My Reasons

It makes absolutely no sense for us to have another baby. (Not pregnant!)

We have a two bedroom house. We  don’t have a big enough car.  I’m older and fatter.  I’d have to go off my crazy pills because you can’t take P@xil while you’re pregnant, and I still have PTSD from the morning sickness the last go round, when I had to go to the emergency room (twice!) while they put IV fluids and Zofran in my arm.  We could start taking vacations and giving away baby swings.  And I’m not even sure I could handle three kids.  The clutter and the mess might just drive me around the bend, and quite frankly I am not handling TWO kids all that well, so how on earth would three not be a complete disaster?  And it’s such a gamble.  We could get an easy baby or we could get a baby that doesn’t sleep for three years.  And everyone I know, my mother and my neighbor and my therapist, they just give me this look and they all obviously think it’s a terrible idea.  A TERRIBLE IDEA.

Lots of people all over the world have two kids.  Most people have two kids.  It’s better for the planet! (I think? I actually have no idea if this is true.)

But I want one. I want to name one more person.  I want to find out all over again about someone I’ve never met but that I feel like I know like the back of my hand, all at the same crazy time.   I want three kids to come  home at Christmas time.  I want one of these kids I already have to have a sibling of his or her own gender.  I want to put tiny booties on tiny feet one more time.  I want to hear one more first word.  I want to know if she’d have brown hair or brown eyes or be Clone Number Three.

And when I think about being done, I feel a terrible wrenching feeling, a feeling of wrong.  When I think about not having Katie or not having Eli, I feel utter despair. And there were three of us, you know, and I don’t wish one of us wasn’t here.

When I think about my two bedroom house and my greek vacation and nine months of morning sickness and losing the baby weight all over again, I feel like I should be done.  I feel like I should stamp “good enough” on what I’ve got and move on with my life and start figuring what I’m going to do after having babies.   I feel like I should be grateful for the two amazing children I do have.  A lot of people don’t even get this chance once.

But when I think about being done, really and truly done, whenever I am almost decided, I am struck powerfully by a simple thought. It’s just this crazy feeling I have –  someone is not here yet.  We are not all here.  And in the face of that feeling, all the arguments in the world don’t seem like all that much.

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41 Responses

  1. WOW! Do it!

  2. Beautiful post! And of course you ARE grateful for the two wonderful children you already have, but that doesn’t mean you can’t want another one. I don’t have kids and don’t want any (of my own), so take this for what it’s worth (maybe nothing? I don’t know.) but I think you’ll know at some point whether you should have another baby or not. If you’re still feeling that longing, then – for right now, at least – you’re not done.

  3. SNIFF! Now I’m all, “HURRY UP, THEN, LADY!”

    I am terrified that I will always feel like someone’s missing. For now I am just not going to think about it.

  4. Awwww, sounds like Eli and Baby K are going to have a little brother or sister in the not-so-distant future =)

  5. Oh Elizabeth. That wrenching feeling of being Not 100% Sure is so HARD. (I am guessing it is similar to the wrenching feeling of Not 100% Sure about whether to have a baby at all. If not, well then! Sorry to waste your time!)

  6. Having 3 coming home for Christmas was my reasons to have one more. And to think, I wouldn’t have Sam in my life. Unthinkable.

    Wheeee! Excited for your thoughts.

  7. I want one more too; however, my husband says he’s 100% D.O.N.E. I have decided to just not think about it for now and cross my fingers he changes his mind once the current baby is older.

    I think you should totally have another baby! Just after The Blathering, ok? Missing that party sucks, believe me (and Maggie).

  8. You should do it! My hubby and I are going to start trying in a few months…

  9. Aw. You’re not done at all. 🙂

    Somebody once told me that when you know you’re done, you KNOW. And I knew. And it sounds to me like you know you’re NOT done, so…

    Good luck. 🙂

  10. I feel many of the same things that you do, and I am hoping that we’ll be blessed with more. Dave is onboard for at least one more, though we’re not in any rush.

    I read an article recently written by a nurse who’d worked in hospice care for decades. One of the most common themes she heard from her dying patients was that they wished they’d spent more time with their loved ones/had more loved ones. Not one individual wished that they’d had FEWER people who loved them.

    One more person to love and to love you. Another one of your favourite people in the world. How awesome!

  11. when we were deciding whether or not to have a 3rd (and LAST for sure) baby my husband said, “when we get to our 80’s I don’t think we’ll look back and say , ‘gee I wish we had fewer kids'”

    okay, too funny, I typed that and then read Sarah in Ottawa’s comment!

    When we brought out third home I all the sudden felt a sense of belonging to a family (which is crazy because I already had two kids), but I felt like we were a whole unit- and that’s when I knew for sure we were done.

  12. This makes total sense. Just as I know that when I’m with my two girls… that is our family. I don’t feel like anyone is missing; I feel we are complete. That feeling of complete vs. incomplete is so telling! You have to trust yourself more than anyone, even if everyone else might think your decision isn’t the one they would make.

  13. For that reason you gave, “…someone is not here yet…” is exactly how I know we are done. Everyone who is at our house is supposed to be there and I feel wildly and fully content.

    I can only imagine that the exact opposite–feeling as if someone, who ever they are, is missing–would be reason to enough to have another.

  14. I think people tend to think you’re extra crazy when you already have a boy and a girl and want a third. Like if you had two boys or two girls you’d automatically want to try once more, but if you get one of each right away you should just quit?

    I’m very familiar with the feeling of “not done yet” and I really, REALLY hope that I’ll feel 100% sure when our family is complete.

  15. Oh my goodness, I am so right there with you. I have two boys (4 and 20 months) and I have actually started panicking when I only count 2 heads when we’re out because I think someone is missing. I am seriously struggling with the idea of getting pregnant again though. That was hell (I did the IV too!). WHY must it be so awful?!?

  16. I feel the exact same way. I’m not done. I want three kids coming home for Christmas. My husband, however, is good with two. He’s on board for a third, but hopes I’ll change my mind. (I’m not going to.)

  17. I know that feeling. After having 2 I used to think about what it felt like to have a baby move inside of me. I needed to feel that. I knew someone was missing. But we were done. 10 years later baby #3 surprised us and now I am complete. When you’re done, you know it. When you’re not done, you know that too. Sounds like you’re not done. But that doesn’t mean it has to be now. When the older ones are older, it’s easier!

  18. We have six (I always said I wanted eight), but when #6 was born, I actually said — within hours of the birth — “This is the first time I wouldn’t be disappointed if he were the last.” And he was, with no effort on our part to make it so. I really do think you can “just know.”

  19. I know what you mean. We still have some someones missing. I’m not sure how many yet.

  20. Oh, man, I hear you. I struggle and STRUGGLED with this. Oh, honey. This is the WORST feeling EVER, especially if you were both 100% on board with your other babies… to have mixed feelings about it, to have actual, LOGICAL reasons for not having another and yet STILL wanting one.

    My arms ached. I would walk around, and my empty arms actually, physically ACHED from wanting to hold my last baby.

    I felt so very clearly and strongly that we were not all here yet as well. It was as clear to me as anything I’ve ever felt before. And yet I had REASONS for not having another. But we weren’t all here.

    You know how my story ended. I’m currently wearing a spit up covered sweater because of it. And I don’t regret it, not at all, not one little speck.

    Email me if you ever want to discuss this further. I totally get it.

  21. I just found your blog recently and have enjoyed reading it and sifting through your archives! I have 2, and don’t know if I’m done. My husband would be happy to be done, but is willing to table the conversation until our just-turned-one year old is a little bigger. I was talking to my mom about it, and she said she had friends who had 2 in their early thirties, and then when the younger hit preschool, and they hit late-thirties, realized they wanted a third. As soon as she said it, I thought: that will be me! Which is funny b/c I wanted my first 2 closer than they are, which is 2.5 yrs apart. I babysit 2 other toddlers now, so I’m fine with tabling the conversation! And I’ve lost no weight at all in the past year (I never do when I’m breastfeeding, which sucks!), so I REALLY want to lose the baby weight from the 2nd before I start to gain for a 3rd! I love hearing different approaches to this question.

  22. Get it, girl! Sounds like you already know what you want. Just tune out the noise in the background.

  23. I have wanted four for a very long time, but I slowly changed my mind this year. My oldest is having problems, I have a nagging feeling that my youngest is going to have the same problems, and something in me broke a little this year.

    Having said that, even though I feel done…a little corner of my heart would be happy if we accidentally got pregnant again. Babies are a gift, however they come.

  24. Go for it! I had a boy & a girl and went for #3 (another boy). I can’t imagine life without him. Another funny thing is that once you have three, everyone says “Well, now you guys are DEFINITELY done. [pause] Right?” ‘Cause three is just crazy times! Also, I had a Honda Civic when we had #3. It’s do-able (though cozy).

  25. I have this exact same issue. Every time someone asks if we’re going to have another I emphatically say no, but there is that inkling of me that wants another very badly. I hated being pregnant (I don’t know why, I had very uneventful pregnancies) and I’ve lost so much weight (40 lbs lighter than pre-baby) and I don’t really want a girl, but then I also really do. I don’t know.

    I have my boys, and I’ll wait and see. Good luck with your decision!

  26. You need more. You’re a good parent. You’re an amazing person. And we need more of you in the world. And those feelings you’re having… those are not feelings that are going to go away on their own. You can do it, and you should.

  27. I’ve been going back and forth about actually talking to my husband about #1 instead of cutesy-joking about it. I’m worried that I’ll wait too long and I’ll be too old. I’m also worried that if we wait, we’ll procrastinate forever and just not do it. But I just don’t know if our lifestyle is child friendly.

    But I do know that Zofran is a freaking miracle. I got sick a lot when I was on painkillers after surgery (stupid ankle), but Zofran made me able to live.

  28. “someone is not here yet. We are not all here.” – this brought tears to my eyes. i hope you find your someone.

    when ruby joined our family i knew we were done. it wasn’t just because the adoption process was so hard, but because we are now complete.

  29. Your post is beautiful and thoughtful. I am sure you will make the best decision for you and your family, whatever it is.

  30. That is exactly how I felt when we had our two girls. A lovely family, I *should* be content, and yet…it seemed too easy (which is ridiculous, as it wasn’t really easy), or maybe just too *neat.” Someone was missing and I felt it.

    After our 3rd was born (my sweet boy), I knew –KNEW we were done. I don’t feel like someone is missing. It’s hard–MUCH HARDER than 2–and you shouldn’t overlook your challenges. But if you feel like someone is missing–maybe someone is.

  31. As a mother of three my advice is this: When you ARE done you absolutely know you are, 100 percent. When my youngest babies were born (they’re twins), I was pretty sure I wanted another one. I was pretty sure we’d have just one more. But then life happened and I absolutely knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that we were done, that I was finished, that there would never be just one more. So I’d say that if you don’t feel this way that you’re willing to do it all again, no matter the outcome. 🙂

  32. I am admittedly SO BIASED on this question, but it seems to me that the reasons for not having a third are surmountable (even if temporarily quite difficult, like going off your meds), whereas the reasons for trying for a third are just more permanent, more important. But most of all, I can’t imagine that, even on the most difficult of days with three little ones, you’d ever look at Number Three and think, “Gee, I really wish we hadn’t had him/her.” I just think that once that person is here, you won’t be able to imagine life without that additional little soul in it.

    I hope you find a real peace about this!

  33. You have my full and fierce understanding.

  34. I love posts like this – we are Done and the closest I get to that “someone’s not here” feeling is the fact that I can’t seem to sell my maternity clothes or get rid of all of the newborn clothes and gear as Lucy is outgrowing it. There is nothing more exciting that hearing that someone else is Not Done, especially when I get to watch how it unfolds. If you do end up choosing to find out what’s behind door #3, I will have my fingers crossed that you don’t have to go through the nine months of morning sickness again (ME TOO, you have ALL of my sympathy!!!)

  35. Honestly, I don’t think that having children really makes much sense at all. No one ever sits down and thinks, you know what, I sleep way too much, my house is far to clean, and I have all this free time on my hands…let’s have kids!

    I just found your blog (yea for Nebraska – I went to high school there – Columbus). I found it because I have been searching for new things to read during the late nights up with my third baby who is currently seven weeks old. We live in the LA area and are also in a two bedroom house and with two very active, challenging boys it didn’t make any sense for us to have a third, but I just didn’t feel done – I felt that there was another little soul out there for our family. So we went for it and despite the fact that baby #3 might be the fussiest baby ever I am so deeply happy we had her.

  36. Oh I loved this. It’s funny, I know, without a doubt, that once this little girl is here, our family is complete. It’s hard, though, because none of those feelings are based on FEELINGS, but on practical stuff that sort of force me out of allowing myself to have FEELINGS. I’m too old, for one. I can’t do two newborns. Adam is done after two, without a doubt. Although I DID know we were done when I had a dream that I had this baby and then found out I was pregnant and instead of jubilance, felt PANIC and AWFULNESS.

    Plus, I don’t have the world’s most robust fertility. I knew I would fight like hell for two. I don’t have the fight in me for three.

    For what it’s worth, remember, I stayed on my Celexa without issue. Paxil IS one of those meds that you HAVE to switch or go off of because it’s bad for pregnancy, but not all SSRIs are. I know, I know, we talked about this extensively before. I am a broken record.

  37. Elizabeth, this post excites me because I remember you writing something similar before your second baby came along and well, I’m unashamedly cheerleading for a number 3 for you. Is that so wrong? Clone away!

  38. Elizabeth, sometimes you take the thoughts right out of my head. I am right there with you. Even though I am resigned to not get pregnant in 2012, even though having another baby makes no sense on paper, even though it will be really hard, I know our family is not yet complete. Girl, we will muscle through it together when the time comes. Because I want one more to come home at Christmas too. Even though staying pregnant is so incredibly challenging for me. Even though I am terrified. It makes no sense. But it makes perfect sense. There is another baby out there who is meant for us. I can’t wait to meet him or her. 🙂

  39. Aaaaaarg, I wish I hadn’t read this. Or the comments. I mean, I read it a few days ago and CAME BACK TO IT. Two is enough! We don’t have room! How can I possibly think I might want another when Teensy is only 2 months old? Stop messing with me, Internet.

  40. Wow, this is so eloquent. I am soooooo done being pregnant with baby #2, and we keep talking about how we’re going to be done, but I wonder how I’m really going to feel after I get some distance from this pregnancy. Right now, I can’t imagine doing it again. I’m so miserable and uncomfortable and I’m convinced I will be pregnant forever. But when you say you feel that someone is missing, I think that is very significant.

  41. […] Remember when awhile back, I said that I felt like someone was not here yet? As though someone was missing?  In spite of how hard all this is and the lack of showers and the very bad job I often feel that I’m doing, in spite of all that, I do still feel as though someone is missing, like not everyone is here.   […]

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