My husband and I didn’t really know how many kids we would want to have or how far apart we would like them to be. We were never that couple with a “for sure” plan. Three years ago, our beautiful daughter was born and our hearts exploded while our lives got infinitely more complicated. And so, for a good two years we were content with just the one child. I gave away all our baby stuff to expecting friends, keeping only a few special things for that small possibility we’d need them again. We set a date for a vasectomy that would ensure maximum sport viewing for my husband. I told all my friends we weren’t having another.
Then we went out for a date night and had a few drinks. We saw a couple totally winning at parenting, propping their newborn in a car seat on a bar stool. We got a little nostalgic about those magical early days. We talked about how fun our daughter is at two. We looked each other in the eyes and had one of those romantic comedy moments where we simultaneously and wistfully said, “I know I want a second baby.” (Or at least that is how I remember it happening.)
So a plan was set in place. We had a vacation planned, we would wait out Zika, and then we would pull the goalie and try. That is where I am now. Kind of excited and kind of freaking out in the land of the known and the unknown.
There is some freedom in thinking about doing this for a second time. The experience under my belt relieves a lot of the anxiety I had the first time. I know that babies don’t need all the stuff right away. I know that Target and Amazon can provide pretty much everything I need within hours. I have some idea of what to worry about and what to let go. I know to marvel at the amazingness of life because it goes too fast. But I also know enough to freak out.
I’m no longer the naive new parent who acknowledges that things will change and it will be hard but doesn’t really have a clue what all that means. I know that no amount of planning or research ensures a flawless experience. Knowing what I know I am oddly excited to give birth again with an experiences lens and lowered expectations.
I know how extremely lucky I am to have a fun, curious and loving daughter. I know how amazingly awesome and amazingly difficult it is to be a mother. I don’t know what it means to have two kids. I know my heart will expand and I will love my two children immensely. I don’t know where the time will come from for everything. For the children, my husband, my house and me. My husband and I are just now about to take our first kid-free vacation since we became parents. It took almost three and a half years to make it happen. I don’t know when it will happen again.
My ovaries practically scream for attention when I imagine my daughter talking to my belly or holding her swaddled baby sibling. I know this is some kind of biological design to ensure the survival of our species; don’t let the moms think too long without an explosion of hormones or there may not be another baby. I know that I wonder about the impact on my precious first born who will experience a dramatic shift in her life. She will no longer be the sole sun with mom and dad orbiting around her at all times. I also know that things work out. A new rhythm develops. Everyone finds their role in the family.
This is where my vulnerability comes through because I know what my role is. I know there is only one of me and only 24 hours in a day. Multiply the demands by adding a second child (because it definitely isn’t addition) and I get a bit lost in the unknown. I know so much but I don’t know so much more about my future with two kids. Moms plan and moms know but I can’t do that here and I don’t like not knowing.
All these are things that I know now. All the things I will do over again. All the mistakes I won’t make again. All the new mistakes that I will make. All the new experiences I will have. This all looms over me. With the full knowledge of how blessed we already are and that there are no guarantees of any of this we’re going into the land of the knowns and unknowns. I know one other thing for sure. I’ll regret not trying.