Friday, September 10, 2004

One and only one

Lately, I've been getting all sorts of subtle and overt messages that I should be having another kid (from relatives, aquaintances, etc.) I'd always comforted myself with the notion that by having only one child, at least I'm not contributing to overpopulation.

Well, this article rips that security blanket right off me!

You'd think this guy never heard of pollution or scarcity of resources! At least he made a point not to blame "selfish women".

Anyway, right now is not a time I would choose to have a child, but I wrestle with all sorts of guilt over this choice. If I don't ever have another child, my daughter will have to live with the fact that not only does she not have siblings, she doesn't even have cousins (I have about a zillion cousins, so I can't imagine this). And like the parents who decide to have another kid to get bone marrow to save their eldest, I'm thinking of it only in terms of what's best for her. Here's what each part of me says:

Mind: Duh. You don't want another kid. You don't want to contribute to overpopulation. As much as your first child strengthened your relationship with your SO, a second kid would probably weaken it. You need freedom and time to yourself. There's nothing even remotely selfish about not reproducing. Probably the opposite is true. It's both immoral and ridiculous to bring another child into the world just for Callista's sake.

Heart: Am I hurting my daughter? What if I change my mind later and my daughter is too old to be really close to her sibling? Or worse, that I wait too long and have infertility problems? What if I'm old and I look back on my life wishing I had more kids? How will I feel if my daughter dies? (I know, this is extremely morbid.) What if my SO and I become sick and feeble or die early and my daughter has to take care of us alone or live a life with no immediate family?

Soul: I have no desire for another child.

Mind & soul agree against... heart? Two out of three would easily close the book on this subject, right? Wrong. For some reason, that's not the way it works. My heart is very sensitive to outside pressure, especially around subjects related to Callista. So I've been riding an emotional roller coaster on this one.

IRONIC TWIST: My staunchly pro-choice mom is the main person pressuring me to "have another" (though, to her credit, it hasn't come up lately). I'd love to know what she'd think if I got pregnant and decided to abort...


Blogger Sarah said...

I struggle with this a lot myself, whether to have another child. Rain also has no cousins and has a very small extended family (and I also have a million cousins) and I worry about him being lonely. Wolfie talks about his only-childhood and he always seems so lonely and sad...although he'd probably disagree. With Wolfie and I being such introverts, I worry that Rain will grow up totally unable to relate to people. :-)

You know, the overpopulation issue is something that has always been important to me in shaping my reproduction. In fact, I always figured I wouldn't reproduce and would adopt. I especially feel like, as a super-consuming American, I have a responsibility to consider what my desire for gene continuation (okay, perhaps there's a little more to it than that -- although I didn't think so before becoming a mother) is going to do to our planet and the other folks who have to live on it. But I never hear anyone else mention this. Ever. I surround myself with some pretty progressive, socially conscious mothers and none of them seem to have the slightest qualm about having two, three or even ten kids. It seems very surprising to me that no one appears to even give this a thought.

1:06 AM, October 03, 2004  

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