Then, I got married and became pregnant a little over a year later. Once we had our little girl, I wanted to have a second one as soon as possible. As she approached 9 months, the time I wanted to wait until trying for another baby, there was no way we were ready to add to our family. I felt I didn't even have enough time to spend with Lily; however, when she was 15 months old, she started asking for a sibling. To be honest, I was not ready for another one, but Lily was lucky and September 16, 2009 at 4:30am, two little blue lines smiled back at me from a pregnancy test (I would find out that I had been 10 weeks pregnant at that point). Our little girl was over the moon, and we adults were panicked. We tried to decide how to continue from there, as we both knew that something had to change; in our situation back then, having another baby would have really stretched the finances and I already felt enormous pressure as the only bread winner in the family. So we decided to pack up and move back to my native Germany, 6 weeks after our second bundle of joy had arrived. And for once, most things seemed to be in our favor. I found a great job, the social network is a lot stronger in Germany, and we moved to a nice 3-bedroom apartment that we could have never afforded back in Washington.
Even with all the change she had to go through, Lily has always been a very independent child; Violet, however, was her polar opposite. She has been suffering from separation anxiety and attachment disorders since she was a little baby; even today, as she approaches her third birthday, I can hardly leave her sight without her following me or crying for me. Those past months, I havenoticed that she is working on taking teeny-tiny baby steps towards becoming somewhat more independent. We are sure that once she starts kindergarten in fall, she will make enormous progress, which now sends me in a huge baby fever. I miss having a huge baby belly, I miss holding my newborn child, I miss nursing, to experience all that just one last time; to have the time to really enjoy this special time as a family since I had to start working full-time much too early after the girls were born.
A couple of weeks ago, Richard and I talked about our family and our plans for the future, and as just the idea of never having another baby again sends me into a full-blown panic attack. Richard, however, confessed that he cannot imagine having another baby and going through all of this again, at least not now, maybe several years down the road.
I admit, he had to do most of the work so far; we had decided not to put Lily and Violet in day-care but keep them home until kindergarten (in Germany, children start kindergarten at 3 years). As Violet is now signed up to start kindergarten as well, Richard is turning towards looking for work outside the home once again. And there, I can definitely see his point of view; I am not SAHM-material, as much as I love the girls.I do admit that I would love to work less to spend more time with the girls (even though after a stressful, cabin fever-filled weekend I am looking forward to get back to work). I know that if we decide on having one more, things would be different; we would send the little one to day-care earlier so Richard doesn’t have to give up his job again. I would stay at home longer (maternity leave in Germany is for 12 months) and maybe even cut back on hours afterward.
We have two beautiful girls for whom I am thankful beyond words. I do enjoy every second with them, but somehow I feel as if our family is still incomplete. Lily would love another sibling, she already asked for it, but Violet is definitely not ready for one yet; and Richard and I both believe that we need to care for the girls we have before adding one last child to the family. Maybe my baby fever will pass and in a few years Richard and I will enjoy the freedom of having two girls who can be left in Grandma's care for a weekend while we head off to Rome for a very belated honeymoon. Or we might "fill up" the house we're building (to say it in Richard's words). I know that now is not the time to think about expanding the family and that my reason has to be stronger than my heart, which yearns for a baby. I know that once the time comes, Richard and I will make the decision that is right for our family; I just hope that my health will stay strong for a few more years, so we will still have all the options. And should we remain a family of four, I think that I will be able to learn to say fare-well to my unborn third child and enjoy the family that I never thought I would have.
|The Powells: Mr., Mrs. + two beautiful girls!|