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Choosing Whether to Have Another Baby
by Claudine M. Jalajas

My son turned 2 years old this year. Admit it, right now when you read that line you thought, "oh no--terrible two's." So far the only thing terrible about Luc turning two is the incessant question from family, friends, and total complete strangers, "when are you going to have another?" It's amazing how many people feel it is their duty to make sure my son has siblings. In fact, when Luc was six weeks old I was at the grocery store when the cashier smiled and asked, "how old is he?" I said, "six weeks." She said, "is he an only child?" I said, "well, uhh, he's my first." She replied with sadness in her voice, "Awww! An only child!" I suppose she would have been happier if I had had twins.

Over the last two years I've thought a lot about whether I would want to do it all again: try and get pregnant, the pregnancy, labor and delivery, and those first 2 months after you have that beautiful new baby. Those were difficult times for me, as I'm sure they are for 99% of the Mom's out there. I always felt that I wouldn't do it again, but, then wondered if it were fair to deprive Luc of brothers and sisters. After lots of discussions with my husband we have decided that we would choose to not have any more children.

Getting pregnant with Luc was very difficult. It took a combined 3 years and the loss of one child. When I was first pregnant with Luc, the doctor told me that the pregnancy probably wouldn't make it to the weekend and I should be prepared for an eventual miscarriage. It turned out that Luc decided he wasn't going anywhere and I went on to deliver two weeks after my due date.

I had many little problems with the pregnancy and I was quite uncomfortable. Labor and delivery was no picnic as I was induced for 18 hours and then eventually had to have an emergency C-section. I won't get into all the details, but that wasn't exactly the "moment" you dream about during all those many months of pregnancy. Thankfully, Luc was born healthy. I have to admit that it was a long time before I could see the video of my son as a newborn without crying. There on the video is my beautiful little boy; eyes wide open with his Daddy holding him. Where am I? I'm unconscious recovering from the surgery.

I know it sounds selfish, but, I really don't want to go through all of that again. I'd do it 100 times over if I had to for Luc, but, I don't know about doing it for anyone else. Luc is the most perfect little boy you could imagine. How could I possibly get this lucky again?

I don't take pregnancy lightly. I don't think we're entitled to perfect pregnancies or perfect babies. I think that you have to respect nature and respect the course that life brings us. In my case I was given a gift. I will not be selfish and say I want another child. Do you know how many women wish and hope for children and never get them? I remember all those women in the infertility doctor's waiting room. I know that many of them still probably don't have children. I remember what it felt like to look at a pregnant woman and try to not feel jealous. I admit that it still gives me a twinge when a woman announces with pride that she's pregnant and it took her one month to get that way.

You can't imagine what it feels like to spend years wondering, "should I have that glass of wine? What's today's date?" The aggravation you feel when you're late, you bought the stupid test, and the next day you start your period. And please-never tell anyone to "just not think about it." It's just rude and you don't know where they're coming from.

At this moment in my life, I'm incredibly happy. I have a wonderful loving husband. I have a child that smiles from the time he wakes up until he goes to bed. Just as I could never imagine myself marrying another man, I could never imagine hugging another child. If I had to hug another child, that would mean I wasn't hugging Luc and that would break my heart.

With one child, I'm still pretty independent. With one swoop I have him on my hip and we're out the door. All I need is a sippy cup and snacks. There's an extra diaper and wipes in the glove compartment. No more diaper bags for me. I work so the times I have with Luc are very special. I never do the laundry, clean the house, wash the dishes, or run errands when I'm with Luc. If we must go to the grocery store we only go to places that have those great mini-grocery carts and we run down the aisles. I cannot tell you how much fun we have together. This summer I am taking Friday's off for "Luc and Mom" days. I've been told a million times how fast babies grow. I agree, and that's why I don't intend to miss a minute of it.

Recently a girlfriend was over with her new baby. I was holding the baby and talking to my friend when Luc appeared at my feet with his hands in the air he said, "up, up!" I quickly gave my friend her daughter and picked up Luc. After my friend left, I told Luc, "You know how Mommy and Daddy are only YOUR Mommy & Daddy and no-one else's? Well, you're my ONLY baby-there's no-one else for me."

You see, it's not really about not wanting other children. It's about wanting to spend as much time as possible with the one I have.

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About the Author: Claudine Jalajas is the mother of Luc as well as a consultant specializing in technical writing and web development. Check out her terrific website at LongIslandParentStuff.com.

Note: When I asked Claudine to write this article, she was reluctant. She was concerned that other parents would be critical of her and her husband's decision not to have more children. I assured her that people would find her article helpful, even if they chose a different path, because it is always comforting to realize that others share our struggles even if they resolve them differently. I am thankful that, despite her worries, Claudine agreed to bravely share her experiences and feelings-SB

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