Thank you, every one of you, for your thoughtful comments on my last entry. This discussion is tremendously helpful to me, and I've read and considered each of your messages carefully. Not just huh-that's-interesting carefully; more like woke-up-at-4-AM-and-couldn't-get-back-to-sleep carefully. Many of you touched on issues I hadn't even realized I cared about; many of you made me stab the air with an excited index finger, yelping, "Yes! That's it exactly!" Some of them I want to discuss in greater detail, and will come back to later when my air-stabbing finger isn't quite so worn out from the repetitive stress of acknowledging your collective brilliance.
I recognize that not all of you will be able to spare the time to read the comments in the entirety, so I've put together a compendium of the ones I found especially thought provoking. Except Tertia's, which is there because, well, you know, I always feel so sorry for the poor thing.
I've edited these for length; you can see the full version of each below the original post
Going thru ART has turned my head to mush and my heart to mulch. Sometimes I'm convinced the only reason I want two is because it appears I can't have two.
I'm infertile and don't have a child yet. I was always pretty sure I wanted one and definitely sure I wanted one at a time. However, in order to get one I have to risk ending up with two, three or even more - and simultaneously at that. How's that for irony?
Lately, even the sweetest moments also carry the pang that this, too will end someday. There will be a last time that I'll have to get up and comfort him in the middle of the night... that he'll jabber excitedly to see me... that he'll sit on my lap. I suppose having another will only delay the inevitable. But god, how I want to.
Completing my family (according to MY definition of complete) matters to me more than the heartbreak and the turmoil caused by all this damn drama.
At what point am I willing to sacrifice things now to try to have another child? Do I really want Sophie to see her mother cry over yet another miscarriage? Do I want to have to explain miscarriage? Or broken dreams?
— Jen P
After my oldest son, the preeclampsia, NICU, and his severe disabilities, I was ready to raise him as an only child, but secretly wished to do it again, make it all end differently. Sadly, I couldn't enjoy my second pregnancy or even most of my second son's first year. That first experience scarred too deeply.
I have decided not to decide at all. This course of action seems risky to an infertile, I know (we are programmed to move continually forward towards our respective goals), but there is nothing else I can do right now.
I'm just really loving having an older child and looking forward to the big kid adventures. I think we will have so much fun with just the three of us.
As for more kids being able to help in ones old age, I just don't see that as the norm. In most families I know, one sibling winds up being responsible for the care of the parents (and it's usually a daughter.) Further, my mother, who is an only child, said she felt relieved when making decisions for her elderly parents that there were not siblings around to argue with her, as she saw quite a few times in hosptials and hospice.
When we had our first daughter, we felt like a couple plus a baby, but now that we have the second, we've started to feel like a family.
I think about the future when my parents are gone and not having anyone to mourn their loss with the way a sibling would.
We look at our friends with 1 and they and their child generally look happy. Those of our friends with 2 look like chaos has taken over and the mothers usually look exhausted and not terribly happy.
To spend money on treatments when we could be spending it on her, her education, family trips, making our futures secure...I'm not sure I could have done that without regrets.
However I ultimately achieve number one, I am tempted to only have that one because I want to have that closeness and friendship with a child that I have enjoyed with my own parents.
— J, an only child
It takes a lot of work to raise a decent human being.
i usually say, "Bad things happened on the way to the baby, and then bad things happened when we had the baby."
— Kelly, when asked about having a second child
Going through IF/IVF for so long just robbed me of so much happiness and faith in the world - I don't want to be that person as a mother.
I always wanted two. The reason being, I am far too neurotic for one child to have to deal with: If I had two, I could spread it around.
siblings were important enough to me that when i found myself pregnant during my freshman year of college, when i was 19, it was a major factor in my move to make an adoption plan for my baby.
— katie e.
Do I want another child? Yes, so much that it makes my heart ache. Would it be responsible of me? Absolutely not.
My two cents on the "only child" stereotyping is that it all stems from the jealousy that parents of >1 feel when they see parents of onlies who are able to parent the way they *want* to - as opposed to the way they have to - because we all have a finite supply of time, money and energy.
I feel like my memories will be lost because that sibling that does not exist whom I have missed all my life will never be there. So I say screw sharing, sibling rivalry and spoiling: there would have been nothing better in life than to not be alone.
— Malin, an only child
I have a brother, and he is the only person who understands why I am the way I am, because he was raised with me. I want my son to have that opportunity.
My husband says he couldn't bear to watch another baby in the NICU with IVs planted deep inside her head.
I know there is that whole "might die" thing, I really don't want you to die. Not all the time, anyway.
Don't know why there is such pressure to have two. Shouldn't one miracle be enough? I am not at all religious, but I once asked a friend of mine who has one daughter whether she planned to have another child. She said, I feel like that would be saying to God, "This isn't enough." How could you ever look at your child and say that?
We've had enough drama in our lives in the past few years. We just want to enjoy it all now.
If you are asking if, knowing what I know now, would I do the same thing all over again? There are days when the answer, to be completely honest, would be no. But those are really very few and far between. I feel far more often that I would have missed one of the greatest adventures of my life.
If I were you, honestly, I would never even consider having another biological child with your and his health problems. I can't understand why so many commenters on here, who have had dangerous pregnancies and are at the age when pregnancy is risky, would ever consider having another biological child.
— anon - usually not anon
If it doesn't come easily people want you to justify your desire for another child. I can't. I want one for me. [...] Also, if I'm honest I want to see if I can do it better next time around.
Before I knew I was infertile, I thought two (one girl, one boy, of course) would be perfect. The girl first then the boy. Yes, when you think you can have babies easily, you also have the audacity to wish for a certain birth order.
It wasn't an easy decision to cycle again. I was agonizing over the decision with one of my friends when she said, "If you could just get pregnant, without IVF, would you?" I immediately and without hesitation said, "Of course!" I guess what that showed me is that I was letting the infertility stand in the way of my decision.
My biggest fear was not raising a selfish child, but raising a precocious misfit who could only relate to adults, because I have seen too many treasured only children that are just that.
I think all the bullshit about only kids not being able to adjust well is, umm, bullshit...I always felt loved and I know my parents were able to give me wonderful opportunities in life because there was only one child. [...] Sometimes I wished I had a sister or brother to play with...but it seemed like my friends spent a lot of time fighting with their siblings. And I was glad when my friends had to go home and I had my space to myself again.
— Viking Zen
What I wish is that I could have a pregnancy like other people did, free of stress, hospitalizations and a lot of fear. My pregnancy was so fraught with anxiety and strife that I never had a chance to enjoy one second of it. I hate that.
But then again, I've got my kids and I'm so blessed and so lucky and so happy with them, whatever else happened seems a lot less important, overall.
Whether or not a family has one child or more than one child is not the only factor in how the children and the family as a whole turn out.
I am an only child and if not for the persistence of my ex-husband and ex-in-laws, I would have been perfectly content with one child. The one I heard the most was "Don't do that to your son." All the while thinking to myself, "Do WHAT, exactly?"
I've come to the point where I'm almost more terrified of the next IVF working than I am of it failing. I've managed to convince myself that my eggs are such damaged goods that nothing positive can come of any pregnancy I might manage to achieve, and I'll live to rue the day that I ever tried. It's a rotten way to decide that you'd rather have just the one.
While the logistics [of ART] are much harder the 2nd time around, I found it MUCH easier to bear the losses & disappointments and it was much harder to dwell on them or wallow in self pity. Partly because you're frankly too busy to think about it, and partly because, well, the absolute worst case is something that's already pretty awesome, right?
I truly do admire the optimism that comes along with even thinking you have any control over such things as family size.
It is a form of hell on earth for a husband who nearly lost his wife to watch her go through another pregnancy. So this is something that both partners need to be 100% comfortable with.
Nothing compares to the drugged joy of your firstborn. But for me, having a second made me...better.
I responded to my infertility diagnosis with stubborn spite, and a renewed drive to have two children--what I'd always wanted. Just as I wasn't willing to compromise on having children, period, I wasn't willing to compromise on the number, either.
I felt safe with my little 3 person family and suddenly now I feel in danger of it all collapsing into unknown problems and issues that we wouldn't have faced with just one child.
I want to enjoy every stage of my son's growing up. I think almost inevitably when you have a newborn, you "miss" the corresponding stage that the older child is going through, and every day with DS is too much fun to want to be distracted from it.
To try to have another seems like such a risk, to some degree physically but much more so emotionally. I am deeply afraid of trying again (of m/c, of something being Terribly Wrong), and deeply afraid of not trying again.
What I am trying to do is remind myself to enjoy the here and now. I wasted so many years of my life while chasing my dream of a child that I don't want to waste any moments with her now that she is here.
My dream was to have three. I am so blessed to have one.
The rest will just fall into place.