The question is on the table. We’ve just reached the one year mark of no-nursing, and largely sleeping through the night. (I’ve been waking at 3-5am lately, but for no clear reason.) And so we’ve been talking about the possibility of a second child.
At Ben’s first birthday, I was asked if having a baby was the best thing I had ever done. I said no, it was the hardest thing I had ever done. I had just peaked in a case of slow-burn post-partum depression, exacerbated by months-long insomnia and increased isolation.
Now, with the help of more sleep, I’d still say it is the hardest thing I have ever done, but also the most important. The most transformative. That I have never felt so much at stake in my life as when I think of what the future can hold for him. And, in case this is the first post you’ve read of mine, that I utterly adore him.
The painful mysteries of infancy that laid me to waste are more easily understood from where I sit now; and that part of what needs to be understood is that you can’t possibly get it in the moment. You can only be in the moment with the little whelp, reassuring him or her that you are there, and that you know he is unhappy/angry/frustrated.
But the notion of the satisfying motherhood is still more theory – I’d argue myth – than anything else for me at this time. I know it’s the most important thing I do, but it isn’t close to the full picture of who I am. I live in a place where people do not know “who I am” – a self-important phrase no doubt, but one that I mean with humility. That self-knowledge, as well as the ambivalence of himself in the face of our early experiences, all but puts the kabosh on it – though in his annoying Danish optimism, he insists on saying “Let’s see.”
Reading up on “only child” experiences hasn’t helped much – it’s as much of a crapshoot as imagining a child could choose the personality traits of parents – though it has served as a reminder of the rich, messy variety of experiences.
So, what do you think? Knowledge of me is not necessary in order to provide thoughtful advice, but it may help.