One and done?

If you know me well, you know that I love babies. I’ve always dreamed of having a big family. In high school I thought six kids would be the pinnacle of the perfect (not-so-little) family. By the end of college (read: after several years working as a nanny), I’d wised up revised my number to four babies.

Of course, this was long before I was married. Once Brad and I got hitched, there was another person with a say in how many babies I had. Brad toyed with the idea of two or three and on rare occasion agreed that four kids might be fun.

After being married for three years, Brad and I were ready to start a family. While I was pregnant with Vivi and oh-so-sick in the first trimester, I decided that I could definitely be talked down to three babies, maybe even two.

I had fleeting moments of doubt and jubilation during the first few months of being a new mom. Some days I thought to myself: I’m ready to do this all over again – bring on baby number two! Other days I thought: I’m. never. doing. this. again!

In the last few months we have settled into our new normal as a family. Honestly it’s hard to imagine life without Vivi. On the flip side I’m also finding it hard to imagine life with more than just her. I’ve given serious consideration to being a only child family – crazy, right? (Well, crazy for this baby-crazy lady!)

Don’t get me wrong, I still love babies, and Brad and I are nowhere near to making a final decision. I’m just flat-out surprised to find that my perspective has shifted in such a big way that I’m even entertaining the possibility.

There are a lot of factors, and in some ways, I worry that my reasons might be considered selfish. Vivi has changed our lives in the best possible way; I love being a stay-at-home mom, and I love seeing Brad as a father. I also love… traveling, eating out at foodie restaurants, working in the marketing industry, and being a dual-income family. To fulfill my stay-at-home mom dream, I gave up on – or at least put on hold – some of those “loves”. I have absolutely no regrets, but I do find myself thinking how many of those things could be part of my life again in a few years once Vivian is older. Life will never be as it was B.V. (Before Vivian) – and I wouldn’t want it to be – but if we add other little ones to our family in a few years, there’s that element of “starting over again”.

I get that having a child – of any age – isn’t a piece of cake; every stage brings with it a new set of challenges. Though I’m sure it’ll never be easy, I imagine that traveling with a four-year-old, for example, is preferable to traveling with a baby. I have no doubts that leaving an older child with a babysitter is easier than leaving your breastfeeding baby with someone else.

If Vivian is the only little Ray, I’ll be a stay-at-home mom for 5 or 6 more years. If there are more babies, we could be a single-income family for 10 years or more! Again, these are absolutely our own choices – choices that we are happy with – but I can’t help but wonder. Would being a one-child family be the best of both worlds?

On the other hand, would Vivi miss out on special relationships without a sibling? Heaven knows that not all sibling relationships are great ones – it’s a toss-up either way. I’m very happy that I have a little sister and brother, and Brad loves his sisters, but not everyone does.

Something interesting: a few weeks back I posted a question about “only children” on Facebook and got some opinionated statements, mostly expressing that only children were often selfish, socially awkward, or lonely people. I think the topic in general is intriguing (you know I love analyzing intrapersonal behavior). My opinion is that just about any child – “only” or one of multiple children – can be selfish, socially awkward, or lonely; I think good parenting as well as providing plenty of social interaction with other (non-related) children is key to raising well-adjusted kiddos.

Luckily, there’s plenty of time for this big – and very personal – decision. For now, we are 100% happy with Vivian and looking forward to spending a few years as a family of three. I imagine in a year or two, we’ll start discussing in earnest whether we will expand our family or not.

So, have you ever experienced a surprising shift in perspective about something, whether it be child-related or otherwise?

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6 thoughts on “One and done?

  1. first of all… adorable picture!
    in regards to persepective…heres our story. After 2 years of marriage I was definitely ready to add a babe to our family. Pregnancy with Sam was the most amazing wonderful thing that had ever happened to me, I had a “unicorn” pregnancy: felt nausea maybe twice, lost weight, felt great etc. It made my several preggo friends sick acutually. Well after Sam, the first couple of months were very overwhelming but by 6 months (like you) we had settled in nicely to our new life as a family of 3. We (hubz & me) started our marriage with the notion of 4 kids being ideal, but after Sam, it just felt complete, like how could we possibly steal any of the love and attention away from him. Well we had talked about trying for another again after Sam turned 1 but the closer that got, the more i felt like procrastinating. Turns out God had a different perspective than me, and at 8 months found out I was pregnant again, SURPRISE! So I freaked out for a couple months and now only have a couple months till lil Evelyn gets here, and am much more at peace with the idea. My perspective I suppose was changed for me, so now I really just try not to have expectations that are concrete and we’ll just see how this family of 3 morphs into 4….or more 🙂 I totally understand the thoughts of “how many years until…” but i’ve also found joy usually grows bigger the wider it’s spread; i agree with you, family values play a large part in any one or ones out turning.
    Happy Parenting

    • Thank you so much for commenting! I’ve loved hearing from you on a few other posts, and I love your perspective on this one too! It’s so reassuring to hear that other people go through the same or very similar decision-making dilemmas! I’m a planner by nature, and I usually forgot that my plan probably isn’t the same as God’s. 🙂

      I LOVE the name Evelyn! Can’t wait to follow her pictures when she arrives; I love seeing pictures of little Sam!

  2. Great post Adria. Well said, and you’re so honest which makes you vulnerable to all the ‘opinions’ and people analyzing you cause this is tough, tough. I’ll say one thing emphatically, you are NOT selfish, there’s not a selfish bone in your body.

    On the topic, I’ll just add a quote as my perspective…..
    by Rilke,Raineir Maria (German poet)
    “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given, because you would not be able to live them, and the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then, gradually, without noticing, live along some distant day into the answers.”

    I think just enjoying each day with Miss V, soaking up every minute, and the answers will come, and either way, you, Brad, and all of us are blessed with little ones to love. Sitting behind you at the baptism on Saturday there was this moment that lasted maybe ten seconds where your eyes locked with Vivians ‘and if a laser beam had been attached to that look, it couldn’t have been more crystal clear………your eyes even teared up , just ever so slightly, and they registered pure, pure love. It was like your eyes were telling her “I love you” and she was in turn saying “I know, and I love you too.” It was actually amazing to see.

  3. Adria, I totally understand. Before Lucie I’d always wanted 4 kids. Matthew wanted a more reasonable 2. When Lucie was only a few weeks old I remember trying to stay awake through a shower and thinking “My parents did this 3 times. I think they were crazy- why would they do this so many times!”. We know we want to have at least one other child. but the great thing about adoption is, we choose how old our next child will be when we add them to our family. Once Lucie is a little older we’ll figure out which avenue of adoption we want to pursue, which will determine in part how old our next kiddo will be when they become a part of our family. Some days I’m ready to have a newborn again and other days I think a little older might be a nice change of pace. We’ll have to see where God leads us! Thanks for writing this- Lucie may be a little younger than Vivian, but I totally get a lot of what you write. Lucie also sleeps great at night and seems to be having a much harder time figuring out the daytime nap thing! You are such an encouragement to me as I navigate the waters of new-mommyhood.

    • Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I love hearing that other people enjoy reading my blog even half as much as I enjoy writing it. We’ll figure out this crazy thing called parenthood together!

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