What happens if your one child wants a sibling?

A friend is preparing for the arrival of her second baby and this makes my heart sing. A new baby is a reminder of all that is right and lovely and hopeful.  A sweet, little being who will create beautiful chaos. Her soul is preparing to once again be transformed and I am simply looking forward to finally be able to buy something from Seed Kids that is pink and shimmery and has unicorns on it instead of dinosaurs.

Whilst she is painting a nursery and washing tiny singlets she is also mentally preparing for nights of restless sleep when you don’t really sleep but rather float in a weird sleep, non sleep state.  She will wake and put her hand on her baby’s chest and feel her breath and she will feel infinitely happy and so very grateful.  I know that for all of the anxiety she will have she will also have uncontainable joy.

This friend and I share our nanny, our boys see each other daily which means Charlie sees her as well.  He has watched her baby belly grow, his face has this incredulous look on it and he is curious and confused.  He knows there is a baby coming.  He knows and somehow understands that his friend is about to be a big brother.

And so Charlie asked me last week if he to, could please have a baby.

When Charlie was one I wrote this post I have one child not an only child.  You see, he is a miracle baby, one whom with terrifying uncertainty I wasn’t sure I would ever have.  God willing if ever I was going to be a mother, I knew without question it would only happen once.  When Charlie was finally born I had long reconciled with the knowledge that he would be my one child and I was absolutely at peace with this.  I still am.  What I didn’t predict, what I could not assume was how I would feel when I had to explain this to my son.  When he asked, ever so politely, for a baby it was in that tiny yet significant moment that my heart cracked and I knew that it was a defining parenting moment that I needed to get right.  (Though in retrospect this is an exaggeration because Charlie has since forgotten all about the conversation.)

I don’t feel guilty about this, it’s hard to feel guilty about something that never was or was going to be.  If anything I feel guilty for not feeling guilty if you can make sense of that bit of logic.  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel something about the conversation Charlie and I had. I’m just not sure what that something is.  If you know the feeling then I’d love to know what it’s called.

Charlie is neither spoilt nor lonely.  He is friendly, happy and kind.  He’s a little bit selfish but at four that’s in his job description so if anything that makes him diligent.

Charlie will grow up knowing that a younger brother or sister was never going to be.  It’s not like asking Santa for another rubbish truck and feeling confident it’s in the bag.  I will tell him how much we wanted him, and how hard we tried to make it so.  I will tell him that when I found out I was pregnant I felt joy and relief and vulnerability and these emotions were linked together like daisy chains. That even now when I think back to this time those emotions are still so visceral.  I’ve said it before but when faced with the honest and raw prospect of not having a child, having one child is a privilege.  Not having more than on child by choice or not is not selfish or bad parenting and thank god I don’t know anyone who even thinks that.

The beautiful truth is that I cannot simply wait until the new baby arrives.  I wonder if it is the similar to the joy aunts, uncles and grandparents have when a new baby joins the family. The sweet smell of a newborn and the boundless love without the 3am wake up calls. They will be a family of four and I will be forever content with my family of three.  It’s my family and we write our own rules.

And also, days ago we visited friends who have guinea pigs and so now Charlie wants a guinea pig.


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