Childrearing

I’m Afraid Having More Kids Will Jeopardize My Bond With My Daughter

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The first time, things felt severely out of my control. If I were to get pregnant again, I would have to know that it was a good choice for me and my existing family, not a result of too much red wine and The Notebook on TBS.

There are also so many wonderful things about having only one child that can be totally undervalued. I love being able to focus on what she wants to talk to me about and take the time to answer her questions (upon questions, upon questions). Helping her develop the confidence that I probably lacked a bit growing up and being able to give her so much of myself is a gift and I don’t believe it’s to her detriment. In a world where confidence is our biggest ally, I consider it my most important job to help her feel secure enough in herself to navigate through it.

I’m not at all saying that it’s not possible to do with more than one child — of course it is. But I feel far more confident in my abilities to lovingly and wholly nurture one child than I do two. Being an effective parent means too much to me and I want my child (or children) to be a source of joy, not angst (though that is sometimes par for the course). As I reach the point of feeling confident in myself as a mother, I shudder to think about returning to an anxiety-ridden state while trying to hold down the fort and bring up two well-adjusted kids.

Maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit, but I just don’t know right now and it’s not something I’m willing to risk. My sanity is too important to me, as is the amazing bond I have with my child. It’s like my husband always says, “I’d rather have one kid and a sane wife.” Right?

There are surely times when I yearn for that new baby scent and squishy bundle of baby blubber. There are also times when I think how nice it would be if my daughter had a full-time play-mate. But for me, it isn’t reason enough to rush into it, not even close. I think it should be my and my husband’s responsibility to give her as much attention as she needs to feel loved and wanted, not another child’s. While some parent’s fear their children getting bored, I often strive to make sure she is not occupied every minute of every day.

She has plenty of time with other kids, as she attends preschool three times each week. But her solitary play has given birth to this amazing imagination that is like something I’ve never seen. While it’s sometimes difficult to pull myself away in order to give her that time, I see it as an amazing part of her development to learn to entertain herself. Maybe it will make her different than some other kids, but I can’t see how that would be bad.

My daughter is my greatest teacher and closest companion. Only child, or not, I know she will be just fine. I believe children adjust to where you set the bar and what your expectations of them are, not just how many siblings they have because there are too many other factors that make up a family. Perhaps I will change my tune in a year or a few short months, but please, don’t rush me. Right now, I’m still getting to know my one amazing child and there is so much more to know.

(photo: Matthew Jacques / Shutterstock)

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