The Pain of Wanting to Grow My Family, When I Know I Can’t Right Now
I was recently watching my 2-year-old daughter play at the playground, going up and down the slide, running through the sprinklers and riding her tricycle – alone.
I mean there were people at the park, and there were certainly other kids…but in that moment, when I saw her pause at the top of the slide, and wave to me, before going down it hit me in the gut – I want another baby…I want a sibling for my daughter.
My first pregnancy was not planned, and left me single, and in complete and total crisis management mode. But now, almost 3 years later, with most aspects of that crisis having dissipated, I am now clear-headed and clear-hearted enough to see and feel the fact that this is not the family that I had envisioned for myself - or more importantly for my daughter.
I came from a family of 4 girls, and my sisters are my rock, my lifeline and the people I can complain to about my amazing and supportive, yet slightly quirky parents without having to explain any backstory. They get it, they get me, and I’d always dreamed of recreating that family structure in some capacity. Perhaps 4 children are too many for me, but at least 2, maybe 3, is definitely what I had in mind. But when number one was a big surprise, I really stopped thinking about the prospect of growing my family, and just focused on getting by.
That is until a few months ago, when I was privileged enough to be in the delivery room with my sister Adriane and her husband when they gave birth to their 3rd child. I helped support my sisters leg as she got ready to push, tried to help her focus when the pain was incredibly intense and held my breathe while I saw my nephew Quinn take his for the first time. I had the honor of cutting the cord while I whispered, “Little man, never forget I helped you take your first step toward independence.”
The entire experience was awesome, and made me fall even more in love with my sister than I already am. And this was not the first childbirth experience my sister and I shared. 2 ½ years ago, we each gave birth to little girls – delivering 3 days apart from each. We shared every step of pregnancy together, compared notes on the crazy experience of exclusive breastfeeding and coached each other through those days that never, ever seemed to end when you are sleep deprived and hormonal.
And all of those memories, along with a plethora of thoughts came flooding into my brain as I was sitting watching my daughter go down the slide by herself.
I don’t want my daughter to only have me…I will drive the poor kid crazy…I want her to have a sibling…someone she can call and say, “OH. MY. GOD. Mommy is being CRAZY today.” I want her to have someone else who knows how well or poor I cook…and what Santa left under the tree that year…someone else to know what it feels like to grow up in my home…someone to play with her on the playground…and someone to answer her phone calls at 3am when she is upset or scared…
This urge by the way, is completely illogical. Financially I cannot have another baby on my own right now. And my career is finally beginning to recover from the setbacks that unfortunately came along with becoming a single mother.
But the pang that I felt in my heart when I thought about the difference between what I had envisioned for my child and myself and what is actual reality, was enough to make this strong mom walk home from the playground with tears in her eyes.
And the only person I wanted to talk to about my feelings was my sister.