When Plans Change {Deciding To Have Another Baby}

preemieI absolutely love being a mommy to my now almost 10 month old son. I’m later to the mommy party at 38, but that’s fine by me. I’ve had a great pre-baby life so I don’t feel as though I missed out on any other life experiences. That being said, I’m forced to make a decision earlier than I’d like to about whether or not to have a second baby. My biological clock reminds me of the realities of my aging uterus. The plan had always been to have two children, but plans can change. Right now, I’m not sure I’m up to it. My heart might be telling me no.

My story gets a little lot more complicated with the very premature arrival of my son. He was born at 24 weeks gestation and spent the next 4 and half months in the NICU before he was able to come home to us. There is a whole host of trauma surrounding his birth, and I’ve been dealing with it as best as I can. That’s a whole other post. I digress. Besides that huge wrench in the plan with my son’s birth, the other big factor is the reality of our lifestyle. We both work full-time and my husband travels most weeks as part of his job. We also don’t have family nearby that we can call on in a pinch. Our neighbors are great, but with family I may feel less guilty and more inclined to lean on them for help if needed. Maybe; this coming from a fiercely independent, Type A personality. It’s a character flaw-one of many.

My heart tells me could I feel like I could manage one child really well, but beyond that I am not sure I’d ever have enough hands or sanity when my husband is out of town. All of that has me imagining scenarios in which I go mad on the days my husband is away, all the while growing a resentment for him as I attempt to hold down the household during the nights away. I don’t want that to happen. I love my husband too much for that. He works so hard when he’s here, and he travels because his job dictates it. I know it’s not easy for him to be away from our son as much as he is. Having a micropreemie baby in the NICU for 131 days is stress enough for one parental team. Do I push my luck and find my breaking point by having another baby, another that I would surely love with all my heart…but still. Reality is a cold ‘you know what’ sometimes. It’s not as cut-and-dry as wanting another baby equals trying for another baby.

The book is not closed on this very huge life decision. There’s a lot my husband and I need to talk about, to figure out, to learn about the realities of another pregnancy following one in which I’m said to have an incompetent cervix. (By the way, who came up with that clinical term. It reads as though my body’s got faulty equipment. Lovely, just lovely.) Beyond another pregnancy, assuming that’s possible, we need to discuss how our lives would change with two children. I don’t want to stretch myself too thing. I have a lot of great moms of two children in my social circle. But I can’t think of one mom I know who has two young children, works a full-time job, has no family nearby, and whose spouse travels frequently for work. Our decision has not been made, and my husband is not ready to start talking about it.

Fair enough.

We’ve only had our son home for five months now. In many ways, we’re still adjusting to our new little person, or as we like to call him “the boss.” I still pause sometimes in disbelief when I’m referred to as a mommy. But I can’t help thinking about it, about the decision, wondering how I’d ever be able to be the best mommy possible with two children given my realities. On the other hand I’ve got this happy little person waiting for me every day after work. He makes everything all better. He came into the world with such a terrifying start. He’s defied all the odds, and he is perfect. What was that about reality being a cold, “You know what?” Sometimes it is, and sometimes it’s not.

Who else has had to reevaluate plans for another baby? How did you make the decision?

imageRobyn is a new momma in her late 30s; Chicago city dweller recently turned suburbanite; enjoying a full-time career as a manager at a pediatrics member organization; one-time Peace Corps volunteer and global traveler; humbled and amazed at the amount of energy spent and love multiplied by caring for her son. Auggie was born 16 weeks premature in February 2013. “Super Auggie” finally came home from the hospital on July 2, 2013, and life for Robyn, her husband, her chocolate Lab and tabby cat was forever changed. She is learning how to juggle being a mom, a wife, a manager at work, a dog caregiver and a woman with her own needs and interests.

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8 Comments

  1. Laura says:

    I wish I could lend you advice mama, but it sounds like you’ve got it pretty much figured out. If you think having another would be too stressful on top of everything else, stick to one. The change from 1-2 was overwhelming and we had 5 years in between and my husband didn’t travel. If you both really want it, you’ll make it work, though it may take some big sacrifices. It’s up to the two of you to decide which sacrifices you are willing to make and which you aren’t. Good luck on your journey! Motherhood is equal measures of exhausting and amazing!
    Laura recently posted..How Being Pregnant is Like Going Through PubertyMy Profile
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  2. Melissa says:

    I had my first at 36 and my second at 39 so I hear you on the age. I was afraid of the second because of working FT. Its been much easier than I thought it would be but my oldest is almost 4 so he doesn’t require as much care. I think having 2 babies would be very difficult. Listen to your heart.

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    • Robyn says:

      Thank you, Melissa. I really appreciate your perspective! There’s not a day that I don’t mull this decision and go over it in my head. I think that when we finally make a decision as a parental team I’ll feel relief. The, smaller piece of my heart worries about regret. Will I wish we had 2 babies when the possibility no longer exists. Only 10% of me thinks that my future self will feel regret. If only I could be sure. Life has very few absolutes. Darn.

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  3. Julie says:

    It’s so tough deciding what to do. I had my 1st at 36, 2 nd at 38 and now trying to convince myself not to have one more( they are 29 mos and 7 mos now).
    I did not have the difficult pregnancy and thrust into mommyhood as you were.
    Congratulations on your healthy munchkin and being home.
    I will tell you that right now the days are long and I am usually pretty beat. I work FT, but my hours are flexible. My hubby is a teacher and we are both home relatively early. We don’t have family close by to help, but DH is pretty good at helping out. I love watching my 2 LOs loving and playing with each other. I know vthat they will be there for each other, AND entertain each other for the rest of their lives. My sister has 2 kids, 22 months apart, and they always have a friend, someone to play with, whenever they travel or vacay.
    What does your OB recommend?

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    • Robyn says:

      Julie,

      Thanks for the encouragement. I guess the assumption is that your siblings will be friends and confidants to one another. That doesn’t always happen, nor will they necessarily live near one another. I think what I’ve learned is that my husband and I really need to want another child, not to provide a sibling to my son or for anyone else. With the reality of my husband’s job I just don’t know that it would be in our best interest as a family. I teeter totter back and forth, to do it, to not do it. TBD.

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  4. HeyBeckyJ says:

    I have two children – my daughter just turned 3, and my son (who is also named Auggie – great name!) is 16 months. Since meeting my husband, I have always envisioned us with three children. However, after my son was born, we were overwhelmed with two under two. Add in what was probably undiagnosed PPD, and I am not at all eager to bring another little one into our family. At first, the thought of only having two kids was both upsetting and a relief. But the longer I’ve pondered it, the more I feel our family is complete. We still have a few years before we biologically have to make a final decision, and life has gotten much easier as my son has gotten older. So that door isn’t closed, but I’m definitely looking at other paths. No real advice; it’s a hard decision and obviously one that can’t be taken back, so you’ve gotta be sure.

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  5. cayley rice says:

    We went the opposite way. Always thought we’d only have one (but never said never), and are expecting the 2nd in the next month. I’m the one who travels for work, which adds an extra level of complication (pumping in airport bathrooms, anyone?). We reached the conclusion we did because we love being parents. I think you’re terribly smart to realize that in your reality having another for any reason other than YOU (as a couple) wanting another is just silly. But, just like you got through what must have been a terrifying time with Auggie in the NICU by doing what you needed to because you needed to, you’ll get through having two small children if that’s what you decide is right. We also have no family, and few friends, close by, but we can pay people we trust to babysit and I know that I won’t regret having had the second one. I’m just going to have to put my head down, enjoy all the moments I can, and work a little harder to keep my non-kid parts of life on track. That said, I did not have difficult pregnancies, nor a premie, and had the first come so early I probably would have been too scared to go through it again. Maybe talking to a therapist about those fears would help separate fears about the pregnancy/healthy baby from worries about a second child?

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    • Robyn says:

      Thanks, Cayley, for being so frank about your situation and thought process to have a second. While my job is very demanding, I don’t travel more frequently than once a quarter or so. My hat’s off to you for being the kind of mom that decided on two. I’ve been in therapy about Auggie’s beginning and his birth, adn the trauma is very real though very much receding lately. It’s such an indvidual (parental unit) decision. I think the fears of having a pregnancy/birth as I did with Auggie happen again are much those than the fears of being able to be an excellent mom (as much as is possible being human) to two. And so it goes.

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