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I guess it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to many people who know us, since we’ve been blathering about it and asking family members and friends for opinions, but Husband and I are considering having a third (and final) baby.

We pretty much always thought we would have a third baby, but thought it would be prudent to reserve final judgment until we actually had one baby. And one baby was so fantastic (and in hindsight, so easy with a 2:1 ratio), that we went ahead and got pregnant again when Monkey was 13 months old. Our goal was to have our kids about two years apart. Aaand we succeeded (21.5 months apart).

Bean is just over 18 months old now, and to realize that I was six-ish months pregnant when Monkey was that age, is jaw-dropping to me. Because man, two kids is a whole boatload more work than one.

But, obviously I wouldn’t have known that. And honestly, I wouldn’t change it either. They have a super close bond and I think they’ll be the best of friends.

However, when Bean turned one in February, I was VERY CERTAIN that I would not be getting pregnant the next month. We decided that if we were going to have another baby, we wanted them to be a little more than two years apart.

Well, guess what folks. The time is nigh.

Husband and I have been throwing this question around for the last three months.

Should we have another baby?

Here’s the big picture. I don’t feel done. WE don’t feel done. I didn’t feel like my last pregnancy was my last. I guess I knew it could be. But I didn’t think it would be.

When we think about what our family will look like in 10 years, 20 years — our adult children coming home, all of us sitting around the table on Thanksgiving —  two people does not seem like enough. Both Husband and I have large extended families — his mom has six siblings and my mom has eight! We revel in those large family gatherings with aunts and uncles everywhere, loads of cousins and now our cousins’ children running and screeching about. It’s chaos.

And believe me, I don’t want six children of my own. But two? Two doesn’t seem like enough. Three kids though? Three kids bring the possibility of three spouses and maybe even six grandchildren. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Affecting me more in the present is that when I look at friends’ pictures of their three kids — when I see those three faces, I think “I want that.”

On top of that, we’re fairly certain that we would regret not having a third baby. I actually have several friends and acquaintances who have told me that they regretted not having another baby (whether that was baby #3 or #4). Which motivates me to think, “Go for it.” Yet, don’t you think they made the decision they did because it was best for them at the time?

Or maybe they were slightly paralyzed by the indecision that we seem to find ourselves in.

The trouble is, that the day-to-day details of existing, can be hard. Not every day, although we do seem to be going through a tough couple of weeks.

Bean is at a hard age right now. She is super challenging. She presses all my buttons. But, I keep reminding myself that even if I got pregnant in the next 2-4 months, maybe longer (although probably not because that’s always been a blessing of mine), she would be at least 2.5 years old. And that’s actually a pretty manageable age, considering that she’ll be really verbal by then. Our experience with Monkey was that once she hit the two-year mark her tantrums dramatically diminished because she could communicate what she wanted, and we were able to reason with her (as in, STOP RUNNING CIRLCES AROUND PARKED CARS, because IT IS DANGEROUS).

Here’s the big BUT.

BUT, are we underestimating how hard it will be and how much work it will be?

Are we underestimating the expense? I doubt that we would be able to pull off half of two kids’ college educations, much less three.

I tend to be more of the romantic mindset of “we’ll figure it out.” And so does Husband. Is that foolhardy? In situations past, we’ve made cuts when we needed to make cuts. But there are certain things that are very important to Husband and me — we want to take biannual family vacations with our kids. We want the road trip experience to South Dakota and Washington D.C. We want the annual trip to the water park or the state fair. We want to go to Disney (not multiple times, but at least once). Will we price ourselves out of these things, leaving us and our kids disappointed?

Normally I’m a “gut” decision maker. My gut says, “Do it.”

It’s my head that’s screwing everything up.

Primarily my head is asking me, “It’s really hard at times right now. Can you really handle it? Are there things you’re not considering?”

I want to be the best mom I can be, or at least “good enough” most of the time. I don’t want to be overwhelmed and stressed the majority of the time. I don’t want frustration and anger to dominate my interactions with my kids.

Am I capable? I don’t want to short change my kids.

This is a bigger decision than I thought it would be.

I want to trust my instincts, but I’m afraid of not thoroughly thinking it through.

I know we could wait longer until Bean is even more independent. I know that technically, we don’t have to make this decision right now. But I’m going to be 33 this year, and 35 is considered “advanced maternal age.” So if you want to get technical, we really don’t have that much more time.

More importantly, our personal choice is that we don’t want to wait much longer.

Primarily, because life is getting to a pretty nice stage right now. We have some freedoms. Monkey is starting pre-school next week and then next fall she’ll be in half-day Kindergarten every day. She no longer needs a nap. Bean only takes one nap a day, there are no bottles, and soon enough we’ll be diaper free. To have several more years of increasing “freedoms” to go places and do more things, without having to worry about the kid-missed-a-nap-meltdown, will make it really tough to start over again.

We don’t want to get too far away from the 3 a.m. feedings, diaper blowouts, pooping in the bathtub, food-throwing stage.

So for us personally, we don’t want to wait much longer.

My actions have not demonstrated my indecision:

  • Three months ago I bought Woombies when they were featured on a mom bargains Web site (and ironically, they’re on sale again today) — I figured that if we didn’t have another baby that I could always give them to someone as a baby shower gift.
  • I’ve been researching how we could fit three car seats in our sedan because we can’t afford a new vehicle, and I almost bought a narrow booster seat that would make the configuration work (I think) — I rationalized that we’ll need a booster for Monkey anyway. I stopped short only because it’s money that we don’t need to spend right now since she’s at least a year out from needing it.
  • I haven’t wanted to part with any of my baby clothes, maternity clothes or baby gear (and actually have been asking for things back).

My gut is saying yes.

Are there things we’re not considering? Can we handle it?

I want my brain to say yes.

For the last several months I have been asking a lot of my mom-of-three friends to give me the good, the bad and the ugly (THANK YOU!). I’ve even been asking perfect strangers for their thoughts.

And I have been praying, asking God to open my heart to the right decision.

So this is one of those opportunities for you to go ahead and give me your advice, because I’m actively soliciting it! What do you think? Are you or have you struggled with this decision? What did you end up deciding?

As a side note, two other big pros are that the girls are extremely nurturing and I think they would love another (REAL LIVE) baby. They already fight like cats and dogs over the baby dolls. Also, we have an absolutely awesome childcare situation since my mother-in-law watches the girls and has said that she would be willing to take on another baby. Although, we better just triple check that 😉

Feel free to weigh in.

I should also note that it’s rather uncharacteristic of me to so publicly talk about our reproductive intentions since this has always been something we reserved to very close friends and family members. While I’m pretty open about sharing my thoughts and feelings, and asking questions, the whole “having kids” thing wasn’t something I liked to share with just anyone. In part we kept it private because we struggled with miscarriages. For some reason, maybe because we have two kids already and it would be okay if we couldn’t have anymore, I’m feeling more open about it. More likely because I’m tired of having an internal debate and I need to get my feelings OUT. (Don’t worry, Husband gave me the ok)

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23 responses »

  1. All I know is that when I ask my friends (who say they are not having any more kids) they say that they just KNEW, without a doubt, that they were done. So, I think you should trust your gut. You are never going to regret having another….and though it will probably be REALLY hard for a while, it will be awesome when they are older (school-aged, high school, adult and married w/their own kids). Plus, you do have an awesome child care situation, especially since she has said she will take another baby on. And before you know it, your oldest will be in all day school and your 2nd child will be close to preschool age…so I think it will be manageable. I really don’t think you should let the money thing worry you either….God will provide and it will all work out. My parents did not pay for college for me or my brother and we both graduated with a bachelor’s degree (I got out in 4 years w/no loans, too)! So, that’s just my two cents! We have been struggling with the same issue here….some days I feel like we are done, but then other times (like when I think about getting rid of the baby clothes and supplies) I’m not so sure. Plus, I just feel like now that I didn’t look at my last pregnancy as my last and Syd’s first year went by so fast that I do want all of those experiences again. Here’s MY biggest hang up: I have close to NO time for myself right now (being at home all day with the two girls) so I can’t imagine how it would be to add a third at this point. But then again, Shelby will be in 4K next year? Decisions, decisions….good luck! I’m guessing we will see a blog post in the near future announcing a future addition to your family 😉
    (This post also scares me a bit…..since our two girls are the same age/will be in the same grade in school, does that mean I need to start thinking about getting pregnant again soon so our babies can be the same age too??? Ha Ha!!!)

    • April, that’s such an interesting perspective – that whether you wanted to have more, or you didn’t, you just “knew.” Thank you for sharing that with me. While I’ve heard lots of people say they just “knew” they wanted more, I’ve never heard anyone say they “knew” they were done. I guess that makes it more clear that God (hopefully) has another one planned for us. And regarding you guys, I know you’ve been debating it too, and I have to tell you that when you said you thought you guys might be done I was so surprised. I really see you guys with another one too. 🙂 (and yes, that means that you better get going so all three of our kids can be in the same grade!!) 😉

  2. My opinion? Go for it! I’m a strong believer in that if your family doesn’t feel complete to you, then it’s probably not and you have to go with that feeling. If it were me, I would never want to risk the regret of NOT trying and then later wishing I had.

    Maybe they won’t have their educational expenses paid for, but they’ll figure it out. Perhaps there won’t be a big annual vacation, but there are many fun things to do that are less expensive. Guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re meant to have three, everything else will work itself out. 😉

    As far as the extra work of another kid – I remember my cousin (now with 6) saying that once you figure out how to handle two, then everything after that isn’t as big of an adjustment.

    Love you guys! We’d love to have another niece/nephew/cousin 🙂

    • I really, really think we would regret it, and I think you’re right. Because after a certain point (uh, like menopause), there’s no going back. 😉 Thanks for your faith and encouragement.

  3. My husband and I were just talking about this the other night (our 2nd is only 4 months old though) so while we were talking and then the 2 kids in back started crying…we decided to table the discussion for a few more months… 🙂
    I’ve heard 3 kids is a challenge – more than 1 or 2, but so was 1 as a first time parent, and now 2’s got it’s challenges. I think you just deal with them and in the end the joy that comes from having children – when we finally get to that stage where our job is done – will be a wonderful thing! I was worried about adding this 2nd one but I love his personality (and he has been a difficult baby – colicky etc) and would miss him if he wasn’t in our lives.
    ps-As a parent you might like this resource called the Mom’s Guide to Caring for Little Teeth (http://www.1dental.com/moms-guide/). With how much sugar is in everything these days it’s got great tips for avoiding cavities at all stages.

    • I don’t know why I didn’t think about the fact that we have these same fears when we’re first time parents too – “can we cut it?” And in the end (for most of anyway), it all works out. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I can honestly tell you that if you really truly feel like you want another baby, then you should absolutely 100% go for it. You are a phenomenal mom and you really care about the well being of your family. If you have a third baby I’m positive that you’d make it work. Frankly you’re much more mature and “studied” than Kyle and I are and we’re managing just fine. Besides, you’ve made a point to be at home and be with your family. If you want to have more kids, you’re in a prime position!

    There’s two things I’ve learned, and now live by, since having the twins:
    1.) As a mother you can adjust to ANYTHING. Especially for the sake of your kids.
    2.) Whatever hardships you’re considering, keep in mind there’s ALWAYS a pro to go along with it.

    You know Kyle and I’s situation. The kicker? I’m not entirely sure I’m done yet either. People tell me I’m crazy because they saw/see how absolutely insane my life has been these past few months. In all honesty though it’s already so SO much better. I’m used to juggling three kids now and I’m SO HAPPY I have them. I always wanted lots of kids, but I was at the opposite side of the spectrum as you are. I was afraid I was too young. Now though, I’m so happy I got what I wanted despite my many fears and apprehensions.

    Either way, I’m looking forward to meeting Baby #3. ;P

    • I think you’re so right – “As a mother you can adjust to ANYTHING. Especially for the sake of your kids.”

      You are so, so, so right. After a certain adjustment period, caring for three kids would become second nature. It’s the unknown that’s scary. But like you said, you adapt. THANK YOU!

      • 🙂 Absolutely.
        I have absolutely no doubts that you’ll do amazingly well. You’re two of the best parents I know. Plus you’ve got a bunch of family and friends in your corner rooting you on. You’ll have lots of help and encouragement keeping you strong (and sane!) between family, friends and of course your amazing pediatrician. ;P

  5. Of course I’m no expert. I don’t even have A kid yet, but I feel like it’s probably the same issue we all face jumping into the game to have a first child. You really don’t know if you can mentally, physically, financially, spiritually “afford” to have a child. But, your heart wants to have a family and you know you have love to give.

    So you go for it. I don’t think it’s ever going to be black and white. But if your heart tells you you have more to give, then everything else will just fall into place.

    • Anna, you were one of the first people to make me realize that these are the questions we ask ourselves even when we’re going from zero to one kid, and probably from one to two. I thought this was really true: “If your heart tells you you have more to give, then everything else will just fall into place.”

  6. GO FOR IT! As some of the other posts indicated, if you feel that you want a 3rd, you probably should. Even though I complain daily about how hard by 4 yr old is and that my almost 3 yr old is starting to pick up bad habits from his big sister, I would absolutely have a 3rd if I wasn’t 41 yrs old.

    All the legistics you are talking about, vacations, college, money, those things will work themselves out. What won’t is that “what if” feeling if you don’t do this. I truly believe that if you felt you were done you would be done, Just the fact that you have put so much thought into this would lead me to believe that you are ready. Also, keep in mind, that as the girls get older, that they would be great little helpers. And….outside of the no sleep thing, babies are really easy. They just eat, sleep and poop, right??

    I absolutely think you will not regret it, but probably would if you didn’t.

    Happy baby making!!

    • Amy, you have such a busy house with the four kids all together (and two so close in age), that it makes me feel good knowing that if *you’re* saying that you would go for it, it must really be worth it. 😉

      I also loved this: ” I absolutely think you will not regret it, but probably would if you didn’t.” I definitely agree.

  7. I think you and your hubby have already made the decision… you will go for another child! And I completely support that decision. Just by reading this post (kudos for being so public about such a touchy issue, BTW!) it is CLEAR that you want another child and won’t feel complete without one. I think the Lord will provide.

    You guys have an unbelievably-wonderful daycare situation! When I think about having another child, I just think… ooooh, another $600/month in daycare, yep, definitely can’t afford that! But you guys are so blessed not to have to worry about that.

    My husband is one of 6 children, and though he complains that his family never took big vacations, he would be the first to tell you that he is so happy that he has all of his siblings, and wouldn’t want there to be any less of them. Life really is about experiences and relationships with the people you love, and money has nothing to do with it.

    Like another person said, you and E are fantastic parents and shower your kids with much love and affection. Your children are well-behaved and will be raised wonderfully.

    (P.S. – Let me know when you guys are trying, so we can try too. Then our next kids will be close in age too! LOL) 🙂

    • I think writing everything out and getting it out of my head, made me realize that I think we’ve already made our decision too. And I love this: “Life really is about experiences and relationships with the people you love, and money has nothing to do with it.”

      I’m snickering at the “well behaved” comment though, because at the moment we have one sassy little three-year-old who is testing her boundaries. 😉

      (and I agree, yes, you better hurry up and get going too so that we have another baby boom in 2012.) 😉

  8. I agree with the above posts. I think if you feel like your family is incomplete then definitely have a third! I think you just know these things….like I KNOW 2 is the perfect number for me:-)

    • Steph, someone else pointed this out too and I’ve never had anyone tell me that – that they “knew” when they were done, just as much as someone who “knew” they weren’t. So since we definitely don’t “know” that we’re done, I guess that leaves just one option. 😉

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