Illustration by Cassie Skoras

My spouse and I had usually planned on having two little ones. We experienced talked about it even in advance of we got married. Not one particular, not 3, but two two was best. We had been so sure of our ideas that we designed positive to seem for a household that would in good shape our upcoming brood. And we discovered it. In February of 2020, we moved into a 3 bed, two bathtub home in Martina Franca, Puglia in Italy with a substantial dwelling area, kitchen, eating room and loads of out of doors space for our daughter, two-yr-previous Lucia Antonia, to operate about. It was specifically the sort of place I envisioned for what I hoped would be our escalating spouse and children.

Then the virus began spreading and all of a sudden practically nothing seemed particular about the strategies we had made. We had our attractive daughter, and she was lots of do the job on her individual. With all this uncertainty and doubt for the upcoming, anything was set in a new gentle.

As you probably know, the pandemic strike Italy early and challenging. We were stuck in complete lockdown for almost two months. Two months inside of ALL THE TIME. With a teething toddler. With no person space. It was not an knowledge for the faint of coronary heart. We experienced no solutions, no position to escape to for a instant of air. All the things was completely shut down. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was controlling to hold myself and my daughter content and occupied. But shortly each and every day started off emotion like Groundhog Working day. Some times I felt like a perfect mother and housewife—baking, accomplishing crafts with my daughter, cooking, and cleaning. Other days ended up used plopping my daughter in entrance of the Television with a bag of cookies. Often I would catch my daughter operating again and forth on the couch with no position to go and it seemed the best metaphor for our existence.

caroline and her daughter
At initially, I was controlling to maintain myself and my daughter joyful and occupied. But shortly, each and every working day commenced feeling like Groundhog Working day.


1 week when I was operating on two deadlines, my daughter was having a main tantrum. I was seeking to permit her engage in on her own, when I sat at the desk on my laptop or computer making an attempt to function. But, no. That would not do. She was screaming. Crying. Clawing at my leg. It was raining, so I could not just take her out to perform or stroll to a close by café. We experienced no possibilities. I was on the edge of a breakdown, battling back tears. I needed to scream. Visualize if I experienced two little ones? How insane would I be? This was the second when I believed, one particular youngster will be ample. She would have to be. I couldn’t let the image great idea of two babies adjust my thoughts.

I appreciate the thought of Lucia owning a child brother or sister. I grew up with an older brother the relationship we established expanding up collectively is however nurtured to this working day. I want that for my daughter, much too. I definitely do. I feel she would gain from obtaining a sibling tremendously. But is that plenty of to go on? Acquiring two youngsters opens up more home windows for worries to arrive by, and once that window is open up, it simply cannot be closed. In actuality, can I handle my dream?

To be reasonable, there have been often other deciding components, even before the coronavirus. My spouse is 55 decades previous, 23 yrs my senior. He understandably does not have the electricity that I do. He does a lot for our daughter but in some cases, I come to feel like 90 percent of the parenting falls on me. Would we significantly be capable to deal with acquiring a second kid devoid of almost everything slipping apart? Could I, if required, tackle the extensive bulk of treatment for both equally small children?

caroline and her daughter at home in italy
There was a instant when I thought, just one child will be plenty of. She would have to be.


It is no mystery that for the most section, parenting has fallen even extra so on moms throughout the pandemic. According to a Nationwide Women’s Regulation Center analysis, more than 860,000 women have dropped out of the labor drive between August and September. I have the good fortune to get the job done from house as a writer. Oddly adequate, the pandemic has developed a lot more function on items that have tighter deadlines and demand extra time and exploration. Attempting to operate less than heightened conditions, usually with a toddler on my lap, has led to faults. If I had a second child, would I be able to get the job done at all? Or would my composing turn into a factor of the earlier?

I also truly feel like my identity has adjusted in the earlier calendar year, and not for the far better. I have a great deal significantly less persistence. I sense angrier, and I have a shorter fuse. I experience from stress, as I have for very some time, but the pandemic has unsurprisingly exacerbated it. I’ve made certain not to get my strain out on my daughter, but in some cases I sense so confused that I stress one particular day I will. These new traits really do not make the notion of obtaining a fussing kid on each and every arm all that tempting.

The pandemic has also laid bare the reality that I was not as well prepared for motherhood as I assumed. You’d like to imagine that by the time you are nurturing the up coming generation, you’d have all of your have shit together: finances sorted, goals fulfilled, dwelling in purchase. But…nope. I haven’t been doing work almost as substantially as I would have hoped at this position in my everyday living. Our home is in overall disarray with reconstruction designs indefinitely set on keep. I really don’t even want to feel about bringing one more youngster into all of this chaos.

caroline's daughter in a cute hat
The author’s two yr old daughter, Lucia Antonia.


Italy has now entered a second lockdown, after once more slicing us off from the outside the house entire world. No journeys to museums, parks, or playgroups. No get in touch with with any individual. Nothing at all. It’s not the sort of toddlerhood I experienced envisioned for my daughter, and the next lockdown feels even more challenging than the first. I’m not receiving to function as much. Perform phone calls are normally punctuated with the seem of my daughter banging on the door or hoping to steal my mobile phone. I’m not finding any time to myself. From time to time, it feels like I’m not acquiring any air. Owning a child is not supposed to be effortless, but let’s be true: The pandemic has produced it at least 2 times as difficult.

I’m likely to be sincere. In this minute, I can not envision having a 2nd little one. Right before COVID, it was a definite of course. I assumed we experienced our future figured out. I considered we had been heading to have two small children that would expand up in our perfect house, go to school, and be surrounded by buddies and relatives. But now? Will I even come to feel at ease sending my daughter to daycare in the upcoming? I have no concept, which helps make the other determination dealing with me a huge body fat no. It is much too substantially to even believe about. Will I adjust my thoughts? It’s possible, it’s possible not. For now, my daughter is extra than sufficient.

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