Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How do you know when to stop?

I've been feeling anxious lately about something that I know, in a logical way, is a pretty stupid thing over which to get my undies in a knot. I had a baby not 11 weeks ago, I'm enjoying my time as a new mum immensely, and I'm also a bit tired and a bit overwhelmed. A lot of responsibility has just landed smack bang! in front of me and I'm only just back into my old shorts (I missed them so much over summer).

So it's probably completely normal to feel as though I don't want to further test my fertility. I'm sure new mothers everywhere wonder whether it would be possible to produce even more love and affection than the (already) enormous amount they feel for their existing child. Not to mention enough energy to run around after a little kid whilst simultaneously feeding/burping/changing/making comical faces at a newborn. I imagine that the natural conclusion to all this is that one child is plenty, at least for the time being.

But the thought of stopping right here, now, and continuing life with just the three of us seems more and more appealing. When I think about this as an option, I feel as though a weight is lifted. Coming from a big family, I would no doubt feel guilty about not providing Babushka with a sibling (or a few). It wouldn't be because I didn't enjoy making her - I enjoyed pregnancy (although not in the deeply primal, earth-mother way I thought I would. I just had moments where I thought it was...quite nice). By all accounts I had it very easy . And the birth..well, I was very much more than lukewarm about that, it was beyond incredible and I still get teary thinking about it. And there's nothing to say that it wouldn't be easier a second time.

When I hear talk of women 'wanting it all' (the 'all' referring to both motherhood and anything else a woman may want: career success, financial gain, achievement of personal goals, happy relationships..), I think, "Damn right! In this day and age we should be able to do anything we want!". But the reality, at least for me, is that it would be easier said than done. I think it would end up being a bit of a juggling act, and I'm terrible at juggling. I'd like to be able to be a devoted mother to my little girl while also remembering that I can have a life, too...and it seems as though this would get progressively harder with each subsequent child.

Imagine how much easier it will be to travel and live in other countries with only one child to organise. Heck, even going to the beach or on a bushwalk would be much easier with just one. Maybe this makes me selfish; in the words of a selfish person, I don't particularly care (or rather, I do care - that's why I'm worrying about it - but I'm trying not to care too much).


bugmum said...

Iris, that could have been me two years ago...we thought long and hard about having a second child because of many of the reasons you've mentioned. But we did take the plunge and I am so happy we did...I adore our second little girl every bit as much as our first and can't imagine life without her.

Having said that, everyone needs to make a decision based on what's right for them and how they feel...I'm sure you'll make the right choice for you when the time comes...

Iris said...

Thanks for your feedback, Amanda! It's nice to hear the positives. I guess we'll just wait and see if we feel that there's another little person out there, waiting to be born :-)