Many of us have pictured our families before they even existed. We have imagined the number of children we will have, whether they will be girls, boys or both, how far apart in age they will be and how old we will be when we have them. But reality is often much different than we expect.
I had always thought I would have two children some day and planned to have them both by the time I was 30. However, we welcomed our daughter -- our first and only child -- into our lives just a short time before my 37th birthday. Now, nearly a year later, we are wrestling with the decision of whether or not to have a second child. Although I had once wanted two kids, I am perfectly happy with the one child I have. I couldn't imagine a more wonderful daughter. And I don't really feel like I need to have more kids. Our family is perfect just the way it is.
Of course, I have my concerns over what having an only child entails. Although research shows there is no difference in the social, emotional and educational development of only children when compared to children with siblings, I still question how being raised alone will affect my daughter. Will she be lonely? Will she become selfish or spoiled? Will she be angry at me for not giving her a sister or brother?
I also feel like my daughter may need someone to grow up with. She loves kids and has a great time when she is with her cousins. But it is not the same as having a little brother or sister to play with, dream with and share your worries. My sister is one of the best friends I have ever had, and I couldn't imagine life without her. I certainly don't want my daughter to miss out of that kind of relationship and closeness.
But having two children is not a decision to take lightly. My husband and I are already exhausted raising one child. We are getting older and have just a couple of years left before we turn the big 4-0. Because the domestic adoption process is often long and unpredictable, we could very well find ourselves in our 40s by the time we bring home another newborn. I certainly had never wanted or planned to have a baby in my 40s. The whole thing leaves me wondering: Would I have the energy to handle two children? Would my relationship with my daughter suffer because I no longer have as much time to devote to her?
There are definitely pros and cons to having a single child and to having more than one. It is such a big and important decision that I'm not convinced I'm ready to make. I don't feel a burning desire to have another child right now, but I know that I'm running out of time to decide.
So, here I sit in limbo. One child is definitely great, and I am thankful to be my daughter's mom. But is one enough?
What do you think?