Friday, February 24, 2006

Why Do We Want Two?

Sometimes I have these thoughts that we shouldn't have another child. Times like the other night when I was trying to get some of the house chores done while Mr. DD worked late. Those are the moments when X literally demands my unwavering attention by pulling on the hem of my shirt and pleading, "Play with me...just for a little bit?" in that toddler whine that makes my ears bleed. I try to explain that I have Responsibilities and Chores, but at 8:00 at night, he is deaf only to the sound of cars crashing; trains chugging; or planes swooshing.

In moments of desperation, much like this recent episode, I try to bribe X with computer time or his V-Tech, just so I can finish cleaning the kitchen. I feel selfish and thoughtless by not being able to pitch the sponge into the sink, tear off the rubber gloves and go have fun on the living room floor. But, it's not always fun. I'm embarrassed and feel like a terrible Mommy, but I don't like to play. It's one of the reasons I "joke" about being lazy. There's truth to that. If he had said, "Mommy, come snuggle next to me on the couch and watch a movie," I would do so without hesitation.

That's why I get these feelings deep in the pit of my stomach that make me question the reasons we are trying so hard for Child #2. If I feel X is capable of making me want to escape to a tropical island, how is it that two children would have the opposite affect or even alleviate some of my urges to escape. Are we trying because outside influences have always expected us to have more than one child? Or are my reasons even more sinister: that I'm looking for a live-in playdate for X so I can get chores done or not hear, "I have no body to play with," for the bazillionth time?

I even think that our infertility woes have been Mother Nature's; God's; Karma's; Fate's way of saying, "We don't think you appreciate and love the one you have now. There's no way I think you could handle two!" Don't say I'm being too hard on myself, because I tell myself the same thing when I'm frustrated beyond fury with X's whining, bed-time delays, and endless streams of, "I can't...!" or "I really wanna...". I get so mad at Mr. X when he looks over the top of X's head during one of his fits to ask me if I'm sure I want another; but I think the reason I get angry is because he is verbally stating what's in the back of my mind, but I'm too chicken-shit to analyze it for fear of discovering something I honestly couldn't bear.

I realize that the stress and depression of the failed ART treatments make the external forces in my environment less tolerable, and I really hope (in a weird way) that Depression is impacting my ability to sweat the small stuff, or make me edgey and bitchy when X starts his bedtime whine (which apparently is when I start my bedtime whine as well, based on this post).

Maybe my biggest concern about having another baby is that I can't answer the question, "Why?" with an enthusiastic, "Because we LOVE babies!" Luckily no one has ever asked us why we want another baby, because I have no clear answers. I only know that for every moment I have with X like from the other night, there are a 100 more that nearly make me drop to me knees with love; like the times he yells "Mommy!" as he runs out the care-giver's door and jumps into my arms; when he laughs from the belly from sheer joy; and when he spontaneously says, "I love you, Mommy." Those are the moments I live for. It's those other, rarer and troubling moments that keep me awake at night.

9 Punches:

At 6:40 AM, Blogger Cricket said...

Wow, I appreciate your honesty and your normalcy. I've thought the same things so many times. Not that I want to curse you with delayed SIF, but when they get older, it is so much easier - they wipe their own butts and occupy themselves!

I've said that I am shying away from the baby concept, b/c the 3+ years invested, from the duration of the pregnancy until they're 2-3 and potty trained, sounds more like work than joy. It is a legit issue for sure. I think knowing what you're in for makes it feel more daunting, b/c much of it sucks.

It's okay that playing isn't your thing. It is mind numbing. To get through it even now, I try to keep in mind how important it is for J to be absolutely in control of an environment, a place he is the boss of me. That helps. Maybe you could research the basics of play therapy so that you feel a bit of positive structure for yourself with play.

Funny, Sal, the last guy I dated, had a teenaged daughter. He knew I wanted more children and he knew it was not in him to be a good father. He would say, "Whenever we played Barbies when Amy was little, I would tell her that my Barbie was sleeping." He could not play. He felt a manipulative failure, but could do no better.

Play is hard. I think that's why I spent thousands on Thomas trains - I love to build track and rebuild track - it is one of my earliest play memories, making tracks in the dirt for cars.

Something you didn't mention is something that has gone through my head - I wanted my son to have a sibling. I wanted him to feel united with another kid and have someone when he's an adult. Now that he has a baby sister through his father and even tho there's 8 years between them, he'll have some sense of that. As painful as that baby has been for me, he will benefit from her.

Know that you wouldn't fret this so much if reproduction were easy. Time is making you second guess more than circumstances are.

At 7:28 AM, Blogger The Queen Mama said...

"It's those other, rarer and troubling moments that keep me awake at night."

Honey, EVERY mom has those other, rarer moments. If she doesn't, she's not being honest. Parenthood is HARD, and it doesn't make you smile all the damn time.

Let yourself off the hook a little. Oh, and about the whole outside forces trying to tell you something? I personally don't buy into that...because if God thought I'd be so great with three, why do I feel like I spend so much time just keeping my sanity? I mean, I love them more than anything, but is literally an hour-to-hour existence some days.

At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Mary Scarlet said...

Well, you want a family and children, not necessarily babies specifically. I think it's perfectly OK (and in fact normal) to be frustrated and frazzled by your kid/kids, particularly when they're at those ages when they're more dependent and demanding. It doesn't mean you don't love them and it doesn't mean you don't deserve them just because you honestly cannot bow down and worship every bleedin' minute you have with them. Who would? And that Cricket is a very wise woman ... I love the thoughts about how to get into play. But if you can't, you'll find something else that you can do together that is just as satisfying. Just may take a few years. It's (doubly) tough to have to confront these questions just when you're in a second-guessing kind of a place because your body isn't easily fertile.

At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Leggy said...

I can relate to this post. I also find play a little mind-numbing and sometimes when we play, I have to stop myself from jumping up and going to check on the laundry, start the dishes, etc, etc.

I also agree re: time is making you second guess everything. I feel like that too sometimes.

The age gap is one of the reasons we are thinking about adopting a toddler/young child. If we decide to go with adoption,I think we're going to ask for a 3 or 4 year old.

This stuff is hard and it makes your head spin. Re: if anyone does ask you why you want another one, I think your justified in saying "because I do" and leave it at that. That question annoys me- no one ever asks that of a fertile.

At 3:27 PM, Blogger DinosaurD said...

A-ha, you are human (professional ballroom dancing career aside).

The only moms that I worry about are those whose children ignore them (I have seen that both at the daycare we go to now and the preschool that we used to go to). It's just way too sad when you see children that never expect their parents to play with them.

The fact that your son wants to play with you means firstly that you do play with him, secondly that you play well and thirdly that he loves you. Congratulations!

My son would be happy if I spent every waking minute playing with him. That's never going to happen so I feel like it's a constant balancing act. I think the only child thing makes it a lot harder as well - I always worry that he will spend too much time alone (ha-ha-ha).

If you had a four year old that could engage you all day long with their wit and intelligence, I would question yours.


At 4:17 PM, Blogger chris said...

SIF allows you have have those thoughts. And they are so honest. I think it too. I think that our more fertile sisters don't have that opportunity. Okay, on good days I call it an opportunity. But you know what I mean. If you have to think about going back to those times, and you're thinking about it for a long time, it's a bit daunting.

Still, wouldn't it have been nice to just make the decision and have it happen?

At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Kath said...

You ask some great questions, there, DD. Why do I want ONE? I've thought about it so much but I can't come up with anything better than "I just do." I just do! Or as one of my little nephews used to say when I asked him "why": "Becubs."

Just becubs.

At 5:44 AM, Blogger One Mother's Journey said...

What an excellent post!! Everything you're thinking is SO perfectly normal. Whether you decide to have one more or ten more, the ups and downs of being a parent eventually make you second guess every choice you've ever made or will make. Trust me. And the older your children get, the more you question and the more daunting the whole situation becomes. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't second guess my decision to try again - I haven't had diapers and bottles in my house in 12 years. 12. That said, what is even more daunting is thinking about the fact that MY decision appears to have been made for me. Very frustrating. It just makes me want it all the more, but I still question.

At 10:19 AM, Blogger Demeter said...

Questioning yourself is ok, but not allowing yourself to dream of a second one, or a third or whatever magic number you have in your mind is not fair. Don't pound yourself too much with this. The desire to be a mother doesn't stop at one and when it becomes difficult to have it as irrational as it may be, it is a deep desire, because with every child you are a new mother, and you are giving yourself differently because each child is different. I have encountered women with 5 children who are suffering for not having a 6th one. The pain is all the same, the pain is not being able to realize the dream of motherhood, especially when it is taken away from us without notice.


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