Is It Wrong to Want a Second Child…

Is It Wrong to Want a Second Child So Someone Takes Care of Me When I Get Old?

Modern motherhood is framed against a backdrop of sacrifice. But there’s much more to it than that.

I got the call on a sunny Saturday morning when the only thing on my agenda was The Girl on the Train and swimming with Andy, my five-year old. I’d just sat up in bed to scroll through Facebook while he and my husband, Brian, impersonated Star Wars characters down the hall. The sound of my iPhone ringer—a tinny version of a Top 40 hit from 2003—jolted me fully awake. My friends didn’t call; they texted.

“Mom’s at the hospital. She’s getting a pacemaker,” my dad said in an otherworldly way that made me recalculate my plans before he’d even finished the sentence.

I reflexively texted my little brother, eight years younger than me: “Mom’s at the hospital. Heading there now.” He was 28 and probably just rolling in from a bar, but I knew he’d answer.


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