Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Letting go of a bigger family

I was going to title this "Letting go of #2," since that's what I've been calling my future unborn child. But somehow the title was a little too silly...:S
I don't mind being funny with an entendre, but this post has some seriousness.

We're not going to have a second child.

When I write it, it feels like I laid down this huge elephant I was dragging from room to room, moment to moment. We decided a few weeks ago but I wouldn't even hold tight to the decision, lest someone burst in on my perfect day and tell me that I'm making a huge mistake. We don't have that moment in parenting, do we? I don't approve of it (standing up and saying "Stop! Don't get married!") at weddings, so it makes sense that we don't do it that much anymore, but of course no one would EVER say it about having a kid. None of our business.

It's up to me and my husband to decide that. For five years I have been going back and forth. I told myself during my pregnancy with K that I couldn't do it again. Statistically, it could be worse for the second kid. Not only that, but then it could be just as hard afterward. And even if the kid was a perfect angel (not that I want that, of course), the money would be tight again...and not just tight, I'm being evasive...it might be harrowing again.

I have been keeping a swelling depression at bay because I can (many can't, I know) and because I actually know what is depressing me...I don't have fulfilling work. I don't feel good in my body. I am overwhelmed with obligations and stuff and a resume of half-finished ideas. The thought of raising another child didn't feel uplifting. It felt oppressive.

We have our hands full. They have never not been full. Even without a child. Another child would increase my stress, my family's stress, and I honestly couldn't come up with a good enough reason to have another kid. Many folks have offered their reasons...but they don't work for *me*. Everyone else might need or want them, which is fine. But I find myself in the other camp.

When we announce that we are pregnant, it is a glorious thing (hopefully). We call people, we create cute announcements, we surprise grandparents, etc. And with our decision not to have another kid, I found myself wanting to make the same type of announcement. I called my family and told them one at a time. When people ask me what's new, I blurt out that we're excitedly not having another kid. When I see folks with only children (<--only children is a weird way to say a family has one child...) singletons, I want to chat about it.

My life is multi-faceted (as I'm sure everyone's is...) and instead of unconsciously ignoring the facets, I actually thought about each one: Can we truly afford this? Am I fulfilled in my purpose work? Is being a mom more important than ______? Do I have enough time for my marriage (which is awesome)? Do I  have enough time for the child I already have? Do I have enough time for my close friends? Do I travel as much as I want to? Is this environmentally aligned with my values? Do I feel healthy enough for another child (heck, am I healthy enough for this one?)? Do I have enough energy? Do I feel spiritually called to have another child? The answer was no, for each question.

Then I asked myself: Am I able to enjoy my life right now? Does this child make my heart sing? Is he enough for me? And I answered yes to these. And in the end, I can't live in regret but I can choose to make conscious decisions...and this was that. A conscious choice to see this child and this life with this child as enough (and more accurately, it's plenty!). I don't say he's perfect (perfectionism and that language doesn't work for me) because he's just him. I don't need perfect. But I do need choice. Same way with friendships and marriage. I won't regret if I make a choice.


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