It seems that the further we get (time-wise) from the death of our daughters and the adoption of our son, the more questions arise about our plans to grow our family again. I imagine that this happens to everyone who has kids. They grow older and we naturally begin to make plans about how our families will grow. When I envisioned this piece of the puzzle growing up, I envisioned sitting with my husband and chatting about when we’d start “trying” again. It goes without saying that the simplicity of that dream still stings for me and for so many of us.
So then a simple prompt about when and how we’ll grow creates a whirlwind of back-and-forths in my heart and head. In full transparency, I have no idea how and when we will add to our family. That said, my not-knowing has nothing to do with wanting more children, and that’s the hard part of it.
You see, I always assumed the answer to those questions was purely based on timing. It’s not uncommon to know how many kids you think you’ll want. I’d say most people at least have a solid range in their minds of how many children they want. So timing + desired age gaps were pretty much my understanding of how that all was to work. Now add in the pain of fertility issues, the frustration of an unclear diagnosis, the terrifying reality of baby funerals and never knowing how to tell people who don’t quite get that “gambling” with our unclear diagnosis means gambling with the life of a child. Add in the expense (the up-front expense, not even just normal expenses of raising a child) of adoption and the position it puts so many financially astute husbands in…..and well, it’s all a recipe for some emotionally charged conversations with your partner, family, and friends.
For many of us, growing our family now means allowing our desire for more children to meet the messy, emotional, heartbreaking side of the rest of it. And it’s just not easy. I’d be the very first to tell you over and over again every single day that bringing our son home was worth every hard moment, but that doesn’t mean the hard moments fall away forever.
So, my friend, this is to you. This is me raising my glass to the complicated questions about “when you’ll have/adopt more kids” and this is me hugging you because you never thought it would be this way. This me saying it’s okay to get feel that pit in your stomach when that question arises, because I know that it reminds you of the pain you’ve already endured, even if it’s also coupled with hope and joyful anticipation for the future. I know how badly you wish the answer to the question was easier.
This is me saying that it’s okay not to know. So often I felt like a bad parent for saying it; as if it was conveying a message about my son or about my love of children in general. I wondered if people would receive my “I don’t know” as a confession of disliking parenthood, but that simply isn’t true. It’s just an accurate reflection of a complicated journey into parenthood that carries with it more emotions than I ever dreamed it would.