The decision to get pregnant with Ryan was an easy one. Mike and I had been married for over a year, we’d done some traveling, we had stable careers, we lived in a condo that was plenty big for us and another tiny person. We wanted a family. We were so very ready and so very excited.
The decision of when to add a second baby is proving to be much more complicated. I know I want Ryan to have a sibling, I know we want at least two children when this whole family-building process is complete. I know there is at least one more little soul out there who will complete us.
But I don’t feel the same excitement about the process. And I wonder if I ever will.
I loved being pregnant. I was blessed with an easy pregnancy when compared to the difficulties that many others have. But it was a long pregnancy and a long and difficult labor. And although I lost the baby weight in a normal amount of time, for many months I didn’t feel like me.
Ryan was an easy, sweet baby, a baby who loved to sleep. He was laid back and could be carted around pretty much anywhere. But he got sick. He got sick a lot. And the stress from diagnosis after diagnosis of ear infections and allergies and asthma and respiratory infections… the constant fevers and congestion and coughing… it took a toll.
Motherhood holds more joy than I ever could have imagined way back when I was so very ready and so very excited. But these little humans… they’re hard work. It’s rewarding work, it’s wonderful work, but it’s work. There is no way to get back that naive excitement. There is no way to ever recapture the I-can’t-wait-to-see-what-this-will-be-like anticipation. I know now.
I know that I will love our next child with the force of a hurricane wind the very second I lay eyes upon him or her. I know the first time that baby smiles at me will be magical in a way that makes you catch your breath and wonder how you could be special enough to cause something so beautiful.
But I also remember well the panic I felt the first time – and every time for months – that Ryan slept through the night. That moment of torturous dread when I would wake up and think “Oh, god, what if…” as I bolted to the nursery.
And while all that equally amazing and stressful stuff is going on, there is another element to consider now. This time, there’s another person in the mix. A kid who is no longer a baby but who still needs a steady schedule, a bunch of sleep, and a whole a lot of attention — all of which he deserves.
What it boils down to is this: The first child is a leap of faith. The second child is a leap of full-blown knowledge. And while the first leap was easy, I don’t know how to take the second one.
Please weigh in… how did you know when it was time for another baby? Was the second one a happy surprise? Did you plan for it on a certain timeline? Am I just being crazy and over-thinking this?