From the beginning, my husband and I were in agreement about having three kids. We now have an almost four year old son, and our daughter just turned one. Needless to say, there is a lot going on at our house. So a third child is not such a sure thing anymore. But we are not 100% sure it wont be either.
Everyone has always told us, “You will just know when you are done.” But what if we don’t know?
There are so many factors weighing in on our decision. First, and I believe most importantly, is me. After our second baby and through a year of nursing, it was a struggle for me to stay mentally sound and feel physically healthy. Is that two year period something I am confident I can withstand again for my family? I’m a little afraid of who I might become once I reach the other side. A little broken, a lot exhausted, and maybe not such a nice person. I’m just not sure. Every child takes a piece of me. I am not sure how many more pieces I have left to give while also remaining a whole person. Staying home with my children — it’s imperative that I keep it together. Right now, I know I can’t be the mom I want to be if I had another baby right away. But will I feel differently in two years?
At times, I also visit the terrified zone. I am completely scared of what a third baby means for me. We have experienced a few losses and then been lucky enough to have two very healthy, amazing children. There are times I feel like I shouldn’t test my luck again. The score is even. Everyone is okay. The nervousness about having a third pregnancy, delivery, and baby is ten-fold what it was with my first. Stemming partly from our experiences but also from my progressing age. Then, pile that onto watching friends and family go through the hardships of pregnancy and child birth. My confidence is now shaken. To me, creating a child is a very scary place to stand with so many things out of your control — just trusting that you and your baby will come out of this safely.
The personalities of our children are a big part of the decision as well. It weighs heavily on me how another sibling would change their world and the dynamics of our home. Do children benefit more from having one parent available to them at all times, or is learning independence equally as important? There are no “take backs” once a new baby is in the house. And while I may like the idea of a full home, would my kids be happier if it stayed just like it is?
Siblings can change your childhood greatly — for better and for worse. You don’t get to pick the personalities of your children. And while you can try your best to teach them to love each other, sometimes they just won’t mesh. I see friends and family not close to their siblings, and it makes my heart hurt to imagine my babies that way. My children already seem so opposite that it scares me. Is part of my want for a large family just hope that all the personalities will find a blend — where everyone will have a buddy? That is just not realistic.
And then, even with all those worries, I want more kids. It is in all the little moments that steal your heart and remind you why you are doing this. Hearing my babies belly laugh from the other room. Early mornings when I wake up to my son snuggled against my back. Feeling the weight of a sleeping baby on my chest. When you get an unexpected “I love you” or “You’re the best, Mommy.” Watching their faces light up when they discover something new. The adventure, growth, laughs, and joy are endless.
How can I not want more of this life, with these tiny humans?
I skip ahead twenty years and picture what I want my Thanksgiving table to look like. And I want more kids at that table. The young years are hard, but I know they don’t last long. They will grow up and become so different from each other. It’s so exciting to watch them become little people. I want a house full of laughter — with everyone adding their own unique piece to our family.
The effort you put out is immense, but the love you get back is immeasurable! My children require everything I have, but the gifts of being a parent are my biggest sources of pride. Even on the worst of the worst days, there is always at least one moment that pulls my heart. I love them more than I can put into words. I want to soak up every moment with each child, but I also want more children to enjoy. And then I waver, AGAIN. Worried that all these moments I want to remember and enjoy might slip away into the chaos and stress of a larger family. What is it that will push us to make one choice or another?