Before I get started on this post I want to preface it by saying it does not bother me at all when people ask me if we are going to have another child. I choose to look at it from the standpoint people must think we’re doing a pretty good job with Otto that we should have more. I’m writing this from the perspective of when we answer maybe not. We sometimes get one of the following responses:
don’t you want to have friends for Otto?
don’t you want to experience a normal pregnancy?
what if something happens to Otto then you have no kids?
what if something happens to you and Joe then Otto has nobody?
are you worried that he’ll grow up anti social and/or spoiled?
or Oh, interesting.
Some of these responses are kinda dark and are things we’ve considered and thought about. I don’t think any of the responses are meant in ill will just curiosity. At the end of the day whatever direction we choose to go things are going to be fine. If something happens to Joe and I, Otto has wonderful extended family and cousins. We are doing our best to raise him to be a good and loving human being. I hope he has friends other than a potential sibling. (Don’t get me wrong love my siblings but I have additional friends). There is just a lot of things to consider and weigh out with having a second child.
Why am I sharing something so personal? Well. I’ve kind of chosen this route and as Otto gets to his third birthday it’s typically the time people start thinking about round two. These are my personal feelings based on my personal experiences. If I’m weighing and worrying and considering these options maybe someone else out there is too?
My main struggle with considering a second child is two fold (and I write this knowing full well that someday the internet will still exist and potential children will be able to read this).
nothing is guaranteed. After we had our miscarriage with our first pregnancy I thought for sure we would have a seamless go at round two. We learned the harsh lesson that nothing “normal” is ever guaranteed. I know right off the bat that if we choose to have another child that we will (gratefully) have more appointments and monitoring just based on our history.
We met with a genetics doctor yesterday to grasp a bit more understanding on Otto’s condition. We want to know more. What are our chances of a second child having a heart defect or birth defect in general. Is this something that could potentially be prevalent in Otto’s future children. We are currently weighing the benefits of genetic tests which could give us vague answers on probability. We learned yesterday that test or no test anyone who has a child with a heart defect has an increased chance of 5-10% which anyone has a 2 % chance in general. That led to an interesting dinner conversation of what percentage do we draw the line.
I want to clarify this point. I love Otto with all my heart, soul and fiber of my being. Pending second child, defects or no I would love just as much.
Having a child with extra medical needs is a lot of work. It takes a lot to not only manage prescriptions, appointments, weight, illness etc it’s a lot of work to check your emotions. It’s easy to get angry at the world sometimes. It’s easy to feel spite. It’s hard to find someone willing to help you out and feel comfortable with meds, tubes and syringes. It’s hard to find a break. It’s hard to maintain a healthy marriage. It’s hard. It’s just really hard.
The thought of having a second child with a medical issue is really really really scary.
We know we are strong enough but the question is do we want to be.
I’m nervous writing this because I know I am opening myself to criticism but these thoughts have been weighing on me. I feel like a lot of parents and especially women find themselves in this thought pattern. Don’t get me wrong Joe is an excellent partner but when Otto is sick he wants his mama. A second child would mean more potential short and long term changes in my career. What would that look like? I like things the way they are (under normal circumstances). I don’t like change. (does anyone?)
Life is (all things considered) really good right now. We are navigating our way through this crazy pandemic and Otto is in good stable health. We are 9 months in between appointments now. We are talking surgery in years not months. Things finally feel safe. We feel we can rest our heads for a bit. Do we want to jump in again and add a kid to the mix?
Medical issues and probabilities aside things are just finally hitting a grove. Do we want to shake things up again? These are the conversations that are taking place around our table deep into the night hours.
It’s a lot to consider and with everything comes prayerful consideration. We know that no matter what route is chosen we will all be ok.
If you find yourself in this life circumstance it’s ok to be really really confused. It’s really alright to now know what you want out of life. I was never one growing up that knew exactly how many kids I wanted, where I wanted to live, what I wanted to be.
Ok that is partly true, I wanted to be a designer living in Manhattan. Jokes on me, I live on a 12 acre farm in Allegan raising sheep, chickens and a toddler.
I’m sharing this sensitive opinion because if you feel a bit guilty (like I do) for having the thoughts of not knowing what your supposed to do, the right thing for you will come about. And whatever choice anyone makes to have or adopt 10 kids or 1 kid or no children it’s all the right choice because it’s the one you made.
Our next step is to wait and hear back what our insurance covers in terms of genetic testing. We both have a budget in mind for what we are willing to spend in the name of research. Side note: if I was focused enough to get involved in the medical industry, I would for sure choose genetics. It is SO interesting.
Thank you for being on this journey with us. Your support all along the way is so appreciated. Love to you all.
Joe and Abby
And otto (who’s vote is “My Toys”)