Over the course of the year and a half that I’ve been blogging, I have noticed a couple recurring themes within my posts. One of the most common, is that my life has taken me on a completely different path than I ever could have expected. In many ways, it’s been incredibly difficult. And in just as many, maybe even more ways, it’s been absolutely beautiful. For us, family building falls squarely in the middle of both of those categories. Adopting D was hands down, the best thing we’ve ever done. He fills us in ways we didn’t realize we were empty. He challenges us to become the kind of people and parents we want to be. And he is growing into this person who has his own thoughts and attitudes, his own personality. I love it. It’s such a joy to witness and be a part of. And yet, there’s a sadness in knowing how difficult it will be to grow our family.
I talked a lot about our family building journey previously, and I had a big response to that post. You, my awesome readers, are always so supportive. Today, I’d like to continue in that topic because lately, it seems to be constantly on my mind.
There are 2 things that I always wanted:
- I wanted to be a young parent. I’m not talking high school young or anything… but I had young parents, and even as a child, I felt lucky. They were always playing with us, and taking us to do awesome, outdoorsy things. My friends all loved them, because they were “the cool parents.” But most of all, they remembered what it was like to be my age. I didn’t quite realize then, but I know now, how much that helped my parents relate to me when I would feel like everything was a huge deal (like you do when you’re a teenager). Instead of telling me I’m being silly or blowing me off, my parents were awesome at remembering what its like to be that age and responding accordingly. It created such great communication between us and laid the foundation for a beautiful relationship.
- I wanted to have lots of kids. Growing up, I knew several families with lots of kids and I always thought it looked like so much fun! Having a big family didn’t have to mean 7 or 8 kids… but I always thought 4 seemed like a good number. My two sisters are my favorite people. Friends come and go, they move away, you move away… But my sisters are eternal. They aren’t going anywhere. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Neither of these 2 things that I always wanted, went the way I thought they would. And that’s okay. Life has offered me so many things that I never thought to ask for. I am so blessed to be D’s mom and I genuinely feel fulfilled. So here’s where we get to the current debate in our house.
Having An Only Child: Are we done? Or do we want another?
Oh, how I envy those who get to just decide the answer to this question. I’m lucky in so many ways, but having control over when and how we build our family just doesn’t seem to be one of them. Thus the reason it’s even a question or debate in our house. I’ll just skip ahead and tell you the answer. YES. We want another. Adopting and loving D has been the best experience of our lives. Why wouldn’t we want to do it again? Well, I’ll tell you…
1. The financial burden. I’m not talking about the financial burden of raising a child. Though this can be huge as well, these costs are spread out and come slowly over time. That we can handle. No, I’m referring to the cost of IVF, Adoption, or Surrogacy. Those are our choices for family building as we see them right now. None of them are very inexpensive. And it’s not that we don’t think it’s worth it… we’re parents, we know it’s worth it. But that doesn’t mean we have it laying around, you know what I’m saying? We could try to come up with it, and maybe even succeed (eventually) but at what cost to our financial stability?
2. The age thing. Age plays into this decision in a couple of ways. First, our ages. We’re no spring chickens. (yeah, I just said that.) We adopted D when we were 30 and already sometimes, I feel like I’m an old woman watching him on the playground. I know it’s not true, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m older than I wanted to be. Second, the age gap between him and our prospective second. At this rate, already he’d be pushing 5, if we started right now. I know that’s not the end of the world… and some might even say it’s awesome. I have a sister who is less than 2 years younger than me, and a sister who is almost 11 years younger than me… And I can tell you, that age means nothing in the grand scheme of things, when you get past childhood. But I always imagined I’d have kids close together and that gap is rapidly widening.
3. I am completely fulfilled by my little family. We are happy together and D is getting to the age where we’re getting a little more freedom to do things we love to do. Travel, play outside… It’s awesome. We’re in a great place in our life and I love the time we spend together.
So, why even debate having an only child?
Because when I look into the future, I can’t imagine a world where D doesn’t have any brothers or sisters to love, support and raise cousins with. Someday we’ll be gone, and my heart aches to imagine him alone in this world. One thought of how my sisters have enriched my life and I’m positive I want him to have the same.
No matter the reasons not to, I still want another baby. I’ve tried to convince myself of all the reasons why having an only child would be awesome, and I genuinely believe them. It’s not because I feel incomplete, and there are lots of benefits to just moving forward from where we are right now. We could give him anything, take him anywhere… But none of that means anything, if we’re longing for another child. Sometimes, reason loses to the heart. And my heart wants another baby.
What do you think? Are you an only child? Do you wish you had siblings? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Should I pursue a second child at all costs? Or stop stressing about D being an only child?
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