So, yesterday I came across this blog post about Katie Holmes and an apparently “overheard” conversation (I can’t find the link, by the way) regarding her (and Tom’s?) decision to try for baby number two. Her reason for the second baby? “Suri would love a brother or sister to play with. I think it would be good for her. It’s hard to say no to her.”
First, I’ll say this: Poor Katie. If all my overheard conversations with girlfriends were repeated and dissected on blog posts, I would look like the worst mother of all time. But, having said that, I can’t help but feel fascinated with her line of reasoning.
Jeanne Sager’s post on The Stir is ruthless in its dissection of Holmes’ reasoning. Sager hates the “my child wants a sibling” approach to parenthood that she believes way too many families are taking these days.
She wants to know why in the world parents would consider the idea of having another baby as “giving” a sibling to a child. I’ll quote:
“Our kids don’t carry our babies. They don’t breastfeed them. Or get up in the middle of the night with them, pay for their diapers and shoes and college. They don’t bear the emotional burden of raising their siblings to adulthood. In short, they have nothing to do with the important issues upon which a decision to have a child are based.”
I can get behind what Sager is saying here. Obviously, I’m not a fan of giving children everything they ask for. And I’ve got serious issues with someone who would make massive life decisions based on an inability to say no to a child.
But here’s my question: Is it that crazy to take into account that a sibling would be really wonderful for your child? I’m having a second child for several reasons, but one of them is that I love my brothers and I love the experience I had growing up with siblings. My husband would say the same. I love the idea of a house full of noise and messy teenage boys. I love the thought of my boys learning how to be compassionate, caring men because they’ve been forced into sharing and playing together and interacting with one another constantly. I love the thought of my boys stuck sharing a room and whispering to each other from bunk beds in the dark at bedtime.
So, I can’t say that our love and dreams for August had nothing to do with our decision to go for baby number two. August was already a part of our future. Of course he affected our life decision in that way. But having another child is far more than simply offering your first a playmate. And if it’s a result of your toddler’s demands, you’ve got troubles.