By Karen Green
I remember one afternoon as a new mother, sitting in a coffee shop with a group of other new-mother friends. This particular afternoon, there was also another group of moms in the coffee shop, but their babies were all a good four- to six-months older than our babies. Just as happy, laughing just as loudly, I remember looking at that group of women, then looking down at the infant sleeping in my arms and thinking, I am so glad that I have my own group here. I would have absolutely nothing in common with those other women and their older babies.
Because in the beginning, three months seems like the difference of an entire lifetime. Navigating the joys and challenges of first-time motherhood is a job in hyper-focus, and you are vigilantly experiencing your new role in a way that you are quite sure only those in the exact same boat will understand.
Fast-forward a couple of years and another baby. Many of those same friends have travelled the same path and are now mothers of two children as well. The glue of understanding, of being in the same place at the same time, remains. We understand each other more now than ever, and can laugh at how silly and proud and amateur we were as parents to only one child. We bond over our collective maven-hood as mothers of two children.
And as a mother of two children, of course, is where I stayed. Happy, satisfied and feeling like our family was totally complete, I strangely thought that all of my other friends would stay where we were. I have been shocked, time and time again, by a friend’s announcement that they are expecting their third child.
Why I’m shocked is something that I haven’t figured out yet. Is it because, despite my vehement belief that any sized family—whether two, four or zero kids—is the perfect-sized family, we are so resolute in our decision to have two that I forget that two might not be the perfect number of children for all of my friends?
I love my friends’ new babies, and I love the energy that new babies bring. They make everybody smile and they help dull the pangs of biological yearning that I sometimes still get in my uterus, despite my enjoyment of sleeping through the night. Am I worried that seeing friends have three will erode my resolve that two is perfect for us?
Or is it that, on some level, I fear that moms of two and moms of three become groups as different as those I once imagined I witnessed in a coffee shop, many years ago?
Do you and your group of friends all have a different number of children? Can you still relate to friends with a different number/age of children?
Karen Green recently traded life in the biggest city in Canada for life in the biggest cornfield in Canada. Freed from her full-time job as a writer and editor, Karen now spends her time…writing and editing. And frolicking in the leaves with her two small girls. Karen is a speaker, the founder of Mom The Vote and the author of the blog, The Kids Are Alright, where she has been writing about the humorous and poignant moments of family life since 2005. She is thrilled to be a part of canadianfamily.ca.
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