Just when I thought I was through the final wave of Facebook announcements (you know, first they were sitting in a tree, then there was an engagement, then a marriage, then a baby in a baby carriage, etc.), I’m noticing an entirely new phenomenon. Now, I’m seeing my news feed start to fill with my friends announcing that they're having a second baby. Um, I was not quite prepared for this, guys. I barely feel recovered from my first pregnancy and delivery, and the three of us over here always kinda feel like we're barely holding it together, so the idea of doing it all over again is a little overwhelming. And every day with my son still feels new and (mostly) exciting, so bringing a newborn into the mix is pretty tough to picture at this point. But by all means, you do yours and I'll do mine. I'm happy for you! I suppose it’s a good thing that we live in a world where we can make reproductive choices independently, right? But seriously, your choices are oddly intimidating to me, the one who feels like she's maxed out just to keep up with one kid.
To be fair, it’s not just my friends’ choices that are catching my attention, though. There are conflicting messages everywhere, depending on what your priorities may (or may not) be, about when/if you should have one kid or two or five, and what it says about you if you make any of those choices. Having a second child is a lot to consider, no matter what your friends are doing. Thankfully, there are a few things we can all remember to keep things in perspective (and, as far as I know, there are no restrictions on drinking wine before you're pregnant, so there's that, if you're feeling the stress). Here's what you should keep in mind when the pressure to pop out another one starts feeling too real for your taste:
No One Else Knows What It Feels Like To Be In Your Head
Try as I might, I’ve never really been able to fully convey how much I really love Canadian pop music, or toasted bagels, or GIFs of baby koalas. We all have our own thoughts and ideas that are unique to us, right? Feelings about complicated issues like pregnancy and babies are certainly no exception.
...Or Have Your Body...
Pregnancy is, undoubtedly, a pretty significant undertaking. I think it’s fair to assume that we both know ourselves and our bodies better than anyone else. You really can't let anyone else's opinions or experiences determine what you and your body (and your partner and your job and your life...) are ready for, or want at all.
...Or Have Your Life Experiences...
How do you even feel about big families versus small families? Do you want your current child to have siblings? What do you imagine for your own family? What has your life been like so far, and how do you feel about adding more kids to it? Those are questions everyone has to ask before they add another person to their family, and you probably aren't going to find the answers in a Facebook photo of your college roommate's toddler wearing a "I'm Gonna Be A Big Brother!" t-shirt.
...Or Your Resources.
What else are you considering? Finances, space, time? When the next season of Fuller House is coming out? There's lots to consider before just casually throwing another tiny human in the mix just because some people think it's "time."
Cute Facebook Pictures Don't Show The Reality
I mean, if everything about pregnancy and babies looked the way it did in my feed, it probably would be a very simple decision.
In Fact, Even Spending Time With Other Families Doesn't Really Show The Reality
Unless "spending time with other families" means you're getting up with their kiddos in the middle of the night, nursing a newborn while trying to get an older kid ready for school, or changing a diaper while simultaneously trying to help someone with homework, and frankly, your friends would be really strange hosts if they invited you over to do those things. And even these scenarios are mere guesses since I've never actually been in any of those positions.
There's No Perfect Family Size
I mean, that old stat of 2.5 kids being ideal isn't even possible! Like, we literally set a cultural ideal based on the unattainable concept of acquiring half a child at some point. It's like we're not even trying to hide the fact that American culture is based around setting people up for failure against (sometimes actually) impossible standards. Regardless, even in reality, there's no one perfect family size. Just because something works for someone else, that doesn’t meant it will suit you the same way.
There's No Perfect Age Difference For Kiddos
If there was, I'm pretty sure that whoever discovered it would be rich and famous and enjoying a lucrative book deal.
If You Really Just Want An Excuse To Wear Loose Clothing And Avoid Brie Cheese, Know That You Have It Already
That's just YOLOing, guys. We can all do that whenever we want. Although I'm unsure as to why you would want to avoid brie, but hey, I'm not here to tell you how to live.
If You Really Want To Bust Out The Newborn Clothes Again, I'm Afraid I Can't Help You There
That's a different conversation entirely. That struggle is real.