I don’t want to get into a religious, political or moral debate about family planning. I personally believe in responsible decision-making when it comes to how many children I should have. I consider all things like time, money, space, etc. If I may state the obvious, the decision to grow my family is not merely a logistical decision, as I doubt it is for anyone. It is something much deeper, something almost impossible to articulate.
I clearly remember my mother telling me when George and I were dating in college and I would gush to her about our future plans, that after we were married, there would be no stronger desire than to create a person together. She was absolutely correct. We did wait some time so that George could graduate from medical school. However, within 6 months of his graduation, there were those two blue lines. I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I could remember, and I always wanted a large family. I have 5 siblings. Yes, we are a “Yours, Mine and Ours” bunch, but they are my sisters and brothers, and I love the different bonds I have with each of them. I knew as soon as I had my first son that I wanted to give him a sibling. Well, it was
incredibly a tad sooner than I planned, but when he was only 19 months old, we welcomed our second son.
Having 2 under two kept the baby fever at bay for quite some time.
As you can imagine, I was so busy I did not have much time to long for a newborn. I always knew in my heart that we would have more children, but I needed some time. I got pregnant with #2 before my first child’s birthday. It all felt very rushed. I wanted to take things slower this time, enjoy the moments a little more. Well, I made it a little further and when Jack was 15 months old, I found out we were expecting again. Heartbreakingly, it was not meant to be and just as quickly as it began, we had an angel baby. It took some time to heal from that pain, and during that time, there was no way I was thinking about trying for another baby. Even though I knew we wanted another child, I was scared.
My husband and I agree that we want one more child. We just disagree at times whether we want two more children. I am holding out on making up my mind on that point until after I have my third. My husband’s perspective vacillates regularly. When we tell people we *may* want four children, it is rare that we get a non-judgmental response. Most people ask “why,” say “that’s going to be expensive,” or my favorite advice, “I think 3 is enough.” Last I checked, it was mine and George’s decision and truly, no one else’s. We also get asked whether we are trying for a girl. And the truth is, I would absolutely love to have a daughter, but I would equally love to have a son.
I don’t know that I will ever sincerely feel that I am DONE.
I had a very challenging birth for my second child, one I fought hard for. But it was beautiful and it healed me from a prior necessary C-section. But I will have a 2VBAC if possible. And call me crazy, but I am looking forward to it. I am actually making huge strides in my health and fitness in preparation for labor. No, I’m not pregnant; I am just that motivated. And the main reason I don’t think I could ever be at 100% peace that I am done having children is because I still recall the moment my children were placed in my arms, when they were wide awake immediately after their births, and they looked into my soul and stepped into my heart. I remember the overwhelming sense of contentment washing over me and knowing that all was right in the world. I didn’t know I could fall so completely and unconditionally in love until I laid eyes on my children. I remember the first time they latched on, nursed from my body, and the whole world melted away. It was just me and my beautiful baby, and we were all each other needed for a time. Memories fade but those never have. That is how I know that closing the chapter on having babies will always be difficult.
No, I will not go on to have 10 children just so that I can nurse 10 of them or feel that love 10 times over. But I will have more children; I am not finished. We will make sacrifices just as our parents did for us. We will be responsible but I know that our family is not complete. I think I’ll save my final decision for after my next child.