Aaron and I have come to the decision that Lilah will be our last child. He’s been settled in that idea since the day she was born, but for me it was a much more difficult decision to swallow. To be honest, I’m still not even 100% settled into the idea. Every time I see my pregnant friends I feel a pang of jealousy in my stomach, wishing that I too was creating a new life. Every time I hold my friend’s baby who is under a year old, I feel a longing to experience all of those “firsts” all over again. I look in complete awe at the person Lilah is becoming and wonder what our third child would be like. What would he or she look like, how they would make us laugh, what challenges they would bring us.
The reality is, in our list of “pros and cons”, the cons greatly outweigh the pros. I had pretty severe PPD with Lilah. I haven’t talked about it much because it was one of the darkest times of my life. My marriage took the greatest hit and I was in a complete haze for most of Lilah’s first year. I had no motivation to do anything and felt like running away from all of my obligations. Even the smallest task felt overwhelming. I could barely bring myself to get out of bed in the morning and motherhood felt like a chore, not like a gift. The idea of going through that again is reason in itself not to try again. I also think I feel so guilty about missing out on the joy of Lilah’s first year and that I could make that up by having another baby. But the truth is, that doesn’t make up for it. I’m not getting Lilah’s first year back, but I do get another chance with the rest of the years of her life. These two girls need me and to be unable to care for them in the way I want would break my heart.
The second reason is we don’t really have a “village” out here. We have friends who we dearly love but we don’t have any family nearby to help us out. We are in this every single day, 365 days a year. I miss the days when we would go to Aaron’s moms for an afternoon BBQ and we could just sit back and relax for those few hours, or when she would come over to help when we all got sick, or when Edith would spend a night with her and for that one morning we could wake up with no obligations and no one yelling for their yogurt or bottle.
New York City is also just so darn expensive. Ballet classes, soccer camp, and all of the extra curricular activities they are going to want to participate in after school are 10x more expensive here than anywhere else. I don’t want them to have to chose between two things they really want. I want to be able to give them all of the opportunities in the world. I want to be able to save money to give them when they are starting a family of their own that they could use to help get a house or use to get back on their feet during a hard time. I want to travel the world and four plane tickets is a lot easier to buy than five.
Lastly, I want them to have all of me. I finally feel like I’m not drowning. I’ve got the hang of things pretty good now. Aaron can go away for a few days and the girls and I have a good time. I can take them on all sorts of adventures in the city by myself and not feel overwhelmed. I feel like they both get quality time with me and I can be the mother I always wanted to be. I can tackle all the laundry, keep the house clean, cook decent meals, and find a balance with work and I’m not sure that would be true if I had a third baby.
So while I’m not sure that feeling of “baby fever” will ever really go away for me, I am settling slowly into our decision. And I am focusing on being 100% present for these precious years when they are still little, still need me to sing them to sleep, and still want to crawl into my bed in the morning and yell at the top of their lungs for me to get the yogurt.