Sometimes, when I’m dwelling too much on what I don’t have instead of being grateful for what I do, I think about how, in my next life, I will have a husband and be a stay at home mom to three kids. And then I wonder, what if there isn’t a next life, and perhaps I should take charge of what I can control in this one. After all, it was by taking charge that I got Autumn.
That greatest of all decisions started when my sister said, “If you don’t decide soon whether or not you want a kid, the decision will be made for you,” not-so-subtly referring to my fertility clock ticking louder every day.
So when the topic of having a second child as a single mom came up with my friends, it got me thinking, if I don’t make this decision soon, it too will definitely be made for me.
Without a doubt, if I had unlimited money, energy, and time, I would just be a mom for the rest of my life. But then, only .0001% of the population has that kind of cash, and zero percent has unlimited energy and time, and look at how many families have more than one child.
Sometimes, I try to imagine what life would have been like without my sister, Robin, and brother, Keith.
I remember when I was little -- actually, I am still little… -- getting dragged on shopping trips with my big sister and begging to go home. And I recall pleading with my brother to let me in his room when he had friends over; and hiding as they teamed up to chase me around the house chanting, “We will kill Jill.”
I also remember my sister writing me a note when I was scared, my brother sticking up for me when I was being bullied, and the two of them surprising me with a singing telegram when they were away at college.
Then there’s our present relationship: I can always count on them for little things, like pitching in for presents, and other little things, like reminiscing about family vacations. In such a crazy world, it’s good to have people who have known you from the start, and barring any unforeseen tragedies, will know you until the end.
My heart tells me, “Give Autumn a sibling!” To which my head counters, “You can’t afford it!” And they duke it out:
“She’d be such an incredible big sister!”
“But you’re too old to have another baby.”
So I say, “Each of you needs to make a list, then we’ll determine whether to have another baby.” And they say...
Reasons to have another baby
Autumn would have a sibling who might be her best friend.
I would have two kids to love.
Reasons NOT to have another baby
Autumn would have a sibling who might be her nemesis.
I would have two kids to send to college.
Although I’m very fortunate to still have five embryos in the freezer, with the way I’d be getting pregnant, one embryo could easily split into two. Am I prepared to have three? Noooo, unless it happened, and then I’d find a way to become prepared.
I would be stretched thinner than I already am, and we’re not talking weight-wise.
Then I realize these lists matter not-at-all, because it’s not about two reasons to four, but rather the value of each.
Now I’m more confused than ever, because parenting is so full of gigantic quandaries disguised as mundane questions (or is it vice-versa?).
If I could have one wish and I wasn’t allowed to ask for more wishes, I’d want a portal to see the future when making decisions. What would life look like if I had another baby? And on the flipside, how would it all play out if I raised Autumn as an only child?
I’d watch both scenarios and see who we’d meet, where we’d go, and most importantly, how we’d feel. And then I’d be able to make an educated decision. Wouldn’t that be nice?
But I’m fairly certain there’s no genie coming. And I’m left, once again, to make the best decision I can with the information I have.
Determining whether a child should grow up alone or with a sibling feels like too big a decision for someone--me--who struggles to choose between chocolate and vanilla.
So I decide to table it until the new year, to let my thoughts simmer.
And hoping the Universe will send me a sign.
But either way, I will...