I find that my husband and I are now in the stage of our family life when people start asking, "So - are you gonna try for another one?" And whether these people are dear friends of ours, or work colleagues, or mere acquaintances we've only just met, the personal question they're really asking is: Are you going to have another kid?
I deflect with smiley answers like, "Oh, one's enough for now!" Or, "She's just so perfect, I don't want to push our luck!" Or, "We'll see what fate has in store..." But the truth is, I am not convinced that I could fully handle another child. I don't know if my heart is big enough for a baby.
Our four-year-old is one of the kindest, funniest, most genuine people I know. She is full of love and light, and she owns so much of my heart. I love her entirely, in a way I have never before loved anything or anyone. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love with abandon. I open my arms and heart to so many people - and it makes for quite a full and joyous life. But the rare and overwhelming kind of love I have for my daughter is... well, overwhelming. It's not just that I love her, it's that she is a part of me. Elizabeth Stone said that to have a child is to "have your heart go walking around outside of your body." I never really knew the feeling of what she meant until I had our baby girl. And I cannot fathom how I would be able to handle twice as much of that feeling with two children. How would it not feel like splitting your own heart? What if I couldn't offer that same amount of overwhelming love to another little life?
It's hard to write these honest thoughts... and it may be hard for people to read them. I question this feeling inside of me each and every time someone asks if we're "gonna try for another one." There's not an easy answer in there. But when I read that line in Maddie Dawson's novel, The Opposite of Maybe, I felt a familiarity in the question: "Do you ever think your heart isn't big enough for a baby?"
Maybe a year ago, our daughter started saying "I love you too much" instead of "I love you so much." Now we repeat it daily. It's innocence makes me smile - the funny confusion of language that can suddenly mean something else entirely. But it's the weight of that simple sentence that sticks with me each time I hear myself say it to my little one.
I am certain that I have a very big heart... and yet, I still wonder.