Growing Your Family: When Your Head and Your Heart Disagree

Growing Your Family: When Your Head and Your Heart Disagree

I have two children – a two year old boy and a three month old girl. I always imagined that I would have three children. Since I come from a family with three kids, that seemed like the magical number to me. It was always a no-brainer that I would try to have three children, maybe even four; however, lately, my head keeps telling me to stop at two. The problem is, my heart can’t seem to come around to my head’s way of thinking.

My head says: We would be outnumbered.

Right now we’ve got this man-on-man defense down pat. If both of the kid alarms are going off at once, my husband handles one and I handle the other. Adding another child means things would get a lot crazier around here. Well, unless we welcome a sister wife or a brother husband into the mix. We travel at least twice a year to visit my husband’s family in Massachusetts. Flights are difficult enough with one child. The thought of doing it with three is scary.

Growing Family
Photo Credit: Theresa Elizabeth Photography

My heart says: We would have more kids to love.

Yes, there will be more butts to wipe and more toys strewn around the house. But there will also be more belly laughs, more Eskimo kisses, and more tight hugs.

My head says: We could provide better for two children.

Kids are expensive. Those twice a year trips to Massachusetts will get a lot more expensive when we have to buy five (!!) airplane seats. And if we decide to go the private school route, another child would make a huge difference to the kind of life we could provide for our kids.

My heart says: Another kid is worth a few more sacrifices.

So what if we have to sacrifice going out to eat or vacations or the small daily luxuries we can afford now. Yes, it would be nicer to have them, but having another kid to love would be more rewarding than anything material thing could ever be.

My head says: We would outgrow our house.

Our three bedroom house works well with two kids. Everyone gets their own room. And the kids only bunk together when out of town relatives come to visit.

My heart says: Kids sharing rooms brings them closer.

I shared a room with my sister until I was in the seventh grade, and she is and always has been my best friend. Late night bonding sessions and weekly fights might be one of the reasons we are so close.

My head says: We are getting older.

I was married at 30, had my son at 32, and welcomed my daughter exactly two months before I turned 35. If we want to avoid having two under two for energy’s sake, I wouldn’t have another baby until I was 37 at the earliest. I already feel a difference energy-wise between being a 32 year old newborn mom and a 35 year old newborn mom. Will 37 be even harder? My husband is almost 41. He would be about 43 if we had another one which means by the time our youngest graduates from college he would be in his 60’s. As someone whose parents were in their early 40’s when she graduated from college that just seems like such a drastic age difference.

My heart says: At least the difference in age isn’t drastic between the kids.

Even though my husband and I will be older, there would only be a couple of years between each of the kids so we would be handling the phases of childhood around the same time. It’s not like we had a child we had a child at 20 and waited 15 years for another one and are having to go back to baby and toddler mode after being away from it for a decade. Staying in the same mode might make things easier…or at least that is what I’m telling myself.

My head says: I’m scared of another difficult birth.

I’ve had two not-so-great deliveries. With my son, I had to push for over two hours and herniated a disc in my back in the process. With my daughter, I only had to push for a few minutes, but the epidural didn’t work so it was extremely painful. My fear is that if I have another baby I will wind up with a combination of the two deliveries, having to push for two hours without an epidural. I want to pass out right now just thinking about that.

My heart says: I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

Once the baby is developed, it’s coming out whether I like it or not so I don’t really have a choice about whether to pull up my big girl panties. And despite the fact that the deliveries were hard, I recovered fine and was happily nuzzling a newborn shortly after each ordeal.

So which will win out in the long run: my head or my heart? I guess only time will tell, but I’m leaning towards my heart.

How did you know when you were done expanding your family? If you stopped having kids, have you ever regretted your decision? 

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Marie is the owner of Little Hometown, a company specializing in locally themed baby swaddles and apparel. Prior to opening her business, Marie was a professional event planner turned stay-at-home mom. She spent nearly a decade living in New York City, where she met her husband, Jeff (a New England native). Early in their relationship, Marie told Jeff that New Orleans is the only place where she would want to raise her children. As soon as she got pregnant, they started shopping for houses. They moved back in December of 2012, welcomed their son in 2013 and their daughter in 2015. Marie now spends her days entertaining her kids with silly songs, desperately attempting to stay organized, and balance her life as a work-at-home mom.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I feel you. We are at four and I sometimes still feel that way but I think the head has to win at this point. I love having four and not that this will help the decision but something to look forward to. .. We travel between NOLA and CA twice a year and around school age they not only get so much easier themselves to fly but they entertain smaller ones. It makes a big difference (no tips for making them cheaper; ))

  2. This is a very familiar discussion. I was where your head was and Lori was where your heart was when we had 2. We eventually went for the 3rd and I can’t imagine my life without him. Whatever you decide will be the right call (unless you have 2 daughters, then your husband will go crazy in 15 years

  3. Marie, I was a single parent, so circumstances and finances didn’t allow me the option of having a second child. However I was very fortunate that my one and only was an exceptional child. If I were in your position, I would probably feel the same way. The joy far outweighs the pain. Others might say use your head and remember that you already have one of each. Yet it’s your decision to make, and your life to lead. I’m sure you’ll make the right one for you and your family.

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