I’ve been asking myself this question for two years now. When my husband and I started talking about children, we said one or two. After M was born, were were so crazy about her, we thought two, maybe three. Yeah, probably three. We bought a house that could accommodate three children if we had them.
Before I had Little A, whenever I held a baby, I longed to have another one. It just felt like it had to happen. I wanted that snuggly little body, tiny hands, and warm, sweet smell back. M had been asking a sister for some time, and my husband insisted she needed a sibling so she’d “have someone when we were gone.” It just felt right.
Well, now, we have two. We debated three. It would be nice, and of course, having two girls, people we don’t know feel compelled to bug us about having a boy. (My husband said later, “Come on, you KNOW it’d be three girls…three weddings, three college educations…”) We could do it, we have the space, but life turns over for us if we do. We’d have to buy new cars to accommodate three child seats. New tables to accommodate five people. Back deeper in debt, scrounging around for money.
In addition, the toll on me. My PCOS gave me gestational diabetes with both girls. While I’m fine now, it does raise my risk for future diabetes. With pregnancy, that risk could increase. I’m struggling to lose weight, and that would put me back up. Pregnancy was hard on me; I was uncomfortable and often sick. It was worth it, of course, but not a time I remember fondly, even when I missing those little feet kicking at night.
Finally, I just…want my life back. I love being able to go play D&D with friends, go to movies again, go to lunch without dragging a nursing cover and diaper bag. Little A is old enough now to do these things, as well as walk unassisted, listen to directions and chat with me. I love taking her places. It would be so much harder trying to balance that baby carrier again.
I wondered if I was selfish. Thinking more about my own needs than a life that would probably bring me a lot of joy. But then, where does it stop? I can’t afford a huge family if we all want to live well. And right now, our family seems so perfectly fit together.
I went to visit my best friend in Oregon and her beautiful new baby. I spent the better part of a week snuggling with the baby, playing with her, enjoying that new baby smell and those soft hands. Yet, when I held her, I didn’t feel that pull. I didn’t feel like I needed this at home anymore. I was happy to get a new baby fix, and then go back. That’s what did it for me. I don’t really want more than what I have.
This week, we’re cat sitting. My cats died two years ago, and with the whirlwind of having the second baby, I didn’t feel I could handle it. Now, watching the girls play with the cat and snuggling with him while I watch TV, I think what I really want is a cat.