I remember being 6 months pregnant, sitting in a coffee shop with my parents, when a family friend asked, “When do you think you’ll have another one?” I almost spat out my tea. What do you mean, when? I haven’t popped the first one out yet!
It seems the topic of family size is always looming in conversation. With family, mom friends, colleagues. When will we try for another? How many siblings will our daughter have? God forbid we only have one child, because they could end up just like the stereotypes suggest: spoiled, selfish and antisocial. I might be biased because I am an only child myself, but it’s fair to say I turned out alright. I tend to be more introverted than extroverted, but I don’t stomp my foot when I fail to get my way, and I love to share!
Here’s the thing – for someone that suffers from anxiety and depression, change is especially unsettling. Having another child, experiencing another pregnancy, going on maternity leave again, it’s a lot.
My body went through a big change last year when I became pregnant with our daughter, Arizona. My clothes stopped fitting, my breasts were heavy and my skin was tight and itchy. I had the standard morning sickness, along with migraines during my first and second trimesters. By 37 weeks, I wasn’t able to keep up the pace at work and had to go on early maternity leave; I’m a Personal Stylist at Nordstrom, where you can find me running around, up to my ears in shoe boxes and clothes, sometimes doing up to 20,000 steps a day. Needless to say, it wasn’t ideal but at least I was walking off my daily intake of Dairy Queen blizzards.
On April 14th, 2017, Arizona Kathrine arrived earthside: quiet, beautiful, with big wide eyes only for me. How could I ever love another as much as I love her?
Fast forward to eight months later and I’m returning to work soon. I feel overwhelmed just thinking about leaving the baby. She is just starting to find an interest in solids, she doesn’t take a bottle, and breast feeds on demand. I will have to learn to juggle my work life and raising a child. If my husband or in-laws aren’t available, we will have to look at childcare, which isn’t cheap. Eventually we would love to have Arizona attend private school – as long as we can afford the tuition. On top of that, we will encourage other activities like soccer, and maybe ballet? Right now we are preparing to move into a bigger home – we share our one bedroom apartment – and get this! Housing in Vancouver is more expensive than anywhere else in North America. I don’t want to live with debt hanging over my head, but that’s what we’d be looking at if we decided to have two or more children.
As I mentioned before, I myself am an only child. Yes, it would have been nice to have a companion growing up, especially during the tough times. Yes, it would be great to have some help with decisions when Mom and Dad are old and grey. But frankly, I see myself as very lucky to be an only child. My parents and I are the three musketeers. I have a “chosen family” of brothers and sisters, and although we don’t share blood, we are just as close as the real thing.
I suppose I shouldn’t let people and their opinions get to me; maybe my people-pleasing nature comes from being an only child. Who knows – maybe my husband and I will change our minds and have another baby, but for now, we are perfectly happy as a family of three.