she has fallen and now she is awake

on having more children

I cannot decide.

Every argument seems predicated on either the “ha ha I’m better than you” model or the “women just want the baaayyyyybbbbeeeeeeeezzzzz” model. It makes finding information hard. It makes discussing it with friends VERY hard. I’m either treading on toes with the ‘no, I feel no desire to have another, but yes your baby is adorable, honestly!’ or ‘I’m sorry you want another but can’t*’ or ‘yes I know you’re an only child/one of seven, but this decision is about me’. The most understanding and rational and emotionally responsive conversation I’ve had about it is with a lesbian non-parent. Part of it is her stellar conversation skills, but part of it is that her baggage (pregnancy won’t just ‘happen’ for her, should she choose that path) sides nicely along with mine.

Exacerbating it is the fact that people have started prying into things. I’m getting asked by strangers when I’ll have her sibling (it’s MY CHILD as well, thanks). I discuss it ad nauseum with Wolfman because he has always wanted a lot of children. His first serious response to me about how many children he wanted was ‘6’ (well before our relationship began I might add). He modified it to 4 after a while. He’s adamant that ‘more than 0’ is his final answer but I fear curtailing his life like this. I fear resentment over this issue even as I remember the vomiting and the fear and the pain and wonder how the hell I could ever stand being more vulnerable. Combined with the plates and everything else I fear my own resentment too.

But I remember the joy and the wonder too. I try so hard to see siblings as a gift to give Bunbun, instead of something that will burden her.

I don’t talk about that much – I have no terrible relationship with my siblings behind me to back that up. Just something akin to selfishness and ambivalence. Something I recognise as a lack in me rather than as an actual commentary on the nature of siblings** so that feeds into my indecision as well.

The fact that I never felt that urge that so many women talk about bothers me. I never felt it with Bunbun so why should it bother me that I don’t feel it now? But it does. Like this is a more monumental decision – and it is a decision. It’s not something I can simply throw into the universe to see what happens. Or even something I want to go by serendipity and emotional resonance. No matter how amazing a story is I feel this need for something more concrete and logical and it just doesn’t fucking exist. Prioritising the concrete over the emotional in this of all discussions feels like a mistake as well.

*For any number of reasons, none of which make a discussion about this less fraught with hurt.

**Not to mention reading the diagnostic criteria for Generalised Anxiety Disorder which slots perfectly alongside my little quirks and brain spasms – how much of my indecision and fear is because of that, rather than anything concrete.


3 responses to “on having more children

  1. Ami November 1, 2010 at 03:21

    I totally hear you on this. I expected the decision to have or not have a baby to be so much easier after having one…a clear “yes please” or “hell no”. And if anything it’s even muddier than it was before. I think this may be one of those questions where if you’re not at least a little ambivalent you’re not paying attention. Not that knowing that makes it any easier to sort out one’s thoughts on the subject. has some really helpful comment threads about this if you search the archives.

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