Friday, December 4, 2009

The conversation: Should we have another baby?

I had been thinking Sam and I might have one of these conversations back when I first read Swistle's posts on the same topic (psychic blog reading or something?): "No" and "No More Babies: An Update." Now, she has five babies so far, and I have one, but the conversation is the same, because no matter what size your family is, someone (two someones) had to do some deciding to get it that way.

So, Sam and I just had A Conversation, wherein we discussed the pros and cons of ever reproducing again.

We had had variations of this conversation before, but always in an off-the-cuff fashion that emphasized humor. For instance, someone would ask us, "Are you going to have a second child?" and we would immediately respond, "Not anytime soon!" with a scoffing noise, or someone would say, "Are you thinking about having more kids?" and we would say, "We're not sure we're going to keep this one." Yes, ha ha, and all that (sorry, Mikko!), but we'd yet to sit down, in private, and talk seriously over the matter.

Before you work yourself into too much of a kerfuffle, just know that answer in the end was a rather vague: Maybe, maybe not.

But I should describe how we got there, and on which side of maybe or maybe not each of us came down.

Before we had children at all, Sam was of the "we'll have maybe one or maaaaybe two" variety. I was of the "we'll have at least one but probably two" variety, while secretly wondering if we'd keep on keeping on. I've always been interested, for instance, in the idea of adopting, and my call is toward open domestic adoption of older sibling pairs. I know, it's kind of specific. Does Sam have that same pull toward adoption? Nah.

So I accepted: One for sure, two for maybes. But I sort of always thought, No, we're having two.

Fast-forward to actually having our baby.

Mikko comes along, and our world is rocked. He's loud, he's angry, he's intense and dramatic, and we find that we can barely cope with our lives now that we've added a third, incredibly needy person into our family.

It's at this point in my post that I get nervous and scroll back up looking for a good place to insert a timid hope that all my readers don't hate me after I write this. Even though you should be used to it, because I've written it before: I've argued that parenting is boring; I've confessed how annoyed I get with normal infant clinginess; I've been freaked out by untoward irregularity in my postpartum flow; I've lamented the lack of helpmeets in raising children; and I've argued that child-free is a valid choice.

So, yes, there's a history there. And what on earth is a parenting blogger doing disparaging parenting? But the thing is, it's hard. And some babies are harder than others.

Or, to be fair, it might not be the babies themselves, but the parents' expectations and personalities. Or, to be even fairer, the combination of the two.

I think, and I hope you'll agree if you've read some of my other posts, that I had and have a pretty good grasp on what babies expect, what their needs are from a biological and anthropological perspective.

I did not, and do not still at 2.5 years old, expect Mikko to sleep through the night or any other such Westernized sleep-cult nonsense. Because of this, I embraced cosleeping and learned the art of side-lying nursing so we could both snuggle and sleep together.

I expected round-the-clock breastfeeding and looked forward to it (and enjoy it, still!).

I wanted to wear my baby all day long, and I stocked up on a variety of slings and wraps as soon as I knew I was pregnant.

And I converted (not that it was hard) those within my reach (well, Sam) to my points of view on all these attachment-parenting ideals and continuum-parenting expectations.

But my baby didn't come out all that much appreciating my preparations and hard work. He just expected them. He didn't say, "Why, thank you, Mum" (he talks in a fake British accent when he's being falsely polite), as I wore him all day long. Instead, he screeched at me if I dared to sit down or stop bouncing.

Before someone trollish comes in and says that attachment parenting was therefore just making a rod for my back, I know for sure that parenting him in any non-attachment way would not have worked in the slightest. He needed the attachment way. But he just didn't magically become an easy baby because of it.

All right, enough complaining about Mikko when he was too young to defend himself.

Let's move on to the present. I love this little guy. He's a bright, engaging 2.5-year-old. He's learning words and signs left and right in that whirring little brain of his beneath the mop of curls. I tried to sing him a lullaby the other night, and darned if he didn't break off nursing to sing along in a loud, raspy monotone, giggling all the while! I love his personality, his intensity, his spunk.

But golly if it isn't still very hard to parent. Not to parent him specifically, but just to parent at all. And, again, this might come back to Sam and me as parents rather than having to do with parents in general.

Sam and I are just now, in the past six to ten months (I don't know — give or take — some days are better than others) feeling a little more on top of our lives. We're working out some rhythms to write, to get our business work done, to lead Bible studies (that's Sam's heart), to goof off, to be more ourselves again. For awhile, we felt like we had lost who we were into a vacuum, and looking into the future, we see we still have a fair way to go before we're anything like the selves we were pre-kids. And I don't even mean that in a "Wah, pity me," sort of way, just very factual. We chose it, and I'm not complaining, just noting.

For instance, we used to travel an awful lot, mostly to England. We love us some England. I really miss it. But flying with Mikko = disaster. Flying overseas and sleeping in youth hostels? Fuhgeddaboudit. I could see comfortably making a trip like that again when Mikko is, at minimum, five years old. Probably better if he was even older. If we do have another baby, it will be when we feel less like poking ourselves in the eye with a sharp stick just thinking about caring for a newborn again, so...we're thinking maybe our boys (I seriously thought "boys" in my head instead of kids — boys run in my family, and I've given up nearly all hope of having a girl, ever, no matter if we had eight in a row) would be five or six years apart. Let's say five for ease of math. All right, Mikko's five in this scenario, but now we have a newborn, so we have to wait till Mikko's ten to travel next. That's eight years away! I can live with it, but wouldn't it be lovely if it were only three years away?

I don't know. These are the questions we're asking ourselves. Are we cut out to have multiple children? Can we handle it? Are we selfish to have kids? Are we selfish not to? For me personally, am I denying my call if I don't adopt? Would I be a terrible adoptive mom? My fear is yes. And then I think, could I be worse than no mom? For instance, this post advocating adoption really spoke to me. It's actually telling single women that orphans would much rather have one mommy than some ideal perfect two-parent family that doesn't now and maybe never will exist, but the message was the same. (If you're not religious, you can ignore the religious language over there. It's just that I liked the point.)

I know some people (women, almost entirely) gather their identity as parents, and throw themselves unreservedly into parenting (mothering). I'm not really that kind of person innately. I've become sort of like that by default, just because Mikko demands so much parenting, but it's not my natural state. I do have many interests and goals outside of parenting, and sometimes I wish for the simplicity I see in SAHM blogs where all seems to be delight in being a mother to the exclusion of all other identities. I'm not trying to trivialize that, though it must sound like I am. I really am serious that I just can't get into the mindset of being a mother as my life's work, and I sometimes envy those who can embrace that perspective.

Also, just to make clear, Sam is very much a hands-on father. He does much (often more than half, particularly during NaNoWriMo) of the day-to-day wrangling and playing and pottying and, you know, parenting. So it's not about my deciding what I can handle, it's about what we can handle as a parenting team.

Gah. So Sam and I got serious, and really talked about all of this, and the feelings I've taken away from the conversation were that Sam would really rather have just the one child, but he's not closing the door on the possibility of two, though the second (and we agree wholeheartedly on this) would not be anytime soon.

I don't mind that last part. I've lost a lot of my fear about infertility. It might rear up again if we were trying, but I was sort of panicky before we started trying to conceive about what our chances would be, and how quickly we could manage it, because I had the idea of two children in mind, and I didn't want to fool around with having the second after I was 35. And then our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and I got even more jittery. But now, having had one, and knowing that Sam is (and I am, too) hesitant about having two, I just am not as frantic about that age deadline, and I'm more at peace with the possibility of being infertile when we try again. And there's also always that adoption potential, if we do decide to have another and can't do it the baby-making way.

I guess what it comes down to is that Sam can see the three of us as a complete family, and I would (do now, at least) feel that something was missing. That someone was missing.

I once lurked in an online conversation where women discussed their visions of their family, and all of them just had a picture in their mind of a certain number around the dinner table, and anything less than that didn't feel right. I just have this image of two children, plus the two of us, and so the three of us feels incomplete to me.

I also never thought I'd be the type of mother to have an only child. I have nothing against only children. My niece is one, by the choice of her parents. My grandmother was one, though she then chose to have five kids of her own in retaliation. Maybe it's something that necessarily skips a generation or two?

I can see the benefits to stopping while we're ahead. We could continue to enjoy Mikko as he grows. We could invest more in our business and hobbies. We could unschool with free hearts, whereas right now, in considering possibly having a young baby to care for when Mikko's kindergarten age, the concept of free all-day childcare (aka public schooling) for our older son is so very tempting.

But I would miss out in some way. I get tears in the back of my eyes thinking of giving away all my maternity clothes and those carefully stored boxes of little baby things. I feel like Mikko was the practice round, but I should get another chance. Successful home birth this time? Easy start to breastfeeding, perhaps?

And if we had another, I would spend every moment (well, regular amounts, at least) treasuring each memory and milestone, because I would know it was my last. I didn't do that with Mikko. I wanted time to hurry up so we could power through. I regret that, in some ways, though it was a coping mechanism at the time. But I feel like I've been cheated if it turns out that was my last time and I just didn't know it.

So that's where we stand. Shakily. The door's not closed, but the possibility of its closing is there now.

Maybe we'll have one, maybe two.

Maybe a half-dozen if I end up changing our whole life and attitude.

P.S. I just won a SwellyBelly, which is a much higher class and prettier version of the belly band I wore all last pregnancy. I told Sam, and he said, "So this means we're having another one, huh?" But he was just making fun of me for entering the giveaway at all, not, you know, giving in to the idea. To make up for any sadness at misuse of the SwellyBelly, I will be road-testing it in public-breastfeeding mode instead. And if it turns out that I never have another pregnancy (sob!), I will pass my (cleaned) SwellyBelly along to someone who's more the motherly type. Scout's honor.


P.P.S. I wrote this post Nov. 17. Through one thing and another — guest posts, carnivals, contest entries, and holidays — I haven't published it till now, but it's been swirling in my head since then. To the point where I've (pretty much) firmly (maybe) decided that, yes, (I think) I want another baby (sometime). I haven't told Sam this yet, but I guess he'll read it here. I think I can do it. I think we can handle it. We'll see. It might be just the contrariness of stating a position and then wanting to contradict yourself, so maybe now that I've written this I'll come up with all the reasons why this new position is stupid. As I said, we'll see. But I keep seeing young babies now who don't look...well, unappealing to me. Hmmm...

Photo of the Warrelman Family courtesy ImNotQuiteJack on flickr (cc)


The Accidental Pharmacist said...

My MIL swears that her first baby (my hubby) was totally laid back and if she'd had her second one first (his sister) she'd only have had one. With that in mind, maybe your next will be more Jack Johnson, less Metallica.

Missy said...

i agree with accidental pharmacist.. my mom said my brother was a tough baby and then the next two were very easy going. they're all different! it seems that in my family we have high needs baby boys to break us in right (my sister and i both have boys that can be grumpiwumps).

and i worry about those moms that are happy with doing nothing but mothering. what happens when the kids grow up and move on? it seems important to keep some sense of self throughout so that you're not lost and lonely when the birdies leave the nest.

Jamie (Suddenly Stay @ Home) said...

"I just can't get into the mindset of being a mother as my life's work, and I sometimes envy those who can embrace that perspective."

Right there with ya... yes, I love him, yes, I'd do just about anything for him, but when it boils down to it, I can't do EVERYTHING FOR HIM. There has to be something left for me, or maybe of me...

good luck with the mulling and the deciding. Sometimes I think that those who chose to be open to life and relinquish control over deciding how many children and when the next child will come have it kind of nice- they don't have to worry so much about doing the right thing since, in their mind, it's all up to a divine plan anyway.

Anonymous said...

My first child was what I would affectionately term "spirited". She is just a LOT of kid in a small but surprisingly loud package. Plus, her birth did a number on me in a number of ways, mostly because she was 6 weeks early and I hemorrhaged and so it was far less than ideal.

When my lovely spirited child was small, I remember saying that I was surprised by how I felt that if I never had another child again, that would be OK. I was shell-shocked, frankly. It wasn't until she was almost 2 that I was able to consider having another baby. I'd always wanted at least 2, but it took a lot of getting over stuff to actually consider having another.

Then, we started trying to conceive, and we didn't. For more than 7 months, nothing. And by the time I reached that point, I was so NOT COOL with the idea of never having another baby. Thankfully I did eventually conceive, and my son was born 3 1/2 years after my daughter, and is a WAY more mellow child.

Having another baby or not is never an easy choice, and there's no perfect situation. But I think that most people do find that their 2nd child is easier, and that the 1st experience is the most jarring. You're likely not in for that again.

Lisa C said...

I having been thinking about writing a post on this very topic, too! (Although I'm not surprised, you always beat me to the punch--do you read minds???)

You bring up an interesting point...about getting closer to your pre-child marriage. Some parents want to space all their children close together to "get it over with" but what happened to their marriage? I feel like I need time to recover. WE need time to recover. Our marriage does. Oh, well, I guess it isn't that way for everyone.

In my situation, I feel so content with my child that I sort of feel like we could be done. But I've always wanted more than one (I initially wanted 3-4, and I'm still open to that if it feels right). And I would be sad if I never had a girl. So there will be more. But not now! Let the first one be done being a baby first. (I totally plan on putting my first to work helping out when the next one comes along!)

Elita said...

You have no idea how much I have been thinking about this lately as well. My son turned 2 today and I REALLY REALLY want another baby. Hubby? Not so much. In an ideal world (ie, one in which we are wealthy and can provide our kids with any and everything), he says he'd have a village. I love being a mom and would love to have a house full of kids running around. I'm an only child and come from a small family and just really crave that feeling of being surrounded by lots of people to love and who love you back. But parenting is so hard and even though I really want another kid (at least one more...and a girl, please!) I worry about the strain on our relationship and on my mental state. I am surprised no one mentioned money so far as a motivation to not have another kid. We live a very nice, middle class lifestyle in an expensive city. If we had another kid, we'd have to give up a lot and struggle a lot more as well. But like you, I want to have the experience of a home birth, I want to breastfeed a new little baby, I want to love another little person. Then sometimes I remember those newborn days and think, "Are you nuts?" I'd also like to adopt a baby from Haiti and ideally would like to breastfeed, so would like to do that soon, while it would still be reasonably possible and easier. These things are so complicated!

Arwyn said...

Other than the adoption aspect, I am so completely there with you. I always said "at least three years between pregnancies" and that no way was I getting pregnant while still nursing -- but both of those lines are rapidly coming up! The Man still isn't sure he wants another, and although I pretty much am, when I stop to consider the logistics, I think I must be manic again. We're just getting to where we're considering daycare so I can have some time to write, and in a year or so I'll have my massage license, and that seems like a HORRIBLE time to reset the clock and have another child. And I'm barely coping as is. And I barely survived infancy without an older hanging around. And as Elita mentioned, we're doing OK now, but with another, the money issue comes up again. Ack!

Excellent post. You needn't have worried: you covered the topic with your usual nuance and intelligence. Thank you.

Jenny said...

We went on like this for months before deciding to have our second baby. For us it was mostly financial fears. In the end, we threw caution to the wind and are glad we did, because I am now staying home and (usually) love it. After a disappointing hospital birth with the first baby, I did get the homebirth of my dreams.

The worst thing is that Ivey (the baby) can be soooo demanding. She is going through a fussy, screechy stage. At least I hope it's a stage. It is just so unnerving to be screamed at all day.

I'd do it over again though. Our two-year-old, Suzi, loves her little sister to pieces. She says Ivey is HERS and to BRING HER BACK if one of us leaves the room with her. If she cries, Suzi is there trying to comfort her. It's sweet, but most of all it makes me glad that they'll have each other when they get older. I have two brothers who were 15 and 17 years old when I was born, so I never got to grow up with a close sibling. My brothers and I weren't kids at the same time.

So, anyway, it was a tough choice, but we're glad we did it and we definitely plan to do it again. I see us having a big family. Having another baby is challenging for sure, but not as much as I'd imagined! Good luck with your decision :-)

Dionna said...

I'm sorry, are you me?? :)
This post really resonated with me - it sounds like our sons are very similar in temperament. In fact your line about "He needed the attachment way. But he just didn't magically become an easy baby because of it" is exactly the sentiment I've expressed to many people in my own circle of friends. In fact, I am about 95% convinced that even if I had *wanted* to go back to work, my son would not have ever adjusted to being in someone else's care. I tried a part time job for 2 weeks - he never stopped crying (and he was with a close family friend who he loves).
This part too "And if we had another, I would spend every moment (well, regular amounts, at least) treasuring each memory and milestone, because I would know it was my last" is something that I have been discussing recently with some friends who are all wondering about whether to have one more. Of course I have cherished Kieran's babyhood, but I don't think it would be the same if I knew he was going to be the last one.
I just can't imagine having child #2 with the same temperament as #1 - I think I'd go clinically insane. But I do feel like there is a newborn waiting for me. We have also discussed adoption, but I don't think I'm quite ready to go down that road yet.

amy friend said...

As you know, I've come out of my shell enough to post about this on my blog.

For me it's not about going through all of the rationalizations on the pros and cons. It's about what my heart submerged in complete peace is asking for. I guess I'm lucky that DH has the "it's your body/i was happy with just you, this is icing on the cake" attitude.

Best of luck for everyone going through this process.

TheFeministBreeder said...

I honestly think most people go through this "can we? should we?" back and forth before they have another one. I know I was absolutely convinced that, even though I wanted another baby, I would never be able to love that baby as much as my first one. Yeah.... I was wrong about that. Someone once told me that "love doesn't divide, it multiplies" meaning that each child multiplies the love of all your children. It's true.

I also have some bias about this issue though. My husband and I are both Only Children... which we call "Lonely Children." It absolutely (insert many expletives here) SUCKED for us. My god, we both ache for siblings like you wouldn't believe. No matter what, we'll always be the only person responsible for taking care of our parents when they're older (which I think is a cruelly huge responsibility to put on any one person). We will never have anyone in the world who understands what it's like to be raised by the people who raised us, and we'll never have anyone who shares our genetic makeup. To me, having a second baby was just as much (if not more) of a gift to our first child as it was to us.

And when you see your kids together, that is a whole new kind of love. I say it creates triple the love. You love the first one, you love the second one, and then you love them as a unit. It's too beautiful.

anyway, that's my 2 cents.

Rambling Rachel said...

Excellent post that affirms our decision that two is a good number for us.

I came from a family of four and was very surprised when it felt OK just to have one child. We felt complete. He filled our lives so much that it seemed odd that we could have room for more. And like you said, caring for a baby is the hardest job out there.

And having the second was harder and easier than having the first.

Michelle said...

I'm one of those "just a mom" moms. Just a mom RIGHT NOW, that is. I used to do other things and I will do other things in the future. My kids are 27 months apart and I'm nursing both of them. It does consume my life, but we chose this life and I love it. There is nothing I would rather do. There are other things I'd like to do, but nothing I would *rather* do. We plan to keep on having kids, but not so close together if we can help it. We have other things to plan around, which is why our first two are so close together.

I think you've just got to decide what you want to do RIGHT NOW and worry less about the future. Having another kid won't consume your life forever. I personally think that the more kids AP parents have, the better. =) I also think adoption is great and I've always hoped to do that, but not right now.

Cave Mother said...

It's such a mind bender. Constantly running through my mind are thoughts like: "So-and-so had kids 22 months apart and that means that if I was her I would already be x months pregnant...". If I got pregnant now my babies would be 2 years apart, and for some people that's desirable! But with my current bundle of love, I just cannot imagine being able to look after a newborn in addition to meeting all her demands.

We do definitely want another, but I just don't know when the time will be right.

platespinner said...

Oh wow, I could really have written this post at the moment! We originally thought we might have two, but if we did there would be a big gap - about 5 years or so. I didn't count on feeling so damn broody though. I really understand what you're saying about wanting another chance to do things differently a second time and maybe for the birth and breastfeeding to go better. Also, the fears about coping with two, especially when perhaps you are beginning to develop a new life as a threesome and then having to adjust all that again to accomodate another child and a changed dynamic.

We've had several discussions and we're pretty sure we want another. We're now going back and forth about timings, practicalities etc. We've decided to wait a few more months, until our daughter is two in April and then make a decision about starting to try again...

Betsy B. Honest said...

Of course you should have another baby!

I just think if you've got another one in ya, you've got another one in ya, and you just know.

Anonymous said...

What mom hasn't been there? My first was easy, but then I was very young and my mother adopted her at about 6 months.

My 2nd was pretty easy (and 8 years later). I had hard core baby fever for a while after that, too, but my husband wasn't on board with the child we DID have, so another wasn't an easy argument.

Then when I got pregnant with my 3rd, it was not a good time for us and we chose to terminate that pregnancy (please don't throw things at me, it was right for us). I'd had baby fever

I didn't expect to ever have any more children. There was talk of "fixing" my husband. Then I got a divorce and hooked up with a much younger man, young enough to still be making such choices. We unexpectedly got pregnant with his 2nd child. I debated keeping this one, but in his heart he hoped I'd keep it. At 36yo, the pregnancy was a lot rougher on me. And I'd been a WAHM before. Being a FT working mom this time has been rough, too.

There has been talk of ME getting fixed. I *kept* asking him if he was sure. I think in the back of my mind, I hoped he'd say he really did want another, but she is certainly more difficult than my other two. And he is home alone with her while I'm at work 40 hours a week. He feels done now. So we probably won't have any more, but I still haven't actually said NEVER... just yet.

I think this is something we all have room to decide and re-decide until a permanent change is made. Good luck to you on your own choices. I do hope you adopt, that is a wonderful thing to do!

Melodie said...

Our first daughter was and still is a "spirited" or "high needs" child. For the first two years of her life all she did was scream. And I had the patience of a saint until she hit 2 and then it started to go downhill from there because she just wasn't getting any better. We had her assessed for autism spectrumm disorder. All the professionals who saw her thought for sure he had it - probably Asperger's Syndrome, but she didn't. She had nothing. Before she came along all I knew is that I wanted at least one child, maybe two. Once she arrrived I wasn't so sure I wanted another. In fact, when I got pregnant with the second one I cried. If she'd been planned we definitely would have waited until the first was 2 1/2 or 3. As it was she was only 19 months when we concieved #2. Our second daughter's arrival and presence couldn't be more different and having her helps balance everyone out. But know when I tell you I was scared Sh*tless at the prospect of mothering two high needs children. It's a hard decision but the very fact you are being responsible about the decision means you will make the right one.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I'm one of those lucky to be the older one kids, as I've heard the "If your brother had been first he'd have been an only child" line more than a few times.

And I am a SAHM with a vocation for parenting, but that's not all my life - it's not even all my blog, but the thing is the blog isn't specifically about Little Foot or my parenting journey. I imagine a lot of blissful-seeming mommyblogger sorts look that complete because they're not talking about the rest of everything in their lives in their blogs ....

(Hi! I ... don't think I've commented before. So Hi!)

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I'm one of those lucky to be the older one kids, as I've heard the "If your brother had been first he'd have been an only child" line more than a few times.

And I am a SAHM with a vocation for parenting, but that's not all my life - it's not even all my blog, but the thing is the blog isn't specifically about Little Foot or my parenting journey. I imagine a lot of blissful-seeming mommyblogger sorts look that complete because they're not talking about the rest of everything in their lives in their blogs ....

(Hi! I ... don't think I've commented before. So Hi!)

Sybil Runs Things said...

I saw this post when I commented on the other one.

What a great discussion. When we (and by we I mean I) decided we (I) were ready to have #2 it took all of one try and OOPS! we (I) were pregnant! Iris was almost 18 months old when this happened.

Both of mine were, and still are, difficult. I didn't get laid back kids. Neither slept well. Both screamed a ton when they were small. Now they are totally different people and both totally hard in their own right.

Okay, this isn't convincing you. BUT-- here it is: children grow up. I constantly think of this as the bigger picture. The relatively small bit of time when I didn't sleep. The six total years I spent breastfeeding. It's all not that much in the grand scheme of things. Not being able to travel? We're closing in on the end of that. Not that we ever had money to, anyways.

We have a friend with three kids. He likes to talk about when he's an old man sitting on his lazyboy, what, or rather WHO, does he want to be surrounded by? He wanted kids. Kids' spouses. Grandkids. He envisioned his life with these kids through to the very end and I thought that was a really cool way of looking at it.

So, just saying. Look at your life in a year, five years, ten years, 20 years. See what it feels like to have your child/ren graduating high school, getting married, all that fun stuff.

Kind of crazy, huh?

Sarah L said...

Love MamaMilkers comments about looking at the long-term picture. We had three babies in less than 5 years. From what I can tell, the truth is that you're never really *ready* for more children. It's always overwhelming. I was overwhelmed with my first - lots of talking and discussing and debating about everything; tons of whys. I was overwhelmed with my second - crazy bouncing off the walls; looks me in the face when I tell her to do something and says "no;" never seems to connect cause and effect. I was overwhelmed by my third - a full-out mama's girl; wants to be carried all day; rarely settles down to nurse well; wants to sleep in my bed without ever actually sleeping. The thing is, I would have missed out on so much if we had not had our last two babies. My crazy second child is also incredibly sweet, funnier than you can imagine, and so content to snuggle on the couch with me and listen to a story. The baby is so sweet, sweeter than sugar. Watching her sisters love on her and watching her face light up like a spotlight when she sees them is amazing. I heard a quote that deeply resounded with me when we were talking about whether or not to have a third. "You never regret the children you have, only the ones you don't."

I'm not saying you should have more babies. There is no "right" number of children for everyone. I'm just saying that you shouldn't make your decision from a position of fear over what might be. In my experiences, the things we fear rarely come to pass, and the challenges we face are rarely ones we have anticipated.

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