When I found out I was pregnant with my son I felt one feeling above all else: surprise. He was in no way planned, so my partner and I had a few very important, very serious discussions after that pregnancy test proved positive. When we realized and decided we wanted to be parents, that was that. For all intents and purposes, the choice was easy. I cannot, however, say the same now. In fact, we've been through the fights every couple has when they're not sure they want more kids because, well, we're just not sure.
Honestly, we've gone back and forth more than a few times. Initially, I was positive I would go through pregnancy at least one more time, because I wanted my son to grow up with a sibling the way his father and I did. My partner and I both have brothers and while they can (and do) drive us crazy the way only siblings can, we love them and we're so grateful that we had them throughout our respective childhoods. However, after a difficult and high-risk pregnancy, an intense labor that ended with my son and a stillborn twin, postpartum depression, and a year and a half of miscarriages, I'm no longer sure. I want to give my son a sibling, but I also don't want to put my body through the physical trauma of another pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I'm stuck at an impasse, unsure as to how I should proceed for myself, my partner, my son, and our collective family.
In fact, not too long ago I found myself at a fertility clinic and, even then, I can't say I was convinced that having another baby was the best idea. How would my career change with not one, but two children to care for? Would I be able to love another child the way I love my son? How would another newborn affect my romantic relationship with my partner? Could my body physically handle another pregnancy and, more so, could my mental state handle it, too?
All of this is to say that my partner and I have discussed our future more in the last six months than we ever have before, and that includes when we found out I was pregnant with our son. These conversations are rarely easy, always complicated and multi-faceted, and usually end with tempers flaring. Still, they're vital, and conversations I'm glad I can have with someone who is not only my partner, but my best friend.
The "But What About What I Want?" Fight
Talking about having another child can be complicated if two people aren't on the same page. It's difficult to determine who should get exactly what they want, or what a fair compromise would be if no one is going to get exactly what they want.
My partner has two other siblings. I have one. When I was pregnant with my son, I thought I would absolutely get pregnant again, so my future baby could have a future sibling. Meanwhile, my partner has always wanted a large(ish) family. But now? Having been through pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum life, and a slew of miscarriages, I'm just not too sure if another child is in the cards.
The "How Will Another Kid Affect My Career?" Fight
Taking care of one child while you have a career is hard, but two? I work full-time, often at night and on weekends, too. My partner is currently going to school full-time. One of us is going to have to "budge" if we brought another child into the mix, and determining who would do the most of the budging isn't easily.
The "Only Child" Fight
You guys, people have feelings about only children. I didn't know this was that big of a deal, until my son's first birthday came and went and people started asking when I was going to have another kid. Damn, you all have a lot of concerns about the "only child," huh?
To a certain extend, it's understandable. I grew up with a sibling two years younger than me, and I love having him for a brother. I cherished going through life with someone, and am thankful that we were able to go from siblings to friends as we got older. A part of me wants that for my child, too, and so does my partner. Then again, that means another pregnancy, another labor and delivery, and another set of challenges.
The "I'm The Only One Who Has To Deal With Pregnancy" Fight
I mean, it's valid.
That's not to say that pregnancy doesn't affect non-pregnant partners, because it does. But in the same way? Absolutely not at all even a little bit no freakin' way. I know that I'm the one who is going to be losing her bodily autonomy, dealing with morning (read: all day) sickness, and putting myself through the trauma of childbirth. When there's one partner who has to shoulder the physical burden of bringing another person into the world, conversations are going to be heated.
The "Finances" Fight
To be fair, this is probably a necessary fight and one that couples have regardless. Still, one child is expensive. Another child? I'm just not too sure my bank account can handle it (especially since we live in a very expensive city).
The "Screw What Your Mom Thinks" Fight
Oh man, do grandmothers have some feelings about their grandchildren.
My pseudo mother-in-law is constantly asking me questions about another pregnancy and another baby. In fact, she's one of "those" people that goes so far as to say I can only bring a certain gender into the world (yeah, we don't get along). It's relentless and infuriating. So, to say that what she says or even thinks doesn't impact my relationship, would be a lie.
Thankfully (and, honestly, rightfully) my partner has gone to bat for me and told his mother to essentially mind her own business. If we have a baby, we have a baby (and we will be more than happy with whatever gender that baby ends up being). If we don't have another baby, oh well. That's our decision, too.
The "It's My Body, My Choice" Fight
Ha, just kidding. This isn't a fight.
At the end of the day, and although family planning can and usually is complicated, no one should be forced to use their body in a way they don't want to. If a woman doesn't want to experience or go through with a pregnancy, then a woman shouldn't experience or go through with a pregnancy. Period.