Before we had Ava, I could never have imagined that I’d feel this way…. so undecided on the way forward. I always thought I knew, but then I guess its easy to say what we’d do or how we’d act or what choices we’d make, until we’re in that situation. I was in an abusive marriage, before that, I was very opinionated on abused woman, but then when I got in the situation I realized it wasn’t so easy to make all the choices I always thought I’d make, prior to the abuse. I’ve realized, the same thing applies to becoming a parent. It was so easy for me to be opinionated on what I would and wouldn’t do as a parent, prior to actually becoming one, I actually was pretty clueless before and I have to smile at myself when I think of some of the opinions I had prior to Ava.

Before having Ava, before realizing we were infertile, I always wanted two children. Then as we traveled further and further down our infertility journey, that changed and I started to feel that one child would be enough for me. As much as I’d love a second one, if one was what was on the cards, then so be it. Then Ava came along and, those of you who’ve been there will relate, we went through those first few weeks of having a new-born, and it was the hardest thing I’d ever done, I was a mess emotionally, I was so conflicted and the sleep deprivation, oh the sleep deprivation, nothing quite prepares you for that. It was during this phase that I decided I simply could never go through that again and there was no way in hell that we were having another baby.

Of course, the new-born phase does end, while you’re in it, you think it never will, but some how you do get through it and we have been blessed with one of those babies that makes parenting look easy and feel easy, she eats, she sleeps, she smiles, she giggles, she is simply a breeze and slowly slowly the thoughts of baby no. 2 started creeping in. And the plans that go along with that.

Well last week, I came back to reality with a hard bump! We love Ava, we want the very very very best for her. Second best will simply not be good enough. I want her to have every opportunity in life. I want her to have the childhood I had. A very privileged one, complete with the best education, the opportunity to a tertiary education, numerous overseas vacations and a car for her 18th birthday. I believe every parent wants the best for their child, I believe ever parent wants to give their child better than what they had. In my case, that will be very hard to do, but I strive to give her what I had growing up.

So, in light of that, after much research, this week, Walter and I contacted the private school we want her to attend and boy did my bubble pop with a very loud bang when we got the registration forms. The first shock came when we were informed that we needed to pay the R5 000 admission within the next 3 months to ensure they had a place for Ava. They are fully fully fully booked with long waiting lists for babies born from every year except 2009 (to start Grade 000 in 2013).

What bought me back to reality was seeing the school fees:

Pre-Primary – Grade 000 – 00 – 0: R2’980-00 a month

Junior Primary – Grade 1 – 3: R3’495-00 a month

Senior Primary – Grade 4 – : R4’480-00 a month

Junior Secondary – Grade 8 – 9: R5’100-00 a month

Senior Secondary – Grade 10 – 12: R5’355-00 a month

Obviously, these also go up annually, so I shudder to think what the fee’s will be when Ava reaches Grade 12?! So the reality of the situation is, as things stand now, we simply cannot afford to put two children through private schooling and see to all the extra mural activities and all the other things that go along with giving Ava a childhood that’s anything like what I had. And while some think that we should just not worry about it and throw ourselves into having number 2, that just does not sit well with me. This is a big responsibility, neither Walter nor I are comfortable with just not worrying about, it feels irresponsible to simply have no. 2 without being absolutely certain of the way forward. While my SIL and her boyfriend are of the opinion that all a child needs is love and so they continue to pop babies despite being unable to see to their needs, I do not want to be that type of parent. And while I have no doubt that we could, if we lowered some of the standards we’ve set for ourselves and Ava, have a second child, I’m simply not certain I am prepared to do that.

So for now, we will be registering Ava at her school and paying the R5’000 fee, we have also started saving money for her first overseas vacation… to Disney World! And we’ll see if time changes our minds at all.