Why I’m Scared to Have a Second Child

Thoughts On Having Kids In Today's World

By Catherine Miele

I am an only child, and so is my husband.

As a result of my upbringing, I’ve always imagined having at least two children.

That’s not to say my two-year-old son is less than my entire world – after all, his perfectly fitting name means “bringer of light” – yet I, perhaps selfishly, want him to know what it’s like to have a best friend in the form of a brother or sister.

But (because there’s always a but) I’m scared to try.

Perhaps my fears are irrational and fueled with hyperbole and self-created anxiety, but ever since the 2016 election, the thought of expanding my family has terrified me.

First, I know that I’m blessed. I currently have adequate health insurance and no health problems, but even with a relatively low deductible, maternity care and delivery costs are expensive.

Every time a new vote for healthcare overhaul comes up in Congress, a knot forms deep inside my stomach. Palpable anxiety courses through my body, and I become a huge wad of tension and irritability.

I imagine my maternity care being cut dramatically, dealing with fewer rights in the workplace, and suffering from even more intense postpartum depression, for which I won’t be able to afford treatment or medication thanks to my “pre-existing conditions.”

And then there’s climate change.

Believe what you want about human influence on the planet’s climbing temperatures and melting ice caps, but I’m terrified that my son and any future children will inherit an Earth that’s inhospitable to human life.

I grapple with the guilt of having already brought a life into what may become an uninhabitable terrain, and I feel selfish for wanting to populate this overcrowded planet with another tiny human who shares my genes.

Dramatic? Yes, but it’s something I think about often, especially when I turn on the news to hear the current administration’s latest actions on climate policy (or lack thereof).

But even if my offspring survive a warming planet, there’s the hate.

At my core, I’m an idealist, but even I struggle with cynicism and despair when I hear the latest xenophobic ramblings or violent protesting against “the other.”

I will always teach my son to love his neighbors, especially those who are different from him, but I’m afraid that the tolerant America I grew up in is crumbling, and that hate and fear will destroy the melting pot I’ve grown to cherish.

But still, I’m lucky. I have never struggled with infertility, so I know that, barring any unforeseen circumstances or conditions, the possibility of having another child is within reason.

Even though we are not wealthy and have to be wise about our spending, I know that, should I find myself pregnant, I can afford to care for another child and provide him or her with many comforts and all of his needs.

Regardless of the negativity I feel from the powers-that-be in my country, I realize that my husband and I are the ones who will shape my son and any future children into the loving, nurturing, tolerant, environmentally-conscious, and passionate global citizens they’re meant to be.

I just have to cling to that realization when the doubts and fears become too overwhelming and real.


Catherine is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

{featured image via unsplash}

 

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