Two Are a Gift But I Want Another

Kathleen Siddell essays

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I want another baby. My wonderful, devoted, thoughtful and hardworking husband, does not.

I've been trying to convince myself that my two, healthy, beautiful boys make us a complete family. My boys are perfect, in every way. They make each other laugh (and cry). They look out for one another. They fight. They hug. They yell. They love each other and have, at two and three, developed a sibling bond that fills me with pride and awe. With two, no one will feel left out. Two is sturdy. Two is even. Two is manageable. Two are a gift.

But still.

Time keeps passing and if I'm really honest with myself, my heart breaks just a little every 30th day of the month. I tell myself, “this month will be different. This month I will feel differently.” Until that 30th day when I realize I have been clinging to a foolish hope. A few days pass, I think I've made peace with what is, and the cycles begin again.

I know envy is an ugly and unproductive emotion but I feel like the world is suddenly filled with families of five. I see them everywhere in the same way you suddenly notice a million other kids with the same name you picked for it's uniqueness. I envy them and think, “why not me?” And then I feel ungrateful, greedy and gratuitous.

My husband does not want me to feel like our family of four is not enough. And of course, he is impossibly practical about the whole thing. Paying for college education for three? Spending another five years imprisoned by nap times and bed times and unpredictable crankiness and crumbs (the crumbs!) everywhere. And we're old. And need sleep.

At these times, I know he's probably right. I want to sleep and I don't want to be the old mom too at kindergarten orientation. I admit, there is a certain excitement I feel when getting little parts of my life back—time to write, an hour to run, a shower. And yes, there's the massive, terrifying expense. And the sleep. In these moments, I am at peace. I don't want another.

But still. Moments pass.

Unlike his rational, practical reasoning, my desire is based on feelings I don't know how to explain in words, and emotions that can't answer his concerns. I love being a mother. I want to feel a newborn sleeping on my chest again. I want to feel my heart expand again, and deeper. I want to watch another piece of us fill this world, and our world, with love. I love my boys more than I thought possible and I am happy. But maybe this is the reason my desire lingers. I wonder if this is just how it is for some women. A yearn to mother again remains until your body decides you are done.

I love my husband, still more everyday, and I respect his feelings. So I silently try to find the words to explain without placing any guilt or hard feelings. I try to show gratitude for what I have (which is already too much) while secretly hoping for more, and then beat myself up for it. I think of the millions of women who struggle for just one. Shame on me. I feel selfish because I focus on what I want and how I feel. But there is no compromise.

People who want to get pregnant are not while people who don't want to get pregnant are. My friend's mother is dying of cancer. Another friend of a friend gave birth to a child who may, or may not, make it. And somewhere, someone is praying their loved one will wake up, stand up, live up. I am humbled by my luck. I am reminded again and again, that none of us are really in control. There is someone or something larger, greater than ourselves putting all the pieces in place. I believe they must know what they're doing because it makes no sense to me. I find comfort in remembering that time has always proven this Someone knows what they are doing. 

And so I will trust that our family of four is complete. I trust that the Big Someone who is putting the puzzle of my life together knows this is the way the picture is supposed to look. And I will wait for time to show me, this is as it always was.

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About the Author

Kathleen Siddell

Kathleen recently moved with her family from Shanghai, China, to Singapore. While she resists the term "mommy blogger," she reluctantly admits that she is a mother with a blog. You can read about her family's sometimes ordinary/sometimes extraordinary adventures living abroad at .

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