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More Babies?

While I was at CBC a few weeks ago, one of the staff members asked me if I was planning on having more children.

"I don't think so," I said, without hesitation.  "I love my daughter endlessly, and now that she's part of my family, I can't imagine my life without her, but I can't lie to you.  I didn't enjoy being pregnant.  I wanted a baby, but spending nine months pregnant was very, very stressful."

The staff member who asked the question looked disappointed.  And in that moment, I sort of wish I had lied. 

"Oh ... you look disappointed.  I'm sorry!!  It's not just because of diabetes stuff.  It's my own personal preference.  I don't want to lie!"

And I won't lie.  The end result of my pregnancy was the most beautiful, smiley baby I have ever laid eyes on, and having her as part of our family has been the greatest joy that Chris and I have ever experienced.  Seriously - it sounds like a cheesy Hallmark card, but it's true.  This kid fills a hole in my heart that I didn't even know existed until I heard her cry and I finally felt complete.

But being pregnant, the actual journey of carrying her inside of me, was not an experience I'm looking to repeat.  This isn't entirely a diabetes-based decision, either.  There are a lot of factors that play into my decision.  Of course, being diabetic for almost 24 years does play a big role in my decision to have only one child.  I feel like my body has been through a good amount of chaos over the last two plus decades, and pregnancy didn't improve any diabetes-related complications that were starting to bloom (namely retinopathy, which I'm having checked again in August). When BSparl was born, she came out healthy and strong (and with a lot of hair, which surprised me for some reason), and I was in decent medical shape, too.  I feel like she and I beat some odds, and I'm not sure I'm ready to roll the dice a second time.

I love you too, baby girl.

Because it wasn't just the diabetes complications.  It was a lot of the guilt, too.  I didn't do well with the pregnancy-related guilt that remains even now.  While I was pregnant, I felt like every meal came with a side of extreme guilt.  I worried that I was eating the wrong foods, taking too much/too little insulin, and that every blood sugar spike was literally boiling the baby as she grew inside of me.  I watched the graph on my Dexcom and wondered why it looked more like an M than a nice, flat line.  I worried incessantly about every low blood sugar.  

Being a high-risk pregnancy, I spent a lot of time at the doctor's office.  I had approximately one ultrasound a month, and each time I held my breath as they searched for my daughter.  Part of what comes along with a diabetic pregnancy is a lot of information, about complications that could arise and birth defects and risk factors and all kinds of scary stuff.  Sometimes I would lie in bed at night and think about all the health factors that were in play in my frame and the fear would chew on my mind, then settle in my heart.  It was almost too much information, and I had a difficult time emotionally handling it.

Nevermind the weight gain and the preeclampsia and the body image battles and the stretch marks and the emotional rollercoaster.  And nevermind the 3 1/2 weeks of hospitalization and bedrest before my eventual retinopathy-instigated c-section.  (That's just a plain ol' perfect storm of crap there.)

I always pictured myself as a mom, but I never saw more than one child in that picture.  All diabetes and health-related issues aside, I feel comfortable with one child.  I don't feel ashamed that I only want to have one baby, or embarrassed that I'm deciding to keep my family small.  There's nothing wrong with wanting to have a lot of kids.  But there's also nothing wrong with only wanting one child.

Of course, I have had a lot of people ask, and most of these people seem to live in my grocery store and stalk me in the checkout lines:

"Oh, how old is your baby?" 
"She's three and a half months." 
"Ooh.  She's a cutie.  When are you planning to give her a little sister or brother?" 
 ... or (and this has been my favorite one so far)
"You should hurry up and have another one so your daughter doesn't end up a screwed up only child."

Whaat??

I love my daughter, and the difficult pregnancy that brought her here makes me love her even more.  But I feel more than content with one child, and I'm not sure how else to answer the question of "Are you ready for another one?" with "No, I think she's going to be an only child." 

I felt bad when the girl from CBC asked me that question, because I wanted to tell her "Yes!  I will be the Old Woman in the Shoe, with so many children I'll be clueless as what to do."  Because I wanted her to know that anything is possible, even with diabetes, and if she wants to happily end up in a shoe, then she should go for it.  Anything is possible, depending on what you want.  But the truth is, for me,  I don't want to live in a shoe.  (Three cats in a shoe?  Insanity!)  I also don't want to put my body through another pregnancy, for way more than just diabetes reasons. 

I feel content.  I'm very happy with my daughter, and I love her endlessly.  And at this stage in my life, in my 30s and with more then two decades of diabetes, I'm comfortable with having the humans in my family even with the cats.  If circumstances change and our family is graced with another child, we will love that baby, but at this point, we're happy being a team of three.

Comments

"screwed up only child," eh? i always laugh when i hear that, being an only child. i end up retorting with, "well, my parents got it right the first time so they didn't need any more." ;)

there is nothing wrong with not wanting to have more kids, and no one should make you feel guilty!

I agree with you. How many children you have and when you have them should be your decision.
You have a beautiful daughter and I marvel every time you post a picture of her because you proved that it IS possible. Not to mention she's perfectly ADOREable!

This is a pretty remarkable post, in my opinion Kerri. Thank you so much for sharing this aspect of your life with all of us. And thank you so much for advocating to that camp staffer that anything is possible despite diabetes! As one of those "screwed up" only kids, I don't see that there's anything wrong with being the only one. Of course, my wife may disagree. I'm sure my Shadow Cat would also disagree... but I digress. Here endeth the rambling.

My wife was an only child and she was not screwed up, except maybe her choice in men. :)

But honestly, she had cousins that were like sisters and friends that were like brothers. Blood may be thicker than water but friends can be closer than family. I know, cause some of my family sucks and a ton of my friends feel more like family than those freaks do.

I'm just sayin'!

A "screwed-up only child" huh? I was virtually an only child (my half-bro was 19 yrs older, my half-sis 15 yrs younger). And I think I turned out okay... although you may want to ask people who know me about that. LOL
I think you did wonderful and making a decision not to have any more children is YOUR decision.
My best friend went through that after her 1st. With no plans to have another, people acted like she was crazy.

That makes complete sense to me. I'm the mother of an only and I don't have diabetes (my dd does) so my reasons are a little different. It's just what we always saw in our heads and what works for us. It's rather annoying to be asked if she will be the only and sometimes people imply that we have it SO easy with just one child. Um, well, that depends on the child now doesn't it lol? Seriously one is all we ever thought of really. My husband was set on it and I was pretty sure and as the years went by the more sure of it I became!

I always get very self-righteous when other people start asking nosy questions, even when I'm not involved. Why is it their business?

Anyhow, I've considered this issue thoroughly myself, even though there are no beebs yet or in the immediate future. The big D has definitely helped me make the decision to keep my family smaller. I used to waver between wanting 2 or 3 kids, and now I know that 2 will be the max.

Here's what I used to do - (since my first was planned to be our one child until around age 7 I got baby nuts.) We had fully planned on one child and I had read all the books on having one child and talked to people with one child. Anyway, I removed the word "only" from my vocab. "Only" made it sound sad. I replaced it with "One child" and not "only one child" either. How I framed my answers to people closed the door for pity. "when are you having more?" or "aren't you afraid of having an only child" was replied with "One child is NICE" "One child is fine". "we're doing really well with our child". and I meant it. don't get me wrong, two is nice as well lol, but for first 7 years one child was nice, and it was perfect, and it was how it was going to be. I got a lot less of those pity comments when I didn't allow anyone to make my daughter feel that she or our family was less than. And mark my words - bsparl is going to hear the comments, so it's up to you to make sure she is fully aware that "One child" is nice. One child is perfect. One child is all you need. :)

It's ironic that you cite the lines people use when asking about another child, because the July 8, 2010 issue of Time magazine cited a number only-child myths (see http://bit.ly/cN0FeD), and research has proven that only children are no more selfish than those raised multiple-kid homes (although only children do tend to be a bit more spoiled because of the parents) luckily that doesn't seem to screw the kids up. The reality is that kids raised as only-children, or in same-sex households for that matter, end up as very well-adjusted and may actually do better than those in what can be referred to as those raised in more traditional families.

I can't wrap my brain around people who ask such personal questions. It's none of their damn business. And for some people who say "hurry up and have another one"?! Uhm, you can go eff off. How rude!!

In no way, shape or form should you feel like you need to explain your reasoning for only having one child. Sure you did it now to share with your extended family & friends which is great and appreciated. But it really irks me when people think they have the right to ask you your intentions on having a family; especially strangers. My husband & I were asked this past weekend more than once if we were going to have kids (since we're practically the only married couple who doesn't have any). They don't realize that my heart breaks every time I'm asked that question. That there is so much emotion attached to that inquiry. I usually keep my anwer to a simple "no" or "not sure". But what I really want to tell them is don't you think we want children? That we don't because I've had type 1 diabetes for 28 years and am scared of putting my body through the stress of a pregnancy. And my husband doesn't want me to either. That I don't know if I could take the exertion of being a pregnant type 1. And that we can't afford adoption because it's so freaking expensive. But that's none of their business really. I am so happy that you have Bsparl to love and completely understand your decision.

I think you are very brave to have ONE, with you having Diabetes. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with having only one child. She will get lots and lots of love.

Perhaps.... at least sometimes, when people ask if you will have more, they are just making conversation and don't really mean anything by it. Hope so anyway!

as a pregnant T1D and a "screwed up only child" I completely agree with you. Its tough being pregnant and its tough being a parent and its even tougher with diabetes and with more children. My husband and I love the idea of a small family and can't wait to shower our only kid with all we have, just like we would if we had 17!!

Personal. Decision. Just like mine to have NO children. I teach them, I love them, and I send them home. I also LOVE being an aunt. The end.

I think for most new moms, the answer of another is always a big NO. I didn't realize I craved another until my 4 yr old asked me for a sibling. I just had such a horrid pregnancy and delivery with him that I didn't want to go through it again. I've even had to get help for PTDS because of the trauma of his birth.

But when that lil 4 yr old boy begged for a sibling I just couldn't say no and it really tugged at something deep inside me. I wanted another baby and didn't even realize it. I was shocked when less than 3 mos after stopping birth control (I use the Mirena) I was pregnant with our daughter.

This time pregnancy was WORSE (needed anti nausea meds for both pregnancies but looking back I was just being a WUSS with my 1st!). We have always felt that 2 is our max and so at the end I tried to cherish the last days of pregnancy. I went overdue with both (16 days late for 1st and 8 days late for 2nd).

I had the most amazing birth experience thanks to my midwives and therapist and the hospital staff who took the time to read my history and need for this experience to be better.

I felt healed from my first child's delivery with my second.

So much so that I'm now not ruling out a 3rd one day but if it's not to be, I'm over the moon with the 2 I've got. To see my 2 yr old and 7 yr old play with each other is so special. Of course he wanted a brother but now he's a doting brother for a sister and it's priceless.

You shouldn't rule out another completely. You don't know how you'll feel in a few years time. I loved the 5 yr age gap we have with our kids. Only 1 butt to change diapers for, 1 is able to be patient and wait while you tend to baby and even help you out, etc.

Bsparl is adorable btw!

I think people asking this question when your daughter is so young are nuts. You're still dealing with the craziness of an infant--who can think beyond that?


I cannot even fathom why some people think it is any of their business to ask these kinds of questions (especially when BSparl is so young!) Why anyone thinks they know what is best for you & your family is beyond me. What if you couldn't afford it? What if you weren't able to have a second? People can be real HAThats...ya know?

Mike & I would love to have two kids, but realistically, we know that with me being 34 and him being 36 and with diabetes...that may or may not happen. We joke that we'd love to have twins and, while it would be a blessing, we'll also be happy as clams with the blessing of one baby.

A lot of people have great comebacks to comments like these (sometimes when it's too late) but I'd like to hope that if I'm ever in that position, I'll just say a sweet, polite "how 'bout you mind your own damn business, kaaaaay????" :)

Kerri:

just reply, "Sure when you sign on for the bills to be sent to you in your name and you pay for college" That shut up my Inquisitors.

Then you and Chris decide what you want, when you want to and how you want to- live and love the ones you're with. No further explanation or blogs, vlogs, Tweets, Tubes, posts or whatever you can think of needed.

Just love the ones your with.

Be sure to say it with a smile as some people may just be making small talk and didn't know what else to say after. "my she/he is so cute" That does happen. Hard to resist the smell of J&J powder and Desitin without some comment--I think its evolutionary or something.

How many kids to have is your choice. My wife and I had a different experience (neither of us are disbetic). After having a boy then a girl, we were asked if we were done having kid's. When we said no, we probably got the same looks as you get for not having more than one. BTW our 3rd is a boy who at the age of 9 became the 1st type 1 diabetic in our families history as far as we can figure out.

K, I'm so happy you wrote this post! People question our decision to adopt. And now that we have a daughter via adoption, people ask if now since I have one baby, I'm going to have "my own." :( They don't get that my daughter is "my own" even though she didn't come from my womb. For many of the reasons you mentioned, we will not have biological children. My body has been through so much, and you know what? It's ok to choose to be different if that's what works for your family. So if you only want to have one, just have one. That's ok. :)

Completely agree with you...thankfully for me, my type 1 diabetes did not show its ugly face until my 3rd pregnancy. BUT, I would not have another pregnancy intentionally with all the complications that I went through with my last pregnancy. I, too, was on bedrest and had a hard time getting the b/s under control through out the pregnancy. I totally agree with your decision to not want to put your body through that "torment" again!! In fact, my body "gave out" in a way and I had to undergo a hysterectomy a year after my 3rd child was born!

I think that it is a very personal descision how many children you will have and health conditions make it so much harder to decide.
I don't have diabetes, but I do have mental health concerns. Being LDS and living in the mormon hub of Utah it means that most people expect we will have lots of children and some are apalled that we have allowed a 3 year gap between our children(and actually if Ryker hadn't have had his own plans it'd have been larger). What gets people with us is when they learn that we are stopping at two children.
My mental health is not conductive to pregnancy or post pregnancy. My husband and I decided that for us two truly is plenty even though we both wanted more, we can be content with two and life will be so much easier with just two as opposed to more. Not to mention that our children deserve a mom who is sane and capable of caring for them.
So I am pleased to say that my husband gets a vasectomy in August and we are DONE. And I am not going to feel guilt over this, so you shouldn't either.

I have T1 diabetes and am the mother of only one child as well. Our little girl had to be delivered by c-section at 31 weeks and I was hospitalized for the whole 7 months b/c of diabetic issues. I'm always asked if I'm having more, but I feel so blessed to have a healthy girl and that we both made it through the pregnancy. I'm not willing to take any more chances. I'm a mommy now, and she needs her mommy healthy and happy. With all the things I need to deal with daily regarding my diabetes, for me, I feel one child is perfect for me as well. Go team 3!

AMEN, sistah!! :)

Why can't people mind their own beeswax? I'm a parent of an only and its wonderful!

Kerri,

You don't have to answer to anyone. Even if you weren't diabetic... you don't need to have any reasons to only have 1 child. I am an only child, and not screwed up... well, not any more than my friends with siblings. My honey and I plan on having a child in the future. We want to have 1 naturally. And that's it. If we want more after that we might adopt... but 1 is plenty in my mind. You are doing fantastically. And don't let anyone make you feel otherwise.

I'm constantly amazed at the very personal questions that folks ask. And it's so hard to say "Interesting question, but it's really none of your business."

I can relate. My son is 2 and I get asked all the time about having another one. Like you, I didn't enjoy being pregnant. As a Type 1, I found it extremely stressful. And 2 years later I'm still having body issues! I haven't ruled out having another, but I'm still pretty hesitant.

Wow, I'm an only child. . . should I be insulted? ;-)

And I thought being an only child was GREAT! Sure I wondered what it would be like to have a little sibling to play with but I never thought that meant sharing my parents with them too. The idea of that part was always less appealing.

I never understood why people think that as a parent it's your responsibility to give your child a sibling. Food? Yes. Shelter? Yes. Education? Yes. Love? Absolutely. But a sibling? Ummm, no. It's like somehow having a sibling is DEFINITELY better than being an only child? I know some siblings who don't talk and others who are best friends. But I have best friends and they aren't blood-related and that's OKAY!

Personally, I want 2-3 kids. I really enjoyed being an only child and there was an appeal to giving all that attention and love and focus to just one child. But another selfish part of me just wants more kids to love, to raise, to play with. I'm having a pretty good pregnancy so far (but I'm right there with you on the guilt and worry) and the thought of other children is still out there for me. And since it's MY family (well, my husband's too), it's MY decision to make. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about your choice. I totally get only wanting one and not for JUST diabetes-related reasons.

Kerry, I read you every day not because you have type I diabetes but because you are an amusing, wonderful writer...anyway, I digress...I have one daughter, she is 22, beautiful and not screwed up in any way because she is an only child. She's smart (Duke grad), athletic (Divison I swimmer) & the kindest, most good-hearted person in the world with plenty of friends.....don't let anyone give you any crap about "only children"....with a Mom like you, she is going to be great!

I think you are making a wise and mature choice!

I have to say, I freaked out when I read the tittle of this post! :)

adoption?

It seems like it's such a personal decision that one post will never be enough to explain your choice. I'm glad you didn't lie to the CBC staffer and that you posted this. It makes me feel hopeful of the future I wish to have (motherhood), but also shows the reality of a Type 1 Pregnancy and just pregnancy in general. So thank you for you honesty.

We have two and hope to have more! But, I do agree, that it is a personal decision.

You poor thing. It's hard living the high-profile lifestyle. But you are right to feel how you feel and make decisions that best fit you and your family. *hugs* Perhaps she doesn't follow your blog, eh? Maybe she doesn't really KNOW you [like we all do. haha]. In any case, if you encounter poor saps like that again, just send them my way. I'm working on number 5. I'm diabetic for 24 years this November, and my pregnancies have been smooth and laidback. But, in reality, that's a matter of personality and, well hell, luck of the draw, you know? If I was dealing with retinopathy or neuropahty, or whatever, I'd probably be wary, too.

P.S. I'm much more tired this time around. 5 years since the last, and 33 years old is getting too old for this... :D

Bethanne - High profile? You mean, like going to the grocery store and having old ladies chat me up? Yeah, I'm like a total Kardashian.

Congrats on your five (!) healthy pregnancies! When are you due?

It is your family, and as the parents you and Chris should do what is right for you.

Fitting that you should talk about 3 cats in a shoe. As I read this, my cat is trying his darndest to get into one of my boots on the floor! :P

I think if someone chooses to have 12 kids, or 1 child, or no kids, that is up to them. It's probably the most personal choice we can make as humans. :)

Loved this post. I am also a Type 1 and had a very stressful pregnancy. I had one miscarraige before so I was on edge to begin with. Going to all the doctor's appointments, ultrasounds, stress tests at the end was almost a full time job. I was very fortunate to have a healthy beautiful baby boy who is 5 now. People CONSTANTLY ask me why I am not having another, puleeze! I love being a mom, his every milestone is amazing. I love the fact the two of us (or three if hubby is available) can just pack up and go neat places. We just got back from Mexico w/him, and if I had another one I would have felt it would have been too much aggregation to travel to a different country with two, not even taking into count the cost. I do sometimes feel guilty for not having another, but I think back on everything I went through during pregnancy and after and just realize how blessed I truly am!!

I may be a bit cranky today (hello understatement) but oh my goodness how many children you have is up to you and Chris and nobody else. I get that friends may be curious and diabetes campers are looking for advice and guidance, but complete strangers?? It bothers me that you need to explain yourself and your choices. BSparl is perfect and is going to stay that way - with or without siblings. Hurray for celebrating your family, just as it is!! (Cats included - LOL) ;)

Kerri,
It is so funny that you posted this... yesterday at dinner I was telling Harry that a lot of people have been asking me if we are going to have another child soon. I feel like telling them, hey, let me get this one out of me first and then I'll think about it, but usually end up telling them we'd like her to have a sister or brother, we just aren't sure when. Truthfully, I'm not sure we really do want another child. I'm having a hard time imagining loving another baby more than I love this one. I know that everyone says your love grows with each child, but for now Harry and I are very content with the sweet little baby that will enter our lives in the next month or so. We understand completely.

These questions make me crazy. It's NONE of anyone's business whether or when you have children, or how many you have. My husband and I have chosen not to have children at all. After we got married, I kept getting questioned on when we were planning to have kids. I finally snapped to a colleague one day and responded with a smile and "how often do you have sex?" This person was shocked, said that was a very personal question. I said, "exactly" and walked away.

Sounds like a good plan! I'm an only child, and most people say I've turned out okay. :) It's like being an oldest, but you get to be the only one!

we were talking about just spoiling the crap out of the one we have when we found out whoops is on the way. luckily i love being pregnant, but there is nothing wrong with having one!

I like this post! The thing is, people always have a question to ask… from “Are you dating anyone?” “When are you getting married?” and “When are you having a baby?” to “When are you having another?” At least you’re at the end of the invasive (but probably well-intentioned) personal question trail. Ha!

How is it that I've never seen that tshirt pic before? I might need one, where'd it come from??

We only wanted one too, but apparently we had too much sex without enough birth control and along came our little Zoe! But she was the greatest little "oops" ever!! :)

Hey, where did you get that shirt? It's so cute!

I completely understand where you are coming from. I am in the one or none club when it comes to having kids. I know having diabetes and a baby will be so stressful. Life is too short to harm yourself when you are happy with the child you have. Enjoy the family that you have and just ignore others. Anyone who really knows you knows why you are making the choices that you have made.

Hey, fellow CBC girl here ... 1st session for 8 years, then CIT. Anyways, we're going through the process of thinking about #2 right now and your post really hit home for me. Even 27 months after birth, I still feel slightly traumatized by my T1 pregnancy, even thought I LOVE the outcome. We may have a happy single kiddo too...

I always find the "when are you going to have another" questions ridiculous. I'm always amazed that it's assumed that everyone wants more than one child and also that it's not considered a more personal matter. While we did have a 2nd baby this past November, it took me a good 5 years to work up the gumption again (the emotional stress of a T1 pg really weighed heavily on me too) and as a result, our daughters are 6.5 years apart. However, during those almost 6 years with our lovely only child, my favorite answer for those who queried our choice (at the time) was "Nope. We got it right the first time."

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