No one warned me that there's an unspoken threshold that occurs when your firstborn (your only) turns two. As the chubby fat rolls go away, as toddling steps turn into a self-assured run, society assesses your family status, and an invisible beacon turns on above your head: one that signals "it's time."
Time for what? According to the grocery store clerk, well-meaning parents of classmates, elderly church ladies, and your third cousin twice removed, time for another baby.
I was not prepared for this phenomenon. I figured with one tiny human in tow, people would finally leave me alone about procreating. You know, people have opinions about your uterus. But, in fact, the general public not only has opinions on when you should start breeding, but also when it is time to add a sibling.
I have gotten used to the questions - it usually goes something like this:
"She's cute/lovely/insert adjective. Is she your only?"
"Thank you - yes she is!"
"Well, isn't it time she gets a brother or sister?"
Or this one, which I never have heard but is a common cultural statement...
(any time she does anything for the first time - walking, talking, potty training)
"She's making room for another, watch out!"
I've learned to combat this invasion of my privacy with a witty quip about how one keeps us on our toes. These harmless questions indeed seem mundane to the curious public, but can wear on one over time. It gets old having to justify your reproductive choices time and again.
What if I don't want another baby?
I don't want another baby because I'm tired.
I'm really not sure how good I am at this parenting thing.
I love my daughter so much that I can't imagine making room for another baby in my heart.
And she was a difficult newborn.
I remember those dark days.
I don't think I can go back.
I'm finally feeling like myself again.
I'm finally looking like myself again.
I don't want another baby.
And yet, I'm tired for the best reasons.
I love my daughter so much that I can't imagine how it can feel to love two people unconditionally and exponentially.
She was a tiny, funny, snuggly newborn.
I could be a better mom the second time around, perhaps with less dark days.
Maybe the definition of "myself" has shifted?
So, maybe I want another baby.
But maybe not right now.