You know how kids can ask really honest even painful questions when they meet you? “Why do you only have one child?” “It must be so easy to only have one child.” “Don’t you feel bad about only having only one kid?” Just kidding, these are actually unsolicited questions offered by grown people – you know, adults. Maybe trying to be helpful, maybe just curious, maybe just being wildly inappropriate in a failed to learn to mind your own damn business sort of way?
Do not, do not, do not search online for the impacts of “only childhood.” Everything from “it ruined me” to “it made me the amazing person I am today.” The same quotes could apply to chocolate.
The truth is I could only HAVE one child. My body said enough (I used to say it “broke” but try not to go there anymore.) It was not how I thought it would shake down. Maybe I should have planned better? Maybe I should have paid more attention in health class? Maybe I should not have waited until I was 37? (The maybes and the should haves are infinite.) The truth is after one miscarriage and a needed-hormone bump the writing was on the uterine wall. Later a male Cruella de Vil who posed as a fertility doc did not ask what my goals were and merely said “you have one barely viable egg and are not even a candidate for IVF.” Then he swooped his puppy-skin coat around him and told me to check out with the receptionist. The walls on the clinic bathroom I cried in were mauve, the tiles were speckled beige, one fluorescent light was out. These are the things you remember with vivid ferocity when you feel like a part of you died. Because that’s what many women faced with the “end of fertility” or “uncooperative fertility” feel like. Like they are broken, not whole, less than. It gets better because I soon found out I was in premature menopause but that is (spoiler alert!) ANOTHER blog post (oh lady peeps have I got stories for you.)
The truth is having a 2nd child was something we were not entirely sure of, but as my partner and I are each the oldest of 4 kids (yes, that does make for interesting couple dynamics, ANOTHER blog post) we know the power of siblings. And to be honest, I wanted that choice. Then it was gone. For all those who want a child and struggle with fertility and are not as fortunate as I am to be able to write about my “only” child, my heart hurts for you.
My son, now 10, is indeed awesome and the best thing I have ever made. Though my Laura Ingalls Wilder diorama of Little House in the Big Woods in the 4th grade was killer. He is smart and goofy and a blend of me and his dad and our families and our neuroses and our amazing-ness. He has friends (though boys and friendships is ANOTHER blog post) and plays well with others (and yes, he can roll with groups of adults better than some peers). He can mash up songs that make me laugh out loud and can do complex math in his head. Do I worry about him being Spoiled? Selfish? Helpless? Yep. Last time I checked, one prereq of being a parent is knowing how to worry well.
He has too many Legos, and we should volunteer more, and we should schedule more playdates (ANOTHER blog post) and, and, and – the maybes and the shouldhaves are infinite. My goal now is to be happy with what I have, try not to ruin my child, and possibly even find peace with the journey. I am human. Sometimes I still follow (with my eyes) people with babies around in public spaces – I recently almost got lost in a holiday light maze when following a dad and his baby and toddler.
I have a lot of future blog posts.