Some time ago, and I can’t pinpoint exactly when, my body started to crave another baby. I’m pretty sure my ovaries started to ache (although that can’t be backed up by science). I got the fever again, just like I did the first time.
The big difference between the first time I wanted to get pregnant and the second time is that my head and heart are no longer in sync. The first time, my brain had absolutely no idea what it was getting into because there were no past experiences to compare to. This time around, my brain constantly plays devil’s advocate and reminds me of all the logical reasons why I should definitely not get pregnant again. Meanwhile, my heart is like, “Ignore all logic and give me a baby. My clock is ticking, lady.”
I started to refer to this phenomenon as “The Great Second Baby Debate.”
I imagine that if my head and my heart were to actually have conversations with each other, they would sound a lot like this.
The Pregnancy Debate
Heart: Ooooh. I think it’s ovulation day. Get busy and make a baby. Do it tonight!
Head: But you HATED being pregnant. You were miserable. You complained every waking minute of the day and counted down the days until your due date.
Heart: You’re being dramatic. It really wasn’t that bad. Yes, I had a rough time and I was uncomfortable, but there were also really sweet parts that I miss. The flutters that turned into kicks that turned into karate chops, the tender politeness from strangers, the excuse to eat frozen yogurt as a meal replacement.
Head: You’re romanticizing it. You puked three times a day for your entire first trimester.
Heart: Good point, but maybe I’ll get lucky the second time around.
The Newborn Fog Debate
Heart: Look! Over there! It’s a baby. A tiny, precious, delicious-smelling newborn. Go gawk at it. You know you want to.
Head: Stop and stare all you want but need I remind you about what an absolute mess you were when you a first-time mother to a newborn? I think you cried more than the baby did. And don’t get me started on the sleep deprivation. You were like an extra on The Walking Dead. It took months, possibly even years, for you to feel like yourself again.
Heart: Yes, but this time won’t be such a shock to my system because I’ll know what to expect. I’m a veteran now. I’ve been in the newborn trenches and I know that even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time, it’s fleeting. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Head: You’re right. You’ve reached the light. Your 3-year-old sleeps through the night and is finally potty trained. No more midnight feedings. No more diapers. Why would you want to torture yourself all over again?
Heart: Be quiet. I’m too busy discreetly trying to sniff this baby. It’s intoxicating.
Head: You’re hopeless.
The Only Child Debate
Heart: I desperately want to give my child a sibling, a playmate for life. I can’t stress the importance of siblings enough. They are your memory keepers and shape who you’ll become.
Head: What are you an inspirational Pinterest board now? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with raising an only child. You can devote all of your attention to him. You’ll never have to feel guilty about not being in two places at once, the way all parents of multiple children feel.
Heart: What about when the husband and I are old and gray and need to be taken care of? That’s an awful lot of pressure to put on just one child. He needs a sibling to help him carry the weight of whatever life throws at him.
Head: That’s what friends are for.
Heart: I have a sudden urge to call my sister.
<20 minutes of laughter, gossip, and comparing motherhood struggles later>
Head: Not everyone turns out to be best friends with their siblings.
Heart: Yea but when you do, it’s pretty great.
In case you’re wondering who ultimately won the great second baby debate, my husband and I currently trying for number two. The deciding factors: We love being parents, we are actually pretty good at it, and our family just doesn’t feel complete with one kid.