Every mom of child-bearing age has had this question asked of her. If not once a thousand times. Friends, family, acquaintances see that your youngest is getting to be 1, 2 or 3 years old (the perfect time to start working toward the next baby, people!), and people get curious.
Will you have another baby?
I understand the curiosity here. I get curious myself. So it doesn't bother me when people ask (although unless it's a bunch of trusted girls gabbing, I often don't broach the topic. Why? What if they aren't ready? What if they are ready and have been having complications trying to get pregnant? What if they only want one child? It can be a touchy topic).
How do you answer this question?!
Short answer: I have no idea.
I often don't know how to answer, mainly because I'm not 100% sure. Some girls grow up with a number in mind. They know they want 2 or 3 or 10 kids. I had always imagined myself having 3. I think is because I grew up in a family with 3 kids, and it seems normal to me. Hubby grew up with 2 - him and his sister. So that seems normal to him. I've gone through seasons of wanting a "brood" (especially after watching Parenthood, amiright?! Love those Bravermans!). Then I had my kids and thought, "Yep. No way."
Some say the transition from no kids to 1 kid is the hardest. Others say from 2 kids to 3, since you are outnumbered. I've heard rumors that after you are outnumbered, adding a fourth, fifth or eleventh is no big deal.
So will I have another baby?
(Is it bad to process this here? Am I committing a major faux pas? Oh well).
Time will tell. I'd say we're 95% sure we'll be sticking with the 2 little buddies we've created. There is always that 5%, though, that makes you wonder, "What if in a few years..." when you hold a new baby (yet before that baby screams, cries and has a blow out diaper. This always brings you back to reality).
In all seriousness, I've taken a lot of things into consideration as I think about adding another member to our family. A big obstacle is money. A third child would mean buying a bigger/different car, feeding another mouth, funding another education. It always feels like we are stretched thin as it is. Would adding another baby make it that much harder? Is that fair to our current family or that baby?
Another thing I've thought about is the newborn stage. I really struggle with it. Now, I've never struggled in the way of Post Partum Depression. But it really takes me a few months to get back on track mentally and emotionally. Combine the crazy hormones with lack of sleep on top of all of your other life commitments, and I'm an overwhelmed mess. I'm just that kind of person. I like routine, I feel comfortable when I know what's coming.
So when a new little being comes into my life, unable to communicate his or her needs apart from screaming (usually throughout the night), I get frazzled. Are they hungry? Sleepy? Need a diaper change? Is she eating enough? Am I producing enough milk? Even though I know it's a short season, it's still hard for me. It makes me anxious to not have the immediately correct answer. I don't function well on little sleep. I feel like a crappy mom for those first few months. I think this is a valid thing to think through: can I emotionally handle a newborn again?
Along with the financial aspect is the work aspect (they kind of go hand-in-hand). I've recently been really enjoying and excited by the work I've taken on. I never thought I'd be someone who wanted to work. But I really really like what I am doing. And I get excited by pursuing these things as a career. With Bug being close to preschool, I'm on the verge of being able to take on more. I know a baby would put that on the back burner, and I'd be starting over again (both career-wise and financially).
All things to consider.
In the end, I know babies grow quick. I know the newborn stage is just that: a stage. That although the newborn stage can come with financial burden, fear and stress, it lasts for only a few short months. I think, "C'mon Steph. Is it really worth giving up a lifetime of knowing another child over such a small (but stressful) newborn season? Answer? NO."
So, we're keeping it open ended. In that, for all intents and purposes we're done having kids. But, if in a few years the desire for another baby comes up, we're reserving the right to adjust our decision :)
What about you? (I'm about to commit another faux pas! Crikey!)
How do did you/will you decide when you are finished having kids?
How do you handle it when people ask you this question?
I'd love to hear from you, if you are brave enough to answer!