It began shortly after Lucy’s first birthday. Moms who I’d met in baby music classes, baby yoga classes, or out on the sidewalk during maternity leave began announcing their second pregnancies. And while these announcements appeared as a trickle in the second year of Lucy’s life, they became a deluge right after Lucy’s second birthday. So many of my mom friends, getting ready for baby number two.
I say I’m so happy for you to each of them, and trust me, I am. But it’s complicated.
For one, I’m not actively trying to have baby number two. And that makes it tricky. While my friends are sensitive when they know someone is battling secondary infertility, because I’m not trying, they may not understand that I feel conflicted and ambivalent, and, well, sad, that I’m not in a place in my life when I can consider having a second.
First, there’s the money thing. While I’m lucky to work in an industry I love, it’s hard to raise a child and save for college on a single salary (hell, it’s hard to do that on a joint salary!) I can’t afford a second baby right now.
Second, there’s the limitations I face as a single mama. While I know many single mamas who can and do rock at having two young kids, I know that I’m already pushed to the limit at one. In order to be the best mama I can be, Lucy has to be an only child for at least a few more years, until she becomes more self-sufficient.
Finally, hearing about siblings being added to another family makes me wonder if just the two of us are enough. Most days, I know we are. But I also know how much I value my relationships with my two older brothers, and feel so sad Lucy might never get to experience that.
Of course, an expecting announcement isn’t about me. It’s about my friend, and her family, and the love that grows when another baby enters the world. And I know that and try to celebrate that. But I also cringe when they complain about morning sickness and exhaustion, two things I would love to experience if my circumstances right now were different.
What I’m learning is that, like everything, it all comes down to communication. Because, what I’ve found out, when I can actually share my ambivalence with my newly expecting friend, is that so often, she feels ambivalent as well: Excited to welcome a new arrival, but scared of the way her family will shift when one more is added. And the more we talk, the more we realize that motherhood is always just figuring it out and hoping for the best. And that doesn’t change, no matter how many children you have.
Anna Davies lives in the Paulus Hook section of Jersey City with her two-year-old daughter, Lucy. Anna is a writer who has written for The New York Times, The New York Post, Glamour, Cosmo, Elle and others. She's also written thirteen young adult novels, including ghostwriting five Gossip Girl novels (shhh!) Prior to Jersey City, Anna lived in Brooklyn for ten years and is a Northern NJ native. She loves going on adventures with Lucy; follow along @babybackpacker on Instagram.