Is One Child Enough?

A mother struggles with the second-kid decision.
Is One Child Enough?

Aaron Meshon

I'm lying on my back, feet in stirrups. Dr. Gyno snaps on a plastic glove and gives the old "scootch toward me." This is not how I had planned on spending my Tuesday morning.

I have lived by the motto "Jump and the net will appear," and not just because I have a thing for firemen. That simple philosophy has inspired me to lead a life of frequent and deliberate change. Hairstyles, apartments, boyfriends, careers... I cycled through them all with the ease of an iPod shuffle.

Right now you're probably thinking, "Wow, what a flake." And you'd be right, only I prefer the term "Change Junkie." It's more accurate, and besides, I kind of like the badass connotation. But that was the old (young) me. Now I'm the new (old) me. I'm a 42-year-old wife, with a kid, and a husband who wants another (kid, not wife. Not as far as I know, anyway). Unfortunately for him -- and for three sets of eager, salivating grandparents -- the concept of change now totally freaks me out.

There could be six half-naked firemen standing outside my window yelling "Jump, you're ovulating!" and I still wouldn't budge. When it comes to the question of whether to have a second child, I haven't had the guts to lift my feet off the floor.

Let me explain: My first pregnancy was symptom-free. Even worse, I enjoyed it. I was a "glow"-er. And despite my fears that I would give birth to an ugly dullard, my daughter, now 3 years old, has turned out shockingly well. We're a very small, very manageable, very happy family of three. So why push it? I'd always been a good gambler; I knew when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, when to walk away, and when to run screaming from the idea of another kid.

But then came the vacillating. Some days I'd find my brain playing Good Cop/Crazy Cop with itself. One minute I would be scheduling a vasectomy for my husband based on the fact that 60 percent of the finalists on American Idol were only children; the next minute I was gazing longingly at my daughter's baby pictures, then telling my husband to "get undressed and turn off the lights before I change my mind!" Most times, though, I could fight the impulse.

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