When you discover that one of your life’s purposes is to procreate, you may want it to happen as soon as possible. Of course, there is an order to this, finding the partner, maybe marriage, and then the fun part. However, when you already have conceived and brought one human being into the world, this directive of continuing to populate the universe is an especially different matter. The question is to have or have not, one more mouth to feed, one more responsibility, or one more being sharing your space, energy and body. For many that notion is incredibly beautiful. As you contemplate this assessment, you have much to consider. Although the big picture view, contributing to the human race, seems extraordinarily full of service, the realities also include the monetary and physical implications, other existential nuances that cloud the judgment, as well as the time, energy, and space continuum (to be explained below).
After producing one child, and loving the experience, time passes. You forget the difficulty of the sleeplessness of the first year; memories of a total dependent infant needing you at every moment of the day begin to fade. The challenges that you faced each moment of the first couple of years turn to a space of greater freedom, as your child develops independence, the ability to play alone, eat with one’s own utensils, walk, talk, and move through the world with a greater degree of self-sufficiency. When this occurs, your thoughts turn to the possibility of having a repeat performance. Your confidence waves a flag in the brain stating, “We did well. Let’s do that again.”
The learning curve also has brought most mothers to a space of “I can do better this time” syndrome. Therefore, the decision-making begins on whether to have or have not an additional offspring. Many of us wonder if we can afford one more. On August 4th, 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a new report, Expenditures on Children by Families, finding that “a middle-income family with a child born in 2008 can expect to spend about $221,190 ($291,570 when adjusted for inflation) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise that child over the next seventeen years.” If individuals ponder the expense of having a child too much, birth control would be practiced diligently, eliminating any worries of over population. The reality is that to have another child or not, means increased cost, with some economies of scale. Some fixed costs include car seats, clothing, and housing. These shared necessities decrease the cost per child’s bottom line. Additional expenses include diapers and food, to name a couple of the non-reusable items. Therefore, the price per child decreases, making it a win-win proposition. The fact is you make adjustments financially to make it happen, eliminating or decreasing non-essentials.
Hence, with financial reasoning pushed aside, you consider the physical ramifications. Much to ponder are age considerations, gaining baby weight, sharing your body with another being, exhaustion, and every physical implication that enables a child to enter this world and sustain life for forty weeks. If you happen to be approaching the 35-year mark, the reminders by doctors, nurses and statistics that your biological clock ticks louder year after year, with greater risk of conceiving an unhealthy infant is constant. She thinks, “Here I have been fortunate to have a healthy family, why risk changing that?” Lots of information to extrapolate to choose additional fertile ground can be daunting. The prospect, to choose 25-45 extra pounds weighing on your body frame, eating as if a parasite is sucking the life from you, changing the chemistry of your body via hormones, the exhaustion and emotional flip-flops, that are entranced with the physical transformation make the choice to have or have not, one more child, a challenging decision.
There are also existential observations that can fill the argument to have or have not. One such paradox is, if you are the third child contemplating having a third child, you cannot help but think that if your parents had chosen only to have two offspring, you would not exist. This is true for any combination, of course. Additionally, if your second child may be the president of the United States some day, and you chose to have one child only, then you have changed history. The fact is that existential arguments do not hold, since you cannot ensure what affect either outcome will have. Therefore, remove this element and you simplify the decision-making process.
Yet, if you get past the financial and physical contemplation, ironic existential arguments, there is still time, space, and energy that weigh on a mother’s heart for further procreation. This continuum is equivalent to mind, body and spirit. To switch from the practical aspects of money and physical attributes that contribute to additional offspring decisions, there is the larger picture. The balance of nature attracts the notion of perpetuating the human race with decency and love. There is a natural instinct to add children to the world for the pure sake of adding love, advancement of goodness, and a legacy of improvement of souls from one generation to the next. The love between siblings, the sharing of life between mother and fetus during pregnancy, the bonding of parents and their children, and the development of a perfect being that starts at conception, meets directly with the meaning of life.
To have or have not, another child is instinctually easy. It really is not contingent upon the concrete issues, such as “can we physically do this, fertility-wise, financially, physically, or to initiate the balance of life.” Those are only a few examples to contemplate; parents know there are hundreds more. Although those areas of a pros and cons list may seem relevant, I believe that intuitively you know the answer prior to the debate that plays in your head. To move along the life continuum that enables the world to spiritually grow and improve, brings the decision to a greater plain. When you discover this, the assessment becomes manageable and simplistic. Whatever the conclusion to this query, it is the right one for you. Remove the mundane elements like time, energy, money, ability, and simply consider, is this right for you? Suddenly the answer sits right between your eyes, as if it was there all along. To Have Or Have Not is not the question, but an answer that was there all the time.