Seattle Photographer Musings: I Lied. Here’s Why. Part II.
Continued from I Lied to You | Part I
This time it was just too hard to repeat the words I have said with bold conviction in the past, “I don’t want any more kids.” Perhaps like an old brick wall, my resolve and my reasons are starting to crumble to the floor with each judgmental stare, and on this day, I found it easier to lie.
When I look at you, you mom with multiple kids, I see strength, courage, selflessness, and power. I see someone who knowingly gave up hobbies, time, sleep, and personal space to bring children into the world. I see a mom who has a heart with so many different compartments there’s endless room to give more and more of herself. When I look at you, I sometimes feel broken. Why does my heart not have as much room? What is missing in my spirit? I see something in them I do not have. I admire them, and feel like I am missing a part of my soul that should have been installed but was forgotten.
I want to feel capable, but I am not.
SLEEP: Lots of people think I must have hated being pregnant. This is quite untrue. I didn’t mind it at all. I had an easy labor in my living room with the best midwife and doula on the west coast. The first few weeks were magical and transformative. Then I began to lose sleep and suffered from postpartum depression. The worst part was I did not even know it. I lost myself, almost lost my marriage, and lost a few friends in the most desperate time of my life. I thought it was normal and I was just weak. I was brought to my knees on a regular basis the first two years of my son’s life due to lack of sleep. I even considered suicide. Around my son’s second year of life, I called Rebeca Michi a Children’s Sleep Consultant for help. Like the crazy person I was, I begged for her help and would have given her all of my worldly possessions to help my son sleep. I bawled my eyes out on our first phone conversation. I wanted so badly to be the ‘everything’ mom. It broke me apart in the process and I didn’t even realize it. I was so ashamed of myself. I hated who I was and who I pretended to be outside of my house and on Facebook. I was tired and alone. It was the hardest 2 years of my life.
SIBLINGS: I am estranged from my only sibling and I’m at peace with it. In fact, it’s a better life without my sibling. From the day I was born, my sister and I never got along. I can’t speak for her, but what I felt was hatred my entire childhood that stretched well into adulthood until I finally asked for space. I do not want to put my son through what I went though. Hate is a strong word, strong enough that I know I do not want to put another person through what I went though: begging for a sibling’s approval, time, acknowledgment, etc.. I am not sure I even have the skills to teach siblings how to get along because it’s something I have never actually witnessed.
MONEY: I want my kid to travel, learn languages, go to great schools, and play lots of different sports. All of these things have one thing in common: it takes money. A lot of money. I am proud that my 4-year-old has already been to Paris, London, Tennessee, Alabama, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Kansas. I love that my husband and I still travel every year to see our favorite music concerts. I love the lifestyle we live and don’t want it to change.
HELP: I am that mom who has gone to parks just to meet other moms. I have NO family here. I have no help. Nobody to watch my kid unless I am writing them a check. I get a free babysitter about once a year on my anniversary when I fly my mom here. This is so hard. My husband travels for work so there are many times it’s just me, my kiddo and my full-time job. I have a vivid memory of laying on my bathroom floor with my 2-year-old son, both of us covered in our own vomit for three straight days. My husband was in London on business and I had nobody to help me. Let’s be honest; paid help will not show up in that mess! I realized then even if I wanted another child I couldn’t mae it work. I need family nearby who is willing to show up for me even when I am on a bathroom floor with a 103 temperature.
WORK: I work. I love what I do. I have zero intentions of giving that up.
So when a seemingly simple question is posed, “When are you giving him a sibling?” Or comments like, “You are so selfish to not give him a sibling,” or “What if he dies?” or “He won’t learn any social skills.” I worry I am wrong. I worry I am not enough. I worry I am missing that compartment in my heart that would make me want more children. I worry for my son. Am I doing what is right for him? For me? For my family? I don’t know. I don’t have all of the answers.
For me, my son is enough. He is perfect for me. Our quiet mornings together are the best part of my day, and he is one of the best pieces of my life.
We are a family of three, a happy and content family of three, and for me, that is enough.