Indeed, rather than tipping my decision towards continuing this unwanted pregnancy, the fact that I am already a mother is pushing me in the opposite direction. I know exactly what raising a child entails and I do not feel like I can raise a third child.
In part, my feelings stem from a longstanding conflict I have felt between my role as an individual and my role as a mother. Perhaps it is because I was relatively older when I came to motherhood (36 and 38) that I have had a hard time reconciling the two. I spent 18 years as an adult, responsible only for myself. During that time I pursued a career that I love that I feel makes a valuable contribution to society. There is not a week that goes by that I do not feel the conflict between my work and my children. I feel guilty that I do not want to spend more time with my children. The media bombards us with stories of women who wish they could stay at home full time. I can think of nothing worse. I have to say, I am very fortunate. My husband and I both have flexible schedules so we are able to use only part time care and did not start until the children were each almost two. I still spend two days a week "at home" although during that time both children are in part time care so that I can do some work. Still, the guilt remains.
In part, my feelings stem from the children I have to mother. My four year old son has recently been diagnosed with a sensory disorder. I just managed to wrap my mind around the fact that other than teaching, he was going to need all my time and energy to help him learn to cope with this disorder. He is incredibly smart and has figured out lots of techniques himself, but we are doing a great deal of work at home with him to also reinforce positive methods for deal with sensations that bother him. That leaves my darling little two year old to assert herself. In addition to the normal "terrible twos" she is determined not to be ignored! I have a great deal of guilt about the amount of attention she gets since her brother needs so much already. However, I must also confess that not a week goes by that I am not incredibly frustrated or angry with my children. They are demanding and needy and damn it, sometimes I do not feel like being their mother. I admit to yelling at them more than I want or handling them too roughly at times.
When I try to picture fitting a new baby in to this situation, it becomes clear that it is impossible. If I do not feel like a good enough mother for the children that I have, how can I be a mother to yet another? I feel that the people who would suffer most if I continued this pregnancy would be the children themselves.