August 10, 2012

From My Heart

It's probably no surprise to any of you that motherhood has, for me, been an incredible experience, and "incredible" probably isn't an adequate adjective.  I remain on the fence about whether or not to try to add to our family of three.  (Nathan will tell you he's comfortable on this side of that fence, but he also said that on the other side of the fence we named "Garrett".)  I know that climbing over the fence I'm sitting on involves a whole lot more than merely wanting to.

Lately, I've struggled with the temptation to diminish my experience as a mother because there obviously isn't as much to juggle as if we had another child.  I wonder if I'll ever be able to really relate to my friends who have two or more children.  I imagine other moms - none in particular - looking at my life and thinking, "She has no idea.  One child?  That's a walk in the park!"  While there's certainly truth to that - our job as Garrett's parents has been relatively easy so far - we'll never again not be his parents.

I suppose I'm seeking some encouragement.  Can anyone relate?


  1. Can't say I can relate on the parenting front, but I can always be here for you to listen or laugh or watch Garrett (&/or Solo). Most of all, I can pray for you that God will give you the guidance that you need to make such a wonderful decision either way you go. You are a wonderful mother to The Brave Spearman and I'm certain that wouldn't change if you were a momma to one or more than one! Much love to you, my friend, as you listen for His answer. ~ Kara :)

  2. Have you thought about it from Garrett's perspective . . both immediate and long-range?

  3. Having two children at the same time changed everything about our world. You never understand until you do it, but with the love you guys have to give, trust me--you'd figure out in a hurry how to make it work if you sprouted a fourth branch on your little tree.

  4. I can relate (This is Karyn Riddle-not sure if that will show up since I'm posting anonymously). Owen was an only child for 6 years, and I had some friends (one in particular) with more kids who would often try to diminish my experience (a lot of the, "You have no idea" and, "well, you only have one.") So : I'm very sensitive to this issue! I even had a guy at a park once tell me, "you're not really a mom until you have 2 kids." WHAT???? I was stunned. Really, all those sleepless nights with my one baby....all the wounds I kissed....all the breastfeeding I did....all the snuggles....all the work....and this guy is going to suggest it's not enough, because it's just one kid? No way. In many ways, having an only child can be harder than having more! Owen had nobody to play with, nobody his own age to laugh with. It put huge pressure on us to be his around-the-clock playmate. In many, many ways, having baby #2 made things WAY easier on us. It mellowed Owen out a lot, and made him realize the world doesn't revolve around him. He now has someone to play with. And second babies are often way easier than the first.

    So do not - DO NOT - diminish your experiences as a parent because you have one. And don't let anybody else make you feel under-apprecaited (especially those mom friends with multiple kids). Think of all those sleepless nights, all the worry, all the teaching, all the snuggling, all the nurturing - all that work you've done!! You are a MOM and you are a great one.

  5. Coming from a large family,I have enjoyed many years of loving and sharing past life experiences. I still look forward to being with my brothers and remembering growing up together, visiting grandparents, spending times with cousins and aunts and uncles. I am fortunate to have such a rich heritage. Speaking from a personal perspective, I'm glad my parents had more than one child. My dear mother wore herself out raising us 5 boys, but she loved each one of us with all her heart, and was thrilled each time any one of us would come to visit her. We are who we are today because of her teaching and influence. I will be praying for you and Nathan to guide you in this life-changing decision. I couldn't be more pleased as a grandpa to Garrett, and will love him and appreciate him if he's my only grandchild. Love, Dad.

  6. Erin, I am sure you will find the answer that is right for your family. My experience with kind of 2 seperate families is that I am glad I had 2 children per family. :o) That meant if they were upset with their parents they had each other to share and sympathize with. It meant that they have each other in their adult lives to help and share thier children with. It meant that when I got sick the burden wasn't only on one of them. It means a lot to the kids to have some one else to share their live's experiences whether it be happy or sad at least they weren't lonely. When Chris and I had Carver I thought he would be my last one since I was in my 30's when he was born. Carver was the youngest in the whole family and got oodles of attention but he didn't have anyone his own age and he was getting pretty spoiled and thought he should always be center of attention. Not that that was a bad thing sometimes but it was causing selfishness and other issues. We decided to have one more child. I feel it was the best thing for Carver. It helps them learn how to share and be responsible for someone else sometimes too. When there is no one else to play with and mom and dad are busy they have someone else to be with. When the parents are gone they at least have each other and are not a lone. That was how I felt. I know single children that are very happy growing up but like your dad says it is a blessing to have siblings too. Good luck on your journey to figuring out what you want. It is you and your husband's choice alone to make. Don't let others make you feel bad in whatever decision you make. It has to be right for you! I will keep you in my prayers Erin. My story and my comments are just the way I felt for myself and my family. No judgement on anyone else. Sending lots of love and hugs! Your cousin Betsy

  7. It is much easier to have just one but that certainly doesn't diminish the experience of having only one. There's nothing wrong with that. You fill the time space with what you have and it isn't that different, just more. And once you have kids, you have them, so there isn't really a "More Than One Kid Club" that shuns those with only one. Motherhood is still motherhood, and there is a little comfort in having only one because there is a little less unpredictability and you don't do the comparing game as much.
    For me personally, I just knew I needed to have a second child and luckily it worked out. But we are done.

  8. Oh my sweet friend. I can literally feel your internal struggle in your post. As someone with two, let me start by saying I hope that I never, EVER make you feel like "you have NO idea, since you only have one." I'm not going to lie... two is more difficult, but in the most amazing (and truthfully utterly frustrating) way. :-)

    I always knew growing up, that I wanted two children. Perhaps that is because I grew up with a sibling. But when I got married and we decided it was time to start a family, I really stopped and rethought that. We decided, "Let's see how we do/handle things with one." I mean, we had NO clue abou parenting, no clue on what our live would really, truly be like. And I can honestly say, I was more than content with my sweet Sean.

    But then something happened. Something when Sean was about 18 months. I really, really wanted another child. I was sure that our perfect family of three was just that - perfect. But I wanted him to have a sibling. I wanted to feel another sweet baby growing in my belly - ah the miracle of life. Of course I was scared to death... what if I couldn't get pregnant again. What if my pregnancy was another one that left much to be desired. But God knew best, and I became pregnant. The pregnancy was terrible, the c-section I could have lived without, but my onery, funny Nathan made our perfect family of three, a COMPLETE family of four (at least for us).

    In full disclosure, I struggled a lot right before Nathan's birth, with intense feelings of guilt. Intense. How was I going to love another child as much as I love Sean? Would he feel neglected? Would he resent me and Jamie for him not having our full attention? The fact of the matter is, I think I feel in love with Sean more. I got to see how sweet, caring and nuturing he truly was. I got to see the smile on Nathan's face, that literally would light up a room, when Sean was around. God knew.

    Don't get me wrong. The days where the bicker and pick at each other, the days where I'm running one to daycare and the other to school, the days where I'm trying to entertain a VERY wiggly three year old while his brother play Tball, are very challenging. But that challenge is making me grow. And you, as a Mother (whether a Mom of one or ten) will be faced with challenges too. Maybe in a different way than I am, but challenges none the less.

    Obviously, no one can tell you what is best for your perfect family. That is a decision that only God knows. But pray about it - I'll pray for you - and whatever God has in store for you, know that you and Nathan are amazing parents to Garrett!!