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To The Mom Ready For One More Child She May Never Get

Photograph by Twenty20

I always pictured myself with a big family. Five kids, at least, all spaced two to three years apart. A house filled with the loud chaos of lots of little ones and plenty of love to go around.

Now, my big dream is two. When I pray at night, it’s for just one more.

Infertility was a surprise to me. I was only 26 years old, still single. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. And when it did, it created all this pressure.

Pressure to get pregnant, which I tried and failed at. Pressure to find “the one,” which I also tried and failed at. And pressure upon ever-building pressure as my 30th birthday approached. Because somehow, in my mind, I was supposed to have this all figured out by then.

I’m lucky. Right before that birthday I had so been dreading, I was given the opportunity to adopt a little girl. And she has filled my heart with more joy than I ever knew possible. She’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.

And yet… I still find myself mourning the fact that there may never be any more.

I was at a party recently when I mentioned being ready for another child. “You’d better get on that,” a friend said. “They’re already going to be too far apart in age.” I felt myself inhale, felt the knife dig in. But I paused, took a breath, and simply said, “I wish it were that easy.”

I knew she didn’t mean any harm. And I knew that for her and her husband, having another child had been as simple as deciding they were ready. I knew she wasn’t coming from a bad place at all.

But still, it hurt. Because at four years old, I absolutely wish I could have given my daughter a sibling by now.

I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you often find yourself wishing for the same.

Maybe you already have two, but you always dreamed of three. Or perhaps you have three, but your heart always yearned for four. I’m not sure there's an exact number here that’s “right.”

It doesn’t make you ungrateful. It makes you a mother who feels like a piece of her heart is still missing.

You may be thinking, “She should just be grateful." And I want to be very clear about one thing: I am. I am grateful every single day for the opportunity to be “Mommy” at all.

But I know there are those of you who get it, the mothers who kiss your kids goodnight and can’t help but feel like there is one head missing. Maybe you’ve faced infertility too, and the prospect of paying for more treatments with little to no guarantees is just too much to take on right now. Or perhaps you’ve been blessed through adoption as well, but the money and the time and waiting to be picked aren’t really anything you can commit to today.

Maybe it’s your spouse who has decided your family is complete, and while you don’t exactly agree, you know no good can come from pushing for a child you don’t both want.

Then again, maybe there's another set of barriers entirely. Illness. Finances. Divorce. A laundry list of responsibilities you’ve already got piled on top of you, not leaving a whole lot of room for much else. No matter how much you may wish you could have another. Maybe you’re capable of adding to your family, but deep in your heart you know now isn’t the right time… and that the right time may never come again.

You want desperately for there to be another baby in your arms, but you also know the chances of that happening are slim.

You know what it is to love the child (or children) you already have with all your heart, to be overcome with gratitude over the simple fact that they are yours, and to still wish for more.

It doesn’t make you ungrateful. It makes you a mother who feels like a piece of her heart is still missing.

As grateful as I am for my little girl, and as beautiful as this life I’ve built for us is, I want more. I want just one more. I never wanted to raise an only child. I never wanted the quiet that comes with just one and will probably always mourn the empty chairs I just imagined would one day be filled.

It’s not as simple as snapping my fingers and making it happen. And I know the same is true for you. So today, as you’re reading these words, I guess I just wanted to say… I’m sorry. I’m sorry your family doesn’t feel complete. And I’m sorry that you may not have the ability to snap your fingers and make it so either.

It’s not fair. When you’re a good mother with love to give and a yearning in your heart for just one more, that shouldn’t be a dream you simply have to give up on. So I’m sorry if you’re there, too.

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