mean, yea, not exactly a happy thought or a good way to think I guess, but it is what it is. I can’t imagine going on if I lost my only child.

      Reply Link
    • Lemongrass April 1, 2014, 4:19 pm

      I’ve had that thought before.

      Reply Link
    • kerrycontrary April 1, 2014, 4:31 pm

      Honestly…it’s not such a weird thought. Having known someone who lost a sibling…she’s definitely what kept her parents going. The death of her sibling was so horrible on her parents (as it is on any parent), and she’s closer to her parents than ever now. Their relationship is special, and no one can understand how it must feel except for her and her parents. I actually want three kids because now taking care of her parents one day is all on her.

      Reply Link
    • Amanda April 1, 2014, 4:50 pm

      My greatest fear is that I will lose my husband and daughter somehow and I will have to roam the earth in despair.

      Reply Link
    • RedroverRedrover April 1, 2014, 7:07 pm

      Phew, I’m not crazy! Thanks guys. 🙂

      Reply Link
  • katie April 1, 2014, 4:13 pm

    there is something in the water. in addition to all of the dw babies, my friend just told me she is pregnant too. dang! baby and wedding time in my life right now- and im not having a baby or getting married… haha

    Reply Link
    • rachel April 1, 2014, 4:41 pm

      Yeah it seems to happen in waves. Two of my friends have announced being pregnant with their 2nd kids in the past week.

      Reply Link
  • veritek33 April 1, 2014, 4:27 pm

    So, I can’t speak from the experience of a mother, but I can speak as an only child. And there are tons of pros AND cons to being an only child.
    Pros – As a kid – freaking awesome. Even when we had foster kids, they came and went, so I was still an only child most of the time. I never shared a bedroom until college. All the clothes were mine, I didn’t have to share with anyone, etc. I’m incredibly close with my parents.

    Cons – As an adult, I’m having a hard time with the idea of my parents getting older/sick and me being the sole person responsible for making decisions and taking care of them. When they die, it’s all on me. And that thought is hard.

    Is it a reason to give Jackson a sibling? Maybe. Maybe not. My life would have been very very different with siblings, and I don’t think I’d be who I am. And I have a wonderful network of friends that are my “family.” Having siblings is no guarantee you’d be close with them, but sometimes I wish I had a brother or sister.

    My mom miscarried when I was 3, so I almost had a sibling. She didn’t want to go through that again so they never got pregnant again. But I will say, ‘I’ve felt for a long time that when I have kids I’d like to have at least two.

    There’s my unsolicited two cents 🙂

    Reply Link
    • missliss April 1, 2014, 4:57 pm

      Another perspective to the task of parents in old age: I have two siblings, but I will likely be the one making decisions and dealing with legal/financial stuff for my parents because one sibling is very impulsive and immature and one has special needs. I love my siblings and am grateful to have grown up with them, but I anticipate they will only add to the burden with aging parents.

      Reply Link
      • veritek33 April 1, 2014, 5:17 pm

        exactly. When my grandma was sick, my mom was the only one really chipping in and she’s one of six. Which was part of the reason she and my dad were content with one – sometimes siblings are just not what you want/need them to be as adults.

      • Marcie April 1, 2014, 8:17 pm

        This will be me too, Missliss. I am in the middle of two brothers and I don’t see either of them being able to help with whatever might happen to my parents.

  • thatgirl April 1, 2014, 4:30 pm

    So to answer your questions…I have 3 kids btw…

    “did you ever waver in your decision to have (or not to have) another?” I never wavered in my decision to have more. I wish I had had one more, but I was not in a good enough place to bring another kid into the world, and by the time I was, I felt it was too late. I regret having my tubal when I did. I could have waited a couple of years and had another one.

    “Did you even actively make a decision to try for another or did you just let whatever might happen, happen (or not)?” It was an active decision both times

    “And in what ways does having another baby change your family dynamic?” This one is a little harder, because it changed so much each time, but for such different reasons. I have a 21yr old, a 16yr old and an 8yr old. There was jealousy each time. My oldest got over it, my second child never did. My oldest and youngest are best friends!! My second one gets along with the oldest, but not the youngest. My husband took a larger role in day to day stuff he really didn’t even realize I did after I had the youngest (my older two from my first marriage) and he really stepped up. When you are busy breast feeding, sleeping, and generally caring for a newborn 24/7 there are things that others will step up and do, or it just won’t get done, and that’s ok too.

    I adore being a mom. I really wanted one more, but if I could have afforded it, I might even have kept going. My kiddos aren’t all close to each other, but there is a closeness among them, and that’s enough.

    Reply Link
    • ApresMoi April 1, 2014, 7:28 pm

      My siblings are the same way, and it really sucks! I am the oldest daughter, followed by a sister who is a year and a half younger, then a brother who is 10 years younger and a sister, 16 years younger. My sister and I get along with the “kids” great, but the two younger don’t get along at all. I do think it was harder for my brother because we have lots of cousins, but he go stuck in this awkward middle where he was too young for the older kids and too old for the younger ones. He was also the only boy in the house and my dad work very long hours, so my brother always felt a little alone. I hope that one day when he gets over his angry teenage phase, he will find some pleasure in being a big brother to an amazing little girl (well, she wont be little for too long now.)

      Reply Link
      • ApresMoi April 1, 2014, 7:29 pm

        Geez.. got* and works*

  • AKchic April 1, 2014, 4:47 pm

    My kids are 25 months apart, 18 months apart, and 59 months apart (yeah, just shy of 5 years).

    Nobody is ever really ready for the second one until it is a reality. You could spend a year preparing for this, and still not be fully “ready”. If you feel the time is right, do it. Do it soon, before the biological clock stops ringing. Otherwise, it will pass you by and then you’ll be ambivalent towards another one.

    Reply Link
  • missliss April 1, 2014, 5:04 pm

    Congratulations on deciding to potentially expand your family!

    I have two siblings and am grateful I do. I would rather have my memories growing up with them than be a spoiled only child. But even given that experience, right now I am 100% sure I either want to have one child or none at all. I guess I would rather feel in control and be a “good parent” to one kid than feel spread too thin or unhappy and be a resentful parent. I’m not a parent so I can’t really say how I’ll feel if I have one, but that’s how I imagine it will feel. Even if a second pregnancy doesn’t work out, you are providing such a loving, dynamic life for Jackson that I think he will be more than okay 🙂

    Reply Link
  • No Pants April 1, 2014, 5:05 pm

    All of these comments from DWers with one child make me feel better. He Pants and I have discussed this at length. I have a wonky little body and it’s already been through a lot, and if we are lucky and can get pregnant, it will be one kiddo only. However, I have a TON of cousins who have a TON of kids and we are all close, so if I do have a little one, he or she will definitely have a million cousins. For now, I just spoil my niece rotten.

    Reply Link
    • sarahhhh April 1, 2014, 5:43 pm

      that is a good point, you don’t have to have siblings to have close family to grow up with. in both mine and my husband’s families we value our relationships with our close-in-age cousins nearly as much as our relationships with our siblings, and I think we’re passing that along to our kids as much as we can. My oldest has like 6 cousins close to her age (not first cousins – none of our siblings have kids yet! but a 2nd or 3rd cousin is still a cousin!) and my youngest has 5 cousins close to her age, so that’s nice when there are family get-togethers and birthday parties. this conversation is making me want to go home to my babies.

      Reply Link
  • Addie Pray April 1, 2014, 5:33 pm

    Celebrity Update: Just had a long non-work work meeting with Dr. Doug. Jealous, anyone?

    Reply Link
    • Addie Pray April 1, 2014, 5:34 pm

      Ok, sorry, back to babies. BABIEZ!

      Reply Link
      • Addie Pray April 1, 2014, 5:37 pm

        iWanna? Anyone? It’s like my celebrity encounters don’t matter anymore. Le sigh.

      • Addie Pray April 1, 2014, 5:43 pm

        People: They matter to me, AP
        AP: Oh you’re sweet, People.
        People: No, you’re sweet.
        AP: No, you’re sweet.
        AP: Fine, we’re both sweet.
        People: Ok.

      • snarkymarc April 1, 2014, 5:46 pm

        Is he a celebrity if no one knows who he is? Well I don’t? Who is Dr. Doug?

      • Addie Pray April 1, 2014, 5:48 pm

        Oh shoot. This was a discussion we had on FB. N E V E R M I N D. DELETE DELETE DELETE.

      • snarkymarc April 1, 2014, 5:54 pm

        Ok, now I feel unloved 🙁 I’m just a second tier, non-fb friend :((

      • Addie Pray April 1, 2014, 5:55 pm

        nah, FB is second tier. DW is first tier.

      • Marcie April 1, 2014, 8:20 pm

        I have no idea who Dr. Doug is either…

      • Addie Pray April 1, 2014, 5:47 pm

        People: Remember that time you made out with actor who played Elliot on E.T. on the street while a homeless man serenaded you?
        AP: I forgot, actually. That kind of shit just happens so often, you know?
        People: You’re kind of a slut.
        AP: It happened ONE TIME.
        People: You just said it happens oh so often…
        AP: I hate your mom. (I dunno.)

  • snarkymarc April 1, 2014, 5:45 pm

    To answer one of Wendy’s questions, the dynamics of our family change dramatically with the second child. I mentioned it in one of my above comments, but in short, our second child introduce endless fighting between the kids. I remember sitting down for dinner when it was just the three of us. It was usually very calm, some giggling, and at most, some fighting over whether my daughter would finish her dinner or not. But it never escalated because she had no one else on her side. Nowadays dinners are often filled with riduculous arguing over who looked at who, who touched who, and who’s scoop of ice cream is bigger. I love my kids but the constant rivalry and bickery wears my wife and me down on many days. And this is between a 14 year and a 7 year old. I can only imagine what it would be like if they were a year or two apart. But I still love them to death – little brats.

    Reply Link
  • Sue Jones April 1, 2014, 6:35 pm

    My stepson came into my life when I was 33 and he was 3. He was (and still is) a handful. So much so that I was sure I would not have one of my own. When my stepson was 10 and I was pushing 40 all of a sudden I wanted a baby and my husband felt ready to get on board again. It took almost a year to conceive him and I had my son when I was 41. I always knew that would be the only child for me. So… Yes and no.

    Reply Link
  • tbrucemom April 1, 2014, 7:05 pm

    My children are 9 years apart. We didn’t plan it that way, things kept coming up, I had a miscarriage in between. My first child was half way to being a grown up when I had my second. They weren’t particularly close when they were kids. My daughter idolized her big brother and he was always good to her in a protective, big brother way, but they weren’t playmates obviously. Now that they’re both adults they’re very close. I’m so glad that they have memories of each other and their parents to share after their father and I are gone. Having my 2nd child so much later actually felt like having a first one all over. It was awesome and like riding a bike, you never forget what to do.

    Reply Link
  • JB April 1, 2014, 7:20 pm

    Do it! 2 are easier than 1!

    I always wanted a bunch of kids, then circumstances led to me having my first at 35–not a ton of time for more. And then I had SUCH a hard time with the first (I was hospitalized for post-partum depression), that I really thought I couldn’t handle another one. Really, life felt quite impossible for a while. Then I thought that I really wanted to give my daughter a sibling, that it was a gift to her; she would never be alone, would always have someone to conspire against the parents with, someone who shared her unique family memories. I went ahead, and got pregnant on the first try. That second baby was a revelation! And all my friends with kids the same ages agree: having two kids is exponentially easier than the first. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true. All that agony over every tiny little observance, decision, choice with the first. Everything is SO IMPORTANT! Any tiny mistake is going to screw her up for life. Well, you just don’t have time for that with the second. You’re focusing so much on the first, who is now a toddler or preschooler and needs such a different kind of attention, that the simple, physical care of the little one seems so much easier than it had with the first. My kids are now 18 (girl) and 16 (boy) and love each other dearly. It is the joy of my life to see their sweet relationship.

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy April 1, 2014, 9:04 pm

      This is one of the reasons why I want another baby — to experience what I very much hope would be an easier/more enjoyable time raising it because: a) not so wound up over every little thing; b) already have a built-in playmate for a baby (jackson!); c) I know what I’m doing now and what to expect; and d) I’ll be honest: jackson was a very challenging baby and he has been a challenging toddler and I feel like an “easy” baby or even an average baby would be a breeze in comparison. But then, whose to say I wouldn’t get an even bigger challenge with a second baby!

      Reply Link
      • Kate April 2, 2014, 8:59 am

        As far as the built-in playmate idea, I’m sure it’s more likely than not that the two kids would get along at least some of the time and would play with each other, but be prepared for anything. My brother is almost 3 years older than me, and growing up we HATED each other and would actually beat the crap out of each other in a way that caused one of my grandmothers to cry and the other one to YELL (which she never ever did), and my grandfather to lose his shit as well, at different times when they were babysitting us. We couldn’t have been more different from each other and to this day I would say we have *no relationship* beyond eating dinner together with my parents.

        Now, on the bright side, he has a LOT of issues and I, as the second kid, am definitely the one who delivered on my parents’ hopes for their children, so there’s that. I guess you just never know what kind of person you’re going to get!

      • JB April 2, 2014, 6:21 pm

        I didn’t get along with my siblings, either, when we were kids. My brother was brutal to us girls, and most of the time we all really hated each other. We’re not very close as adults, either. But some time ago I realized that this was actually a huge reflection on my parents, who never seemed to foster good relationships between us kids. We were always out for ourselves, competing for approval, love, time, whatever (not that we got much love or approval). We were so busy protecting ourselves, that we didn’t see ourselves as a team. I wanted to be very different with my own kids. It’s not that I MADE them get along–I respect their (enormous) differences, but I think I just quietly, in the background, set up the expectation that, of COURSE they liked each other. And they seemed to just go along with that idea. They are as different as two people can be (my son has Aspgerger’s and huge social anxiety, and my daughter is the social butterfly of all time; he’s very, very cautious and risk-averse, and she is a crazy, impulsive flibbertigibbett who just jumps in) but they really seem to like and love each other. Makes me so, so happy.

    • Manders April 2, 2014, 10:13 am

      That is great to hear that the second is easier. You really illustrated how I felt when my son, D, was a newborn- that every decision is SO IMPORTANT. My son is 16 months old and I just turned 35. I was so anxious with him as a newborn with every decision. Sleep deprivation really hit me hard as well and looking back I am sure there were some PDD issues going on. I had a previous miscarriage about 4 months before I was pregnant with D and while he was a newborn I was really focused on SIDS awareness and his health because his life felt so fragile. Mix that with nursing every 2-3 hours all night for 9 months and I wasn’t myself. Not to say I didn’t enjoy D’s newborn – 12 months but I think with more perspective I can really relax with another baby and not think my every choice my somehow contribute to his death or illness (clearly some PDD anxiety going on there). As the mother of a toddler I have been able to enjoy the process of him growing more and am so proud of the little person he is becoming. He has a bit of teasing nature to him and loves to give kisses and hugs which melt my heart.
      I have been on the fence myself and feeling some pressure to make a decision. My true fear is to return to the “dark days” of feeling so anxious and that not going away this time. It really helped to hear your experience.

      Reply Link
  • Groberry April 1, 2014, 8:29 pm

    i had my girls 15 months apart, both somewhat surprises, albeit happy ones. Cuuurazy. now that they are almost 7 and 8 yrs old, i find myself simultaneously panicking over the 20 yr anniversary of Kurt Cobain (gulp) AND experiencing total baby fever for the first time. And by baby fever, i mean squealing in delight over baby gap emails in my inbox. So yeah….. i feel your angst/ticking clock. go for it, wendy!

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy April 1, 2014, 8:35 pm

      Do you think you’d have another baby?

      Reply Link
  • sarolabelle April 2, 2014, 9:42 am

    I am currently pregnant and know I want another before this baby turns two. Both my husband and I have siblings who are close in age and it worked for us as siblings and I think will work for our own kids. Plus, I would love to have my second before I turn 35 just in case the possibility of a third can still be there.

    Good luck Wendy!

    Reply Link
  • Laura Hope April 2, 2014, 7:39 pm

    I have 2 boys 2 years and 10 months apart. I didn’t really want to have the second one because I was so focused on (okay, obsessed with) the first. But it was the best thing I ever did. It took so much pressure off me to be the sole entertainer. I actually had time for my husband. Of course there’s no guarantee that the kids will be best friends, but if they are, it’s pretty amazing. Life gets so much easier. Also, it was good for my older child because it kept him from spending too much time in our adult world. He got to be a child longer. And because we’re older parents, I’m glad they’ll have each other when we’re gone.

    Reply Link
  • Rachel @ Reality Chick April 2, 2014, 11:45 pm

    Hi Wendy. Big decision woohoo. Just back from coffee with some girlfriends and we talked non-stop about this very topic. Many of my friends (all around 39/40) have No1 in nappies and are quickly trying for No2. Me, I’m pregnant with my first (due Aug) and just getting my head around BECOMING a mama at this stage, as well as how I’ll juggle work (I’m a freelance writer like you.)

    I’m always asked if I want another or if we’ll ‘go again’ straight away – not much time to twiddle my thumbs – and while I always, always wanted 2 am going to keep my options open on that one (your great and very honest columns about motherhood have been a great eye-opener for me so thanks!) My thoughts at this point are along the lines of, 3 is a cute number, there are banks of 3 seats on international flights so we would fit in nicely, one would mean I could still have an okay career etc etc. But maybe I too will be blindsided by the ‘switch’… 🙂

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy April 3, 2014, 10:05 am

      Congrats on the pregnancy!

      Reply Link
      • Rachel April 3, 2014, 5:16 pm

        Thanks Wendy. Took years to get here so I’m pretty happy!

  • Dietcokeaddict April 3, 2014, 11:55 am

    So I have one around Jackson’s age and had another one who just turned a year. Once I brought 2 home, I believed it is the best thing I ever did for 1. They have adored each other from the beginning. Watching them play together or laugh together are the best moments I have. It’s not without it’s challenges. The first few months were especially difficult although I think the fact that I didn’t take maternity leave the second time played a roll there.

    I say go for it!

    That’s way you won’t be wondering what if. What ifs are some of the worst things in life. If you try and it doesn’t happen, then you can say it wasn’t meant to. But if it does happen, once you bring him or her home, you won’t regret it. Your family will just be a family of four. Everything that comes with that will just be your normal day to day.

    Kids are different too. They’re little people after all. Your second could end up being very calm and rational.

    Reply Link

Leave a Comment