Considering Expanding our Family: The Great Unknown

The night before last our whole family was sitting around the dining room table eating supper. My daughter was chattering away about a million different things and my son was sitting in his highchair feeding himself yogurt with a spoon. All of a sudden I felt very emotional and my eyes began to well up with tears.

“What’s the matter?” my husband asked.

“My baby isn’t a baby anymore,” I said, wiping my eyes and smearing my mascara.

“That’s what I thought you were going to say,” he replied.

They are getting so big!

Then my daughter began to talk about how badly she wanted a sister, a subject she has brought up frequently in the last few months. “Did you put her up to this?” my husband asked. I didn’t.

When family members bring up the possibility of having another baby I jokingly shrug off their comments, saying, “Let me get the second one to start sleeping all through the night before I consider another one!”

I too have been thinking about another baby. In fact, it has been on my mind a lot.

I work in a hospital and one floor below my office is both a pediatric clinic and an OB/GYN clinic, so I see babies and pregnant women each day.

When I hear one of those teeny newborn cries something inside me aches for another child. Is that something that men feel? I don’t know.

I’ve been trying to weigh the pros and cons of expanding our family, trying to consider the issue from all different angles, but at the end of the day, I still don’t know if it is right for us.

Who knows?

I am 37, so it’s not like there’s a ton of years left to debate the issue. I know, I know, a 72-year-old woman in India just gave birth to a baby, but that’s just crazy.

There are so many things to think about when considering having another child. Is it logistically feasible? Will my job still be here in a year? Will I have enough maternity leave? While on leave and only receiving 60% of my normal pay, will I be able to pay all my bills?

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My husband is starting a new job. He will earn more money than his current position, but will our wages together help us live comfortably? Or if another child is born will we struggle to make ends meet?

We are currently sharing one car and need to buy another. The car we are sharing is too small for three car seats, so really, we would need two cars that are able to hold three car seats.

Our home is large enough for a larger family but the way we are set up now is comfortable. My son and daughter each have their own rooms. Would they have to move in together or would one have to share a room with the baby, if we were have another child? The only other available bedroom is in the basement and my oldest is still too young to move into that room.

My sister and I shared a bedroom with bunk beds until I was in the 6th grade and I remember hating not having any personal space. I think that contributed a lot to our constant fighting in our younger years.

Then I must consider my health. I would again be a “geriatric” expectant mother (don’t you just love that? Nothing makes you feel older than hearing that throughout your pregnancy).

Recovering from my second c-section was more difficult than the first and I’m sure it would be even more difficult if I were to go through it again three years later.

I am overweight- I won’t beat around the bush about that. If I were to become pregnant now I am worried about gestational diabetes and gaining even more weight that may never come off. Some may think that trivial, but I’m still carrying around “baby weight” and my son just turned two.

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I need to shed fifty pounds to get back to a healthy weight. I know I need to do this, but I have always found that without a tangible goal (like being maid of honor in my sister’s wedding or to feel comfortable in a dress at my own wedding) I rarely succeed in losing weight; knowing I was striving to change in order to try to conceive would indeed be a powerful motivator. That may sound silly, but that’s how my brain works for some reason.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to go to bed early and my husband came in and lay with me for a bit. I asked him what his thoughts were on having my IUD removed getting pregnant. He didn’t say much, but it seemed as though he wasn’t really keen on the idea. “Having two has been tough,” he said.

His reaction surprised me, as we had previously both said earlier in our relationship that we thought three would be just right for us.

I loved the experience of being pregnant and having a newborn.

Pregnant with my son

I miss the tiny babies cuddling on my chest. I miss the soft, downy, fuzzy hair and the teeny hands and feet. I miss the sweet baby smell. I miss singing and swaying to get my child asleep.

Big sis loved “her” baby

On the other hand, my children are finally becoming more independent and able to play together nicely. My husband can load them up in the car and take them to Walmart if I need a little time alone. It took a long time to get to this point though.

Neither child would let Daddy feed them a bottle and it was very frustrating to him, as well as me. Since they absolutely would not take a bottle that left me to always be the one to get up, we couldn’t take turns feeding, I couldn’t go out to dinner alone with friends, etc.

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I think our two children would love an additional sibling, once they got used to it. My daughter loved having a baby around after my son was born but I don’t know that he would feel the same way. He is very attached to me at the moment and I think he would have a hard time sharing Mom with yet another sibling.

I could go on debating with myself on the subject for hours, but I know one thing for sure. We have been blessed with two amazing, beautiful, smart and funny kids. If two ends up being all we have, that’s OK. If we add another, that’s OK too.

I don’t know what the future holds, but it is bound to be wonderful with the sweet little family I have.

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