Sunday, May 30, 2010
The only child
We are coming home today. Is it ever easy to come home after being in paradise? No.
Yesterday my sweet little daughter made a matter of fact statement that has left me staggered. While getting ready for the pool, sitting in front of the mirror looking at herself, she announced "Mama, my children will never have an aunt or uncle will they?" I thought about it for a moment, and realized that was totally correct. The sting of being an only child. I think about this constantly. I am quite the lone wolf in the mother world having made the decision to only have one child. M never really questioned being an only child, but I have noticed in the last six months she has starting making innocent comments about it. Each time it is a sting to my heart. It is a feeling of incompleteness that I never expected. There are many reasons we have choosen to only have one child. One of the biggest reasons is I had pelvic floor damage (nerve damage actually) from my pregnancy and birth with M. Three and a half hours of pushing during labor took its toll. My physical therapist told me there was no way to know if having a second child would make things worse or keep them the same. Then there is the living in the middle of nowhere with a baby and it makes you feel like you are going crazy feeling. After M was born I suffered from post-partum depression. No one I know suffered from depression after their child was born, and I felt very alone. Everyone I know just basked in the glow of their new baby. I did not. I wanted to flee and get my freedom back. I feel tremendous guilt for having those feelings. I live in the ultimate hippy community that has an unspoken code of motherhood I felt I could not live up to. I was not happy spending every single day with my baby with no breaks. I was not happy living 20 minutes away from my nearest friend (40 min. drive to my other friends) and feeling like that was my only life line to sanity. I could not fathom that my dear mother-in-law could only visit me every three months and give me the breath of life and freedom I so badly needed.
These are all the factors that led me to the decision that I was not strong enough or supported enough to have a second child. Physically or emotionally. I was not cut of the same strong fabric other mothers and friends I knew were. I embraced my single child life with gusto, looking at all the positive aspects. She is really easy to travel with. She gets the attention of both her daddy and mother daily. She has a mother who schedules play dates with precision-like efficiency. She has her own domain at home; a universe not required to be shared with anyone but her visiting friends. And yet, I question it every day. I wonder what it will be like to be old and have the burden of that rest on one child's shoulders. I wonder if she knows that she only has herself while others have siblings.
And now I have arrived to the time in our lives that she too, is questioning.