06 April, 2014

I Love You Too Much

"Do you ever think your heart isn't big enough for a baby?"

by Maddie Dawson

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.

For more quotes collected from this book, and others, visit Borrowing Wisdom.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Maddie Dawson's The Opposite of Maybe to read and discuss as a member of the online book club From Left to Write. The thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own. Click here to purchase your own copy of this novel.


  1. Rachel I have wondered about this since I overheard you & Al saying you'd both like to have a child at the same time. (Kind of like Pat & I did, but planned for both!) Only you can decide, and life is so full with even one, as I had an only for 7 years. Being a Libra is sometimes a curse, as weighing all aspects can be exhausting. Follow your heart. Love and namaste!

  2. And if you look at it from your child(ren)'s point of view?
    To receive so much love, brings responsability too, for the one who loves you. Not at age 4 of course, but later. Maybe one day Grace would be grateful this love does not come towards her alone?


  3. It IS a big question, isn't it? But as a person with three children, whom I love utterly, I would just like to say that the heart doesn't split the amount of love between them. It grows exponentially to include all of them. The heart is a very stretchy organ! Don't worry about not having enough.

  4. I think it's important to know your limits. I look at many women from the previous generation, when it was common to have more children, and I see them as stretched too thin and not having enough of a life of their own, or becoming resentful. If you know you can love and cherish one baby, but no sure about another, then don't do it. I always thought I would have more than 2 kids, but I know my heart is not big enough for more.

  5. I would have asked the exact same question had two babies not arrived on the same day at our house, and I can tell you, without a doubt, there was room for both. Your description of emotion towards these people is dead on, having twins blindsided me in a way I couldn't imagine, but it has been, without one doubt, the very best thing that could have happened. I love them both more than I ever thought possible.