That was the question my husband asked me a little over a year ago when we started discussing trying to have a child. We already had a five-year-old little girl. He is a dad (step-dad) and he is content with his role. He’s been there for my daughter and I since she was two. He changed diapers, he read stories, he played, he filled sippy cups, he drove her and I are around on endless car rides in an effort to get her to sleep without a binky for the first time, and the second, and the third, etc. He didn’t understand my need to have a child when we already have one. He felt very content with our little family.
So we talked about it. My body had been saying it is time for another baby since we had a miscarriage two years prior after a surprise pregnancy. My wonderful husband, though, had a lot of fears. He feared for me, the child, and for us emotionally and financially. My husband’s parents got divorced when he was young, and it was not amicable at any point in time. No one ever expects to get divorced, but we’re both realistic enough, given my history and his childhood, to realize that plans sometimes change. He didn’t want the child to suffer the consequences of a messy divorce as he had. He was afraid, too, that he wouldn’t be a good father to another child. He has our daughter and she is easy to love, and she is enough. He was afraid of all the things that can go wrong with a pregnancy, too. What if he got emotionally invested and then we miscarry, again? And I think he was even more afraid of the delivery. So many what ifs in delivery.
It hadn’t occurred to me that he would have all the same fears I had as a first-time parent, plus a couple to fit our situation. He is such a good father to Eva, and her biological father so distant, that I forget sometimes that he would be a first-time father to a baby (if my ovaries will cooperate, that is).
We talked about each issue, and he agreed that another child could be a welcome addition. I explained that he would love this child, too, because he would bond with him or her just like he did with two-year-old Eva. Also, to have another child is part of my hopes and dreams for my life and our lives together, just as he has hopes and dreams for his career and for us financially. He still only had one concern, though, would it be unfair to Eva? She is six now, not two anymore, and she has never had to share us except with her cousins. Her cousins always go home. This child would be home.
What he found surprising to hear is Eva is a big part of my reason for wanting another child. I am the youngest of five children, and though I never want to have five, I want Eva to experience what it is to be a sister. Not even so much as a child, but as an adult. One of the best things to be as a grown-up is someone’s aunt. It is all the love and fun of parenting, without much of the not-fun (like a grandparent, but way cooler). And, the love and understanding I receive from my brothers is amazing. I don’t have to get to know them and bond and slowly build a friendship, they already know my past and who I am. Even my brother that just delights in being a pain in the you-know-where is a source of support and love. Granted, we don’t always feel loving toward each other at every moment of every day. But, my siblings are always there for me, day or night, and trust me there have been some nights. I am always there for them, day or night (usually babysitting duties, but still). As my parents age, the question of when is it time to step in and put mom or dad in a residential care facility or get a in-home nurse is going to come up. And I don’t have to make those decisions alone. I will have my brothers and sister to discuss things with, to share that emotional burden and responsibility. This is what I want for Eva, is to have a friend that is way better than a friend. A brother or sister isn’t just a friend, but family. Even when I am old, demented, or dying, she will have someone else that will share in that grief with the same perspective as that of a child losing a parent. You can’t substitute such a thing.
Now if my ovaries will just sign the peace treaty…