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Why I’m Secretly Terrified of Having Another Baby

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It started surprisingly soon after I had my first child about a year and a half ago, and it has only gotten worse with every passing month. It seems that with every milestone my daughter reaches, more and more people want to know when we will give her a sibling. I take issue with the constant prodding, not least of all because it’s going on in my own head at the same time. As my daughter inches closer and closer to her second birthday and husband closer to his fortieth, the timeline I had originally had in mind is pushing for another baby soon, even though my feelings haven’t caught up yet. 

Don’t get me wrong: I love being my toddler’s mom. And strangely, despite the exhaustion and complete lifestyle overhaul, I didn’t mind being the mom of a newborn, either. Somehow my husband and I managed to survive the first year of our daughter’s life without killing each other and even having some laughs along the way. We’re good. So, why don’t we want to bring another one into the mix right now? Well, he’s is a huge softie so I doubt it would take more than a bottle of champagne and a few smooth words on my part if I wanted to make a case for one. But the problem, if we’re being honest, is me. 

Related: Go Ahead, Ask Me if I Want Another Baby (Just Please Don’t Judge My Answer)

I always knew I would love bing a mom, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the profound impact that this baby would have on me. My daughter is stubborn and funny, adventurous and cuddly. Sunshine seems to follow her wherever she goes. Her physical beauty is, in my humble opinion, beyond compare. But forgetting all of that as long as I can while lost in her eyes, I really just love this kid. I love who she is. She is at the center of my heart and our home. Our lives, while full of other rich things things that are not baby-related, revolve around her. She needs us and we need her, just as is. Even as she grows, the love always does, too.

Sometimes I think maybe I’m being crazy and it’s really time to start thinking about having another baby. When I held a friend’s newborn son recently I tried to wrap my head around having one of these of my own in my arms. And as poignant as the memories are of having my tiny baby sleeping on my chest just over a year ago, I can’t really go there mentally. I just don’t want it right now. Unlike before I got pregnant with my first, when the longing hit me like a slow, sad song every time I held someone else’s baby, this time I couldn’t even stir it up when I tried. He was cute and all, but no. Not interested. 

I have heard from moms of two or more that the love multiplies with each child you have, and after all I am a middle child myself. I know how awesome that second kid can come out (ha ha). It’s not that I don’t think my second wouldn’t be amazing, too. But there’s something about my first that, to the newbie mom, feels untouchable. How could I ever love another the way I do her? He or she won’t be her. Who will they be? Am I ready to find out?

Aside from that, I think I’m mostly terrified of having another baby because I don’t want to ruin anything, or everything. I don’t want to change the dynamic in our house. There is something so sweet and lovely about the way my daughter reaches for me. I’m not ready to not be able to fold her up in my arms every time she does. A new baby would serve as a barrier between us in those moments and pitch me into a perpetual state of raw mommy guilt. And I’m no fool — I realize that her tendency to reach for me like this will change and fade as she continues to grow. Even more reason I want to cherish it now, while I have it. 

Lately, when people ask me about a sibling for my daughter, my standard response is to gesture in her direction and remark on what a handful she is. My hubby and I are still skating around the issue and I haven’t gone into all of this detail with him, but he knows I’m just not ready yet. We definitely want to give our daughter a sibling one day because it’s an incredible bond and I like the balance of a family with two or three kids. I also know, deep down, that I’ll be obsessed with my second when that “one day” comes. But all I can say is, it’s not going to be any day soon. Right now I am busy bonding with the baby I already have, and way too scared about throwing off our own little balance that took some time and effort to find. 

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Photo: Getty