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Monday, February 25, 2013

Babies on the brain.

I've been thinking a lot about having another baby, but not in the typical baby-hungry way you might assume. I don't feel consumed with fulfilling a need to have another squishy, wriggly, milk-smelling baby in my arms; it's more like I feel a duty to provide Aspen with a playmate and best-friend-for-life.

Aspen in the NICU on her birthday
I am so grateful for my own siblings and the relationship I have with each of them. Despite our differences and the physical distance between some of us, I feel we're pretty close. I want Aspen to have that opportunity in her life as well.

The problem I face is letting go of the fear I feel when I consider having a newborn again. Although I obviously did it once and survived, I simply can't make myself understand that I could probably do it again. I could probably get through the emotional, physical and mental fatigue again. I could probably overcome the anxiety attacks and the raging hormones again. I could probably figure out how to breastfeed again (even if it does take three months to get used to it again). I could probably do it. I could. Probably.

BUT WHAT IF I CAN'T?!

What if post-partum is just as bad the second time around? What if? What if? What if?

I know I can't live my life in fear of this. I know that I need to have faith that I'm strong enough to do it again. I may not like babies, but I do know I like seeing my efforts paying off two years later. I read an amazing post on BlogHer (read it by clicking HERE) that really summed up my experience becoming a mother. It brought tears to my eyes to read someone else's experience so similar to my own. In the years since having Aspen, I have never talked to another parent who expressed feeling even a little bit like I did as a new parent. Sure, other moms would tell me it's hard but then they'd follow up with gushing about how it's the best thing ever. And then they'd have another kid. For a long time, I was not able to justify the trials of parenthood as a means to an end.

I don't take full credit for the person Aspen is becoming, but I can fnally see that the struggles I've endured while learning how to be a parent are making a difference in who she is. She is so funny. She cares about others. She has so much goodness in her. When I see how wonderful she is at only 2.5 years old, how can I resist having another?

It's hard to discuss openly because I know everyone has such complicated opinions about having/not having kids, and everyone has their own obstacles when it comes to family planning. But it's something I think about all the time, and even more so after spending so much time with Aspen's cousins this month. I want her to have a little sidekick!

So this is what I'm working on. I want to let go of the anxiety and fear associated with havng a baby. I want to be strong enough to do it again.

10 comments:

  1. I'm so grateful for my little brother he really gets what it was like growing up with my parents and its good to have a comrade :) makayla and konnor are really great playmates thank heavens (it makes my job much easier) You can do it Liv!

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  2. Ah I love you! I think you totally have it in you! You will be great. The second time around is supposed to be better for many reasons!

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  3. Have you considered getting a blessing in regards to family planning? I don't think it could hurt.

    Going from one to 2 kids has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. Though I somewhat knew what I was doing, there were so many many challenges, lots of which I had anticipated.

    It may be just as hard as you think it will be, you may have many of the same issues, you just have to decided if it is right for you, that is where I think a blessing might be really good.

    For sure as hard as it was and is everyday, it is definitely worth it. There is nothing like the sibling relationship, and it is so fun to watch! That doesn't mean I don't struggle everyday though.

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  4. It's not necessarily a question of whether or not we should have another, or wondering how I'll juggle two kids.

    It's a question of whether or not going through the post-partum depression again will break me.

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  5. If you don't want to talk about this here in the comments, you can email me, but did you take any meds after having the baby? My depression w/o meds is severe enough that my doctors had me stay on medication throughout my entire pregnancy and throughout breastfeeding. I read a lot of scientific journal articles on the specific meds I was taking, and studies with breastfeeding, etc. There was enough research that I felt safe being on the medication that I am while nursing (Welbutrin and Zoloft). Just an idea to look into, if you weren't already doing that.

    And while it can be fun to have a sibling, I think I would rather have a sane/happy mom... So maybe just try and think realistically how it will affect you long-term, and weigh it out. Best of luck making a decision.

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  6. I did stay on my meds through pregnancy and breastfeeding, but I really think I had the worst psychiatrist ever. She left her practice and none of her clients were informed. It wasn't good.

    If there's a next time around, I'm definitely going to get better help. I need to feel like I have real support instead of someone telling me there's nothing she can do.

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  7. I agree about finding extra help, like meds or a counselor if you do decide you're ready to have another baby. And a blessing is always great, even if it just gives you peace of mind. If you do decide it isn't in the cards, there is no shame in that. That is your choice. Not anyone else's. And shame on anyone else who makes you feel otherwise. I waited almost 5 years to have August, not because I couldn't get pregnant, but because I chose not to. I knew I was a mental wreck. I didn't want to bring a baby into a home where his mom was unhappy a lot and locked herself in the bathroom to scream and cry and so on. There were times in my pregnancy where I thought, "What have I done?! I am going to ruin this child! Not to mention my other children I already have!" I am still scared about making huge mistakes or having a mental breakdown or setback. One thing that has made it easier for me this time around is being aware that those are possibilities and then watching out for warning signs that I am not in a good place and then having a plan to get help. Accepting your limitations goes a long way as well. Having family and friends around to help out makes a big difference too. So maybe having Seth close by now to lend a hand will help it be a more positive experience for you. I'm sorry you had such a difficult time when you had Aspen. Having a baby is a difficult thing, no matter how much anyone gushes. It is hard. And having two can be harder than one, but for different reasons. I think the taking care of and nursing part is better the second time because you actually know what you are doing and can have more confidence, instead of just guessing and hoping for the best. I think the struggle with extra children is fitting them into your already established life and schedule, and how the older child(ren) accept the new baby. Aspen is a sweetheart and will be a great helper. I can totally see her running to get diapers or a blanket for you. She will be a great big sister. She will also be a great only child if that is what is best for your family. Aspen is awesome and that is to your credit. Don't down play how much you have done to make her what she is today. And you did that when you felt like you were struggling and going through really difficult things and emotions. I honestly have watched your mothering abilities with a lot of admiration.

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  8. I know you would be great with having 2 kids, and Aspen would love a playmate, but ultimately you have to do what's best for you. Sometimes that means going outside your comfort zone and sometimes it means knowing that the best thing is to stay where you are.
    It's a decision that only you can make with the help of Kev and Heavenly Father. And you can't listen to what anyone else says. :)

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  9. that sounds like a terrible psychiatrist, i'm sorry :( ugh. i really like matt & alissa's comment, sounds like a smart lady.

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  10. I have to also agree with getting a blessing. My husband and I have been married almost 5 years have always been terrified of having children. I suffer from mental illness and with all the hormones weren't sure what a pregnancy would mean. We knew it was a commandment though and went to our bishop and each received a blessing. I am now 15 weeks pregnant (it has been a hard road so far) and I reflect on the words in the blessing and receive comfort from the promises.

    The great thing about blessings is that nothing bad can come from them. Good luck though, this is hard stuff.

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