Not more than about 24 hours after Natalie was born did we get our first “So, when are you all going to have another” question.
It took us 10 years of marriage to get started with the first and we were nowhere at all prepared to think about adding another to the mix. I mean, let’s be honest, this one was fresh out of the oven. It was way too early for all that.
Once we got our little bundle of joy home and began to settle into life with a new little person in our midst, we let ourselves start to think about the possibilities of having another. These were mostly the answers to those questions posed by others (or even ourselves during moments of insanity):
- This one is hard enough.
- Are you crazy?
- Her explosive diarrhea just went all over the carpet again.
- I’m sorry, I just got 2 hours of sleep over the last 3 days. I’m confused.
- Get out.
So, obviously, not a lot of positive feelings toward the subject and it didn’t get better as our little bundle of sugar and SPICE became even spicier.
Then, we started trying to look past how difficult it has been and all the aspects of parenthood that have worn us down and tried to focus on what it would mean for Natalie to have a sibling.
But, you can’t have this type of conversation without thinking about your own experiences with siblings. Past and present. It all comes rushing back. You start to itemize the good and bad times and that little scale in your head begins to tilt in favor or against the proposed measure of giving your child the same experiences.
You quickly realize the sibling(s) God chooses to “bless” (subjective term, of course) you with is a complete crapshoot. I mean, you could grow up with the next Mother Theresa or the next Charles Manson. And you have absolutely ZERO control.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my siblings. We have all grown closer together over the last couple of years (much more than we were before), but we are all mostly in our 30’s now. A large majority of the rest of our time with each other was spent in mild tolerance or major annoyance.
Sure, it’s fun to reminisce about family vacations and my brother barfing all over the station wagon at the first whiff of gasoline, or all the times we got away with something our parents are just now finding out about 20 years later. But, as we continue to review the mental snapshots of joy and pain shared with our siblings, it’s hard to say, even now, if giving our little one the same would be a positive thing for her as a person and the three of us as a family.
We remain thankful for our siblings because of how our interactions with each other as children helped shape us into the people we are today, but the impossibility of knowing if it will help shape our daughter in a more positive way makes this decision so much harder.
Ultimately, the mental tug-o-war continues for now and I am sure it will all come down to a lot of prayer and a well-timed coin flip to determine the fate of Natalie’s “only child” status.