Going into this whole parenthood thing, I felt pretty strongly that one child was probably going to be enough. Maybe two, if life worked out that way. I am an only child, and growing up I don’t remember being particularly salty about it. (Though, I did tell my kindergarden teacher that I had 5 siblings, so maybe there were some subconscious misgivings…) To be honest, I haven’t really been disappointed about not having siblings until my adult life. There’s a kinship that some of my adult friends have with their siblings that I’m simply missing in my life.
Maybe it’s because I marathoned a billion episodes of Parenthood during my maternity leave, but I’m finding lately that I’m really craving a big supportive close family. I think being a mother to Bonkers has made me want that “village” that it supposedly takes, and given I have no local close friends with children and basically no social life to meet them…well, I’m feeling a bit, alone?
At about 3 months after having Bonkers, I realized that I wanted to do it again. I love being a mother, and raising him has been such an immense joy that I can’t imagine this being the last time I go through these baby months. Someone in a fantastic Facebook group I’m in commented that the best way to figure out how many children you want is to imagine your dinner table in the future and what you want it to look like. Not in 10 years necessarily, but in 20, 25, 30 years. And to me, that answer is clear as day. I want to have at least 3 adult children, their significant others, grandchildren, the whole nine yards. That’s the picture in my mind — lots of great conversation, family gatherings, big BBQs, going to the kids’ sports games and school activities. I know it’s idealistic because who knows if your children will even live nearby or hell, like each other, but I feel like I want the opportunity for that picture to come to life.
Going into past relationships, I’d always made it really clear that I wanted children. I was never super specific about it — I’d just say that I wanted a baby, but I always made it clear that them not wanting kids was a deal breaker. Now that I’m in a position where I’m going to be looking for a new life partner, I feel like my path is a bit less hazy. I’m at the point now where I’d say to this prospective person: “Having a big family is important to me. I’d really like to have 2-3 more children, however our life needs to adjust in order to support that.” I’m not looking for a person who is middle-of-the-road on children. At this point, I want someone who adores children, wants to have a large family, wants to be super involved in their life and make parenting a priority.
I’m 32. I feel anxious that I don’t have decades of child-bearing years left ahead of me and I certainly can’t conceive, pay for, and raise 3+ children as a single mom. (Not knocking single working parents, but I literally could not afford child care for that many kids anyway.) I feel scared that the future I want might not be something I can realistically do. What are the odds of me finding someone relatively soon, them actually loving me, fast-tracking the whole marriage + kids thing, and it ending up working out? I sort of feel robbed of years of my life. If I had known I’d have to start over in my 30’s, I think I would have chosen to do things differently. But that’s life, isn’t it? It doesn’t go how you plan or how you want it to.