Second Child, not Second Thoughts!!

Growing up as a single child – pampered and protected; but indepenedent and lonely – I was always certain that I will have two children. My only condition while marrying my boyfriend (now husband) was that he will always be open to the idea of having two children. But after we had our first ‘Bumpy Miracle’; my husband was a little on the back foot. Our lives had changed completely. My flourishing career, right at its peak had to take a complete different turn. Our financial planning started revolving only around what all we wanted to do for the child. The carefree, creative people that we once were; overnight transformed and became responsible, calculative, cautious people who were meticulously planning their lives and futures. How were we ever to think of a second child? That too, when we were residing in one of the busiest and costliest cities of the world – Mumbai!

But ‘miracles’ happen all the time and once again we were pregnant. Such a stupid joke that was doing the rounds – got applicable to our case – and who we were going to bring to the world was not only going to be labelled a ‘Generation Alpha’ but also a ‘Coronial’ or even worse, ‘lockdown effect’!! Haha! Thank God for Anushka Sharma and Kareena Kapoor who kept being pregnant glamorous even in the corona times!

So… with an ideal age gap of four years between our two children, but an extremely far from ideal weight of almost a 100 kgs, I got pregnant again. But, this time people around us didn’t find the ‘good news’ good enough. So much so that even our immediate families took a second to register and react to what was being told to them. Our first born being a ‘boy’, barely three years old, with my income being slashed down to half and we still living on rent – most of them couldn’t fathom the fact that we had the courage to ‘afford’ another child. Actually, this is not them particularly, it’s the times that we live in – where most decisions are driven based on materialistic parameters of evaluating the quality of life. In this very country, three generations back, people would easily produce atleast four children. Population explosion was a major concern until a few years back with the public service commercials promoting ‘Hum Do Humare Do’ so aggressively that people almost forgot they could have three children. And, the irony of Modern India is such that we have a reached a stage, especially in the Urban cities, where educated, empowered people are shying away from even a single child. The rising standard of living, the obsessive need for individual freedom and all the odd kinds of societal pressures are driving our decision when it comes to deciding on the number of children we want. Love, companionship for the first born and a complete family feeling is no longer the driving force in such situations. Whether this change in thought process is a matter of concern or no is very subjective; and I would refrain from passing my judgement on it. My objective with wanting to start this series about the second child is to share my experience and what drove us through the experience of a Bumpy Miracle 2.0. Not every day is going to be smooth, not every decision is going to be easy – but if I can share my two bits which can encourage or give some solace to even a single mother out there who has no one else to support her in her decision – I would want to be that blogger. Hence, pulling myself out of my slumber and getting myself to write again.

To begin the series on ‘Having a Second Child’, let me start with some of the sweetest, craziest and the most obnoxious things said to me during the tenure of this second pregnancy. It not only prepared me for my child but opened my eyes to the different kinds of people we know and how they can think.

  • One of the people who was the most encouraging and positive in her response was my Homeopath family doctor. She has been my anchor in raising my first child and her relentless pursuit to heal people inside rather than just treat their symptoms outside is what makes her this angel that overlooks my family.

“There will never be a better gift you will give your first child. Don’t worry about anything and just enjoy this pregnancy; this will be the best bonding time for the three of you as a family while you’ll gear up to welcome the forth member.”

  • While the first response gave me the necessary courage and wisdom to continue the pregnancy in spite of being over weight; the second one made me boil with anger. Lot of responses were subtle reminders of our still unstable financial planning or my ever-returning obesity or the uncertainity of life post corona and so on – but what follows is by far the worst thing you can say to a pregnant woman.

“I don’t know babe whether I must congratulate you or give you condolences. How on Earth did you get pregnant again? Especially in the times that we are living in – with all this COVID nonsense and the intolerant India, I would never dare to bring another life into this already ruined and messed up world.”

Is it that bad? Are we living in times that bleak? Should we be so negative in our approach to life? Corona has been a testing time for the entire world, but we are slowly emerging victorious. Shouldn’t we keep our spirits high rather than diving so deep into the pit of negativity?

  • And then, there was also something that got me thinking – looking inside of me to check if I really had it in me to be that self less pillar of support that mothers are for their children, but without any bias or partiality. I really sat down and told myself how this would be my biggest challenge in life and I must ensure that I don’t mess it up at any cost. I realised that parenting is not the thing you do on the side while everything else is important work. Instead, raising the next generation will be the most important thing you will do in your life, while everything else will simply happen alongside.

“Now your love will get divided! Won’t that be unfair to your first child? Won’t he feel insecure when he will have to share you with someone new? There will be all the sibling rivalry eventually even leading to property disputes. How did you set yourself up for this challenge when your hands are already full balancing children, family and work?

I wanted to shout back that love is not a limited commodity that gets divided among your children. True love, that emerges from a parent’s heart is endless – your heart automatically enlarges to multiply the effect of the love you can radiate. No sooner than I conceived, I had already started saying ‘Me and my children!’ rather than ‘Me and my child!” It’s that organic. And more than the love you give them, it’s the love they share between themselves – the sibling love – the bond that will stay with them even after you are gone – isn’t that worth something?

If you are willing, there is always a room for one more child in your life. They come with their predefined destiny – no amount of financial security can ensure that your child will never go bankrupt in his life – classic example being Mr. Anil Ambani. Could there be more wealth left behind in inheritance than what he received? He could still not sustain his economic status. On the contrary, there are a million stories of how people with modest backgrounds have become world leaders, artists and achievers.

Let no one else decide for you whether you must have a second child or no. It should be purely your calling and that too out of love and not out of any family pressure. And once you do decide to go ahead, let no one else deter that decision of yours – this is your life, these are your children and this is your family.

#motherhood #bumpymiracle #parenting #secondchild #pregnancy

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