How Do You Know When You're Ready?
My son is 18 months old and I feel like we’re just getting the hang of this whole parenting thing. Suddenly we’re at the point when we thought we’d start working on #2, but now I’m not sure. I always assumed that the decision to try for the first child would be the hard one and the next would just sort of happen. But, like most things that I thought in my pre-mom life, I was totally wrong.
So (seasoned moms out there, I’m talking to you), how do you know when you're ready for another? Is there a moment when you just know? (I’ve had those moments, however fleetingly.) I know how great it is to have siblings close in age and would love for my son to experience that closeness, but I go back and forth between feeling really ready and then really NOT ready. Why the back and forth? I expected to just know.
As soon as I start to feel like I’m ready, the reality of what that really means makes me retreat quickly. This time I know what’s in store for me and I’m freaked. You see, I was never basking in the glow of pregnancy or new mommy bliss. Truthfully, I didn’t like being pregnant very much. I had a terrible labor with our son and it took me a long time to recover, which has totally freaked me out about future labors. I found my seven months of breastfeeding to be a chore, didn’t do well with that whole helpless newborn feeling, and the lack of sleep was excruciating. Don’t get me wrong, I would absolutely do it all again, I just can’t get too excited about the details.
Then there are always the practical issues: When is the right time to have a baby? My job keeps me too busy in the fall and early winter to be out on maternity leave (I made that mistake once). Winter is no time to be cooped up in a house with a newborn and a toddler, but summer would be equally hard. What would we do for child care for two? Should I consider a part time job? Can we afford that? Should we move to a place with a lower cost of living? Am I ready to share my love with another baby? Do I have much more patience and love to give? How will we afford sending another child to college? Should we assume that we can have another child when we want one, that we won’t struggle? And then there is my selfish reason: I’m a bridesmaid or matron of honor in three weddings this summer. Yes, it may seem I’m putting our family planning on hold all in the name of a good time and a ton of champagne. Can you blame a girl? OK, maybe you can. And I get that, because I’m not sure what’s “right” either. Will future Lisa feel like I made the right decision in waiting? Or am I using these weddings as a convenient excuse to not make a decision? If you happen to be the next person in line at the grocery store who coos over my son and then asks when my next will be on the way, forgive me in advance if I scream and run.Continued on the next page