The cliffhanger at the end of my last post, had a few people thinking I was pregnant. Just to clear the air, no, I am not pregnant. But I did want to share my feelings on the topic. Everyone asks me if Eli and I are going to have a kid or two together. I mean, it’s a valid question. As of this month, we will both be in our 30’s, we are both healthy, we both have jobs, we have a ton of amazing family and friends, and my goodness, do I love that man. Although we aren’t married yet, it’s definitely on the horizon. So, why not? Why not make a little Meli (think MEE-lie)? 😉
Well, good question. Those of you in a loving, committed relationship have probably felt the urge to procreate with your favorite person. I’m not going to lie, I feel it too; and it is strong. I love babies, I had mine young, and not to brag, but I totally killed the whole labor and delivery thing. So, what’s stopping us?
There are several obvious reasons. Actually, they may all be obvious, but not all of them are deal breakers like this one could be. I truly worry what having a baby Meli could do to our family dynamic. Currently, our kids just mesh. We have two boys and two girls. They are all within four years of each other. Our girls are both thoughtful and sweet. Our boys are both athletic and hilarious. We have a good thing going here. To me, one of the most important parts of having a blended family is that our kids all feel very secure. They all have their own sibling that they stay with while switching houses, and there is no jealousy (at least that I can see). Everyone feels equal and loved individually, as their own little bro/sis duos, and also as a complete squad. We have achieved a family balance, and it is beautiful.
So let’s imagine that baby Meli is a thing and we tell the kids I’m pregnant, and that this baby will be their half-sibling. This baby’s parents are Mommy and Eli, or Megan and Daddy, depending on what set of kids we are talking to. Then what? First off, the uncertainty of what a new baby would do to all of our lives would hit my 7-year-old hard. He is a deep thinker (when you get past the poop jokes) and I think this news would really worry him. He would likely think about what it meant as the oldest sibling, and what it meant in terms of where mom and Eli’s energy and attention would be focused. W is a pretty sensitive guy, and having a new baby around would be a big change for him. I would never want him to feel like I loved him any less, but with the attention that a baby needs, he might.
Our three younger kids would probably be excited, but not really know what that means for us as a family. Our girls, P and L, have already talked about how they want a baby sister. I asked L what would happen if we had a boy instead and she said, “Then I don’t want it.” A typical 4-year-old response. I’m sure the girls would be very helpful, but L is my “baby” and she would likely feel displaced. She still wakes up most nights with either a bad dream or a night terror, and sometimes, for reasons unknown. She thrives during quality, one-on-one time. I could see her being the jealous one. And who is the “middle” child in a blended family with five kids? My thinking is that if you aren’t the oldest or the youngest, you’re technically a middle child. Nothing wrong with that, but I would just hate to see the middle child(ren) get lost in the shuffle.
That leads me to Eli’s daughter, P. She is sweet and gentle. A quiet soul, although she does have her moments of explosive laughter and hilarious jokes. She’s sneaky funny; not sure if that makes sense. The best scenario I can use to explain it is that she will ask to go on snapchat with Eli to use the silly filters. She will be sitting on his lap while he holds the phone so that they can watch their faces in the screen while the filters do their magic. She will be sweetly smiling, tilting her head back and forth, and then all of the sudden, she will make an outrageous noise and open her eyes up really wide, all while keeping a completely straight face. It is amazing. She makes me laugh so hard I cry. Such a gem. Anyway, I wonder if adding a new baby to the bunch would make her a little less likely to be herself. Also, she LOVES her daddy. She watches his every move with such adoration and listens to him intently. He is her rock, her safe place, when everything else is chaotic. Would a baby in the family take that feeling of safety away from her? I would hope not, but it is hard to know for sure.
And then there is Eli’s little/big guy, Z. He is only three so he would likely be less affected by the actual change in family dynamic, and more affected by one more person being in his way. He is always on the move and does not know his own strength. He wouldn’t mind the attention that the baby would be getting, but he would be annoyed that he would have to slow down a bit and be more careful. I could also see him being very helpful, but the constant, “be gentle” reminders may make him resent the newest member of the family. He is the kind of kid that loves so fiercely that his hugs and kisses can hurt. I would not want the new baby to get in the way of those sweet squeezes from Z.
The family dynamic is obviously a huge one for us. We have so many little brains and hearts to think about when weighing out the pros and cons. So many in fact, that I almost forget about how a new baby would change things for me and Eli. In a previous post, I talked about our alone time, and how amazing it is to be able to maintain our closeness in the midst of four kids and everything that comes with them. Having a baby would mean… *gulp*…no more alone time. As I’m sitting here on the couch, typing away, with two sleepy kids in their beds and Eli sitting next to me, it’s hard to imagine what having a baby here with us would feel like. I know I would be getting a lot less sleep. I probably would not be writing this blog. There would be stuff everywhere. And there might be crying… I actually forgot about that until this very moment. Babies cry. Listening to a baby cry is stressful. Eli and I have stress in our lives, don’t get me wrong, but baby stress is a whole different thing. Would it change us? Would we change? I’m sure we would. I know that it would make us closer in a lot of ways, but would a baby cause us to lose ourselves in the day-to-day grind? Without having time to reset and reconnect, we might lose some of that spark that I still feel today.
Another thing I struggle with is whether or not I would love the baby the same as W and L. I don’t even know if I would have enough love to give. I mean, I have heard mothers with 6+ kids talk about how the amount of love that they had in their hearts grew exponentially with each baby that they had, and that they love all of their children the same. People don’t “run out” of love to give, but they can run out of time, attention, and patience. I would hate myself forever if I couldn’t love all of my kids equally, just like they needed, right when they needed it. And what if I loved this baby in a different way altogether? I love Eli so much; I never thought love like this existed. Creating a life with him would feel different. Maybe that means I would feel differently about the baby. Of course, I wouldn’t want to, but what if I did? I would feel guilt and regret, and maybe sadness. I can’t imagine loving any human beings more than I love W and L, but I have also never had a baby with my soul mate. The dilemma is overwhelming.
We also have to think about baby Meli’s place in the family. He/she will be at least five years younger than Z, and that is a huge age difference. The baby would be too young to really feel like one of the siblings, and until adulthood, likely wouldn’t form tight friendships with the other kids. There is also the fact that this baby wouldn’t have a sibling that is 100% theirs. I grew up with four half-siblings, and while I love them all, I do feel like I missed out on having a sister or brother that was just like me. My half sisters look a little like me, but not like a full sibling would. I would love to have another person in the world that shared my mom and my dad. So, another problem for me with having one baby with Eli is that I would probably want another one. Not only to give the youngest someone to play with but to give him/her someone to go through life with. To share that special bond that only full siblings have.
Sidenote: As I type this, Eli is on the phone with his brother. They talk every day. It is the sweetest thing I have ever seen, and I want ALL of my children to have a relationship like him and his brother have. In a future blog, I am going to write about his amazing siblings. Tears come to my eyes just thinking about the acceptance and love that they have shown me. I can’t wait to share!
The other reasons that I would choose not to have a baby Meli are just practical things like money, time, and space. Our four kids will be 14, 15, 16, and 18 one day. We are going to need two refrigerators to hold all of the food that they will be consuming on a weekly basis. And cars, and college… that is a lot of dough. Not to mention we are going to need a five bedroom house even with our current crew. Houses are not cheap. Thinking about all of the sports and activities that will be taking place on any given weeknight makes my head spin. Eli and I have big plans for our future so I have no doubt in my mind that we will be able to provide for our children and achieve everything we put our minds to, but five (or six) kids? That is a big family.
Which leads me to the reasons why I would want to have another baby or two. Our family time is awesome. The laughter in our house when all four kids are here is magical. It is surprisingly organized and aside from it being loud, there is a sense of peace. I think that the peaceful feeling comes from the amount of love stuffed inside our three bedroom home. Part of me feels like one or two more kids would just add to the love. My heart will expand, just like our house will have to. I can picture all of the kids sitting on the couch taking turns holding baby Meli. I can see them all being awestruck with their new sibling. The baby would give my kids and Eli’s kids something in common as well, which is sweet to think about.
And then there is what it would mean to give Eli a baby. A baby that he could keep. A baby that would let him be a father 100% of the time. A baby that he could truly have. After his kids were moved to LA, he felt like he could only be a “sometimes dad” to them. Unfortunately, when the kids aren’t physically with us, they have a different life completely. And he is not included in it, even in the smallest sense. This is hard for him. He deserves to be their dad every second of every day. Those kids deserve to have Eli too. Sometimes, I have this daydream of me and Eli in a hospital room. I am holding our baby while he stands next to the hospital bed and I reach up to hand him the baby. I envision kind of pressing the baby into his chest while he gently takes him/her with his hands and saying, “This is your baby. Just as much yours as he/she is mine. Yours every year, every month, every week, every day, every hour, every minute, every second.” Even though he trusts me, I don’t know if he would be able to grasp the seriousness of what I mean. But oh, what I would sacrifice to give him that gift.
As you can see, I am still very much so on the fence about adding another member to our blended family. Although, the logical decision might for us to count our blessings and be thankful for our four beautiful, healthy children, sometimes decisions have to do with more than just logic.