[personal profile] jenn_unplugged
I've pretty much accepted the fact that Carter will be our only child. I actually feel good about it these days -- most of the time.

After a year of stalling and pushing the IVF timeline back, I finally realized that I just don't want to go through the infertility crap again. I was 30 when we started TTC, and I turned 39 a month ago. My entire freaking 30s were spent dealing with infertility, and I'm just DONE. I would have loved to have another baby, but I can't go there again. I'm getting too old for IVF (my RE says I was almost too old the first time, and calls Carter a "miracle baby"), and the idea of more failed cycles and miscarriages just makes me want to crawl into a corner. I don't want to lose myself again. I was so depressed for so many years, and I didn't realize how bad it was until it was over.

And on top of all that, there's the fact that another pregnancy would be high risk, that there's a decent chance of having another preemie, another NICU stay. There are no guarantees it would turn out as well another time as it did with Carter. We briefly discussed adoption, but that too is fraught with issues of uncertainty and loss. I just can't do it.

But I have what I wanted all those years, which is this wonderful, perfect little boy. I am a mom, and that is what I wanted. And there are benefits to having one child, I have to say. You get many of the benefits of being childfree, while still getting to be a parent and have a child. The more time that passes, the more I'm at peace with the idea, even enamored of it.

I have no regrets about the way I've parented Carter so far. I did everything I wanted to do, short of natural birth -- that choice was taken from me. I nursed him; I wore him; I slept with him cuddled against me; I cloth diapered him; I taught him sign language. I stayed home with him for the first 8 months, then only went back to work part-time. He's still nursing, still sleeping with us, and still wearing those same cloth diapers (no interest in the potty yet, LOL). So I don't feel like I *need* to do the baby experience again. I did it, and it was great. I appreciated every moment of it. I never took it for granted.

But it's still hard when everyone around me seems to be pregnant or having babies. It was so nice when all of my mom friends had one child, and I would see them at playgroups and at Gymboree and we'd all be on the same page. Now they've gone on to have another child, in some cases two more, and their worlds are very different than mine. It reminds me of what I don't have, of what I lost somewhere along the way.

They cuddle their tiny newborns and complain about how tired they are, how hard it is to get breastfeeding established, how different this baby is from their first, how hard it is to see their first child struggling with not being the baby anymore. And I *should* listen to that and think, glad it's not me!. But what I feel instead is a profound sadness that this is not going to be part of my life.

My life will be (and already is, really) rich and exciting and amazing in other ways, ways that would probably not exist if we had more children. I know that. But I always imagined I'd have two children, and I feel in a way that there is a person I was supposed to meet but now never will. I feel like I'm letting him or her down, like I've somehow altered the timeline of what was supposed to be. That thought breaks my heart. I feel selfish. I feel weak.

But I'm done. I really am.
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