Why I'm OK With Only One Child
There are things a woman pregnant with her second child is simply not supposed to say: No, I'm not excited. No I don't want to be pregnant. No, I don't want this baby.
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Don't get me wrong. I love being a mother. I'm so crazy about my son, Aidan, that even my mom friends tease me about my unrestrained gushing. But I wasn't prepared to be pregnant for the second time. In the picture my husband took of me right after I took the test, I sit hunched on the couch, my right hand covering my face as if I'm hiding from the paparazzi, the blue-and-white plastic stick in my left. So when this baby's heart inexplicably stopped beating in the ninth month of pregnancy, it felt like payback. I was convinced on some level that she'd died because I hadn't wanted her enough.
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I conceived Aidan through IVF and had him one month shy of my fortieth birthday. High on new motherhood, I assumed we'd have two children mainly because everyone has two children. Truth be told, my husband, Harlan, and I weren't totally on board for more than one. While I was astounded by the intensity of my love for my son, motherhood also had left me drained, short-tempered, and frustrated by my inability to reboot my writing career. I missed my work and my upbeat former self, and I shuddered to imagine how long it would take to get them back with two kids. It didn't help that when Aidan was 18 months old, Harlan got a job in Boston and we left the life I loved in Los Angeles for a cold New England town where we knew no one. I found myself alone all day with a toddler, waiting for my husband to get home, like a dog wagging her tail by the front door.
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