To Breed or Not to Breed

Apologies for the pun. I know it's absolutely dreadful, but I really struggle with witty, pithy, non-cheesy titles, so this is the tripe I end up with.

We have now arrived at the stage in which we are wondering whether we want to try for a sibling for P, or if I should just sew it all up and be happy with one. The Dude first broached this topic soon after P's first birthday, at which point my mind was so addled by depression, anxiety, and general malice toward children, that I kicked him in the crotch and punched his neck. The Dude, who at 36 is six years older than my fine, youthful self, started feeling his biological clock ticking before P was even born. He is convinced that if we wait too much longer to have a second child, his legs will fall off as he plays football with them, and his false teeth will slip out of his mouth when reading bedtime stories. I try not to mock his concerns, but I confess that I find they rank far below mine.

My primary worry was that I would have as much trouble adapting to a second child as I did the first. It is only in the past year that my unabashed love for P has grown exponentially, and I am terrified that it would take me two years to get to that point again with a second child. It's a horrible thing to admit, but due to what I assume were my own issues with depression in conjunction with something I can only compare to PTSD (obviously on a much smaller scale, but it's the closest approximation I can think of), I think it's really within this period that I've realised what P means to me.

I know that I have loved her since birth. Even though the first few months were the worst in my life, I knew I loved her even though I had trouble expressing it. I never felt the outpourings of boundless maternal love that other new mothers seemed to have, which is something I still feel guilty about. When I read of new mothers of babies, and even toddlers, getting pregnant again, I was not the least bit envious. Instead, I thought of how positively dreadful that situation would be for me. I had enough trouble coping with my one child.

I should add that none of this was related to P's behaviour. Though...spirited, she is the most marvellous, intelligent, and unintentionally hilarious child I could ever hope for. For whatever reason, I'm only now able to realise what that means to me. I love her more than I ever thought possible - to the point that I'm scared by the volume of adoration I have for her. It is immensely refreshing and liberating for me to finally acknowledge that I know I would do whatever was asked of me if it meant she would be happy. I could have said all of that before to superficially satisfy my own doubts, but it's only recently that I would know in my heart that I mean it.

Now instead of wondering if I am capable of being a mother again, I question whether I could cope with investing so much love for a second time. It's not a matter of thinking that I couldn't possibly love another child as much as I love P, but rather that my love for her is so all-consuming, so overwhelmingly maternal, that I don't know if I have the substance to multiply that by two. As is customary of me, my acknowledgment of my vast love for P manifests itself in anxiety. Worrying constantly about the health and wellbeing of two children? I'll need to find a host of GPs to prescribe all the medications that I would inevitably require.

I do know that my uterus is a fickle little madam, as I am now highly envious of pregnant women and new mothers. I went from not possibly wanting another child to suddenly having an incomprehensible desire to procreate. I always wondered if I would "just know" if/when the time was right, and it appears as if that cliche does actually apply.

However, don't run out and buy those Johnny Cash onesies just yet though kids. I've still got to see this anti-depressant thing out a bit more in order to be less crazy for any potential future children. The Dude is annoyed by this delay now that I'm finally keen to give it a go, but strangely enough I favour my sanity over the possible earlier arrival of a sibling for P. I also suspect that pregnancy will not be bestowed upon me with any rapidity.

So yes, this anti-maternal sort is getting all precious about babies. What insanity.


wheelsonthebus said...

you may have an easier time conceiving this time...

Jenn said...

I still don't know that I'm quite there with the overbounding rays of sunshine and maternal love. I firmly believe I have some PTSD related to the first few months and can not stand to be left alone with them for longer than a couple of hours before total sets in. Yet I want more.

More isn't exactly a possibility though and I'm getting ok with that. I think back to the general lack of sleep and utter suckitude having newborns is and I think, hey, not going back there isn't so bad after all. But we have those frozen embryos messing all that up.

You know I should just write my own post :)

Jenn said...

Oh, btw, when I clicked through to comment and was scrolling down, I swear your tagline said "Sticking in the man's face since '78".

Brigindo said...

You know I didn't have the same issues with depression or PTSD or difficulty conceiving but I felt exactly the same way about having a second child. My feelings for Angel were so strong (and quite frankly still are) I didn't think I could handle feeling that way for another person. I don't know if I would have gotten over that if I had been in a good marriage or if b had come along much sooner but that's water under the bridge now. Good luck with the meds. I believe it will work out well on your time table.

orodemniades said...

Hey, you're not dead! I was thinking just the other day, say, I haven't heard from Ms P in ages...and lo, 12 posts popped up in bloglines this morning.

Anyhoo, I've wanted another baby since I was 8 weeks along w/the Chieftain, even more so now that he's going to turn one! year! old! on Sunday. Bring on FET 2009. But I both wonder if I can love another baby as much and if my time/attention is taken by that baby, how will he cope?? Assuming I can even have another baby...wantWantWANT.

So, um. Yeah.

Thalia said...

I can totally see where you are coming from, even while my feelings are a bit different. I have always wanted another one, because I was so anti only child status for Pob, and always knew we would have no choice but to have them pretty close together given my age. I still worry, not about loving the second one because i believe that will come, but because I worry about the effect on pob, who is my priority right now and who I love to distraction. But I also trust things will be ok.

Despite the dude's advanced years, you have time, you don't need to rush this. Get better first.

PS aren't some anti-ds safe in pregnancy, anyway?

electriclady said...

Right there with you, my friend--the PTSD, the love thing, all of it. Except that I'm also a crone compared to you (as my OB cheerfully reminds me) so I don't have a ton of time to waffle.

PS Bloglines finally picked up your feed! Hooray!

May said...

12 new bloglines posts today! What Pru Bounty!!!

I'm so glad you're feeling better.

Oh, and going from 1 to 2 kids was a piece of cake compared to going from 0 to 1. And now that Buddy's older, they entertain EACH OTHER. And I drink coffee. Ahhh...

It took me at least 5 months to bond with each of my children. It's pretty common, I hear. People are just ashamed to admit it.

Molly said...

Oh darling. How wonderful and scary, I'm sure. Take your time, don't let The Dude bully you. It is your overdramatic uterus, after all.

To read:


Tash said...

Don't feel guilty for a second. I was so nervous that Bella wouldn't arrive at all, I think it took over a month to really exhale and open myself to the possibility of loving her. And then she turned into demon baby who never slept, and her first year was a living hell for me that I am loathe to repeat (not to mention the torn rectal muscle giving birth to her. ow).

Pregnant the second time, I swore things would be different, even if I had another demon child (wow, little did I know -- little too much emphasis on DEMON apparently) but was seriously getting anxious about my ability to go through another year of hell WITH A TODDLER IN TOW. I sort of eased my way into it, swearing that I wouldn't beat myself up about the sleep thing or the constant breast feeding thing and somehow everything would be fine.

Well! THAT worked out well! My problems now obviously overshadow the whole "get through the first year thing" but really, they're still there, too. The idea of going through pregnancy hell, actually getting a live baby, and THEN having to go through first year hell is more guilt in advance than I can realistically stand.

Long way of saying: I hear you. Or maybe I just hear me but you helped me make sense of it.

Lut C. said...

All right! Bloglines is fixed!
I heavily depend on bloglines, but perhaps I should switch to Google reader.

Frankly, I'm surprised that you're considering trying for a second child. Don't take this the wrong way, I don't have an opinion on whether you should or shouldn't after your previous experience. It's just that this is the first time you've talked about it (to my memory).

Trying again is great fun. Hahahahahaha!

calliope said...

oooooooh. This is kind of fun territory here...I have done wicked loads of research on anti-D's and pregnancy. I was on meds right on up to my transfer and then went back on right before the 3rd trimester. I wish I never went off of them and am annoyed that I thought I had to.
That being said- I think your desire to just chill on the idea is totally a healthy thing. And if/when you are ready to take the leap I hope you can find a med that you can stay on all the way through. (wellbutrin rocks in case you were wondering)

Hairy Farmer Family said...

I've talked to a couple of people now about my worries vis a vis the immense emotional input in having a second one. I've invested so much in Harry, that part of me wonders if I could ever give another child that level of selfless commitment. I feel that inevitably I would have less energy and time to devote to them.

However, I am reliably assured that the mother-love magnifies itself pretty seamlessly into twice the size, and at that point, nothing is different from the first. You do what you have to do, want to do, need to do for that child. And these are the same people who gave me sooth advice regarding child issues before I was even pregnant with Harry, so I'm going with Believing Them Hopefully at the moment.

I reckon you'll get there first if you do try again, so let me know if it's any different, yes?!

Betty M said...

Yup I can confirm the magnification of mother love HFF refers to. It just happens. The love is totally there. I won't deny that the crap bits are there too - the borderline PND, the sleep deprivation, the marital disharmony - but the benefits are also enormous. You will be able to do it.
If the Dude is old I am positively Methusalah!

Jaywalker said...

I was terrified I would have the same misery/PTSD/grim night of soul second time round. AND my mum died when I was 5 months pregnant with second child. I was so scared that I actually wrote into my birth plan that I thought I might not be able to cope and might atually go completely crazy the minute I gave birth.

It didn't happen. He was just the absolute best thing, The BEST, in an otherwise shitty shitty time. He still is. I think his big brother got the short end of the stick and I still struggle with that. But second? Yes. Absolutely. Aces.