I’ve been going back and forth in my mind since Zi was born and so far I’ve been 50-50 on having a second child. In the past months, I lost some of the baby fat from my face...and other parts. I’m beginning to fit into clothes I was about to give away. I’m even in a pretty good work routine—it’s not enough to get all I want to done, but it could be worse. Also, at 19 months, Zi should soon start sleeping through the night, insha’allah. Maybe then I’ll actually spend some time with my husband, whom I only see through the bleariness of exhaustion, after the distractions of work and from the far side of the bed. When the love of our lives sleeps between us, as she often does, she’s splayed out like a two-foot, pudgy starfish with one foot cocked up on (usually) her dad’s shoulder. Stone and I are teetering on the edges of the mattress and she’s taking up the middle “half” of the bed.
Mostly, I’m loath to go back to those months of breastfeeding every two hours around the clock. I met the mother of a nine-week-old boy at yesterday’s post-natal support group (hosted once a month by Mamatoto in Belmont) and all I felt was “better her than me.” At 37, the question of a second child isn’t theoretical, it’s immediate. In my mind is a soft-focus of two children, playing together while Stone and I sit with our computers, blissfully ignoring them, knowing they keep each other company. Then, later on in life, they can share the burden of dealing with us as we get old and will each have one to commiserate with the other. When I first had Ziya, I realised why motherhood is really the greatest thing ever and appreciated how, in comparison, so few things matter. What rank did publications have in relation to this new baby? None! Where was one’s life work? It was obvious. Now, I’m changing perspective.
I’m again excited by work and could do with more time, a few weekends to do nothing but think and write. If I add money, sanity, work, marriage, getting back my body, sleep and time for myself, and returning manageability to life, the sum says “stick with one.” If I look at the whole thing with rose-tinted lenses, I think maybe it would be nicer with two. I’ve gone around maniacally polling all my friends who are only children, and they seem like pretty happy, well-adjusted people. I’ve got lots of friends, with siblings, who could do with affordable therapy. Before we had the first baby, Stone used to try to convince me I hadn’t really thought the whole thing through, and really I hadn’t, but I knew I’d be fine. However, this next time—if there is one—I’m more convinced of the value of weighing what I’m getting myself into. The truth is, I’m still undecided about what to do.