Thursday, October 25, 2012

once upon a time

A few people commented to me about Monday's post that my line "This will be our only child . . ." jumped out at them.

"You don't plan on having another?" seems to be the question these days. (Yes, even now as Miss K has barely reached the four-month mark and we are still waiting for finalization.)

The short answer is no. We don't plan on having another.

When we started trying to grow our family, I had a plan. A vision. Most of us do. I wanted two kids, maybe three. I wanted to space them out so that they would only be, at most, three years apart. I wanted a boy, and then a girl, so that our daughter would have an older brother. Something I always wanted.

Looking back, I think it's funny how we paint these pictures in our heads of how things will be. I don't know about some of you, but my imaginary family building started early on - way before Joey was in the picture. We plan our lives: how many kids we have, what their names will be, what they will look like, etc.

And then when our dream doesn't become reality, we throw it away. We ban all of that fairy-tale nonsense, and we focus instead on getting that ONE healthy, living child.

The dream is dead. My dream. I can't put my finger on an exact time or date, but it's been dead for a while, and I have no intention of bringing it back.

The last four years, we have tirelessly worked toward becoming parents. Our entire marriage, that's all we've done. Now that we've achieved our goal, we want to do something we've neglected a little bit over these last four years: live our lives. We want to travel, and bring Miss K with us on our adventures. We want to bring back all of the happiness that faded away with infertility. We want to be able to have fun.

I used to worry about having an only child. I worried about socialization. Not having enough entertainment. Not being grounded. But now I realize that it's my job to take care of these things - not the job of a sibling. Daycare already gives her plenty of socialization and entertainment. She has cousins and friends that she will be able to interact with as she gets older. And while she'll certainly be spoiled to an extent (she already is), we will also make sure that she has realistic expectations about life.

Is part of me disappointed that my original dream of having a big family won't become reality? Maybe. But I can't imagine going through everything all over again, both emotionally and financially. I don't want to drain our souls or our bank account for the sake of another child.

Instead we are going to focus on giving Miss K - and our little family - the best life possible.


Rach said...

Wow, wonderfully written!

There is still a little thought in the back of my mind about doing adoption for a 2nd child. But my husband squishes it everytime I bring it up. He just really wants to move on and live life. Sometimes, it's hard for me to let go of the dream.

Dawn said...

My best friend for almost 20 years is an only child and she is the most sociable person I know. I often have to check in with her to see how our friends from college are because she is so much better with keeping in touch with everyone and it seems that everywhere she goes she makes a new friend. Something I wish I could do!

She's adopted too, actually. Something I often forget because it was never a big deal just something she mentioned casually. We've often talked about her being an only child and she has never felt deprived by it. I wouldn't worry about little K at all!

Serenity said...

I long for that kind of peace, Katie. So happy you're there.

I've seen glimpses of it, especially lately. I know that Lucky has a lot of sibling figures in his life, and no matter what we'll all be okay. Just hard to let that dream go.

Thanks for posting this. I needed to hear this today.


pex said...

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
― Joseph Campbell

AnotherDreamer said...

Beautiful post, and it makes sense to me. While we plan on pursuing another child, we won't be spending what we did before or pursuing it to the end of all else... we're much more, "if it happens, it happens." And we've made sure that we're going to enjoy our lives and savor ever moment with V :) So while we have different plans, I can really understand your decision and I support it.

It Is What It Is said...

I've never understood why when people start dating folks ask when they are getting married or when they get married people ask when they are having a baby or when they have one child people ask when they are having another. Lifestyles are so fluid these days, with folks being together unmarried, deciding not to have children or deciding to have one, that it never struck me as anyone's business. I mean, even beyond just curiosity, what does it matter to someone else either way?

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Fantastic post. I want to be you when I grow up. I have been trying to close off that family image I had in my mind and paint a new one; one that looks like our family today. It is really hard to change direction. You should feel really good that you got to such a great place.

Rachel said...

LOVE this post. I used to dream of two children - a boy and a girl, the boy older, just as you described. Now, I would be over the moon with one healthy child. And I've come to terms that there is a really good chance that one (if that) may be all we ever have.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

Really great post. I agree that the financial implications are real- and also...when do we get to live our lives? Having V has been amazing but even more amazing has not having to think about this all the time.

I haven't let go of the dream of a #2 totally yet, but bit by bit I'm letting it go...

Either's your choice! And you are right it's up to us as parents!

Ginger said...

I agree with Rach, this is very thoughtful. I am also sticking with one, not because we want/ed only one, but for pretty serious financial and health reasons. And also because now that we have the one who is almost 2 yo, we find our lives more fulfilled with her (alone) than we expected back when she was born.
They certainly won't be alone in the world as only children - it's MUCH more common now than people think.

JustHeather said...

I too have commented at times how our little boy might be the only one. Before, I always thought I wanted at least 2 kids, to keep each other company. But, now that it has taken 4 years to get our little guy and we only have 1 frozen embryo, I'm not so sure we'll have any more. A miracle might happen, but if not, I'm so very grateful to have this one little boy.

Becky said...

I always thought my family would be complete with 2 children. But now that we have 2 (though adoption), I can't help feeling that we're not yet complete, that what I want, what our family needs, is a 3rd child. It's so interesting how life rarely ends up looking like what we expected.

mmcham said...

Katie, and others,
as the mom of a only child, I have been consistently surprised how hard it is. It's been my experience that most families have more than one child, and I get funny looks and questions that are so uncomfortable. My son's schoolmates, with a few exceptions, have siblings and this makes him feel different. Also out of 25 cousins, he is the only 'only'. So many nights he has has asked, cried and pleaded for a brother or sister. And I have cried right along with him, only on the inside. There are many family activities that are built around siblings, and seeing my son alone in a crowd of children is heartbreaking. He is very social and does his best, but too many times he has asked to play with others and they say no. I can't blame them, they have their own friends. It's just something to think about and prepare yourself for. we could not afford another child and are so grateful for the one we have, just wish he wasn't so darn lonely so much. Yes I set up playdates, etc. but the onus is always on me. Parents who have more than one child have no idea what it would mean to an only child to be asked to tag along to just about any activity. Sorry to be a bummer it's not all bad but just my experience.

mmcham said...

Katie, being the mom of an only child is easy when they are little. but as they grow, its really hard on them to have no siblings. My son, age 8, has finally given up hope that he'll have a sibling, and I know he is very lonely sometimes. My husband and I work, and we do our best to set up playdates, etc. but when we travel, go on vacation, etc. he has no peers to share his experience. As one of 7 children, I keenly feel the loss for him and wish it was different. All you ladies who are fortunate to have more than one child, please be aware that the 'onlies' would love to meet up, tag along, just hang out with your kids.

Seriously?! said...

I couldn't agree more!!! When you wait so long to have just one child, you're amazed at just how much she, and she alone, can fill your cup. There are too many other variables, money, emotions, etc. that so many other people don't quite understand.

I get you...boy do I ever get you on this one!

Shannon said...

I completely get it. I'm sure most of us do. It always seems like the second you finally "get" a child after battling infertility for so long, the first thing people say is, "When will you have another one?" or, "You know, now that you've gotten pregnant once, I bet your body just KNOWS what to do and you don't have any problems!" ENJOY YOUR LITTLE MIRACLE. You waited a long time to hold, kiss, cherish and relish in every moment you have. I'm proud of you for putting this out there NOW and doing what's right for your fam. LOVE that baby every second. Congratulations!

Dashing Tales said...

I just found your blog and I am incredibly thankful for that. I have not shared my experiences with infertility on my own personal blog, so I admire your ability to do so. Thank you for writing so honestly.

foxy said...

Seriously Katie you have such an amazing way with words. AMAZING.

This is such a loaded topic. I panicked a little when I arrived at baby class last week to see it written up on the board as the topic of the day - I actually almost left because it felt SO overwhelming to me. I think it actually deserves a post of its very own, but the words are so unorganized in my head.

This first year has been such a challenge for us - the thought of having another infant terrifies me. Add that to the drama of infertility and I am 99% sure that we are done. Yet the dream of a big family still floats around out there.

Jaclyn N Lil M said...

HUGS, it is such a difficult decision to make. IF totally kills dreams, but at least you have your beautiful baby to focus on!! She is your miracle and it's great that you are able to focus all your time and energy into her!! xoxo

proud mummy said...

I went to see Marisa Peer a few years ago when I was in the grip of secondary infertility and feeling extremely down and stressed out by the whole process of trying to conceive. Her words and knowledge on infertility totally changed the way I approached trying to get pregnant. The negativity and fear faded away and I felt a renewed positivity and confidence that I would conceive and stay pregnant.
On my first IVF cycle after meeting marisa became pregnant with triplets! I feel that Marisa played a hugely positive role in helping me to have another baby (well, three!) and I feel very, very lucky to have found her. Her methods work.

Logical Libby said...

I have had this post saved in my list so I could comment properly.

Good for you!

I am so tired of having to reason with people who think I will not be complete, or I will be robbing Meg of something if we don't have another child. I don't tell them they should have stopped at one, so why should they tell me what to do. I am not simply waiting to hear the best "multiple children" argument. This is what feels right in my heart, for my family. It doesn't concern anyone else.

I just say "we had a Meg shaped hole in our family. She filled it nicely." No more discussion.