“Is this your first?”
“When are you going to give him a sibling?”
“Are you trying again yet?”
“He’s too cute, you MUST make more babies!”
Not long after Tycho’s birth, and probably because my pregnancy and delivery went so well, people started assuming that we were going to continue having more children. We’ve been asked these questions (or told that we had to make more!) nonstop, and I don’t see an end to them anytime soon.
So it’s no wonder that, after only a year for most couples, I’ve seen them getting to work on Baby #2. In fact, I know a few families who are in the process of or who have already conceived or who have already given birth to their seconds, and for some of these families, the gap is no wider than a couple years.
People around me have waxed poetic about the alleged importance of giving your first baby a sibling of his or her very own, saying that it will cause harm if there are no siblings, and they must be close together – two years apart at most – so they can play together. Heaven forbid your only child be spoiled and socially stunted without a brother or sister!
I’m the oldest of three, and while I definitely love my siblings, our upbringing wasn’t always rosy. There were a few times when I wished I was an only child, or at least had a sister who wasn’t so close in age as to cramp my style. As advanced as it was, you see, considering we were 11 months apart.
Matt, on the other hand, is an only child, and he has told me that there were a few periods when he was growing up when he wanted a sibling, but for the most part, he is happy having been an only child. Discussions with other only children seem to prove his point over and over – maybe they miss having a brother or sister, but they generally are happy being a singleton.
Why this post, especially since Tycho isn’t even a year old yet? Why am I thinking about second children and Tycho’s possible future with and without a sibling? Because even at his age, people look at me as if I’d sprung three heads when I say I’m not sure if I want another baby. “But he’ll be so lonely!” “Only children are so spoiled!” “He’ll need a sibling!” “Do you not like being a mom?”
Truth be told, I don’t feel compelled to have another baby because of societal pressure, because I might be “hurting” Tycho if he grows up as an only, or because I’d be less of a mom by having only one. I love Tycho so much that it seems unfathomable sometimes, and as challenging as motherhood can be, I love being his mom. Right now, I can’t imagine a second in our lives; I rather like things as they are!
We haven’t ruled out the possibility, but we’re not going to seriously reconsider having more than one until Tycho is at least two – so yes, we’d be missing that “magical” two-year age gap, too. But I feel like I need more time to enjoy him and, yes, to recover a bit from babyhood before thinking about whether I want to jump into it all over again.
Plus, we want to do it not because we feel like we need to prove anything, or because Tycho “needs” a brother or a sister. If we have a second, it’ll be because we can’t imagine not being a family of four.