Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Family Contentment

So, often I've talked (and talked, and talked, and talked!) with various friends over the last 2-3 years about the issue of my contentment with our family size. To summarize, the husband and I always wanted more than one child, yet upon having our sweet boy and the ensuing wild ride that followed, based on the challenging pregnancy and tough baby that he was, the age of ourselves that we waited until to become parents, the toll it took on us for the first couple of years, the age and physical condition I am in now, and the financial balance we currently have, we have decided (and repeatedly confirmed) to ourselves that we are keeping with our one sweetie, and that our family is complete at three. Now that decision has not come simply and without emotional struggle, mind you. It is the absolute societal norm to have two, and in our area it trends more to three. Hubby grew up with a brother, and he always expected he'd want two or three of his own (I joked with him early on that the only way he'd get three kids from me was if the second baby was twins.) I grew up an only child, and although I loved it and feel well adjusted due to fantastic parents, I do wish at times that I had adult siblings in my life, and I definitely had always planned to have two kids.  

Nevertheless, it has been extremely clear to both of us for a couple of years now that this is it for us, and we are confident that it is the only decision that is right for us. Naturally there is a little bit of emotional "loss" to be felt in changing one's life plans that way, and we've shared with each other that nagging feeling on more than one occasion. It doesn't change our resolve, but it does hurt just a tiny bit. I get pangs from time to time when being reminded that few kids his age are without younger (or older) siblings, when people ask if we are going to have another, as all of our friends were having their seconds a couple of years ago, and as I see pregnant mommys holding their little one's hands. 

Well, I think that my way of dealing with it had been to talk about it. A LOT. With various friends, but especially with one or two in particular. I think at times I brought it up so much that I confused the hell out of my friends and made it seem like I might change my mind or that I was looking for some sort of validation. But I'm discovering that phase was and is just part of a gradual process of mourning the idea of a larger family. Just two weeks ago we were asked the question point blank by a doctor, and confirmed aloud to her our decision to stop at one. Which triggered he and I talking about it again, later, further confirming it. And that night I took a big step forward in acceptance, as I randomly started sobbing about it, right in the middle of something totally unrelated. It was a good, hard, releasing cry, and a positive step forward for me in acceptance of what I know we need. Yet another step just happened today- It just came to me this morning and I'm very excited about this one. You know those cartoony family stickers everyone has on their cars, the stick figure characters showing the happy combo of kids/pets in the family? Well, I've always adored those, yet always been a tiny bit saddened by them, too, because I thought it would look kind of strange with the two parent figures and one lone kid, looking somehow unfinished and not even to be capped off by a cat or dog due to my allergies. Well, I finally figured it out, and I just ordered my stickers, which I will now be able to post happily in the window with a clear statement about our family. The sweet, happy little boy sticker will be flanked by two smiling parent stickers, one on each side. Looking clearly finished and self contained, in a happy threesome. :)

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