Sunday, January 31, 2010

State of my Union

Last week after the President gave his speech, Joe and I had a chat in bed about wishes and goals for our family in the future. It's no secret that Joe has wanted to add to our family, he was ready to start when Charlie was six months old. And everyday we're finding out more and more of our friends are pregnant with their second and third little ones. I think I stopped counting after 12!

But here we are, quickly approaching Charlie's second birthday and I still do not feel in any way ready to have another baby.

I think there are multiple reasons for my hesitation.

The first is that my son is an extremely demanding child when it is just him and myself. I know every toddler is high energy, prone to meltdowns etc. But Charlie wakes up every morning, and consequently from each nap, screaming and shrieking as though someone is trying to murder him. This is how we start every day. I have many friends who say their babies can quietly and happily play in their crib. Honestly, it takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes for my son to calm down from once he has woken up.

It wasn't until recently that we started getting good quality sleep in our house despite my efforts at sleep training with several methods.

The severity of his reflux/colic and allergies in his infancy (up to about 14 months) have worn off but the emotional scars are still very present for me. The screaming for hours, constant projectile vomiting, hunger strikes and refusal to eat really wore me down. I felt completely lost and incompetent as a mother.

Our breastfeeding failure (and my complete desperation to make it work) left me feeling extremely depressed and like less of a mother.

When Charlie gets ill it takes him twice as long as the normal toddler to recover. I've seen this time and time again with all of our baby-friends. Today was the first good day we had since he came down with the stomach bug on Monday. His gastroenterologist termed him a "easy vomiter" so certain textures of foods or even coughing too hard can cause him to completely empty his stomach.

For a long time when we were trying to work on our sleep schedule he would vomit one or more times at bedtime (and sometimes at naps too) and we would have to change the sheets, him, clean the floors. It has been so emotionally exhausting to try and fill him with healthy well balanced foods to see everything come right back up again.

He does not have much of a threshold for pain (I think this comes back to the reflux) so whenever he was teething we just could not sleep.

I'm not going to drag through all the other reasons and details but I think the crux of the matter is that with all our trials I have ended up doubting myself and at times I still do not feel confident about my abilities.

I am fearful that then next child will end up having one or more of the problems Charlie had. I don't know where I would find the time to give enough attention, enough of myself, to both children. Would there be anything left after that?

I know many other mothers have suffered far worse than I have. I'm not trying to complain, really just state what is going on inside of my head and heart. I pray each night and morning and ask God to make me a better mother to my son. Charlie is such a source of complete joy and love for me.

Joe and I came out of our discussion feeling better for having communicated and hopefully, come the spring, God will have worked on my heart some more and I will be ready to take that next step. I think when the time comes I may have to just close my eyes and leap with blind faith.

To close on a happy note, I'm ending this post with a funny picture :o)


Jen said...

hey kel. i see where you're coming from. and i'm sure if i were in your shoes i'd feel the same way. not every child acts or develops the same way. sometimes there's just the one, and sometimes it's the whole family. but i really feel that charlie is a special case. ultimately, the decision is yours, but i'd just like to share with you that me and my middle sister never got along mainly because our age difference was 4 years. don't despair about your mothering abilities. i know in my heart that you did everything you could and more, so the last person you should doubt is yourself. my family jokes that the first kid is the practice one. haha (wait... i'm the first one.... ::frown face:: )

anyway, so what i'm saying is: i love you. you're my friend. don't ever think twice about what you did/do for charlie. he's going to be fine. :)

Amanda said...

Kelly, you are a really wonderful mother and Charlie has thrived because of your love, patience and ABILITY. That being said, it may require a blind leap of faith eventually, but I think you'll know when the time is right -- whether you're sure or you're just ready for the blind leap. Take your time and don't ever feel bad about it. Having children isn't to be taken lightly, as you know. Thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

It's so easy at times as a mom to feel like you aren't doing anything right and that something may be the matter with you because things aren't exactly how you pictured they would be. Trust me, you are not alone (I am exhibit A) :) More than anything, I believe you are doing everything right. I admire you woman, you are one tuff chick. My son is only a few months older than Charlie and I too see many people around me one expecting their second. There isn't any wrong or right answer to this, only you know. I have friends who are glad that they did it close together and many others who are glad that they spaced it out. No matter what you and your DH decide, you should know that you are an awesome mom! *Hugs*

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