We had a decision to make, and we made it, and it’s done, and we’re moving on. Which feels good — really freeing, actually — but still bittersweet. The decision was whether or not to add to our family. Emotionless pro/con charts always came out decisively on the con side (which I think they would for almost anyone, if I actually cared to think about it anymore), although the pro points were big, important ones with considerable emotional heft. And besides, pro/con charts aren’t the definitive way to make this kind of decision. They are merely one of many tools we employed to try to convince ourselves to have one more child. In the end, we couldn’t convince ourselves.
What I’ll miss about not having another child: pregnancy, picking a name, infancy, breastfeeding, experiencing emerging wonder. Wandering the streets sleepily with a child in a carrier. I will miss never having a son. I will miss never watching my husband do the things he does best with a son, although I probably enjoy watching him do those things with his daughter much more.
What I won’t miss: doing further damage “down there,” not getting any sleep, washing diapers, buying diapers and shoes and…what the hell, we need more shoes again? Additional stress and incursions on my time and career and love life and body. Trying to entertain and coordinate activities and travel logistics for two children. If there’s anything I’ve learned from being a mother to one, it’s that I’m really not interested in all that stuff. Which I could have told you before, actually. But you may not have believed me. Or you would have tried to convince me that “all that will change.” That’s what my friends said. But then, they told me lots of half-truths in their attempts to get me to join their club.
Elizabeth Banks told a People correspondent that she really only felt like a mom when she had a second kid. She was vilified for saying that, but people took it way too far, in my opinion. She was likely just stating how she felt and not meaning to project her thoughts on her identity onto other families. (And even if she was, who the eff cares?! Her opinion affects our lives in no way whatsoever. Geez, people.) However, by that measure…well, okay then, I’m not a mom. Not sure what that makes me, but I don’t care, and frankly, I think that’s actually what I’m kind of going for. Some kind of pseudo-mom. Really, just me, but with a kid. I’ve stressed and blabbered about my “identity” many times here and over drinks and in my mind, so I won’t go on anymore. All I know is that this decision feels right for us. But today I mourn that second child nevertheless.
East End Mama
[image: Boy with Balloons by Kamala Kannan, National Geographic]