Thursday, April 05, 2007

okay already

There are just some things I know about me. Like how I could never, ever say: It's time to make a baby. M came of her own volition, jumping over the birth control pills on her way in.

But then I think: wow, I will only ever have one child. One. And I wonder if that is okay. Okay for M, growing up without siblings, okay for J, and okay, yes, dammit...okay for me. It feels okay now. But will it feel okay later?

But I think it's the way it's going to be. I am turning 37 this month. I just think it's the way it's going to be. But it seems so final, this way that it's going to be. And I feel okay with it, except that it seems so final.

Now please tell me that is ok, this way it's going to be.


kiki said...

sister-girlfriend. it is ok, whatever you decide but the 'one and done' has been a tough call for me as well. it's what M really wants and i care enough about our relationship to respect that decision but i feel bad about A having no siblings, especially since we're older parents. i don't think my relationship would have survived another child so i didn't push. but my heart hurts for my girl not having a sibling, because i'm so close to my own.
BUT. having a sibling is no guarantee for friendship. i have tons of friends that have siblings they can't stand, or they have nothing in common. so rationally i know that the issues i have with having an only are my own. if we lived in the city, my girl wouldn't be an anomaly - in the burbs she's the only child in her kindegarten class that has no siblings. three kids has become the 'new 2' in my neck of the woods and i can't tell you how many times i've fielded questions from parents and kids alike, on why we have just one kid. i give a withering look and say that i can't have anymore and that shuts people up (not true) but it's no one's business and really, it's a rude question because what if i couldn't??
i always joke that if the only thing A complains about when she grows up, that she was an only child, than it means we've done a good job.
jen, there's plusses and minuses with everything (as you know) so you do what works for your family and know that whatever you decide is the right decision. xo

Anjali said...

Whenever you follow your heart, it's always OK.

Also, the feeling you have with being done with one child -- is not much different than the feelings moms who have who have 6 or 7 kids -- the decision to conclude a family is always a hard one.

Thailand Gal said...

Waaaawwwza! This is a big topic.. interesting.. but big.

Here's my belief, for what it's worth. In many ways, I don't think it's a cut-and-dried choice. If anything, the fact that M slid past the birth control should indicate that you are the parents she chose and she was comin', one way or another.

Some of this is destiny.. and we can't escape destiny.

In other words, if you are meant to have another child, you will. There's not much you can do about it if some other little soul out there chooses you.

Will M be okay with it? Of course she will. She chose her circumstances before she chose you.




Pgoodness said...

I wish I could answer this for you. I have no magic thoughts that I can seem to put into words, but the only thing I can say is that you know in your heart if it's ok.

I say to anyone who asks if we're going to "try for a girl" next NO, but we reserve the right to change our minds later. :)

crazymumma said...

Of course it's going to be ok. And I am not trying to sound offhand. But I have such faith in how you and J ill bring her up.
I am not going to pry and ask how you can be so certain though about the decision not to have more. You might be tempting the pill goddess..
Each family (in whatever shape size form) finds it's own watermark. And of that I am sure.

Blog Antagonist said...

You know when you know. I always thought I would have a whole passle of kids. After my Spirited Child came along, I couldn't handle anything else for a while. And then, I realized, I was over bottles, diapers, strollers, sleepless nights, pacis...the works. I was really done, and I was at peace with that decision.

Being an only child doesn't gaurantee that your child will be one way or another. You child is who she is and she will come into her own with or without siblings.

Sometimes I wish I had stopped at one, but then I wouldn't have Diminutive One, and my life would not be the same without him. :?)

QT said...

Ms. Jen - I agree with kiki - I have two sisters, one who I love dearly, the other, well, she gives me pains. Siblings aren't guaranteed friends, I'm sure on some level you know that.

M is going to take you on a grand journey, I think. That is why she was born to you despite all your efforts. So you might want to start counting her as more than one...:)

Kyla said...

Whatever you decide is best for you is the right thing. Listen to yourself and trust your instincts.

Mad Hatter said...

I was one of 6. I will have only one. Which is better? Doesn't matter b/c this is the family I've created and for the three of us, it is how we define family in the present.

NotSoSage said...

It's okay.

This is a point that I argue about with my mother all the time. Sometimes blood isn't thicker than water. People are sometimes closer to their chosen families than they are to their siblings.

And if M is anything like you (and even if she isn't), she is going to win friends and family members everywhere she goes. Yes, it'll be a little bitter for her to lose the two of you and have no one who completely understands, but then I don't think that having siblings guarantees that, either.

If it's okay with you, it's okay.

Laurie said...

I was only able to have one child. And it is OK. It's better than OK. My son and I could not be closer and while I can't say for sure, I have to think we are closer because he is an only child.

That being said, unless there is a physical reason you cannot have another child, I don't really think you can say with certainty that you are only going to have one child.

It aint over until it's over.

Redneck Mommy said...

Be at peace with your decision and all will work out in the end.

I have siblings and we aren't all that and a bag of chips. I grew up WISHING I was an only child!

Mrs. Chicky said...

Since my bottom is firmly planted right on the fence (yeah, there's an image for you) I don't have an answer for you. I may have to mooch your comments. Okay, not "mooch". Share. Yeah, share your comments.

We're all looking for answers, aren't we?

Lynanne said...

As one wise person told me on my blog not long ago.. whether you have 1, 4..or even more children, you will go through a mourning process when you think about being "done." That was hard for me to come to terms with. I have more children than I ever dream that I would (or should) have. Yet my heart still aches when I think of that time in my life being over.

I think 1 is a wonderful number. My husband is an only child as was I for most of my life (I have a half-brother).

If that's the way its going to be - it's ok.

Karen said...

hey there - well, as you know, I've got three...and I am really not sure whether I chose them or they me. It's all muddled in my mind. I feel conflicted about making any big announcements to myself or others about being done or not because I want to leave room for all possibilities and know that all possibilities are okay, that there isn't a right or wrong, but a making life work, making life okay, making life joyful no matter what our circumstances. I feel that hesitancy you express to "make it official," not that living with uncertainty is easy either. Again, we tend to live our lives as they come in whatever bits they come and not in grand theories or plans. You guys are a wonderful full family right now, and right now is what you're living and enjoying and making okay.
(btw, I thank you so much for visiting my teething post and confirming my often imagined on rock-star status...I shall rest on my laurels for the rest of the half hour...)

sober briquette said...

Jen, I think every mother goes through this thinking. Someone earlier said it, even if it's your 6th child, when it's your last, you think on it a while. Each child is a miracle, and being a part of that miracle is a powerful thing.

If this is the way it's going to be, it's ok. You never know what's coming next.

If it had been up to me, I would have adopted children. Tony felt that if we were going to have a family we should have our own. I'm glad I had the experience of being pregnant and having my own baby; it was a positive experience for me.

I think everyone Casa Talia is adjusting to the big girl bed, yes?

Deezee said...

My son is an only (at one point we tried for another, but it just didn't happen...thankfully, given my marriage didn't last and as a single mom, my hands are full with one).

When my son was around six he said he wanted a siblling. Of course, my ex and I had already split up, and then my son tossed in the added request that he have and older sibling, which was an interesting twist.

Time went on and one day he told me that he was glad he was an only child because he said he and I were closer that way. I asked, didn't he think my friend with three kids was close with hers, and he answered, "Not as close as we are."

I treasure all the long lingering talks we have that may never have surfaced with another child around. I have almost no relationship with my siblings, though I think growing up having to navigate them taught me a lot.

I find peace with thinking my son has his own karma, so whatever comes about is just fine...

Tabba said...

This can be a touchy subject.
And it all comes down to personal choice. And you know what is right for you and your family.

Beyond that, all I can say is I agree with Thailandgal....

Either way it will be OK.

We've had a similar "final" decision made this past weekend - involving the snipping of Rav...I desperately asked him if he wanted to hurry & try for a 3rd the day before the procedure (knowing full and well that neither of us do...infact, we were done with Connor BUT...).

It's the finality. The acknowledging. And it WILL be OK.

Oh, The Joys said...

Heh. It's okay and... final? There's no such thing as final. I mean, there's a reason people say, "never say never."

It's okay now. If it's not okay tomorrow and you don't feel physically up to the natural thing there's adoption, fostering...

You can change your mind. Isn't that codified in the handbook?

momish said...

Not only is OK, it's just perfect for you right now. As OTJ says, it is also not final. Nothing is final.

I know how you feel though, as I felt that way when I thought I was never going to have any kids. When I turned 38, I just figured it was never going to happen. It seemed so final and I felt so uneasy about that finality more than the childlessness. Then came Piper at 39.

I also sometimes go back and forth about the only child thing regarding Piper too. Although she has half sisters, she will never have a sibling her age to play with and all. (And I know I just said never, thus ignoring my own advice. Typical. I don't blame you if you too ignore my ranting as well).

theflyingmum said...

I did not want to have children. At all. Ben, snuck - er, OK, we were being ridiculously careless. I was 37, and I have no regrets. And we won't have anymore, but there are times when I ask myself the exact same same questions. But it WILL be OK. Yes indeedy. Just like it will be OK if you decide to change your mind two years from now.

Jocelyn said...

Your daughter will only ever know the life she's had and won't get mired downn in "what ifs." You're really the one who has to get okay with having one child, and what's wrong with one? She's already, I'm sure, everything you could have wanted, so why need more?

I do understand your feelings, having just turned 40, as I look feel my fertility--so big a part of me for so long--begin to dwindle. I have two kids, and I think I'll always wonder about any other kids I didn't have. And, yes, I know that's strange. But normal.

metro mama said...

It sure is OK. Honestly.

s@bd said...

oh shit,baby.
i am SO not the one to talk to about this.

so. not.

flutter said...

I pray for just one. She is fine, you are fine.

It is ok.

crazymumma said...

I SHOULD be in bed, but I am dividing my time between blogging , watching old Sopranos and avoiding my laundry. I have my Itunes playing and this one came on. Considering our soundtrack chat and the nature of this post I thought of you and am giving it on over. Enjoy.

Julie Pippert said...

The only real choice we ever have is how to make okay with what is. KWIM?

It's okay to have one child, whether you choose it that way or not.

It's okay to be an only child, whether you choose it that way or not.

But I know what you mean. Do I ever.

I decided that it will be okay because I choose to be okay with it as it is.

Usually. :)

(See...I don't believe deciding to try for a child is a choice I ever get to make. It's because infertility is incurable, physically and mentally, for me at least. And I'm past that okay-but-35 age. Our two came after much trial. much as maybe we'd like a third? Probably not. Just not...feasible, in many ways. It's har din oh-so-many ways though to say, yes, okay, it's okay, decided. Closed.)

scribbit said...

That has been the hardest decision/phase of my life to deal with yet. The "Am I done?" question. I think part of it is a reluctance to leave my "child bearing years" and get older--perhaps.

eve said...

So many women have voiced it in their comments. Being "done" is going to be hard, yet celebratory for me. I came from a huge family, I loved it. I have three and I feel like I'm drowning in children. Why can I only handle three and my mom could handle six?
I always thought I wanted six. Now I've wittled it down to 5. But everyday I'm rethinking that.

Hel said...

I agree with all that said there does not have to be one final decision. Why make a decision when you still need to explore your heart? When you know you won't need to question.

I'm struggling to say what I want.

I badly want one of my own but I am not sure how to fit it into my life. Will me and F stay together. Does he smoke too much weed? Will it limit my ability to finish my studies and follow my dream? Where will we put it? Should I wait until I have arrived in a better space? Will I have time left?

I don't know the answer to these questions but making decisions in a hurry so that I don't have to ponder the outcomes too much has for me never proved to be a good idea.

You are an amazing person and I want whatever you decide to be a decision that makes your soul sing.

And the beer is still on ice. I will keep inviting you to come visit until you say yes. Then I will make the beds, pick the flowers and plan the meals and entertainment :)

karrie said...

I think it is more than ok.

I have no desire for more children, and frankly as my son is getting older and a tiny bit independent,the idea of a new baby makes me break out in hives.

slouching mom said...

Okay. Yes. Absolutely.

The only reason I'd have another would be to see what mothering a girl was like. And that's a piss-poor reason to have a kid. Especially given that he'd be a boy.

Em said...

I struggle with this and I have three... I wonder... is there another child out there for me? I think that for many women, wherever we decide to draw the line, there will always be question marks... and that just has to be okay.

Marymurtz said...

I'm one of 12 children. Growing up, I thought all those siblings were the greatest gift my parents ever gave me. And it's true. But we don't all get along, and there are one or two that I almost never speak to.

As a parent of one through adoption, I see a different side. I know my mother didn't have an easy life. Financial struggles plagued them. We didn't get enough parental attention because of the sheer numbers, but because of the sheer numbers, we had attention from each other.

I love having one child. Would I welcome one or two more? Probably. Would my husband? Under duress. But at 39 & 40, we are done--we know that.

I echo what most here have said: Your family is right for you, but there's inevitable grieving over being "done." And it's not always about just the child or parenting. It's a phase of our lives that is waning, passing us forward to the next phase of getting older. At least it is for me.

Bob said...

Yes - it will be okay. M will grow into a fine young woman with you and J to guide her. She can't miss what she doesn't have.

As others above have said, follow your heart.

And it ain't over until the fat lady sings.....(i.e. - you can never know what will happen in your future.)

urban-urchin said...

For what it's worth, I was in a similar prediciment after my girl. I was ambivilant I couldn't definitively say I AM DONE, but I couldn't definitively say More Babies. So we removed the goalie to see what happened, I had a miscarriage almost immediately and then a year later got pregnant with the boy. I KNEW we were done after him. And incidently my husband wanted to name our daughter either Lucky or Orthotricyclen because I too had a pill leapin' girl.

You have to do what you feel you can live with.

meno said...

I am here to tell you that it's okay.

There are advantages to siblings. There are advantages to no siblings.

It's all good.

Susanne said...

(Again too late to have read the comments before me, sorry.)

Definitely okay. First it may not be as final as you think (at least I don't know of a 100% safe method of birth control), and second and even more important, every new study out there says that only children do real fine.

Every time I think that my son needs a sibling I think of how much I hated my sister when I was a child.

Every time I'm not sure I think about the first year with a baby and a job. And look at my son who can help himself in so many ways nowadays, and am snuggling into my bed knowing that I can sleep uninterrupted and then I'm happy with my choice.

(And our only child wasn't planned either...)

Bon said...

i think it's okay. i think it's just, like so many things, very hard to say "this is my choice" with anything about our children and be quite as cool about that decision as we would if it only affected us. which is kinda what i was blathering on about work-wise over at my place yesterday. same thing. decisions blow, when they're big and they affect your kids. because you can't be 100% sure.

but you can't, that's the thing. if it weren't in your hands...lets say you very much wanted another but couldn't and adoption wasn't an option for any of a variety of'd probably grieve and be frustrated and perhaps have the same worries about how being an only would affect M, but the choice wouldn't have been in your hands, so you wouldn't bear the same responsibility for it. if that were the case, would it weigh on you in the same way?

for what it's worth, i was raised an only. i have half-siblings on my dad's side, but they were raised thousands of miles away and i only saw them every second summer. there are a few small burdens to being an only, sure...but bonuses too. great bonuses. i have a certainty about my mother's love for me that is not more than those with siblings, but different. and i have one-on-one relationships with most of the adults who were in my life when i was a child in the way that most kids with siblings don't either, because i started sitting down to the table and interacting with the adults much younger, since there were no other kids to play with. it is not bad.

mamatulip said...

I'm an only child (to my mother).

It's okay. It's more than okay.

Penny. said...

I wonder the same thing.

But, I don't want to sell myself into slavery, just yet.

And.. I confess.. I say things like 'lets make a baby'.. but, that's because I think human biology, all of it, but especially the human reproductive system, is uber-sexy.. turns me on, lights my fire, floats my boat! ~ And, nearing ovulation, or, maybe it's my peak.. actually, pretty much anytime, if TDOW and I are talking about having children (unless Oee is at that exact moment slamming the door or screaming at me for something, which is rare, but happens.. and loudly), I could rip the clothes right off of him.


I can't even remember what we were talking about now.

I've got a man to undress..

Oh - but, precautions.. yes, precautions against the ops.. but, what precaution is there against the 'wish I had', down the road.. Strangley enough, while watching R get his head stitched up from a welding accident, the doctor mentioned that working with seniors, as he had for a long stint, the one thing he had brought out with him was that they had all wished they'd had more children and so he'd decided to have five. And, he was so happy.

Yeah. He. I would have liked to have talked to his wife.


Doesn't help does it... my hypomanic ramblings, this evening... I have no idea, Jen.

Best policy?

Do everything you do out of love and not fear. Keep to that and you will not go wrong. Find the root of the decision and weight it with those two measures.


luckyzmom said...

I planned on 8 and have two. And was I grateful for that. Somewhere around the 7th grade they start molting and even one is too many then!

I don't think that being an only child is a bad thing. My husband would say, "Get M a goldfish."

Ruth Dynamite said...

Trust your gut.

You know what's right for you, and whatever that is, it's OK.