I love this post by Tertia of So Close. To quote:
“On paper, having children, or at least more than one (did you not learn the first time around!!), seems like a really silly idea. But that is because you haven’t taken into account that one and only item that appears on the plus column: the love. The absolutely amazing love you feel for your child. And that one single item, that mommy (or daddy) love, far outweighs the entire minus column. That love is what makes having children so absolutely wonderful.”
I have been contemplating this very subject all week as I could feel my body preparing to come out of the breastfeeding-induced infertility fog. While I know I’m not ready for a second child, I keep coming back to the same point Tertia makes and marveling at the kid/parent love. It is so entirely different from the love I have for anyone else, and it is the one thing that makes me nearly certain that I’ll have a second child.
I’ve been thinking a lot about family recently, and considering the many different ways love is expressed or withheld. My family is fraught with conflict and the drama kind of has a life of its own (most of my family members avoid the issues altogether rather than trying to fix them, so they multiply and pretty soon everyone is mad about something and that something is definitely stupid and unimportant! And yet no one is happy about where we have ended up!) I spent quite some time in therapy to deal with my issues related to my family and came amazingly far in finding peace of mind by coming to terms with the way things are rather than trying to change the people involved. Having Jack has also worked wonders to restore my spirit and has made me realize that I really don’t care about all of the family drama; I am more concerned with the positive aspects of the members of my family, and I want Jack to know them, too. I love these people despite any negative history and that love wins out. I am hopeful that eventually the rest of my family will feel similarly and we can rebuild our relationships.
The dynamic of love with immediate relations (parents, siblings) is most amazing to me. I realized this when Jack was born, and I’ve been noticing others who are entering parenthood note the same thing: you can be yourself around your parents, whether that is your best or your worst. If your mom does something with your child that you don’t like, you tell her to stop and usually don’t think about it. On the other hand, if your mother-in-law does something with your child that you don’t like, you have to analyze the best way to approach her and hope she doesn’t freak out at you. Even if you have the best in-laws in the world, you don’t have the assurance that they will love you if you do something they don’t agree with (especially if that something involves their child/your spouse).
I have seen people question whether to have a child, and wonder if they will regret it. And I agree with Tertia that the list of cons is long, longer than the pros (at least it seems that way at this stage), so I think some people might regret it in a way and that might be reason not to have children. But this love does make it all worth it and there is just nothing else like it!