I have two children. My son is 3 and my daughter is 2. When my son was just shy of 8 months old, we started trying for another child. I wanted children close in age. My brother and I are 18 months apart and my husband and his brother are also 18 months apart. We only know life with siblings that are close in age. So we tried for a second and got pregnant very easily. A blessing I don’t take for granted.
With my daughter’s birthday this past summer, we were faced with the question of more children or not. I work full time as an accountant while pursuing a photography gig during nights and weekends. My husband is a teacher and basketball coach and does tile work during his school breaks. We are busy in this stage of life and I know it will only get busier as our children get older. The thought of having another baby weighed on me left and right. There were days I desperately wanted another baby. Like the day my co-worker brought her newborn into work and I had to run to the bathroom to hold back tears.
Then there are days where I want my freedom. I will admit – I get selfish. The thought of morning sickness and always carrying around a breast pump in my car was not something I wanted to go through again. The last four years of my life have basically been me – pregnant or nursing. It didn’t stop us from doing trips or outings but it did require me to give a lot of myself to my children. I loved every minute of it but now that I’m starting to get some of my freedom back, it’s enticing to stop at two. So I was at an intersection, with emotions flying all over the place.
The other day I had my annual gyno appointment. The doctor asked me if we were going to be trying again for another child. I told her that we were not interested in getting pregnant again and that we were going to stop at two children. Before I could take another breath, a sense of guilt came over me and I started rambling on to the doctor, defending my decision. The doctor stopped me half way through as she could tell I was laying the guilt on. She reiterated to me that you have to do what’s best for you. She didn’t judge that I only wanted two children. Really all she wanted to know was if I wanted to be put on a birth control plan. But for some reason, when that question is asked of me, I hesitate answering and feel guilty. For some reason I carry this guilt with me that whispers in my ear (in a “Field of Dreams”-esque voice,) “If you are able, you should.”
After countless discussions with my husband (who was definitely on the “two and done” train), I realized that my true desire wasn’t necessarily to have another child.
What my heart desired was for my babies to stay babies… just a little bit longer.
As my babies grow, their baby rolls start to disappear. Their faces slim down and they start to look like little humans and not the chubby babies I loved squeezing so much. My son is getting so big that I will ask to carry him to bed just because I know one day I won’t be able to physically pick him up. My daughter still doesn’t sleep through the night and it doesn’t bother me at all because I know once I get my full night’s sleep back, my baby will be grown. Children grow, that’s what all humans do. They become less and less dependent on you. My heart was aching.
On the other side of this realization, I’m really looking forward to doing more with my children as their abilities develop. We can go on longer walks through the woods, jump off diving boards, watch movies together and even craft more. I’m excited for this new phase of life I call toddlerhood. Helping them develop is so rewarding and yet so much work.
Over the summer as my daughter turned two and was potty-trained, I’ve come to the realization that I’m okay with not having any more children. I’m okay with selling all of our baby stuff and okay with them growing. I’m embracing this new phase where my kids will share a room in their “big” beds. And I’m definitely embracing not having to buy diapers. I’m in the stage of my life where I am knee deep in toddler jokes, temper tantrums and the desire to do it all on their own. I’m making the most of all the good and bad moments because I know, one day in the very near future, my heart will again have a yearning to have more kids. But I now know that the yearning will just be for a little more time.