Two and through?

Seems that it’s that time of year again when everyone I know is pregnant or trying to get pregnant. My husband and I decided a long time ago that we were a “two and through” kind of couple. Honestly, we were close to being a “one and done” kind of couple with the issues Squeaker has, but I’m glad we went ahead and had Big Guy. Seeing Squeaker with his brother is precious. He loves that baby with all his heart. I still remember the day after we got home from the hospital, when the baby was asleep in the bassinet and I came out of the room without him. Squeaker was totally devastated, thinking the baby was gone, and had to see him for himself before he could calm down.

He seeks Big Guy out when he’s upset. For ill or for good, he needs him. Sometimes that means Big Guy is in the line of fire. But on the good days, he wants nothing more than to make his little brother laugh and clap and smile. (Woe be unto us all if “it didn’t work” though)

The truth is, Squeaker needed a brother. The truth also remains that being a brother to Squeaker will be challenge for Big Guy. He’s rough with him, he doesn’t like to share, and he thinks that people are in this world to do his bidding. He’s a sweet kid, but he’s also time-consuming and destructive.

Now that we have our second child, The Manager says we’re done, and I find myself having second thoughts about it. Even though I’ve struggled with post-partum depression and still am not 100% back to myself again (not even sure I know what that means anymore), it makes me sadder to think that I’m done. Children are such a blessing. Even challenging kids like Squeaker are a blessing. When I put Big Guy down to explore and Squeaker takes his turn in my lap, I’m totally at ease. I love my two boys. I’d love to have another child (girl or boy).

How is this baby One year old already, anyway??

So what, aside from The Manager’s reservations, is the big deal? I have to really think about the decision logically. I’m having a had enough time managing my time with two kids. I’m having to leave work early every day because there is no appropriate after school care for Squeaker. I’m bringing work home daily. The only time that I really feel like I have time to be a mom and also find time to do things for myself is during breaks. I don’t get enough sleep because I’m up working until past 10pm (often until 11) and then get up at 5:30 to feed Big Guy and get ready for the day. And I have to worry about managing them both so that I can ensure the safety of both kids when we’re out doing things. I still haven’t figured out how to take them both out and feel safe doing it.

I also have to think about how we could handle a third child if Big Guy turned out to have some developmental issues. Squeaker seemed to be developing normally until he was about 2 years old. So in my mind, the jury is still out on Big Guy. Think about the statistics. This is not a situation where lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place. About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder and ASDs are about 5 times more common among boys than girls. Furthermore, there is a 2-18% chance of having a second child who is affected with the disorder. Of course, this probability increases if you have boys. If I were playing an odds game here, I’d say the odds are against us. But we have to wait and see.

And then, if Big Guy develops “normally,” who’s to say (if decided to have a 3rd child) that we will wouldn’t wind up having two children with autism or other developmental problems?

So yes, having another child isn’t just a matter of figuring things out financially. I’m sure we could swing it financially. Other families do it with less than we have. I mean, we’re still working on paying off medical bills (more for Squeaker than for Big Guy), but we could do it. It’s a matter of sanity, the well-being of the children we already have, and the unknowing.

So yes, it makes a me a little sad to see other people going on to have more children. Because that’s not a decision I can make lightly. It would be selfish of me to have another child without considering the impact it would have on my other children and my ability to parent effectively. I love my two boys and on the good days it’s easy to think that a third child would work, but, oh boy, when we have bad days, they’re really something. We’ve got at least another year before we can even make that decision, I guess.

So much for “two and through,” right? My logical mind tells me we’re done. My heart tells me otherwise…and it aches every time I see someone have what I feel in my heart will never happen for us, whether I want it to or not.

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