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)