i'm usually pretty good at keeping my shit together.
I'm usually pretty good at keeping my shit together. People made comments ALL THE TIME about me having more kids, even though I never expressed the want for more babies.
So when I finally had a CRAZY MELTDOWN in my car, it was quite a shock to me.
ME TALKING TO MYSELF: Uh, Jill, I thought this topic didn’t bother you?
Apparently I was so good at hiding my feelings, I had even fooled my mother.
“I thought you didn’t give a shit about what other people thought,” my mom said, after she watched my Instastories the night before.
My Instastories basically expressed how I was STRUGGLING HARDCORE with how to handle the question many people kept bringing up... When are you going to have more kids?
This topic never really seemed to bother me before. In the beginning, they were just words I casually brushed off. Maybe because I was still coming off this EMPOWERING HIGH of just giving birth to a beautiful human WITHOUT DRUGS. I felt like a freakin’ champ!
But, I guess after hearing the same story over and over again for 19 months straight of how I should be having more kids, my self-confidence slowly started shrinking.
This is when I started doubting EVERYTHING.
THE STORIES I KEPT HEARING
"When are you having another kid?”
“When is Lucille going to be a big sister?”
“Oh, you have to have another kid. You need at least two.”
“Lucille will be lonely.”
“My nephew was an only child, and he said he was lonely growing up.”
“What happens when you get old, do you want Lucille to have that responsibility of taking care of her parents all by herself?”
“Just wait until you have another one…”
Like I said, in the beginning, I just smiled and an gave an agreeable, “yeahhh,” anytime I heard this story about having more kids.
But, when you keep hearing the same message on repeat, you start to believe it might be the truth.
It started making me question my decisions as an individual, as a wife and especially as a mother.
The confident voice I once had in my head now was quickly becoming a soft whisper, and I could feel this heavy amount of guilt and doubt slowly seeping in and taking over my body. This guilt felt possessive and paralyzing.
MY THOUGHTS GOING F*ckin crazy
“Am I wrong for only wanting one kid?”
“Am I doing the right thing as a mother?”
“If my body is able to provide a sibling for Lucille, should I be doing it?”
“Am I burdening Lucille in the future when her dad and I get older?”
“If I keep hearing the same comments and questions over and over again, does that mean this story is true?”
“Would Lucille have a less meaningful life without a sibling?”
“Am I a bad mom if I don’t provide a sister or a brother for her?”
“Would Lucille be lonely being an only child?”
“Am I a selfish person for only wanting one child?”
“Would having more children make Lucille’s life better?”
All of this chaotic shit swimming in my head started to make me feel incredibly SAD AND GUILTY.
I didn’t truly realize these feelings were compounding until one day when I was about to leave work.
WHEN SHIT GOT REAL
It was the end of my school day and my last student just left to go home. Then a coworker I’ve known for years started a conversation with me.
“How’s your daughter doing?” she asked.
“Lucille is awesome!” I said.
Then she started to tell me a story. You know…the story about how two kids are better than one. The story about how having only one child will leave that child not as happy as the one who has a brother or a sister.
I should be used to this type of conversation, right? This time was different though. It’s difficult to put it into words.
All I can tell you is that my body felt stiff and my mind went blank, as if I was having an outer body experience.
Then the anger took over. “AHHH. PLEASE, FUCK OFF,” are the exact words I wanted to scream.
But, being the highly positive and kind human I strive to be every day, I kept silent and faked a smile.
On a separate note, don’t you think when you combine the word “please” with profanity it makes you sound like a much friendlier angry person?
I’ll admit, a small part of me wishes I could have screamed those words aloud, just to release my frustration at that very moment. Instead, I kept my negative thoughts inside and got ready to drive home.
THE MAD WOMAN DRIVING HOME
I left work feeling extremely strange and slightly numb. I drove for about 30 minutes in silence trying to process my thoughts on this topic.
Then all of the sudden, a freakin’ FEELING TORNADO of guilt, anger and sadness just ATTACKED MY WHOLE BODY.
I started crying, which doesn’t happen too often these days (thanks low estrogen).
Then I thought maybe screaming aloud in my car would make me feel a little bit better. So there I was, tears rolling down my cheeks while simultaneously performing random screams at the top of my lungs.
Try to picture the scene of Claire Danes at the end of “Romeo and Juliet” when she finds Leonardo Dicaprio dead, but multiply that times five. It was quite an ugly event.
I just wanted all of those negative feelings out of my body. And just to let you know, I’m not usually a screamer, but I was willing to try anything. Even if that made me look and sound like a mad woman, which I’m sure it did.
I NEED HELP
After trying to process these feelings and negative thoughts, which was unsuccessful thus far, I decided to seek help.
And we all know the best place to seek help when you’re in a crisis, Instagram, duh.
I put my feelings and thoughts into the Instagram world hoping I could hear (or read) some words of wisdom on this topic.
There have to be other women out there who could resonate with me, women who could help guide me on a path towards getting my shit together!
Back in 2016, reaching out on Instagram had helped me SO MUCH when I was going through a stressful time with the infertility process, so I was very hopeful it would be a good support system for my sanity once again.
And it was, it SO was friends.
Instagram has this phenomenal ability to bring good people together.
At least thirty women reached out to me with such POWERFUL WORDS. This is the help I needed to pull myself out of the black hole I was living in.
These women reminded me that my story is MINE TO WRITE, and no one else’s.
THE PART THAT WAS MISSING
I was so grateful to the women that reached out to me, especially the women that had NO SIBLINGS.
They told me the most magical things about their childhood. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR, but never realized it until just then.
These were the stories that were missing in my head, the stories about life as an only child.
I have one sister who is 13-months younger than I am, so for as long as I can remember I have always had a sibling. I had no clue what life was like as an only child.
Yes, having a sister in my life was and is still INCREDIBLE. However, does this automatically mean that not having a sister would have made my life miserable?
This is the difficult question I will never know the answer to, and that’s because there is NO RIGHT ANSWER.
Honestly, it’s these type of hypothetical questions that make my thoughts swim in circles. These questions are freakin’ exhausting to process and are so counterproductive.
The good news is, is that I finally figured out where a lot of my negative feelings were coming from.
This unknown story, of life as an only child, is what made me feel so sad and uncertain, because I did not understand the “only child” world.
So, where the hell do I go from here?
The simple messages of encouragement and wisdom from those badass women on Instagram are what helped me get my head on straight about this whole, “Is one kid enough?” topic.
I CAME TO THE REALIZATION
I started to realize that somehow along the way I was forgetting what I wanted. I had become so distracted by everyone else’s narrative that I had totally forgotten MY WANTS AND DESIRES on this topic.
I struggled like hell trying to get pregnant. It wasn’t fun for me. And postpartum was definitely NO PICNIC either.
I did not enjoy those parts of having a child. Don’t get me wrong, I was definitely that person who LOVED being pregnant, but the beginning and ending of that journey were definitely difficult for me, both physically and mentally.
This is when I started to regain some clarity back in my thoughts and decided to create a few questions that would help me process this tough question a little better.
THE QUESTIONS THAT GAVE ME SOME CLARITY
1. “Would having more children make my life better?”
2. “Do I want to go through the process of having another child?”
3. “Would I feel incomplete or less of a woman only having one child?”
The answer to all three of these questions was a big “HELL NO.” At least for now.
I feel confident in answering these questions because I have finally found the unknown information my soul had been subconsciously searching for, as well as being reunited with MY WANTS in life.
SO, HOW MANY KIDS ARE ENOUGH?
I have NO FREAKIN’ clue what is best for my daughter’s life, but I do know and will always be 100% sure of what’s best for me and my life.
AND THAT IS SO ENOUGH.
Always craving health + hapinness,
if this story reasonated with you, and you know of someone else who may be searching for a little spirit uplift on this topic, please be so kind to share it with them.
This blog post is dedicated to all the amazing women who reached out to me on Instagram when I needed help the most.
YOU ALL ROCK!
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