I need your help.
Not like a “Call 911!” type of help, or even a “Can you take my kids out of the house for an hour so I can get work done?” kind of help. The kind of help that a woman needs when trying to make a big, life-altering decision.
Now it may seem weird that I’m asking you to help me work through a decision that should quite honestly:
1. Be none of your business
2. Remain between Cory and me
…but there are many things in my life that I can’t and/or choose not to discuss on this blog (ex: finances, what color loofah Cory uses in the shower) and this one I’m fine with sharing. My blog, my truth.
What is it, you ask?
I can’t make up my mind about having a third.
Not a third pair of sneakers. Or a third glass of wine.
It’s kind of a big deal and we’ve always talked about having three children but now that the time is nearing, I’m really, really confused. I know the time is nearing for a few reasons. One, I’ve been thinking about it non-stop. Two, I don’t want to be pregnant forever. I don’t want to get used to having parts of my life back and then starting over again. I am 35 and with each year it will become more difficult to get pregnant naturally and honestly, I just want to know that we’re either done or that we’re going for it. I definitely feel in-between.
Cory is conflicted, too, but his reasons aren’t for me to share. We love our kids and we love being parents. We love seeing the way Ryan and Alexa interact with each other. There is nothing better than Ryan asking for a second goody bag, an extra snack or a toy at the dentist’s office “so I can bring it home for my sister Lexi”, holding her hand as they walk down the stairs, making sure his friends are gentle with her (even though he constantly tackles her to the ground), reading to her in his bed and calling her “sweetie girl”. I love the way her eyes light up when Ryan comes home from school and she runs to hug him, her best friend and hero, holding onto him for dear life.
They have a relationship that I will never get to have, and whether I idealize the sibling dynamic or not, at least they have a shot at being friends and a support system for each other throughout their lives. I know that there are no guarantees and that being born into the same family doesn’t mean that they will always like each other as individuals, but they will always share some sort of bond, having grown up in the same house and influencing each other just by mere proximity. The thought of another child for all of us to love is wonderful, but it’s not that cut and dry for me. Let’s start with the nagging worries that I have, the negatives that keep me from wanting to take the plunge:
We have two healthy, beautiful children. Why mess with a good thing?
I have anxiety about this because although it only took 9 months to get pregnant with Ryan and I had two early miscarriages before Alexa, I have watched friends go through the heartache of infertility and I don’t know if I’d be pushing my luck. I feel guilt that I am conflicted about trying for a third when some people would give anything to have one. I also worry that because of this greed, I will have an unhealthy child. I didn’t say it’s a rational fear since there are plenty of families with three or more children, but it’s my fear.
What if it negatively affects Ryan and Alexa’s future?
Another child means dividing our time and resources even further and adding expenses that could affect our kids’ future. Would it mean we couldn’t afford for them to go to the best colleges they get into? Family vacations? Weddings? Plenty of people don’t factor in finances when having a family and say “you make it work” but at what expense? And as for spending quality time with each child, the way it is now if Cory is having alone time with Alexa, I am having alone time with Ryan. Easy. If we had another child, would that time be harder to come by? Would the kids feel cheated?
We would be outnumbered.
I can hold a kid in each arm. One on each knee. Two hands to hold when crossing the street. Cory makes sure one doesn’t disappear while I keep track of the other. Add a third to the mix and I just might lose one!
Three’s a crowd?
What if two get along great and one is always left out? Odd numbers are hard.
Middle child syndrome.
This actually doesn’t worry me too much because Alexa would be the only girl or the big sister. But do the oldest and youngest unknowingly get a different kind of attention as a result of their place in the family?
I have days when I don’t think I’m doing a good job handling the two I have. Three would put me over the edge.
I’m thinking about those super fun weeks in February, April, June, August and December when everyone is home from school. Then the thought of coordinating three different playdates, plus shuttling between games, practices, recitals, Birthday parties and school functions is overwhelming. Making sure three kids do their homework? Packing three lunches according to individual pickiness? Keeping track of them on a playground? I’m sweating just typing this. Oh G-d and the laundry!
I could be finished – right now – with infancy, round-the-clock feedings and total sleep disruption and be steps closer to building my business, fully committing myself to the gym (since the threat of pregnancy wouldn’t be in the picture) and moving closer to getting myself and my time back.
It would be great to know that I’m completely done. Knowing that those boxes of clothes, baby toys and bottles will never be dusted off again. Knowing that I will have difficult times ahead as the kids face more complicated realities, but knowing that the baby stage is over and I can look forward to the next stage where our family is older and we can enjoy each other in a new and different way. I find pregnancy to be an amazing experience, but I could do without the sickness, physical discomfort and the loss of sleeping on my stomach! As someone who hardly sleeps and loves to nap, I don’t know if I’d have enough energy to take care of the two I have with pregnancy hormones coursing through me. This thought truly frightens me.
Of course there are positives as well. Otherwise this wouldn’t be such a dilemma.
Yes, we have two healthy, beautiful children. So what’s wrong with wanting more of a good thing? My kids are amazing. They make me laugh harder than anyone. They say and do the cutest things. I am like an annoying Grandmother who is constantly talking about what they’re doing, showing pictures and videos. Like most parents, I am completely in love with them most days and other days wish they would get shipped to Boarding School. Being a Mom is really all I ever wanted when I was a kid. (Also a singer, writer, teacher and Madonna. But always a Mom.) I could stare into their faces and kiss and tickle them for hours. They are sweet little balls of fun with the best personalities and they make my life complete. Why wouldn’t I want more of that?
Being an only child, I was always envious when friends would tell stories about their huge holiday gatherings complete with crazy aunts and uncles and tons of cousins. When I went to friends’ houses who had two or more siblings, I usually noted their interactions. Whether they were close or not (in age and/or in their relationship), I can remember a lot from those little glimpses into their lives. Playmates. Built-in entertainment. Protectors. Jealousy. Fighting. But mostly playing. As I got older, those friends’ houses were full of noise and laughter. A revolving door of friends raiding the fridge, watching movies, coming home from school and gossiping about the latest drama. I loved the noise and the energy. I know that Ryan, Alexa and their friends will create plenty of noise on their own, but I love the thought of even more kids growing up together in our home, sharing holidays, stories and experiences.
I know if we had another child, I would never regret having that child and it would feel like it was meant to be. But I may regret not having another one.
We will probably be pushed to our limit, feel massively overwhelmed and wonder why we’re even allowed to be in charge of human beings. But I often feel that way right now so what’s the difference?
Three kids in pajamas cuddling on the bed, listening to a book. (Cozy and cute.)
Another option for whose house to live in when we’re old and grey. (Good insurance.)
Increased probability of grandchildren. (A good thing.)
Looking into the face of another gift that Cory and I made for each other. (Priceless.)
So I turn to you.
First, I just want to apologize if I have offended any of my readers who feel this is in some way means I think having no children or anything less than three does not make a full house or family. This is not even close to how I feel. Or my readers who struggle with infertility. I do not mean to be insensitive. This is just my personal journey.
I knew I wanted more than one child because of my own desire to have a sibling. This is probably also the rationale for wanting to have more than two children. I had a small family so with a “grass is greener” mentality naturally thought about having a larger family of my own one day. Just as I know people who grew up in huge families who went on to have one or two children as a result of feeling hidden and burdened by their family’s size.
My mother had three miscarriages before I was conceived and was placed on bedrest for most of her pregnancy with me. Seeing as though they had a healthy child, my parents decided not to go through the ordeal and heartache again. It makes sense. I may mourn what could have been but I have had many blessings as an only child which make me the person I am today. My best friends are like sisters to me. I have a very full and happy life.
I just don’t know if our book is closed or not.
I’d probably have my answer if someone told me right now to throw out the boxes of baby clothes and toys that sit in my basement and ask me if I feel okay about it. But it just doesn’t feel so black and white.
What affected your decision to have one, two, three or more children? Did your family size growing up have something to do with it or was it beyond your control? My friends have told me everything from “Don’t do it – it will ruin your life!” to “I’d have ten children if my husband would let me.”
I would love to hear your thoughts so please comment below and thanks for visiting!