There has been many times in the last three months that I have thought that many of you reading this blog are insane. Not because you’re reading this. Not because I’ve had mostly positive remarks. No, because you had a child and at somepoint thought “Hey, I’m going to have a second one”! (Unless you had one of those “Surprise!” babies).
During the first month of Eva’s life, I found myself saying “No more”, or “This is the last one, how could I do this with a two year old at home?” What sane person choses to put their sanity to the brink after they’ve been through it? Unless, of course, you forget about it.
When we were at the hospital for Eva’s birth, just afterwards we took a picture of birthfather, birthmother and Eva together. The next day we printed out that picture to give to birthmother and she was surprised. She had no memory of that moment. Those precious moments after birth had been wiped from her hard drive. Some mothers forget the pain of childbirth and some of the moments afterwards. This could be because of Oxytocin, or whatever pain reduction meds she was on. I’m not a doctor, so I’m not going say what happened here.
We are adoptive parents, and were under no drugs that day (besides my dear friend caffeine), so our memories are intact. The brutal of not sleeping through one REM cycle is still fresh in the memory, and I don’t know how I could forget.
I read an interesting article last summer in Time Magazine called The Science of Optimism. Let me give you the quick version. Our memories stink. The reason being that we are not storing memories to recall like bookmarks in your browser. Rather, our memories of past event are stored and sometimes modified so that we can construct visions of our future. A person with a damaged hippocampus will have difficulty storing memories AND will have trouble describing future events.
Just as fears of child birth can be mitegated by forgetting, fears of a second child are lessoned by our optimism. When picturing a future with two children, your mind paints a rosy image of the two of them getting along, the whole family snuggled on the couch, the cute Christmas cards, etc. You don’t imagine trying too soothe an infant while the two year old is throwing a tantrum on the floor. Our optimism keeps the human race going.
If you’re still leery about this idea, just look at any professional sport. Any given year, there are 29-31 teams that will not win the championship that year. My team stands about a 97% chance of not winning, but I can still picture it happening. The Vikings have never won the Super Bowl, yet there has been at least 10 years that I was fairly sure they had a great chance at doing it.
I have to be careful here. I’m not saying that our minds trick us into having seconds (except for desserts, doctor I swear I wasn’t going to eat it until my mind tricked me). It just lessens the bluntness of those trying times which helps let you evaluate with more emphasis on the good.
So our optimism allows us to picture a happy future with a larger family. How large is still a decision. How do decide when you’ve had the amount of children you want?
The church wants you to let God decide how many children you have, thus taking the decision out of your hands. This is an interesting topic of conversation, and should probably be handled by someone with more theologic knowledge than I, but here’s how I look at it. I don’t think that God has a plan of eight children for a couple, but is thwarted by a condom or a pill. Mankind can not defeat God so easily.
Lets look at it from our point of view. God has decided that we may not have any biological children. Am I to believe that God intended us not to have children, but we’ve thwarted his plan through our adoption? I don’t believe that to be true, but I do believe his hand has been present through the process. If God has plan for the size of our family, we will reach it through prayer and consultation with him. Shouldn’t every family be this way?
If you attend adoptive classes or read adoptive blogs, you’ve no doubt heard the story of a couple who tried, tried, tried to have kids but were not able to. They turned to adoption, and soon after a placement, BAM, they’re pregnant. (This does happen, but NEVER go into adoption hoping that will be the trick. Be an adoptive parent to be an adoptive parent.) What if this is God’s way of saying, “Hey, I know you want to start your own family, but there is this child that I want you to parent that I know you’ll love with all your heart. I know that you won’t see this path until I block the one you’re on now.”
We’ve talked adoption for years, her more so than I. A series of events starting late 2010/early 2011 resulted in Steph and me starting the adoption path, and I feel that through many prayers and moments that this was our correct path. While a second child seems insane at this moment, maybe it won’t in a year, and whether it’s because he’s lit the next path, or blessed me with an optimist mind, it’ll be a path that we forge together.
Dear God, though, I don’t see that path right now. You people be crazy.
Post note: I wrote this post a month ago, and just got around to editing/posting it. In that amount of time I’ve moved from “Fight against having a second child” to “It’s going to happen, and I think I’m OK with it.”