My son is officially out of the baby stage, which has generated one single question above his language skills, eating habits and fashion choices. When will we have the next one?
The next one.
It's not a new question. It wasn't even 24 hours after I had my son that someone jokingly said, "Ready to do that again?" And that's what it was at first — something I could laugh off. Going through his first year, we decided to focus on our careers and our bank accounts and the kinds of basics that are normally established pre-baby. I really didn't think about having "the next one" -- not until the 18-month mark. That's when I started doing the "if I get pregnant at this time, Noah will be this old." And then with every month crossed off, the clock has been ticking louder.
Having a surprise baby at 22 might seem like the clock can keep on ticking for another decade, and technically that's true. But when it comes to planning a family (more specifically, siblings), there's a bit of a dilemma: I was barely ready for one, so is it responsible to plan for another? I know there are plenty of close, happy siblings who are 5, 6, 7 years apart — but it's not just the age difference on my mind. Young motherhood has one very big perk: You're done earlier. While my Facebook feed is littered with summer-long treks around Europe and surprise Hawaiian getaways, that twinge of jealousy subsides when I realize that those same people will be driving from dance class to soccer games to PTA meetings while I'm sitting on the beach. So, sure, it's entirely plausible to have children far apart, but do I want to?
Yet how could I not have a newborn again? How could I not replicate the best two years of my life? How could my sweet little boy, who rocks his stuffed animals and shushes around sleeping babies, not be the big brother he's meant to be?
At the same time, we started as unemployed college graduates and in two short years have built ourselves promising careers — all with a baby in our arms. How can we add another baby to the mix?
If I've learned anything in these last three years, it's that planning is pointless. Things will happen, will develop, when they're meant to, regardless of how many times I think about this a day. How many times I read about siblings vs. only children. How many times I go back and forth, and then back...and then a few steps forth.
Did anyone else have this same dilemma?