bottle of inky blue oil sits on my bathroom countertop. It's a
retinol skincare product lauded by beauty editors for its ability to
give you a youthful glow. I desperately need it because, post-motherhood, my skin has seemingly given up.
Hoping to coax it
back to life, I pay the ridiculous sum: $105 for a 1-ounce bottle.
The package contains a warning: "Not for use during pregnancy."
While walking back to my car, I mull over the words.
truth is, I'm not pregnant and, on most days, I'm fairly sure we're one
of those "one and done" couples. But sometimes ... sometimes.
8 p.m., and I can hear my husband reading to our daughter. She has all
her favorite books memorized and, on this night, for the span of a few
pages, it's her voice I hear. That sleepy, dreamy moment makes me
think, "Let's have another baby." I wrestle with my reaction,
though. Is it what I really want or just a temporary lapse in
Time whizzed by and my baby isn't a baby anymore.
whizzed by and my baby isn't a baby anymore. She's a little girl now.
I pack away old clothes and memories of her infancy
resurface. Should I give these onesies away? Hmm, maybe not just yet.
see large families out and about—three, four kids. Those moms almost always look more frazzled than me.
But it also looks like abundance, as though the heart expands with
each new child.
"I could drive a minivan," I think. Look at all
that storage space.
mom brings her newborn to library story time, and I marvel at how tiny
he is. I don't dare hold him when his second-time-mama offers, because
I've heard it's the new baby smell that gets you. Other moms are
braver and inhale deeply.
my heart is ever the romantic, my brain refuses to be anything but a
will another baby change our lives in practical terms? For me, the
biggest consideration is taking time off from work. My career matters
to me, and I'm beyond the point where that statement is supposed to
give me major mom-guilt. Beyond giving me a sense of personal fulfillment, it's
how I help support my family. Moms who've tried to come back to their
careers after extended time off know it's much harder to start up
again. The alternative is to lean in, work harder but end up spending
less time with family while also paying more for childcare.
these are still only hypothetical worries—for this mom-of-one, at
least. Some days I'm certain we're "one and done." Kid meltdowns.
Colds that span two weeks. Dinner plates upended. Pre-school tuition.
Night wakings. The little time I have to myself. Days that feel out
of balance. Each of these makes me feel one child is more than enough.
Pregnancy, labor, the first sleepless year (and then some)—blah!
yet, I have a sister. A wonderful one. No one makes me laugh like my
sister. She's the first person I call when I have good news. She was
there for me during the newborn phase more than anyone else besides
my husband. She's my best friend. I'd like my daughter to have that.
imagine that if my parents had carefully calculated the pros and cons
of having another baby, my sister might never have existed, and I'd
have missed out. This I contemplate over and over.