Raising Richmond: One and done…? Maybe?

“I wish we had more kids at our house,” my son muttered. “Yeah,” I sighed. “I sometimes wish for that too, baby.”

“I wish we had more kids at our house…” he muttered.

I looked back to see JR, our four-year-old, ambling along behind me, half-heartedly kicking the ground as we made our way back to the car.

We’d just dropped off his friend Raynie a few minutes earlier, putting an end to the milestone (and apparently mind blowing) experience of hosting his first sleepover. It wasn’t anything super special: they played some, ate some pizza, watched Cars, and fell asleep by 8:15. But another person in his house! A person his age! Who played with him nonstop! The kid couldn’t believe his luck. Coming down from the high of the night before was proving rough for him.

I held out my hand, and he shuffled up ahead to grab it.

“Yeah,” I sighed. “I sometimes wish for that too, baby.”

— ∮∮∮ —

Back when JR was about two-and-a-half, I shared here that I wasn’t sure Ross (my husband) and I would ever have another kid. At that point our family was in a good place; we were all happy, healthy, and very well rested. Things were humming along at a lively but (usually) lovely pace. Why mess with a good thing?

Two years later and we’re still in a good place, moving at a slighter faster but still manageable pace. And I’m still not sure we’ll ever have another kid.

But I’d be totally thrilled if we did.1

It sort of terrifies me to put this out there for all the Internets to see, but there it is.

I want another baby–not yet with the same urgency I experienced before getting pregnant with JR, but feelings are a-brewin’. This time around, however, those feelings are based less on a deep-seated desire to reproduce and more on the long-term picture for our family. Two years ago, when I looked around the dinner table, I felt like everyone was present and accounted for. Now I look around and don’t necessarily feel like we’re missing anyone, but I also can’t help but wonder what another child would bring to our family–and especially what a sibling would bring to our son’s life.

I have two siblings–an older brother and an older sister–who I adore. Yes, there were ups and downs; my sister and I are only two years apart, so things got pretty rowdy during the middle and high school years. But these days I have nothing but warm and schmoopy feelings about both of them, particularly now that we’re getting older and can count on each as we face Real Life. I have a bit of a lump in my throat as I write this, thinking about what it would be like for JR to have a lifelong buddy of his own to lean on and learn from.

“So, what’s the hangup?” you’re probably thinking. “If you want another baby, get to it!”

Well, the thing is, while I would love another kid, and JR constantly asks when we are going to “get” his little brother or sister,2 that’s only two out of three members of our family who are ready to board the train to BabyTown, USA.

My husband, however, wants to stay right where we are.

Ross grew up as an only child and loved it. He’s exceptionally close to his parents3 and has nothing but positive things to say about their life as a family of three. While he loves (loves, loves, LOVES) our son, he probably would’ve been fine if we’d never had kids at all. In fact, our efforts to get pregnant the first time required a big leap of faith on his part–a leap of faith that, to his credit, he took with an open mind and a large amount of white-knuckled enthusiasm. And it turned out great. He’s just not sure he wants to take another leap any time soon–or ever again.

Now it’s my experience than when one member of a couple wants a baby and the other doesn’t, for whatever reason, most people side with the partner itching to procreate. That’s not what I’m looking for here. Ross is totally, 100 percent allowed to feel this way. His hesitancy to have more kids doesn’t mean he’s isn’t completely devoted to and in love with me and our son. I’m not sharing this piece of our lives with you to “win” supporters or prompt an outpouring of peer pressure onto my husband. I’m sharing it because it’s the current reality for our family–for lots of families, I’m sure. It’s also a challenge that will show Ross and I what our marriage is really made of.

Think about it: currently we have totally opposing opinions on what is one of the biggest decisions we will ever make for our family. This is a situation that presents a lot of opportunities for us both to feel angry, resentful, and discouraged.

The funny thing is though, I don’t feel any of those emotions. A bit frustrated? Yes. Tired of repeating myself? Sure. But I always walk away from our conversations feeling like Ross and I are still on the same team. Because, after all, we are. That’s something we both hold onto as we try to work out exactly how big that team is going to be.4

So, for now, we continue to talk about it. And talk about it. And talk and talk and talk about it–in our casual, everyday chats and our more serious, even formal “sit-downs” every few months.5 As we go, we both remain committed to keeping the lines of communication and, most importantly, our minds open. Ross admits that he could wake up one day and be ready to have another baby. Meanwhile I acknowledge the fact that as our son gets older and I get more and more removed from his babyhood, these urges I’m feeling could very well fizzle out. Who knows? We’ll just have to wait and see.

And I mean, look at us. Look at all we have…


No matter how it plays out, I know that the three of us are–and always will be–enough for each other.

(But we might have to maintain constant stream of sleepovers so JR doesn’t have to just hang out with his lame-ass parents all the time because GAWD.)

— ∮∮∮ —


  1. Like this thrilled
  2. It’s always a sister and I guess he pictures her just sitting on a shelf somewhere, waiting for us to pick her up? 
  3. Not in a creepy way. They’re wonderful, and I love them dearly. 
  4. Unplanned pregnancies happen, as does secondary infertility. We take nothing for granted and fully realize that we only have so much say in how this plays out. 
  5. Don’t think we don’t have “Baby Discussion” time blocked out on our GCals. We’re a 21st century couple. 
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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Jeb Hoge on said:

    What a great, thoughtful confession this was. I understand where Ross is coming from…I was an only child too. Now we have our three, which is such a learning experience for not just me and my wife, but our extended families as well.

  2. As always, hugely unqualified to be commenting on this column. But of course I selfishly would love for you to have another baby ASAP, for cuteness and squeezing purposes. That being said, as the eldest during my childhood I wished my younger siblings would disappear many more times than I wished they were around. So JR should be careful what he wishes for. “Crying and spying young sister for sale” ring a bell? (Now I love them though and I’m so glad we all got to grow up together.)

  3. Dan is the oldest of 4 and I’m the youngest of 5. Both of us are introverts and value our quite time and our respective hobbies/interests. We’ve decided on no kids.

    We were both of the “no kids” camp before we met, but for a while I thought we should have at least one because “that’s what people do.” Luckily, I finally came back around to “no kids” and not everyone needs to be a parent. We have Doppler and will probably end up with more furry children.

    Hell, some days Doppler is about all the neediness we can handle. That dog needs some serious attention. I cannot imagine throwing a kid into the mix. Makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

    The problem with deciding “no kids” is that sometimes family doesn’t respect that decision. We get the “you’ll change your mind,” or “just have one,” or “oh, but what will you do?” Unplanned pregnancy aside, we aren’t changing our minds, “just one” will lead to pleas for “just one more” and what we’ll do is enjoy our lives sans kid. Just like people who have kids, we decided our family is complete with us. Y’all may decide your family is complete with one more, or maybe not. Either way, it’s a group decision and only time will tell what’s best.

  4. ALF on said:

    Libby keeps telling us that she wants a baby sister. We have told her we’re not sure if that’s going to happen so she announced to us recently that she has 4 babies in her tummy. I guess she’s taking matters into her own hands…

  5. JRsgrma on said:

    As a sibling myself and the mother of three, I can see both sides of the situation. It was both wonderful and awful having siblings with whom to grow up. But there were times when I wished to be an only child. Especially since I am the middle child.

    It is nice to have someone to hold on to when one is facing….as you put it….Real Life situations. And, it is nice to have the memories that only siblings can share. I don’t see my siblings anywhere near as often as I should (especially since we all live around the Richmond area), but when we do get together, it is fun to sit around and share tales…or should I say tell on each other (and of course we are in earshot of our own kids who are now grown with kids of their own).

    Whatever decision you make, I am sure it will be the right one.

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