Head vs. Heart

I am so excited to have Brynn join the Mamas At Work team!  Here is her FIRST post as a team member!

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I am the third and last child in my family. In 1972, when my parents found out I was on the way, my Mom was a SAHM with my brother (6) and sister (2) in a small apartment by the freeway in Monrovia, CA. My dad was working two jobs, manager in his apartment building (so the rent was cheaper), going to school full time and on the GI Bill. 

I’m willing to bet I wasn’t planned. Still, it all worked out.

Before I was born, my Dad got a job at a prominent ad agency in Chicago, moved the family across country to the Chicago ‘burbs where I grew up and where my parents still live today.

Yet, why today, do my husband and I feel we need to make a Pro/Con lists a hundred times over when considering having another baby? My daughter is going to be two this winter, I am in my late 30s and my husband is nine years older than me. If we’re going to do it, we need to do it now.

Heart vs. Head. When I was a young, single, city-chick, a friend told me, “If you do what I believe is right in my heart, you will never doubt yourself later.”  At the time, I think this comment was addressing whether or not it was too soon to call a guy I met…that was a lifetime ago, but this advice still holds true. However my head has gotten much more cautious over the years.

Heart: I love my siblings so much, we are all so different, but we are still such a big part of each other’s lives. I can’t imagine my daughter growing up not knowing sibling love…and, let’s face it, sibling hate. My heart tells me my family isn’t done yet. I feel I have more love to give. Head: We’re older, could I really go through another pregnancy and having a newborn again? Let’s face it, this is an exhausting job and we’re finally out of the baby stage with our daughter – could we start this process all over again?

Heart: Since we had her later in our lives she may lose us when she is still fairly young…where will she be, will she have a partner in life then to help her, her cousins are 12+ years older than her, will they be in her life? Head: Since we are older, we could have a baby with special needs, then after we’re gone, my daughter would have someone to look after – is that fair to her? We had one healthy, smart little girl, let’s not push our luck.

Heart: I want my daughter to have every experience in the world; ballet, music, travel, college. Head: Take all of those experiences and multiply the fees and time commitment x2 – can we afford that and still do all the things we want to do…like retire?

Head and heart pull me in different directions each day. I can look at our dinner table and see another little face there, but then I look at the living room and think we cannot fit another single toy there!

As I have done so many times as a parent, I reached out to my friends (my village) for their thoughts on how they knew they wanted another baby or how they knew they were done with one. These are people from all over the U.S., different backgrounds, ethnicities, income – this is their feedback:

  • “I think my relationship with my siblings was the biggest thing. We wanted [son] & [daughter] to have shared growing up experience with siblings.”
  • “My wife and I wanted to have another and now I feel bad because my son doesn’t have any siblings and he probably won’t have any.” 
  • “I only wanted one child…obviously things turned out differently and we are DONE now.” [Note: you should know this friend had triplet boys.]
  • “I wanted my first to have siblings since I never got to experience that!”
  • “After taking us a while to get pregnant with [son], we weren’t’ sure we wanted or could even have a second. After the unexpected loss of my brother, we got pregnant without trying. Sometimes God blesses you with the answer. We couldn’t be happier.”
  • “I am an only child. It can be painful and lonely at times. Friends are wonderful and great, but it’s different than your own blood.”
  • “I wanted someone to occupy them who had more energy than me.”
  • “It took us a while to have [baby] and I’ve had permanent health issues as a result from delivery. Because we’re over 40 and NEVER get sleep, helped us to decide that one is enough.”
  • “We had another when the first couldn’t make a proper martini.”

As usual my friends made me think a lot more. One of the things that has kept me sane throughout my short time as a parent is talking to other parents. I can say I have never heard a parent say they regret having another baby, ever.

Even so, I wish I could wrap this article up with how we are going to move forward with our family and how we came to our decision. I can say that when my husband and I do decide, it will be together and I know in my heart it will be the right decision, so I know I will never doubt myself later…hopefully.

brynn75

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