I’m in the mood for a thoughtful discussion. Let’s do that, shall we?
The last few Why didn’t anyone tell me? posts have pretty much been questions. Questions that, quite frankly, are impossible to answer correctly, because the correct answer is different for everyone!
- When is the best time to start a family?
- What is the ideal child spacing?
- Is it safe to get pregnant after 35?
Weighty matters, there, and we’re not quite done yet. Let’s hash out one more big one.
Should I have another baby (or two)?
No, we’re not answering this for me. We’re answering this for you. For the young mom overwhelmed with her two under two. For the exasperated mom who sent her 7 and 5 year old boys to their rooms for the umpteenth time today. For the mom who is worried about how they’ll provide for the one they already have. For the mom who likes the idea of a large family, but is getting through the days with a six-month-old on a wing and a prayer.
For the mom who is perfectly content (right now) with the ease and portability and independence of two or three out of diapers.
For the mom who longs to inhale the scent of a freshly bathed newborn, but isn’t sure she’s up for more sleepless nights.
Once again, there are no right answers. I can only speak for my own family.
Are we finished having children? Two girls, two boys. Four healthy children after three years of infertility. The tears come when I count those blessings! We are beyond blessed with our little family. Yes, I said little. You remember how desperately we prayed for our fourth.
Four doesn’t seem like a large number to me. Loud, obnoxious, tiring. Yes. All that. But large? Not really. (My mom is third of 10. My dad is fifth of five. Lance and I are both first of four.) I hold fast to my theory that the greatest gift we give our children, aside from our strong marriage, is their siblings!
So, will we have more? I don’t know. Right at this very moment I would say probably not. We are “old.” We are tired. Our lives are full. We have four amazing, healthy children. We’d like to take those four amazing, healthy children on a vacation or two before they turn 18. In my world, vacations and babies don’t mix. There are all sorts of (trivial) reasons to be done.
But, are we really done? I don’t know. I do know that after crying out to God for three solid years, after begging his mercy and receiving his miracles four times over, we refuse to say “Thanks, God. We’re done now. And just in case your divine will is different, we’ll go ahead and take control of the situation. Because we know better. Have a nice day! Oh, and please send rain.” Yeah, that doesn’t work for us.
So, what’s the ideal family size? I don’t know. (Impressing you with my wisdom today, I know. ) I do believe that those of you on the fence about having another will never ever regret that child if you are so blessed. Will you regret not trying for another? I don’t know.
As far as small families go, I do have one story to share. A friend of mine was out and about with her two sweet girls, probably about ages 3 and 1 at the time. A nice elderly gentleman approached her, complimented her on the girls, and said something to the effect of “Your girls are beautiful. They grow up so fast. I know you’re busy now and your life is full, but your dinner table will someday seem awfully quiet with just two. You should have more.”
No, she was not offended in any way. When she told me the story I nearly cried picturing that little old man at a quiet dinner table. I want the crazy. Bring on the chaos! But, I know, the chaos isn’t for everyone. And as we’ve gently reminded ourselves in the other posts, the control isn’t always ours. “Why don’t you have more children?” can be just as rude as “Are they all yours?!” Compassion, friends. We know not all the why’s.
Knowing there are no hard and fast answers, chime in, will you? Have you achieved the perfect (for you) family size? If you are 100% finished, no way no how going to have more children, how did you know? And oh, I would be delighted if some of my more mature readers who have raised or nearly raised their families would chime in. Do you have any regrets? Wish you would have had more? Do tell!