Tuesday, May 29, 2012

baby number two?

Fooled ya!  Don't have anything to announce.  Baby G #2 is still just a twinkle in our eyes and is nowhere near materializing in reality.  But I have noticed that several friends and acquaintances, with babies both a bit older and a bit younger than Vicki Jo, are expecting their next additions.  And while I'm so happy for each of them and I think the world will be enriched by more of their offspring, it just makes me feel so . . . unready.

While I still look back at the haze that surrounded Vicki's earliest days and wonder what exactly happened, things have gotten a lot better.  She is, of course, a baby, and so she demands near-constant attention and monitoring both for her safety and for her entertainment.  But she can play by herself for a little while.  She can eat some snacks on the floor while I get dinner ready and wash the dishes.  She can sleep on her own all night long (sometimes.  Except when we are having a bizarre sleep regression unrelated to anything except the days getting longer?).  She only nurses once or twice a day, and just to reconnect herself with her home base.

But I have yet to go a full week without some sort of major meltdown about her sleep, her growth, her development, her personality, my skills as a mother, or all of the above.  God surely sent me this baby to learn some very serious lessons about the world and about myself.  Adding another soul into that mix?  I just don't think so.  I foresee some rank Sylvia Plath-like behavior in my future if that were the case.

I still get those horrendous BabyCenter updates that say things like "How to get your child to like having his teeth brushed!" and "Is your baby still not speaking in phrases?  When to get concerned."  This last one was full of more fear-mongering, this time about child spacing.  They quoted some statistic that children born less than one year after the birth of their older sibling are at higher risk for autism, but that children born more than five years after the birth of their older sibling are also at higher risk.  What!?  

It got me thinking:  I wonder if there is some sort of optimal child spacing for the health of mother and babies?  Naturally, I found an article all about it on one of my favorite websites.  It claims that three years is the best (and most traditional) spacing for the mother to restore her health and reserves of nutrients, etc, to grow, birth, and nurse another baby. 

Is it true?  I'm not sure how it can proved, except anecdotally.  I do hear people say a lot of times that they just want to get the baby-creating done with.  Have babies, then have kids, then have adults.  Don't drag it out.  I think of my own mama, who had at least one child at home to look after for twenty-seven years.  Is it any wonder I was largely left to my own devices?  She was exhausted!

I had always pictured a little steps-and-stairs family where we had four children, two years apart.  I also thought 26 would be the perfect age to start.  I was just barely 26 when Vicki Jo was born (my birthday falls 12 days before hers).  So I bought myself a little extra time in my scheme.  If I want to be 28 when Baby #2 enters the world, we still have a whole year to even consider it.  But this kind of arithmetic is crazy-making.  There are so many factors.  Will our bodies cooperate?  Will our jobs and finances allow another life?  It is the "right" time?  (I learned the first time around that if I wait for the "right" time, we'll never have a child.)

One of the mothers from our Bradley birth class (now playgroup) visited her midwife to talk about conceiving another child.  The midwife's advice was to start "making room" in their family's life for another child.  Literally:  designate a space for the new baby in the house.  Make a mental space for the demands of another newborn.  Make a space in your heart for the baby that will need all of it for a period of time.  Make room in your career for big changes.  Make room in your marriage for another creation. 

Such poignant words.  And they make me realize that we just don't have the space right now.  (Watch - now I'll come back in two weeks and tell you we're expecting.  Ha!)

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