(Note: I'm not pregnant. Remember that whole grad school thing? So settle down; for the moment this is a purely theoretical discussion.)
Torsten and I have always sort of vaguely planned to have two kids, knowing that we wanted somewhere from one to three kids total. We definitely knew we wanted kids in general, so deciding to have Callum wasn't a big deal for us--it was just a question of when, and not if.
But a second kid. Oh man. It's so much harder. Specifically because Torsten doesn't really want a second kid, and I really, really do.
What's funny is that I totally, TOTALLY get where Torsten is coming from. I see all of his points. I AGREE with all of his points, even. But I want another baby ANYWAY. My emotion is overriding my logic (to a point--I actually think there are a lot of logical reasons to have another baby, too). I walk through the exact same thought process as Torsten about the downsides--but then at the end I take the extra step of dismissing them all as not nearly as important. Torsten doesn't take that step.
He does, however, acknowledge that he's not rabidly opposed to having another kid. He agrees that it would probably be better for our family in a lot of ways. He understands that once said second child is actually here, he will be GLAD, he will love it as much as he loves Callum, he will not be able to imagine life without it. He acknowledges that my desire for a second child is much, much stronger than his preference not to have a second child, and as a result he agrees that we should have a second child at some point.
But he doesn't WANT a second child, and if it were up to him and him alone, we wouldn't have one. We would be done.
And I so, SO see why. Another newborn stage. Another tiny helpless baby who wakes up a lot and is very needy. Another few years of diapers. Another car seat in the car. While neither of us minded those things and in fact even enjoyed having a newborn, parenthood is just getting better as Callum gets older--and he doesn't see a reason to revert, to go back to that stage that wasn't nearly as fun. Plus, Torsten is a worrier. He worries about Callum, a lot, and I don't think he's too excited about the prospect of another kid to worry about.
Then there's the cost--not the little things but the childcare. The college savings. The possible private school tuition. The dent those costs will make in our retirement fund. The things we could do with that money.
And then there's the fact that he just feels like our life is perfect, exactly as it is. Callum is wonderful. Having one baby, and in particular such a laid back baby, is pretty easy and convenient. We can travel. We can go out to eat. One of us can handle the kid while the other one takes a break. Basically it boils down to: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Things are great. Why rock the boat? Why put ourselves through all this again when things are so lovely just as they are?
The problem is that I agree with these things. When Torsten says he wouldn't choose to have another kid and I try to envision our lives without one, in a lot of ways it feels like my world is opening up. The simplicity. The savings. The freedom. The choices. The stuff about the newborn stage not being as fun doesn't bother me, because that's temporary and I enjoyed it the first time anyway. But all the other points? I concur on every single one.
But... I want a second kid. I don't care about saving money to retire early if we only have one kid when we retire. And all these sacrifices? We made them for Callum and we both immediately, readily agree that they were completely worth it. And I know we'll feel the same way about the next kid too.
I want to be a family of four. I don't believe the BS a lot of people spout about only children being selfish brats with no social skills, but I do think there's nothing quite like growing up with a sibling, someone who knows you and knows your parents and just GETS it without you having to explain. Torsten is an only child, so he doesn't fully grasp that. He's started to understand it, as I've explained and as he's observed my relationship with my sister, but he doesn't know it naturally, instinctively the way I do.
I also think it would be good for all of us to have another child. I see Torsten's family dynamic with his parents, the way they focus only on him, the way their rigid expectations were never challenged because they never saw that two kids, with the same parents and the same upbringing, can be very different. They had the opportunity to worry about everything, to focus and dwell on all the little details of their child's life, because there wasn't another child to think about. I want to have two kids, two distinct little people with personalities all their own, children that require different parenting, children that don't allow us to focus so singularly on just one of them or the other.
I want to watch our kids interacting. I want them to play and learn from each other and yes, even fight (though hopefully not too often). I want them to grow up together, to know each other, to understand each other's lives and backgrounds, even if they don't turn out to be best friends.
And I want this parenting experience again. Callum is SO amazing. It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that another baby will be equally amazing, that we'll love it equally much, but I know that's the case. TWO babies, two distinct people to love and be amazed by, two people to play together and love and learn from each other. I want that. I just do, even if logically there are a million other things we could do with our time and money that would be way easier and more relaxing. I don't care. I just want it.
And Torsten gets that, he really does. And that's why he's willing to have a second kid despite his doubts. But I feel bad about it. I want him to want another kid as much as I do. I hate that there's no compromising when you and your partner disagree about how many kids you want--that one of us has to "win" and the other has to "lose" this battle. Even though it's not a battle, not really. It's weird because I feel like we're on the same side, with the same opinions, but the same thought process leads us to different conclusions.
And I worry about that too. I worry that I'm just following some weird biological or societal impulse to have another kid, that it's not really the best thing for our family. I feel like I'm making some sort of unilateral decision even though Torsten isn't setting it up like that. Even though he agrees that we're really discussing together what would be best for our family and reaching the conclusion that makes the most sense for all involved parties. It's still me swaying him to make a different decision than he would on his own. And I know that's part of being a family. But we're usually so in tune, so very much on the same page, that it's weird and a little scary to disagree on something so fundamental.
I'm not worried that we won't be able to love another baby as much as we love this one. I'm not worried that we'll ever regret having a second baby, or that Torsten will resent me for making it happen. I know that once the next baby is here, someday down the line, we will wonder how we ever could have thought that maybe it wasn't the right thing.
But the next baby isn't here yet. We don't know when it will be here, or even if we will encounter problems trying to conceive it, when we get to that point. It's all still theoretical, a vague and blurry concept, where these concerns are still valid, where they still merit attention and discussion. That's where we are right now. And it's kind of a scary, open-ended place to be.
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