Kevin and I have been discussing babies again - this is not something new, just the usual conversation we have. We decided that saying "never" or "no more" does not make sense because the truth is neither of us think that. We both think it might be nice to have another baby but just not right now. I mean for goodness sake soon enough I will need to be deciding between giving up my first born for a tank of gas even with our very fuel efficient Toyota Camry ($3.39.999999 for a gallon of gas - waaaaaaaaaahhhh... AND we only drive one car as it is, I cannot even imagine driving two cars...) or better yet heating my house may totally kill any budget we might have in place (okay we so don't have a budget but if we did it would kill it.) We are talking about next year after the tropical vacation in March... maybe... I have my reasons for wanting to hold off. I want to tell you about two: one seems very, er, ummm selfish and vain. The other is really the hard one - the one I am struggling with most.
First reason: I had the worst acne when I was pregnant. I mean like worse then when I was 13 or 15 or 18 or any point in between. I went on the pill for a number of reasons back in the day but mainly the acne thing drove me to the pill 1st and foremost. And the pill actually controlled it to some degree. Being pregnant was like being 15 all over again. I would cry because I had such nastiness on my back, chest, neck, HEAD (TMI I know so yeah and EWWW...) and face. Nothing stopped this hormonal hell. I laughed when people told me I had that pregnancy glow because what they really saw glowing was that huge ass pimple on my cheek and the oil from skin. I am SO not ready to go through that again. I am not on the pill right now but I am planning to get back on it soon so I have bad enough acne just with my normal hormone levels. I can live with every day normal acne but this pregnancy acne... pure misery for me. NOT that having my beautiful handsome smart little guy was not worth that and I can certainly live with it again but just not right now.
Second reason: Family. As some of you may know I do not have the best relationship with my family. Okay, I have no real relationship with my family. I have not talked to my mother in two years and have had minimal communication with my dad. I believe the relationship with my sister is completely over and my brother was lumped into all of this... Plus three of the four of them live in Seattle. I have extended family in CA/NY/FL/Canada and England - all of these people I barely know. Kevin's family? Well, they live in Canada and not just Canada like cool funky Toronto or Vancouver or even Calgary but bloody cold on the plains Winter-peg...
Raising Matthew far away from immediate family and in a place where we knew virtually no one has been the hardest thing. Harder then I could have ever imagined. A few weeks after Matthew was born, I remember thinking now I know why they say it takes a village to raise a child because it does. In my transient ways over the years, I have created a situation where we are raising our child the way I was raised. Far away from family. No matter how messed up my family is, I still love them and miss them and I wish they were around to help us, to be a part of the exciting moments like seeing Matthew crawl, walk and talk. We basically knew one couple when we moved to B-town and our co-workers so we did not have much of a support system set up before we got pregnant. Now looking back over the past two years, I realize some of the reason things have been difficult have to do with the sense of community I feel I am lacking. The sense of family or "village"is almost completely missing. I want that more then anything if we have another baby. I have found that doing babies alone is both unhealthy for me and makes it less fun then it should be.
It is good to have people around who know you and can take the baby from your arms when you need a break (or a nap.) It is okay to have many people filling your home rather then silence and this sad lonely feeling I often felt through the first year of Matthew's life. I was really hard on myself after I had Matthew because, recently, I realized how isolated I felt. I will not let that happen again with another child. BUT I fear that very thing because it happened once before. That I am stubborn... I can be grouch about family. I think I am so used to bitching about them that it is what I do. But once they are here, I am glad to have them and I miss them when they are gone... I want to be in the position to have a good support system but I need to make those changes both from within and out.
Kevin and I actually talked about the possibility of a move to the Seattle area down the road. So we can move Matthew and any other little ones closer to family, so they can enjoy that sense of village or community. We figure if we live in or near Seattle, Kevin's parents would be more easily accessible (one non stop flight from Vancouver to Winnipeg or his parents could move to BC as they are both retired for all intents and purposes.)
I fear that feeling - that lost rootless feeling I felt during that first year. That feeling like 'OMG what am I doing here with this crying tiny infant all by myself.' I felt trapped and scared and unsure and I had few people to turn to with these feelings. I have been working really hard to be more open to people about how I am feeling in general and I have been trying with the limited extra time I have to create more of community for our little family. To make our village so to speak even without family near by. And ultimately if I do not put the time into those new and old friends, I am not going to be successful in having something like that in place for the next baby if we should choose to have another baby (oh please next baby be a little girl so I can dress you in pink and pick one of the ninety million girl names I have picked out...)
Finally, this was driven home to me as I read a parenting book recently. Basically the book said what I am saying in a far more succinct and eloquent way. I read it aloud to Kevin and I think the light went on for both of us. That is really what is holding us back from having more children... It is not the day care situation (even though it sucks, I am confident that we will find the right solution) or the size of our home ('cause we worked that one out) or my working (I like to work, it is good for ME to work and I like being financially comfortable - look I've been dirt poor and I hated it, I do not want to struggle any more, ever. again...) or the acne (because I actually really enjoyed pregnancy - okay mostly I liked that I could eat and eat and eat and gain weight and I did not give a hoot because it was fun and I could let go of all those eating issues I lived with for most of my life...) It is really that I felt all lost and floaty and I do not want to go through that again for any amount of time with another baby.
We need to find our own "little village" before considering baby number 2 - that my friends is the long and short of it.