Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

To Have or To Not to Have Another Baby, That is the Question

Recently, Drew and I have started talking about whether we might like to try for #2, and that’s not an allusion to being constipated, although the Aleve I’ve been taking for my back for the past few weeks does have some uncomfortable side effects, thank you very much. Before Jackson was born, it seemed settled that we’d aim for two kids. As early as our first date, we both talked about how we each wanted two kids eventually. Drew may have even said he wanted three.

I always wanted a little girl, and when I found out I was pregnant with a boy, I told myself, “Maybe next time.” I wasn’t too disappointed because there was still a chance I might have a girl eventually, and anyway, what’s wrong with a boy? (Nothing! Except the part about missing the toilet a lot of the time).

After Jackson was born, I boxed up my maternity clothes and put them in storage until the next pregnancy. As Jack outgrows his own clothes, I box them up and put them in storage, too, for the next baby. If we have another boy, he’ll already have a whole wardrobe full of cute hand-me-downs. If we have a girl, I hope she likes trucks and frogs and giraffes and stuff.

Speaking of clothes, in one of my drawers, I have a tiny pair of baby girl shoes. I found them brand new, with the tags still on, for a couple bucks at a thrift store years ago and I’ve been saving them in case I have a daughter. My in-laws have also saved several boxes of their daughter’s clothes should Drew and I have a girl. She will be one well-dressed baby, that’s for sure.

But here’s the thing: I’m not sure I have room in my life for another child.

Up until a few months ago, I didn’t think there was a question that we’d at least try to have another baby. I didn’t take for granted that it would happen again. I knew that just because I got pregnant easily with Jackson, it didn’t mean we’d be so lucky again. I’m hurtling toward my late 30s faster than I’d like to admit, after all, and my eggs are hobbling around on canes these days. But, still, I always thought we’d at least try to make another baby. And if it didn’t work, I thought we’d consider other options, like adoption. Hell, maybe we’d even consider adoption before trying to conceive. It’s possible. Especially after all the fun I had being pregnant and giving birth and all.

But now I’m not so sure I really want another baby. I should say now, in case it isn’t perfectly clear, that I love my son so very, very much. I love being a mom and I love the family we have now. And that’s the thing: I love the family we have now.

Maybe it’s enough already? Maybe another person would be too much. Maybe I would feel spread too thin. Maybe it would be more than I could handle. Right now, my joy to stress ratio is in my favor. Would it still be that way if we added another child to the mix? Can we even afford another child? Am I willing to sacrifice some of the comforts we enjoy now in order to support another person?

I don’t know! I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.

Up until two months ago I was checking the real estate section every few days for three-bedroom apartments in our neighborhood we might be able to afford. And then I traveled with Jackson by myself to Germany to visit my parents and my mother made a comment to me about how, “You don’t have to have another, you know.” And at first I thought she meant that I wasn’t a good mother, but that wasn’t it. She meant that for me, maybe one child was perfect already.

Back in New York, I nervously told Drew over breakfast one morning that I needed to talk to him about something.

“I don’t think I want another baby,” I said softly, fixing my eyes on my half-eaten bagel, bracing myself for his reaction.

“You don’t?” He said.

“I don’t think so,” I replied, a little louder. “I mean, I thought I did. I always thought I wanted two. But now… now I think Jackson is enough.”

Suddenly, a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and I realized I’d been holding this in for longer than two weeks. This was something that had been weighing me down for months. And luckily, Drew didn’t resent me for feeling the way I did and was open to the idea of not having another baby.

We didn’t make any final decisions that morning. But what we did decide to do was embrace the idea of stopping at one and seeing how that felt. We decided to live with that scenario for a little while — imagining that our family is complete — and then check back in with each other and discuss our thoughts. If relief is the predominant emotion, we’ll have our answer.

I’ve mentioned this to a few close friends — how the thought of having another baby makes me more anxious than excited–and most of them have told me that that might change in a few months as Jackson gets further and further from his newborn days.

“Wait til he’s walking and talking,” advised one friend. “You might feel differently then.”

And I have to admit, I’m wavering more than I was even a few weeks ago. As Jack becomes more and more toddler-like, I’m realizing that though the baby days are challenging, they really do go by in a flash. And maybe when Jackson’s two or three, I’ll be ready to take on the challenge of a newborn again, especially with the benefit of experience this time around. Maybe I’ll have made more space in my life for another child. Maybe Jack won’t require quite as much hands-on attention and I’ll have more energy to devote to a new baby.

But maybe I’ll want to devote that energy to other things instead that bring me joy: my marriage; my writing; friends; travel; biking; learning new tricks.

I wrote recently about how I’ve been finding more balance in my life now that Jackson’s older and I’ve got a better handle on this whole mom gig. I worry that two kids might throw off that balance forever. I worry I’ll be that frazzled, harried mother in the playground in sweat shorts and Birkenstocks who has completely lost herself to the endless needs of her children. I worry I’ll be the mom of a newborn letting her older kid poop in a bag in the middle of the park because she’s too damn tired to walk the ten minutes to the public bathroom. And I don’t want to be that mom!

It’s easy to point to what I don’t want. Not so easy to say what it is I do want. I know I don’t want us to make any decisions we’ll regret. But how do we know when we’re making the right choices? How do we make sure we don’t wake up ten years from now and wish we’d done things differently??

104 comments… add one
  • becboo84 August 29, 2012, 2:08 pm

    Your friends might be right, or maybe they’re not, and having one child is what works best for you guys. I know for us, having a little bit more of a spread has worked really well. Our daughter just turned four earlier this month, and I’m 15.5 weeks along with #2, and she is such a little helper who completely understands that sometimes mommy doesn’t feel good and is SO excited for the baby. Not to mention, she writes these cute little notes about how she’s so sorry that I don’t feel good and she really appreciates me having the baby even though it’s making me sick 🙂 Personally, I couldn’t imagine having a toddler and a newborn; I just don’t think that would be a good fit for me.

    P.S. Is the story about the kid pooping in the bag at the park true? If so, that is super gross, and I’m 100% confident that you will never be that mom.

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    • becboo84 August 29, 2012, 2:21 pm

      OMG… just read the link about the entire pooping incident… feeling a little disturbed right now!

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  • LolaBeans August 29, 2012, 2:13 pm

    “learning new tricks” lolol. that made me laugh pretty hard.

    I think adding a new little person in your life will create stress, you will have less time for your writing, marriage etc, but i also remember when you were first pregnant and how nervous you were, how you were mourning your “old life”. I feel like this is a similar situation, you will just become a newer version of yourself, with two kids. I don’t think its an easy answer and you will probably never know for sure until you do it. But I just wanted to say, that you already make a wonderful mother to jackson, you will also be a wonderful mother to baby #2.

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  • BriarRose August 29, 2012, 2:17 pm

    I think you’ll find as time goes by that the feeling of wanting another may pop up (biology is pretty powerful, after all) but if you feel fairly certain that you don’t want another child–embrace it, and be confident with your decision, because people will most definitely give you crap for it. You’ll probably be in better company living in NYC, but where I live, I stand out like a sore thumb with my one darling child. Most people have 3-4 and never, ever tire of asking why I don’t have more.

    Here’s the thing: parents should choose to have another child because they want to. That is the only reason. Not because they think they should. Not to give their child a sibling. Not because they miss the baby stage. Not because they’re worried about saddling their adult child with the responsibility of two elderly parents. Not because they want the opposite gender of their current child. Not because they’ll do a better job with the second child. Because they want to bring another child into the world.

    Society is a pretty powerful thing. Even in these modern times, only children are frequently viewed as an abnormality, children with a major defect because they don’t have siblings and therefore don’t know how to be empathetic or share, or who knows what else. Siblings are not the be all and end all in a child’s life, and this comes from a girl who is the oldest of 4 kids. I could go on and on….this is a subject I’m pretty passionate about. My daughter is an only, by choice, which worked out better than I could have imagined after I got divorced and had only one child to worry about and support. She is well-adjusted, sweet, polite, and caring. Most people have no idea she is an only child.

    I want to write so much more, but probably shouldn’t. I’ll just say two things. First, I always thought I would have 3 or 4 kids, and I felt like a huge failure when I realized that wasn’t what I wanted. That I was letting myself and my family and my husband down. But when I finally came to grips with it….that feeling of relief was indescribable. Second, if there is a partner in a marriage who doesn’t want more kids, they get to “win” that argument. No one should have agree to have another baby just to keep their partner happy.

    All that said, you very well might change your mind when he’s older, and that’s okay too 🙂 Do what makes you and Drew happy, and that will be the right decision.

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    • ktfran August 29, 2012, 2:34 pm

      I really liked this response. I also really liked Wendy voicing her concerns about motherhood. For the past couple of years I’ve been learning not to judge people on their decisions. Some of Wendy’s stories, and stories from the community as a whole reiterate that point.

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    • redessa August 29, 2012, 3:04 pm

      I agree that people shouldn’t have babies they don’t want. But I do think your first child’s needs should be a factor in the decision making process. Not necessarily the deciding factor, but at least a consideration.

      (Said by an only child who is watching both my parents decline in health… I’ll be honest, it’s not something I enjoy facing alone.)

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      • painted_lady August 29, 2012, 4:10 pm

        Totally understand that feeling of being alone facing your parents’ declining health…and I have a brother. Unfortunately siblings are no guarantee of help.

      • BriarRose August 29, 2012, 5:33 pm

        Redessa, I’m sorry to hear you are having to go through that. It must be very difficult for you. I do agree w/ PL though, that siblings are no guarantee of anything. When my grandfather was dying, 3 out of my dad’s 4 siblings did absolutely nothing to help. And they were all the ones w/ enough time and money to actually help. It fell to my Dad (living in CA while his dad was in PA) and his younger sister, who was a single mom w/ 2 teenage girls at home.

      • jlyfsh August 30, 2012, 9:09 am

        yeah i can’t agree with this more. some families do come together when things like that happen and help but more often than not it all falls on to one person. my grandmother ended up taking care of her mother because together she and her sister decided that they didn’t want her in a home but her sister was still working. so she came once a month and gave my grandmother a two hour break. that definitely doesn’t constitute ‘helping’ to me. my mom, sister and i did more to help my grandmother than her sister was able or willing to do (she also didn’t ‘deal’ well with seeing her mom sick).

      • cporoski August 30, 2012, 8:58 am

        There was this guy in my office who was an only child. His father was in a nursing home and mother had cancer. He was trying to balance his family and getting them to appointments. It was very hard.

    • 6napkinburger August 30, 2012, 11:45 am

      I think this is very eloquent and erudite. However, I’m not sure I agree with the gender thing. If you’ve always wanted a -blank- and you have the other, I think that in deciding to “try again”, inherently there must be some desire to “bring another child into the world.”

      Maybe I’m biased by my desire for a daughter and my lack of children. I want a girl; I just do. If I have a boy (once I’m married and the children are “wanted”), I can basically guarantee that barring medical or serious financial reasons, I will try again. I know the whole “choosing gender” thing is a HUGE ethical question – though by the time I get there, it might be different- I can only imagine I will be using the “tried and true” methods of weird positions, thermometers, etc. to “pick the sex” of the child. But I don’t think that’s a bad reason to have another child – that I want a daughter.

      This also presumes that I am not an evil person and will not begrudge the second child not being a girl, if its a boy.

      I guess, I think I have a much more “old fashioned” view of having children. I never imagined NOT having children, especially not by choice. I have always loved the idea of growing up, meeting a man, getting married then (eventually) having children. In fact, Im very worried that that will not happen, which would feel like a tragedy for me. (28 and single). I understand that tons of women are choosing not to have children and I honestly have no opinion on that (if you’re a friend – yay if you want that! tragic if it’s not your ; strangers, I honestly have no thoughts).

      Part of me wonders if that will work out like being a Zumba instructor — it’s amazing when you’re young and doing amazing things, but what are you going to do when youre 50? I mean that honestly — I really do wonder what Zumba instructors will do when they are 50; not in a judgy way but in a curious way. I am way too risk adverse to do something like that — I always was going to have a “career” and not a job, no matter how much better the job would have been at the time than the career. I wonder if women who are convinced that at 30 they never want children — at 50 will they feel the same? Again, I have no real opinions on it (like telling people who tell me they don’t want kids things like this) but I have wondered it to myself.

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  • JK August 29, 2012, 2:19 pm

    Reading this, Wendy my 1st thought was that it was too soon for you to be trying to decide whether to have another kid or not.
    I always “knew” I wanted more than one kid, but I also wanted an even number (being the middle sibling will do that to you), and no way in hell I could see myself with 4, so I (we) decided on 2.
    But when my eldest was little (up to around 1 1/2-2), I couldn´t picture having another baby, I couldn´t imagine what that would do to my daughter, my marriage, etc. But then as she grew a little older, and more independent I knew that it was time for number 2 (also I was dying for another baby). So, the girls are 3 1/2 years apart (the difference I´d always imagined my children having).
    Now the 2nd is 1y4m, and I know for sure that there are no more kids coming (save an accident, of course).

    I´d say to give it time, once Jackson is more independent you´ll probably be able to decide one way or another with greater ease. Personally, I´m glad to have 2, and I know my eldest is happy to have a kid sister (even though it´s tough sometimes). And I know my youngest loves having her big sister to idolize.

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    • jlyfsh August 29, 2012, 2:31 pm

      My mom said she knew she was ready when she forgot how hard having a newborn was and was swayed instead by how cute they were. It took her until I was a little over 3 years old to get to that point, haha. My sister and I are 4 1/2 years apart and I think that’s pretty perfect at least for us!

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      • JK August 29, 2012, 2:34 pm

        You have to get over the birth, as well. Otherwise the world would be full of only kids!
        (Just kidding, as I´ve said before both of my labours and births were really easy).

      • ktfran August 29, 2012, 2:37 pm

        After my sis had her first, she decided a family of three or four would be nice. Then she had her second 3.5 years later and she did a number on my sis during birth. Maybe my sis will forget about the pain one day and want another. Maybe not. But that second one really was bad I guess. The second is now 3 and still no wavering on a third.

  • AlexisKS August 29, 2012, 2:23 pm

    Wow this is so interesting to me. Through circumstances – years of indecision followed by years of miscarriages – we ended up with one son who is now 6. I am, on different days, 100% happy with this and totally worried that I/we/my son is missing out. He is the only child in his class who doesn’t have a sibling. Heck, he is currently the only child that I know in real life who doesn’t have a sibling! There is a lot of weird pressure to have another child. It is difficult to tune that out and be happy with what you already have.

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    • JK August 29, 2012, 2:30 pm

      Like we´ve said before here, people are NEVER going to be happy with your life decisions (as if they actually had a say). I´m more than happy with my daughters, but I still get asked (by my FIL, acquaintances, strangers!!!) when I´m going to try for a boy.

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      • SpaceySteph August 29, 2012, 2:41 pm

        I’m the oldest of three. We go girl, girl, boy. People always told my mom “oh you can stop now that you got a boy.” And my mom is always like “actually we always planned to have 3 kids.”

        Personally, I hope I have only boys. I might be the only woman on the planet who doesn’t look at baby girl clothes and coo. All I can think is “wait til she becomes a teenager.” It won’t be so cute when that adorable baby girl is screaming about how you’re ruining her life.

      • JK August 29, 2012, 2:44 pm

        My 4 year old is already doing that. FML.

      • painted_lady August 29, 2012, 4:16 pm

        Oh, my brother screamed that a LOT. I never did – I was way too scared someone would be angry with me. I think that’s dependent on the kid’s personality rather than their gender.

        Also, as someone who spends a lot of time around teenagers, they all come with drama. It’s part of the package.

      • AKchic_ August 29, 2012, 8:18 pm

        *laugh* Even with four boys, I’m constantly asked by random people if I was trying for a girl and if I’m going to keep trying for one. Or worse, when am I going to get to it and HAVE a girl. *sigh*

    • becboo84 August 29, 2012, 2:40 pm

      If it makes you feel any better, I think I have actually read the parental satisfaction goes down with each additional child. And, if you truly feel like you and/or your son are missing out, look into foster care/adoption.

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  • Robin August 29, 2012, 2:31 pm

    I have four children. I think it’s perfectly fine to wait a while and see how you feel. Like others have said, just give it time. Maybe one day you and Drew will feel differently. Maybe not. Either way it’ll be ok. You have a beautiful son right now and are happy. That’s what matters the most.

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  • Savannah August 29, 2012, 2:42 pm

    I am always curious about families with kids close together- I feel like its is super common and yet I think its really hard. I never understood the incination to have kids back to back mostly because I think its seems much more daunting and harder but also because I dont understand when people say they want to get the diaper phase out of the way as fast as possible. My sister and I are twins and my brother is a full 5 years and 3 months younger than use. It allowed my parents to devote most of their day to day attention to him while we were going to school. Any parenting choice is yours alone of course, I just wonder about the rush, some of my friends who are parents call it a ‘need’ to have kids who are only a year or two apart. I feel like I would not even be thinking about needing an answer to this question for months/years. (I do understand the fetility fears, my mom was an older mom too, had us at 36, my brother at 42 )

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    • rachel August 29, 2012, 2:55 pm

      My sister and I are 14 months apart. I have no idea how my mom did it.

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      • java82 August 30, 2012, 8:38 am

        Same with me and my sis! Crazy, as my mom never really wanted to have children–actually, was told she couldn’t have children–and ended up pregnant with my older sis. Then she wanted to try for another child just so my sis could have a sibling. I’m amazed at my mom’s strength: I was born prematurely with a twin brother who was sick. (He passed away five months later.) And my mom and dad still had to care for another baby at home while two newborns were in the hospital. Like you said: I have no idea how my mom did it.

    • Wendy August 29, 2012, 3:02 pm

      Yeah, for me the “rush” is about age. I’ll be 36 next week and Drew is already 42. His father was 50 when he was born (which makes him 92 now!) and seeing the challenges drew has had in caring for a newborn and an elderly father makes me want to avoid putting similar pressures on our own offspring. I also don’t want to be 60 and still dealing with teenager at home.

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      • chicotia August 29, 2012, 10:48 pm

        I will be 36 in November, just got married 3 months ago, and just started a new job 3 weeks ago. People keep asking when we are going to get pregnant. What I want to say is none of your business but I find myself explaining why we aren’t trying. Um we just got married! Anyway, I know what you mean. I think I want a baby but I want more time with just me and my husband and I want to get settled in my job. My point is that I don’t think there is ever a good time and god-dammit we can’t stop time!
        Sorry…it has been a loooong day.

      • anonymous September 2, 2012, 7:44 pm

        If it makes you feel any better…I got pregnant both at 32 and at 35 within a month of trying…both times. Although age certainly can be an issue with fertility, everyone’s built differently and age isn’t a hard and fast guideline.

    • kerrycontrary August 29, 2012, 4:18 pm

      I actually want to have kids close together if I have children. My brother and sister are 2.5 years apart, and I’m 7.5 years younger than my brother, 10 years younger than my sister. It goes without saying that they are a lot closer to each other than to me. When I see families where the kids are 2-3 years apart they seem a lot closer and more like friends.

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      • Caris August 31, 2012, 9:08 pm

        Me and my brothers are about 3 years apart. I’m in the middle. We are NOT close.At all.

        I have a friend, and she is 6 years older than her brother and they are super close.

    • Meg August 29, 2012, 4:54 pm

      My dad and his older brother are 10 months apart! They have always been close and were even lucky enough to be in the same grade.

      On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are five of us kids, with either a 3 or 5 year gap between each of us. My mom was a SUPER young mom though. She was having my youngest brother (who is 17 1/2 years younger than myself) at the age when a lot of people are having their first child, giving her plenty of time to have a gap between having another baby. Oddly enough I loved it! Being able to remember my little brothers and sister being born and growing up was great, and helping take care of them just made me appreciate them that much more.

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  • MissDre August 29, 2012, 2:44 pm

    I wonder if my boyfriend will change his mind about wanting at least four but ideally ten kids?

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    • bethany August 29, 2012, 3:07 pm

      holy god. You’d better hope he does!!

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    • LolaBeans August 29, 2012, 3:11 pm

      lol, my boyfriend told me he wanted four one time when we were walking home, drunk. and i cried my eyes out. four kids?! can’t do it.

      even thinking about it sober…. 4 is too many.

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      • bethany August 29, 2012, 3:24 pm

        We had a party this weekend, and at one point there were 3 kids under 5 running around my house like animals. 3 is too many!! What do you do when the kids outnumber the adults?! I don’t think I could live that life. I really don’t.

      • MaterialsGirl August 29, 2012, 3:46 pm

        There are 5 of us kids in my family. Nuts when we were younger, but totally awesome now

      • va-in-ny August 29, 2012, 4:48 pm

        My boyfriend’s mother was talking one night at dinner (I wasn’t there) about his future and how she always envisioned him to have 6 children. He texted me that after and I’m pretty sure I blacked out for a while. 6??? That gives me palpitations.

    • MissDre August 29, 2012, 4:16 pm

      I’m pretty sure he’ll change his mind once he actually has kids. Sometimes I can’t help but laugh at how easy he makes things sound. “All you have to do is TALK to your kids and make sure they understand.” Yeah right… whiney 3 year olds don’t understand logic.

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      • Eagle Eye August 29, 2012, 5:02 pm

        Yes! At one point my boyfriend decided that it would have been totally great to have had a kid during college, because you like, leave them to go to class while their sleeping right? They’ll make it for an hour totally alone…right?


    • quixoticbeatnik August 29, 2012, 4:42 pm

      My boyfriend is the same way! I keep telling him – NO, three at most. I am not giving birth to that many babies.

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    • Skyblossom August 29, 2012, 5:52 pm

      Both times I was pregnant I kept thinking of my grandmother who had nine babies. I can’t imagine being pregnant for a total of 81 months. Being pregnant was well worth it to have the children but it was never one of my favorite things. I’m so glad I live in a day and age where we can limit family size. I am very, very thankful for birth control.

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    • AKchic_ August 29, 2012, 8:20 pm

      Have him come to my house sometime. I’ll load the kids up on pixie sticks and cola and we’ll leave him alone with the boys for a day. *snicker*

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      • MaterialsGirl August 29, 2012, 9:34 pm

        That souNds like what my older cousins used to do to us at family reunions: loads of sugar and pop…. It must have been hell on my folks

  • redessa August 29, 2012, 2:45 pm

    I am on only child myself. While I can’t speak for all onlie’s experiences, I hated it. I hated being the center of my parents’ attention. All their hopes, dreams, expectations and everything my mother wanted from her life but didn’t get… all of that was pinned on me. It was so much pressure.

    And it was lonely. Our neighborhood didn’t have a lot of other children. Plus both my parents worked and rather than daycare, I went to my grandmother’s after school. I loved my grandmother dearly but the fact remains, I spent most of my time alone or with adults. My mom’s friends often complimented her on how “grown up” I was but the flip side of that was that I had trouble figuring out how to relate to my peers. I cried and begged and pleaded for a sibling all the time. (my mother wanted more kids but never could get pregnant again)

    Eventually I came to terms with all of that but as an adult, I’ve found new downsides. Once when all my husband’s siblings were together, I sat listening to them exchange childhood stories. It was a lot of fun, but it also hit me that there is not one single person on this earth with whom I share that kind of history. No one who I can say “remember when…” with. It’s an isolating feeling.

    Also, as my parents age I realize the responsibility for any care they may need will fall squarely on my shoulders. There’s no brother or sister I could call for a break or to help with finances or decisions about their care or anything else that comes with elderly parents. Again, pressure.

    I myself have 5 kids (all close in age) and it was really, really stressful when they were all little but as they’ve gotten older (my baby is 8), it is so nice to see them together. They are friends and playmates and yes, they fight and all that, but they are also each other’s biggest supporters. You may very well not be ready for another child or even decide that one child is, in fact, perfect for your family. But as you consider it over the next months or years, please remember to think of it from Jackson’s point of view and whether you think he might be better off with a sibling.

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    • SpaceySteph August 29, 2012, 3:03 pm

      I think it was worse when you were growing up than it would be now. I’m probably a bit younger than you and I never played with kids in my neighborhood or with my sister but with friends I met at school. I still reminisce about the good old days, but not with my sister and brother, with my best friend since 1st grade. I spent sleepovers with her and other friends, hours on the phone with her, etc.

      Having another kid doesn’t mean they will be friends with each other. My sister and I are 2 years apart but were never playmates or confidantes, and even now aren’t that close. In the past 4 months I have seen her 0 times, called her once or twice, texted occasionally. In the same span of time I have seen my two best friends twice each and spent hours on the phone, texting, emailing, etc. All of us live in different states so its not a geographic thing. I think if you choose to have only 1 kid you should be mindful of getting them peer socialization, but I don’t think that having a second kid is the automatic solution for friendship that you make it seem like.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed August 29, 2012, 3:08 pm

        Also, having another sibling doesn’t mean that they will be there to help you with your parents. There have been plenty of stories of one sibling refusing to assist the other in taking care of their parents. Nothing is guaranteed.

      • redessa August 29, 2012, 3:16 pm

        That’s true, my dad has a sister but she did nothing for their parents except to show up after they died wanting to know where her inheritance was (there was none, my dad had been supporting them for years). So no, it’s not a perfect system, but, you know, if you have a bunch of kids you can up the odds of at least a couple of them stepping up. (said tongue in cheek)

      • redessa August 29, 2012, 3:13 pm

        Oh, I don’t think it’s an automatic solution either. I was just sharing my own experience. If I’d had a brother or sister, I fully realize we could very well have grown up hating each other. It happens.

        I can only judge from my own experience in what I wished for and what I’ve seen with my in-laws. My husband isn’t super close with his brother and sisters. The two who live out of state he may only talk to once or twice a year. But when they are together, there’s a bond there. There a history and relationship that I don’t have with anyone.

        My own best friend (of the last 16 + years) has a bunch of siblings and has made the statement to me that she’s closer to me than most of her sisters. It’s true, we spend more time together and talk more than she does with her sisters (none of them live locally) but I’m still very aware of not actually being family. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – it’s just the way things are. We can complain to each other about our parents or whatever, but it’s not the same as what I observe with brothers and sisters.

      • Kristen August 29, 2012, 3:25 pm

        I definitely think you’re on to something. As much as friends can feel like family and actually have closer relationships than siblings, there’s a built-in bond with siblings that is impossible to replicate. They’re the only other people on earth who know exactly what it was like to grow up like you did, with your parents as parents. They “get” where you come from in an innate way.

        That’s not to say that you can’t have an equally fulfilling relationship with a friend or cousin, it’s just slightly different.

      • kerrycontrary August 29, 2012, 4:20 pm

        I completely agree with you and it’s why I don’t want an only child. Whenever friends or even cousins say they are “like sisters” I silently disagree. Kristen is right that only your siblings have the experience of being raised by your parents and whatever personality quirks, emotional issues, and whatnot they may have instilled in you. Plus the example I always use is “I can call my sister a Bitch and she’ll forgive me, I would never call a friend a bitch unless I wanted to end the friendship”

      • MaterialsGirl August 29, 2012, 4:27 pm

        That’s so funny. We call out my sister for being a bitch. She has her own special nickname for when she’s getting in a frenzy.. “Sasquatch”.. the Sassy Sasquatch

    • Jessica August 29, 2012, 5:00 pm


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    • BriarRose August 29, 2012, 5:46 pm

      I’m not sure that my daughter would be better off with a sibling. Money is pretty tight as it is around here–I couldn’t imagine trying to raise another child. I have limited time and energy in the evening after work–I feel lucky that I can give it all to her, and not split it between other kids. I am the oldest of 4, and wasn’t able to get braces, go to a good college, have remotely fashionable clothes, etc, because there were 4 of us that needed things, food, etc. I didn’t get much time and attention from my parents either. I’m much closer to the girls I met in 7th grade than I ever will be with any of my siblings. I talk to one of my girlfriends almost daily and my sister about once every few months.

      I know all families and parents are different. My ex-husband is one of 5 boys and always got plenty of love and attention from his parents, not to mention he got braces 😉 I think parents should also acknowledge their own strengths and limitations. For me, it was accepting that I am not un-stressed out enough for more kids. I’m kinda uptight, I’m a worrier, and I’m a perfectionist. My relatively calm, neat daughter has been a perfect fit for me, but I can acknowledge that I probably wouldn’t do well as the mom of 3 kids. I’m a better Mommy to my daughter for acknowledging who I am, even though I wish I was the kind of parent who enjoyed the controlled chaos of several kids. But I’m not, so I stuck with one, and my daughter seems to be okay so far. I think family size is a very personal decision, and should be left up to each family.

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      • Wendy August 29, 2012, 7:38 pm

        Yes! It’s such a personal decision. There’s no right or wrong. I know several only children who all say they loves being only children and many, many people with siblings who have not-so-good relationships with them. There’s also absolutely no guarantee that a sibling will help with aging parents. What if he or she is special needs? Then the “healthy” sibling has not only aging parents to deal with, but a sibling who needs special attention the aging parents can no longer give. And for the record, I know quite a few people whose only siblings have special needs…

  • Christy August 29, 2012, 2:50 pm

    Good luck with your decision, Wendy!

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  • SiSisodaPop August 29, 2012, 2:51 pm

    I have 2 daughters, 16 months apart. Here’s my two cents: My toddler takes more of my time and attention than my newborn does. I’m worried about how I will be able to divide my attention once my baby is walking / talking, too.
    One small change I would have made, if I could go back in time… I would wait to have the 2nd one until the 1st one could get herself in and out of the car / up and down stairs, by herself, etc.
    Also, When I first learned that I was prego with #2, I had this strange fear that I wouldn’t love #2 as much as #1 – I mean, I loved #1 so much, how could I possible have enough love to give that much love to both of my children? I know this may seem silly, but I actually worried about it. But then, after #2 arrived, I realized that is was a silly fear. I had more love inside me to give my kids than I could have known… I’m more than sure Wendy does too, if she chooses to.

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    • JK August 29, 2012, 3:01 pm

      Having them so close together is brave!! SO true what you say about the eldest being more independent, mine does most things by herself, and also helps me a lot with her little sister.

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    • Marta August 29, 2012, 5:11 pm

      I am 31w pregnant with #2 – #1 will be 16 months old when baby 2 arrives. I have the same strange fear. I am happy to hear that it’s unfounded as I’m thinking it must be. 🙂 Would love any other tips/insights you have to offer!

      I’m fairly terrified about the day-to-day stuff of managing two under two but optimistic about the days when they’ll entertain one another. And to that point, I will say to Wendy – I think the early years with more than one will be quite challenging but with each passing year it will get easier (though perhaps not financially*). I watch friends with only children and see how much effort they have to devote to entertaining one single four year old… it looks exhausting. Instead I envision myself saying, “Go play with your sister,” and pouring myself a glass of wine when they’re older. I am the oldest of five myself and I think my mom had more time to herself than did mothers of fewer children. Of course, I was a tremendous help to her, if I do say so myself.

      *I don’t really understand all the financial figures that say you need 90 million dollars to raise a kid to 18 though. Obviously, you *could* spend all that money but it’s not like your children will die if you don’t. We live in LA (not cheap) and I buy organic foods and the like; we spend nowhere near the projected annual amounts. Education costs are real but I believe there’s a bubble economy there that will need to be sorted out before my kids start college.

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      • MaterialsGirl August 29, 2012, 5:30 pm

        haha sounds like you got stuck babysitting a lot too 🙂

  • Sue Jones August 29, 2012, 2:53 pm

    Your baby is not even 1 year old yet. You are exhausted. I hear that 3-4 years is the best interval between kids so you have some time before you decide. BTW I only had one child and while other friends were already becoming pregnant again ( 1 when her daugher was 12 months!) I could not even imagine it! I think that changes once the first one is at least out of diapers and walking and talking… I just ran out of time because I had mine at age 41. But the advantages of having one is that we can devote more resources to him – better college, more money for enrichment activities, private school if necessary (though the public schools here are excellent so we are not doing that at this time). With 2 unless you are wealthy, things get twice as expensive. Imagine 2 kids in preschool at the same time!

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    • Wendy August 29, 2012, 3:04 pm

      I know, I know. Money is definitely a factor on the decision-making.

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  • bethany August 29, 2012, 2:55 pm

    There’s never going to be a right or wrong answer to this question… I’m struggling with something similar- I always pictured myself being a parent, but in reality, I’m not sure it’s for me. I don’t know if I want to sacrifice things that make me happy now, for something that I’m not sure will make me happy.

    I think it’s awesome that you’re talking about these things with Drew and leaving them open ended. There’s no need to decide right now… Maybe the decision will be made for you at some point down the road?

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    • Marcie August 30, 2012, 9:54 am

      I’m right with you Bethany! I’m having to deal with that right now myself.

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  • Lindsay August 29, 2012, 3:00 pm

    It’s a lot to consider. One thing that stood out to me was that you like “how your family is now.” I totally get that. That’s sort of how I feel about not having kids. It’s not that I wouldn’t love my children if I had them, but I like my life without them. I know you were referring to the number of people in your family, but how your family is now isn’t going to be how your family is a year from now or five years from now, mostly based on Jackson growing up. On the other hand, you have a lot of passions and personal interests that other people may not have. Not that everyone else is boring and child-centric, but you know for a fact that there are quite a few things outside of having children that you enjoy filling your life with, so other people’s experiences with deciding to have more children may not reflect your own needs.

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    • Lindsay August 29, 2012, 3:02 pm

      Also, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they regretted having too many or too few children. I think it’s a just a choice, and either way will probably make you happy.

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      • redessa August 29, 2012, 3:21 pm

        I wish I had more kids. I had a hysterectomy a couple of months ago so it’s definately not happening. But I actually know a lot of women who wish they’d had 1 or 2 more. And I do even play with the idea of adoption sometimes, but my husband is not on board with it so unless and until he is, that won’t be happening either.

  • Fabelle August 29, 2012, 3:31 pm

    Just to share: my mom had me at 35, so I think around your age, Wendy. My brother is thirteen years older than me– so there was a large gap. I don’t know why my parents chose to have another baby so late in the game. I always figured I was a “surprise” baby, but recently my mother told me that she just didn’t feel ready until her first was already through most of his childhood. Of course, that’s a different situation, since she was so young when she got married & had my brother. But, I think you have time 🙂 A year or two could change your feelings, but your chances of conceiving should be similiar to what they are now? (Obviously, I am not a scientist)

    Anyway, my experience? I’ve always felt like an only child. I do wish I’d had a sibling closer to my age & was always a little jealous of those that did– even if their relationships with their brother or sister weren’t great. My brother thinks he got a sweet deal though, I’m pretty sure– my parents were distracted with a child just as he was in his teen years (not to say he was neglected! My parents just weren’t as on-top-of-things as they would’ve been without a baby to worry about. Which, of course, is great news to a teenager, ha)

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    • kerrycontrary August 29, 2012, 4:23 pm

      I was in a similar situation. My parents had my brother and sister in their 20s, me in their mid thirties. I’m 98 percent sure I wasn’t planned. I also wish I had a sibling closer in age because it was like being an only child a lot of the time.

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    • theattack August 29, 2012, 5:39 pm

      Same here. My mom had my brother when she was a teenager, and married and divorced his father. By the time she and my dad got together and had me, he was already 10 or 11. I had all the downfalls of having siblings (no money for toys or new clothes, etc), but didn’t get the playmates that usually come with it. I’m a big advocate of having kids close enough together so that they can enjoy each other (ie: four years or less). I spent a lot of my childhood picking grass in the front yard by myself.

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    • GatorGirl August 30, 2012, 1:01 pm

      I sort of had a different experience with a large age gap. I’m 8 and 10 years older than my siblings and I love it. I got to be an only child for the bulk of my childhood and then got to play with some awesome kids in my teen’s and now in my 20’s I have two wonderful teenagers I’m helping shape into caring, honest, respectable people. I’ve always been like a secondary mom to them; helping with homework, baths, playing with them. But I wouldn’t change it. I really enjoy the independence I have being so much older but I still get to have a great sibling relationship as well.

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  • SpaceySteph August 29, 2012, 2:37 pm

    I don’t know if we can judge Birkenstock and sweatshort mom as being lost in the needs of her children. Hell, I am childless, and I still leave the house half the time in baggy gym shorts and these super ugly orthotic sandals (because I have messed up arches… before the foot pain it was flip flops which were much less supportive but marginally less ugly). Also I never wear a real bra on the weekend, it’s sports bra all the way! Maybe that’s just who she is, kids or no.

    The poop in a bag mom, on the other hand, has clearly gone CRAZY.

    As for not wanting to regret it… there’s no way to be sure. But you can be pretty sure, like you said if you feel nothing but relief. But late 30s means your eggs are eligible for AARP membership, but not quite using a walker yet. You have another couple years before you have to close up the baby shop. And if you close up the baby shop and still have regrets? You can adopt or foster. My mom has a friend who had one biological child and then raised a bunch of foster children, well into her 60s. So there is plenty of time still!

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  • j2 August 29, 2012, 3:39 pm

    Your call, of course.

    My life experience supports the position I have seen elsewhere that siblings enrich each other’s lives a vast amount.

    Also, my mathy friend oft warned of the risks inherent in having only one chick in one’s basket.

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  • Liz August 29, 2012, 3:49 pm

    I’m trying but not trying now. I have age on my side, fortunately being in my late 20s. But I’ve pretty much decided I want just one. My husband and in-laws all say I will change my mind but I’ve thought this for years. However, my mom just knows its only one for me. I have a variety of reasons. Do children really need siblings? No…I have one sister who is 8 years older than me and one who is less than 2. I really don’t like them much. Will I have enough time/money etc for my children? Who knows? All my friends who have 2 or more never seems to ENJOY their kids or their spouses. Its just going through the motions- just my opinion. Another reason…I admit I’m selfish. I like my time to myself with peace and quiet and my horses. I also have health problems so I don’t want to have multiple children. Socialized properly and all that. Blah blah. Everyone and every family has issues. Gotta do whats best for you and your family.

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  • Skyblossom August 29, 2012, 3:52 pm

    My personal opinion is that as long as you’re strongly ambivalent you’re not ready for another baby.

    We weren’t ready for a second baby until our son turned four. For us, a second baby would have been too much if we had one any sooner. I don’t think there is anything wrong in changing your mind on a second baby or waiting to have a second baby because now that you’re experienced parents you know how much work and sacrifice it will be and only you as a couple can decide on the best balance for your life.

    I think that as long as you make the decision you both feel is best then when you look back in ten years, even if you wished you had decided differently, you will know that you made the best decision you could at the time and that is really all you can ask of yourself.

    I’m glad that you’re sharing this decision because it highlights the fact that you can discuss everything before marriage and still need to discuss or renegotiate later in the marriage because situations change and opinions change.

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  • Foots August 29, 2012, 3:59 pm

    When I finally decided that I wanted another one, I found out that I couldn’t have one 🙁

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    • redessa August 29, 2012, 4:40 pm

      I’m so sorry for you. That was my mom. I wasn’t exactly planned – she’d just started nursing school and considered aborting me. But then once she decided she was ready for more kids she never could get pregnant again. It was years later before she learned what the problem was and that she shouldn’t have been able to have me.

      The irony is, for as much pressure as she put on me to be the perfect kid, she really didn’t want to be bothered spending time with me. And yet she spent most of my childhood completely and utterly depressed over not being able to get pregnant again. I understand somewhat more now (about her being clinically depressed), but as I child, I just felt like I wasn’t enough.

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  • llclarityll August 29, 2012, 4:04 pm

    I know you’re super concerned about age, both yours and Drew’s, and it’s completely logical. But really, what’s another year or two to decide? Is being a 37-year-old mom of a newborn really going to be that much different than being a 38-year-old mom of a newborn?

    Pump the breaks, take a deep breath, and enjoy your life as it is right now in this very moment!

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    • TheOtherOtherMe August 29, 2012, 4:18 pm

      I agree that waiting another year or two — or even four — sounds wise for Wendy and Drew. They have time to table the issue for a while and then re-evaluate when things aren’t so hectic.

      FYI – I know that most women have this insane fear that after 40 your eggs just dry up and die, but I know DOZENS of women who got pregnant at 40, 42, even 44, without assistance. That’s not to say it will happen for everyone (sorry about your situation Foots) but I think the warnings that over-40 women are basically infertile are WAY overblown.

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  • MaterialsGirl August 29, 2012, 4:10 pm

    My parents started “later” for “back in the day.” She had her first (me ) at 29.5 and her last at 38.5. My dad was two years older. The last one JUST started college yesterday. *tear* I remember when he came home from the hospital.
    Despite all of us trying to kill each other at one point or another, the 5 of us kids all get along really well now and enjoy each others company. Seriously. My brother (#2) is one of my favorite roommates ever. Perhaps we have a different experience than most, but we grew up in the city and there weren’t a lot of kids around, so we were each others playmates. #2 and I were exactly 2 years apart and always shot hoops, played barbies (and GI Joes) etc. My sister and I are 5 years apart and spent most of our years sharing a room. Of course she annoyed me a lot when I was a pre-teen, but I’m so happy for her now. I was sad going away to college because I didn’t get to see numbers 4 and 5 grow up (they were 9 and 11 when i left). Nowadays, Holidays are awesome. I’ve never laughed harder than with my family.

    When people ask me how many kids I will have, it’s tough to say. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade my brothers and sister for anything, but I have to think my mom must have been a LITTLE crazy to have 5 kids running around. Do I want 5 kids? Probably not, but I will definitely use some her ‘managing children” strategies for keeping sanity no matter the # I have.

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    • MaterialsGirl August 29, 2012, 4:25 pm

      Rule #1: get the first kid potty trained before the next arrives

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  • Amybelle August 29, 2012, 4:28 pm

    Whatever you decide, you could end up regretting it later, that is true for anything in life. I planned on 2, and got 3 (FYI your chances of twins go up in your 30s) Is that what I would have chosen beforehand, no. Are there downsides, yes. (especially since I am now divorced and basically on my own with them) But I wouldn’t say that I regret having more than one. You and Drew should take your time and make the best decision for your family, but I think whichever way you go it will work out and you will be ok with it. Try not to worry too much about the age/fertility thing, the fact that you got pregnant easily with Jackson increases your odds of being able to get pregnancy.

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    • MaterialsGirl August 29, 2012, 4:36 pm

      yeah, i think doctors are just concerned about you STARTING to have bebes in your mid/late thirties.. not necessarily ‘finishing’

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  • AKchic August 29, 2012, 4:35 pm

    I always tell my friends that during the first year of “new baby”, usually people cannot imagine adding to their family. Once that one year mark hits, or potty training starts, that’s when the urge to have another little itty bitty bundle of sweet smells and tiny diapers and itty bitty cute widdle socks comes about again.

    There is a reason for this – so the new mother doesn’t get overwhelmed. It’s normal and it’s FINE to feel this way. If that feeling doesn’t go away, there is no shame in it. There is nothing wrong with having only one child. You balance out the overabundance I have. If, in another 6 months, you decide to change your mind, again, there is nothing wrong with that either. Everyone has their own timeline and their own lives to live. Nobody can live it for you, nor can you live your life for someone else/because of someone else or do things because you are expected to or think you’re expected to.

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    • Ravage Maladie August 30, 2012, 7:44 am

      Haha, that’s actually my reasoning for when I feel guilty about NOT having kids. ‘Some good parent with a lot of kids will balance out my lack of them.’

      Glad to know you’re out there;)

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  • Meredith August 29, 2012, 6:52 pm

    I had a bad labor & delivery experience with my daughter and swore I was only having one. Then my daughter hit terrible twos at 18 months and that coupled with my husband’s crazy travel schedule had me convinced we were stopping at one. Once my daughter got potty trained and started talking in full sentences, I found myself staring at newborn onesies at Target and crying, calling my husband telling him I wanted another baby lol. So now I’m 7 months pregnant with our son! Some days we catch ourselves saying “What the hell were we thinking?” but most days we’re sooooo happy and excited. I think it’s hard to be 100% ready/sure you want another baby when the first still requires so much time, attention and effort but once they start becoming a big boy or girl the baby fever can come creeping back! Either way, whatever decision you make is the right one for you and your family. Good luck 🙂

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  • Ally August 29, 2012, 6:37 pm

    My brother is just shy of 6 years younger than me and it works really well for us. Although after this thread I’m now wondering if it was planned that way/who was an accident haha. I was an only for a lot of my childhood, but was so excited to meet my little brother and “helped” my mum with the baby. When we were kids we alternated between having so much fun (he didn’t mind me dressing him up as a girl, especially when it made my dad so mad hehe) and driving each other crazy. Now he’s a teenager we actually get on really well, I love that he’s turning into such a cool person. Also think it’s really cool that he’s the one person on the whole planet who is the most genetically similar to me.

    My boyfriend has a son who is about to turn 9 (arg feel so old!) and he has a half brother who is soon to be 6 and they too have great fun or fight depending on the day! Their mum has now married a great guy, we all get on really well luckily and it’s going to be so interesting to see the family grow. I know she’d like at least 2 more which would take the total up to 4! We’re not ready for a baby yet (would like to be more financially stable first, hopefully own a home) and I do worry a little that the boys will be older when that eventually happens, but on the other hand, easily accessible baby sitting services, less chance of resentment and many other pros also come to mind!

    So I think my point is, no matter how you go about creating your family, as long as it works for you and you are all happy then all is well.

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  • talia August 29, 2012, 8:31 pm

    I don’t know if this is possible for you (ie if you or Drew have siblings with kids who live not too far away), but I am an only child who grew up very very close to all of my cousins. Not just first cousins but second cousins too. We saw them many times a year, even though they were pretty spread out along the East Coast and I consider them my substitute siblings. I guess I don;t really know what it is like to have a sibling, so it’s probably really different, but they can tell me stories about when I was a little kid, they teased me when I was little, and we have all really supported each other through big life ups and downs. One even offered to drive to my town and “have a talk with” a boy who had just broken up with me–he told me that he and another cousin had agreed that they should do that for me since I didn’t have any brothers to do it. 🙂

    One cousin in particular (who happens to be a first cousin, although we don’t really distinguish much in my family), I often refer to as my big brother. He is also an only child and we are really close. He gave me the “drinking responsibly” talk when I was a teenager, took off work to help me move into college, came to all my college parent’s weekends with my folks, listened to me cry over breakups, and now that he has a baby, his kids will grow up calling me “Aunt.” We talk more often than many siblings I know and I know that as my parents age, I will have his help and support, as he will have mine with his parents. People with siblings sometimes say we are closer than brother and sister.

    While I sometimes do wish I knew what it was like to have “real” siblings, I am grateful that when my parents decided to have just one kid, that they also decided to make a deliberate effort to help me be close with my cousins and see them often. One thing to consider if you decide to stop with just Jackson. (And if there aren’t cousins in the area, I would imagine that close friends who have kids and with whom you will keep in touch for life could serve a similar role.)

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    • Imsostartled August 30, 2012, 12:14 pm

      That’s really interesting! I’ve always had to ask people what having cousins(I have 0 first cousins – I’ve only met 1 other person like me!) is like, and there generally is a very mixed response. Sometimes the response is “They’re like a sibling”, or “Kind of like a sibling, but we don’t see them much” to “Eh, I don’t really know them they’re like strangers who are related to me”, so it’s so interesting to hear a story like this. For reference, I had 2 brother’s 8 and 13 years older then myself. I get along great with the one 8 years older, but I don’t really “know” my eldest sibling that much.

      Oh and Wendy, My mom was 39 (as was my dad) when she had me! So you don’t need to make a decision right away, yes I know that there are risks the older you get, but is it better to rush to have a child you may not be ready for (or actually “want”) or to just wait to see if it’ll fit into your life. Oh, I was also a product of AI (artificial insemination) – so I absolutely feel there is no shame in taking that route if you at some point you want to expand your family but are finding it difficult. That’s more of a general statement about fertility treatments, I feel that too many people “shame” women into thinking that they shouldn’t possibly consider having another baby unless they are able to do it “naturally”. Do what’s right for you!

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  • Heather August 29, 2012, 8:55 pm

    My mom has told me on more than one occasion that she always wanted at least two children… until I was born. She describes experiencing many of the same feelings you are describing. However, she gave it a lot of thought and a lot of time. My sisters are 4 and 12 years younger than me (she had the youngest when she was 40). My youngest sister and I are incredibly close and I could not be more grateful for my family. Granted, that sort of spacing is not for everyone but my point is that you’re doing the right thing. As long as you put time and thought into it, no choice is the wrong choice.

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  • courtney August 29, 2012, 10:28 pm

    One of my good friends is an only child and when I talk about my siblings (older brother whos 2 yrs older and then a twin sister) she always tells me how lucky I am. I didn’t think about it during childhood but now, I wouldn’t have changed it for anything:] every summer, the 3 of us hanging out while the parents were at work, my brother when he got his drivers license taking us places so we didn’t go crazy cooped up in the house. It would have been preeetttty lonely without them for sure. As we get older, knowing I’ll have them there to help care for our parents is such a relief. But people saying siblings don’t always help-so true. My moms brother died a long time ago and her older sister was basically worthless when it came to caring for my gma in the last few years of her life-financially and emotionally. My mom did everything for her- constant visits, grocery shopping, appts, everything and I know she would have liked the help from her sister. My dad also, I don’t know what’s gonna happen when his mom gets too elderly to take care of herself. He is one of 6 but he has a brother and sister he doesn’t even speak too, its sad. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have my brother and sister but my cousin is someone who only had one and enjoys her life with just her son so there are people who are content with one:] its a persons own choice! I would love to have 3 or 4 but we will see!

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  • Sasa August 30, 2012, 3:48 am

    I don’t have children (yet). What I find difficult about making a decision about having a baby is the fact that the impact of it is very, very long term. Some people might feel pretty overwhelmed during the baby/toddler phase (especially with more than one child close together), but then still be glad they have several children when they are a little older. I’m a little afraid of the baby years but I think (without any practical experience to back it up, of course) in the long term it would be worth it for me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that for me it makes sense to, as a first step, mentally separate the questions “How will having a baby impact me in the next few years?” versus “How will this impact me in the long term?”. Of course it might still be the case that the short-term cost outweighs any longterm benefits. And, ultimately, I agree with those who said it just has to feel right.

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  • Ravage Maladie August 30, 2012, 7:34 am

    I think you should let yourself honestly feel what you want and then trust that. You clearly have such a good head on your shoulders and such a good heart in your chest:). You can figure it out.

    Like you wrote about love and not knowing if Drew is ‘the one’ – you’ll never know what the absolute ‘right’ decision is. You’ll never know if, in a few years time when it’s too late to get pregnant again, you won’t feel regret about not getting pregnant now. Trouble is, that is not a reason to have a second child; because you’re still physically able to. Like someone else wrote, the only reason to have a second child now is because you WANT it now.
    I think in matters like this, you can only go with your honest feelings and thoughts and decisions, make a POSITIVE choice (based on desire and not fear) and trust it has merit for the future. That’s really the best you can do till the invention of time machines:).

    As a writer I also feel I should point out to you – I’m sorry!:) – how much you seem to want to write and how big a gift you have for it. All my writer friends (not only the female ones) tell me how hard it is to really keep writing with full-blown family life going on. There is too much guilt for not contributing (both in time and money) more to the household, for them to feel truly at liberty to be creative. I’m absolutely not saying that it can’t be done, just that I see it’s a lot harder. But then that’s easy for me to say; I don’t have ANY kids (for pretty much this reason (and o yeah, because I don’t want them:))).

    Anyway, that’s all I can contribute – not a yes, not a no. Just that I know you’ll make a good decision. And I think everybody here will back me up on that one. Good luck!

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  • tbrucemom August 30, 2012, 10:02 am

    I have a son and a daughter that are 9 years apart (both from the same dad). I only say that because I’ve been asked before. I had the first one at 24 and the second on my 34th birthday (my daughter and I have the same birthday). Having the second was like having a first all over again because of the age difference. I told my ex-husband that I had to have another child so I could let the first one grow up! Of course, I had time on my side, which among other things, seems to be Wendy’s primary reservation about having another one. I don’t know if Jackson has any cousins he is close to either in age or vicinity but sometimes that helps an only child when they start asking about having a brother or sister, which most of them do. It also helps when a child eventually loses their parents to have someone around from their childhood who remembers them. It is difficult from what I’ve heard from my friends who had two (or three) close together. I wouldn’t worry as much about Drew and Wendy’s ages in relation to their children’s ages. You’re as young as you feel! I’m thinking though that adoption might really be the answer when Jackson’s older.

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  • Holly August 30, 2012, 10:43 am

    I can really relate to how you are feeling. I have three kids, but after having my first one I said that I couldn’t imagine having another baby because I loved my Zoey so much and it just wouldn’t be fair to the new baby. I felt that way for a very long time, but as she got older I realized that I could love Zoey and any new babies just as much-so then I had had my other two. And I do love them all and there is plenty of room in my family for everyone. But I do sometimes think it would be easier to only have one child. And when you have 3 it’s really hard to spend one on one time with each of them. But they also have built in friends, and the oldest is super protective of her little sister and brother. You have a good head on your shoulder Wendy, I’m sure what ever you decide will be the right answer for your family.

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  • emiree August 30, 2012, 12:39 pm

    I am an only child as well. I understand where one of the previous commenters is coming from being an only child did it make it harder to relate to my peers when you are constantly surrounded by adults.

    My husband and I have been together for ten years and married for three. When I was younger, I wanted to have at least two children. As a grown woman and wife, I honestly wouldn’t be able to give you a definitive decision about children and neither would my husband. We go back and forth and we like it just being us and I love coming home to him and our home. Most of our family understands this, but that doesn’t stop the occasional ” when are you going to give me grandchildren ” comment 🙂

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  • LM August 30, 2012, 12:40 pm

    Wendy, I feel for you. My oldest is 7 in a month and I have a 9 month old. Having more children is such a personal decision that you and Drew definitely need to see eye to eye on. When I had my son, I have to admit that I was relieved to not have another girl. I love my daughter very much, but I wanted one of each. Now I do and I am content to not have any more.

    When I found out I was pregnant again, I was absolutely terrified because it had been my daughter and me for 5 years (at that point anyway) and I didn’t know if I could love another baby as much as my daughter. It is different though, I love them equally, but in different ways as their personalities are so different, even now.

    So, my unsolicited advice/opinion to you (or anyone else that is apprehensive about adding another one…) is this:

    1. If you do choose to have another child, a large age gap is a more difficult hurdle to overcome. unless, it is, say 18 years, then it doesn’t matter much.

    2. There will always be more love than you even know what to do with, so that shouldn’t be a thought in your mind. If you love Jackson a million times over, you will love baby #2 a million times over too.

    3. I completely empathize with having a husband in their 40s. Mine is 41, almost 42, but he is absolutely wonderful with our son. Drew is amazing with Jackson, and regardless if it is tiring, he would most likely be amazing with baby #2.

    4. It all balances out, I swear!

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    • LM August 30, 2012, 12:41 pm

      Oh, and I forgot, if you do decide to not have another one, then that’s okay too! All the more love for Jackson!

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  • laxhaxtax August 30, 2012, 1:40 pm

    Here are some issues to look at. Your first baby may be easy and your second might be anything but. I had two easy ones and the third never slept, had hours of colic and stayed into things day and night. Never slept more that 5 hours even as an infant. I was exhausted. My husband got fixed immediately because there was no way he was ever getting sex from me again without it. What is so funny is that I am so close to all three but the third was my sweetheart because I carried him all the time to try to calm him down. He is a great husband and father and I think it is because he was in my arms for years. My children are all very good friends but I know siblings who have not talked to each other in years. You need to look at where you want to be in 2, 5, 10 years. If one child allows that the no shame in having just him. If you love cuddling and being a mommy to a small baby go for it. I do know that most ob/gyns say the longer you wait the harder to conceive but the finale decision is always the mother’s as far as I am concerned since she does the majority of parenting. Good luck and stay true to yourself

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  • mrs.d August 30, 2012, 1:58 pm

    Every family is different.. And you might change your mind later on, but I think you’ve got the right attitude.. leave it as is for now, and worry about it in a year or so and see how you both feel then. There’s nothing wrong with having an only child.. Just like there’s nothing wrong with having 10 kids (if you can love and care for them properly). It’s just a matter of what’s right for you guys.

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  • Ms. W August 30, 2012, 4:24 pm

    I’ve been a longtime reader of Dear Wendy and this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to comment. This post could not have been more timely for me because I just discovered that I’m pregnant. Even before that though I was really thinking that maybe I only wanted one kid. The idea was surprising to me after a lifetime of wanting 2 kids. I loved this article because it showed me that it’s okay to change your mind about something so important and it’s okay to change it and want to focus on things like my marriage and traveling. Thank you do much for article that articulated the disjointed thoughts in my own mind.

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  • bittergaymark August 30, 2012, 7:24 pm

    If you are even remotely questioning it — I say, Don’t.

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  • anonymous September 2, 2012, 7:51 pm

    You might want to read Byran Caplan’s Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. I found some of his arguments useful and some I just disagreed with. But it was a thought provoking read.

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  • JV September 28, 2012, 9:31 pm

    I think you just know it deep inside if you want more or not. I thought I’d be happy with “One and done”. It took 4 years to have our miracle baby boy. He’s the best thing to ever happen to me. My husband said soon after “We should try right away for #2 (he’s 15 years older than I am) and even try IVF again if we need to.” I was happy to try, but not willing to go through IVF again. I didn’t need to worry about it because I became pregnant with our second miracle right away. Our two boys are 11 months apart. I’m in heaven, but I was thrilled to begin with. We are now talking about #3. I’m a little nervous about it, but it doesn’t sound as if I’m as nervous as Wendy is about having a second. So that’s why I say we just know deep inside. If you feel like you would regret it later, or have a void in your life, then go for it. If not, then enjoy what you have. I would be happy with just my 2, but they are such joys to me that I would love a dozen if I was younger (and richer). I did worry that #2 wouldn’t get enough attention, but it’s working out…no worries!

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