Monday, January 14, 2008

When are you having another one

I was warned... by my mother and my girlfriends: as soon as you have your first baby, everyone, and I mean everyone will ask you, when are you having your second one? A very inappropriate question in so many levels, if you ask me. Especially when no one knows, but the woman who gave birth to the token first child, how was her post labor recovery. Mine was a living hell. The worst six weeks of my life. My body gave out on me like it never had.

My baby was in perfect health, and thank God for that because, if there is one thing you learn the moment you know you are pregnant is that YOU rather go through all the pain and suffering known to womankind, than to see baby suffer at all. Nevertheless, I was a total mess, physically at first, and then an emotional wreck for about four weeks.

So when at week three of my post partum nightmare, my loving husband kept alluding to the second child and went as far as asking me if we should save some of our baby clothes for the next one, I almost killed him right there on the corner of Fairbanks and Ohio. You'd think the fact that he took me out for a walk so I would get my mind off my overwhelming sense of inadequacy, would have kept him from asking. After all, he was the one helping me with my pain, he was feeding our daughter because I couldn't sit for 2 weeks and calmed my constant crying. Why in the world would he ask that?

I literally answered, "of course, since this first delivery went so well, why not have another one". His only defense was that having 2 children was our original plan and that since he's older than me, he had to think about having another one quickly. "Well" I answered, "since your old, you'll die and then leave ME with the 2 kids, great idea". And a quick note for husbands, anything discussed before having a baby is put on hold while your poor wife gets her hormones and body under control, so, give it about a year.

From then on, everyone from my mother in law to strangers at the supermarket asked the question. When I was finally feeling physically better and crying less and less, my answer was very much true to my usual self, "if I have another one, I'll go adopt him in another country, possibly South America. He will be 5 years old and eat on his own and will be potty trained".

My issue with this question is that not all first time mom's discover that motherhood is their calling when the doctor hands that baby over. Not all women adjust to their new life immediately. Babies don't come with instructions and for women like me who like it all under control, life as they know it takes a nose dive. Plus, physically, your body is a wreck. It nurtured another human being for 9 months, it delivered a full term baby through a very small cavity, it sure as hell will not bounce back.

I have a friend who told me she didn't feel she could have another baby until her first one was
three years old. Another one called my only child husband to find out if it was horrible not having a sibling, just because she is not sure about having a second one. I'm feeling much better about the whole thing. Amelia has made me feel things I never thought I was capable of feeling. Making her happy and proud of her parents is my priority. She will have a sibling if her father and I decide we want to have another child, not because we want her to have a companion.
But that is our decision, no one should pressure us or ask us.

So, a word of advise to all of us, since I'm sure I've asked the inappropriate question before having Amelia, do not ask the obvious question when someone has their first baby. Support their experience and enjoy the moment. We don't know how they are adjusting to parenting, we don't know if they CAN have another child. We could really hurt feelings with that one single question. It's none of our damn business anyway.

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