Friday, February 11, 2011

Time's running out!

Reace and family
Watching the Super Bowl this past weekend, my best friend and I got into a conversation about “the next child.” We were discussing the realization that we are quickly approaching the age where the decision to have another child is quickly being taken away from us. It always seemed to be a vague option, hanging out there like the trip of a lifetime we aspire to take one day. Still in the realm of possibility. But the window of opportunity is quickly closing.

Neither one of us is in a rush to get pregnant again. We are both happy with our families as they are. But the questions linger. The “What Ifs?” sometimes take over our thoughts. And we know we are running out of time, assuming of course that we could still get pregnant.

When we were younger, we’d talk about what our lives would look like when we grew up. I used to joke that I would send my kids to her to raise until they were potty trained. Babies are cute, but not my thing. (And I feel I have to say that I love my children dearly, but am grateful they are past the baby stage.) She had the idea of raising 2 or 3 kids. It’s pretty funny how life turned out. People make plans, and God laughs. So here we are, many (many!) years later discussing what our lives are going to look like “when we grow up.”

She debates the pros and cons of having an only child—and wondering whether a sibling would be a good thing in the long run. I just come from a large family and feel guilty I’m not providing my kids the same kind of experience.

So the question for both us is “Do I want another child?” And as my best friend pointed out, we are both looking at it from different angles. I’m looking at it from the perspective of returning to pregnancy and babyland (neither of which are my favorite times). We both have additional considerations beyond that.

Sometimes I feel that motherhood is one big guilt trip. I could be doing this better, I should have done that. Soon my window of opportunity will close. Will I regret my choice of not having another baby? And the fact that I am phrasing it that way, does that mean I already made my choice? Would I change my mind?

I believe that each family is unique. No matter what traditions you keep from your childhood, your family is different. The right answer isn’t the same one for everyone. My choice, or even the reasons for my choice, isn’t the right one for another person.

But a little doubt still lingers. What if……

Reace Alvarenga-Smith is a Public Relations Manager for Texas Health Resources and mother of two.

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