One and Done

Over the weekend the subject of having a second child came up again. We had one of the most open discussions we’d had on the subject (on any subject, really) and finally decided that A will be an only child. It’s weird because as much as I had already made the decision, actually having and finalizing the discussion made me sad. It was a long conversation that started in the bedroom and continued through A waking from her nap. When we were all settled in the living room I actually had to make my husband give me a hug. (Hello? Major life decision here and you’re futzing with your phone!?) That’s when I started crying. Not because it was the wrong decision, just that it was so huge. And, yes, I am a little sad.

I’m 41. I guess I always thought I wanted two kids, but why? I think a lot of my reasons were flawed. Because we are older parents I thought it was important that A have a sibling. Someone to lean on after we are gone. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got many many MANY years left, but I was 39 and J almost 45 when she was born; she will be relatively young when we pass on. I took a good hard look at mine and J’s relationships with our siblings. We get along, but I wouldn’t list either of mine as best friends. One of J’s sisters lives less than a mile away and until A was born we rarely saw each other. His other sister has yet to acknowledge Avery’s existence. She is 21 months old. (!!!) So, yeah, siblings are not even a little bit of a guarantee of lifelong friendship. Then there’s the question – does having a sibling help when dealing with aging parents? Who knows. My mom isn’t in need of help yet, but I have no idea of how me and my siblings will band together (or not) when the time comes. We can’t even throw the woman a proper birthday party. Sibling as instant shoulder to lean on? Not a guarantee.

Avery is the result of IVF. That’s a whole other post, but the short version is we got REALLY lucky. We tried for a year with no luck. After minor surgery to remove some Endometriomas we started IVF right away. We got pregnant on our first try. I know so many families are not so lucky. And I know that if we had to do it again, we probably wouldn’t be either. I honestly don’t know if I have it in me. The shots, the office visits, the potential for loss.  I’m not sure I can do it and I decided a while back that I wasn’t going to. If we got pregnant the old fashioned way, great. If not, no interventions, no doctors (no second baby).

Aside from being automatically stamped with “advanced maternal age,” there are all of the potential health risks that go along with advanced parental age. At 42 would I really be capable of raising a special needs child? My friend’s younger son was 10 weeks premature and has cerebral palsy. They are wonderful parents (almost 10 years younger than me) and he is getting 110% of what he needs, but will he ever be independent? Is it fair to bring a person who can’t live independently into the world and then leave them when they’re still young? Yes, I’m making assumptions and odds are if we had a second child everything would be perfectly fine. But it would be ignorant to not take these things into consideration. Accidents happen, but after Endometriosis and IVF i’m not really afraid of accidents. If it happens it was meant to be.

Now I just have to stop looking at pregnant women wistfully and get on with raising the amazing little girl we do have. She has a playdate with her cousin today and I’m really looking forward to pictures and hearing all about it. Going forward we and my sister-in-law & brother-in-law (hubz sis and her husband) are going to make sure that they spend more time together. They’re pretty much each other’s only local family and it’s important that they have each other in the future. Because who knows what the future holds?

Shit! Now I’m crying again.