Maybe because my 35th birthday and the looming ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE label are right around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about the possibility of more children. I realize that women have healthy babies every single day who are 35, 38, or 42. There’s just something about the medical community’s label of advanced maternal age, even if it’s flawed and ridiculous, that somehow feels final. It’s almost like getting a kindly worded letter stating, “Thank you so much for your contribution of children to our society. We are currently not accepting any children from the ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE group at this time. If you feel you received this in error, please contact our office at 1-800-WRINKLED-UTERUS.”
So many people have told me that when you’re done having kids, you’ll just know.
Well I don’t know! We’re probably done having babies. Maybe. Probably.
Before Tate and I got married and we used to gaze dreamily into one another’s eyes and imagine our future family, it always included two kids. We both grew up in families of four and it just seemed logical that we’d do it the same way. I can’t believe how extraordinarily lucky we’ve been with two healthy, beautiful gifts of children. A boy and a girl! What more could we possibly want?
Our family doesn’t feel incomplete. We are complete! Definitely. Maybe. Probably.
We have discussed having a third baby, in an abstract sort of way.
“We only have a three bedroom house,” he’ll say. “Children share bedrooms all the time. But I don’t think we really NEED another child. I’m just thinking out loud.” I’ll say, watching Tate’s face change from mild panic to relief.
“I love the name Chase, don’t you?” I’ll ask Tate randomly. “What about Georgia for a girl?” He’ll look at me sideways and just shake his head. “I just like to think about baby names, not for born babies, just the imaginary ones. Can’t a girl dream?!”
“Would you really want to start all over?” my mom has asked me over the phone. The answer to that is, no. No, I really don’t want to go back to nap schedules and sleepless nights (those will return soon enough with teenagers), or breastfeeding and high chairs. Our kids are so close in age, by very careful design, they both enjoy the same activities. Next year, they’ll both be in school at the same time!
Before we got pregnant with Carson, both Tate and I felt ready to have a baby. (SO HILARIOUS, I know! Ready! For a baby! HA!!) We were 200% certain that we wanted to be parents, it was something that consumed all of my thoughts. I didn’t feel any doubt as we tried to get pregnant. The doubt came as soon as the pregnancy test was positive and lasted until he was five months old. In the back of mind, I kept waiting for his real parents to show up and claim him. I wasn’t sure at all about being ready for a second baby, but we took an enormous leap of faith and on a whim decided to give Carson a sibling. We knew we’d never regret having another baby and grow our family, but there wasn’t an all consuming urge like there had been when we decided to start our family.
Now I have even less of an urge to make another baby. I don’t fully grasp why I even entertain the possibility! There isn’t just one, neat and concise answer. Many of my friends have three (or MORE!) kids. Maybe because they seem perfectly sane, even happy, that I entertain the idea in a romantic sort of way. (Ah! Cute baby clothes and wee baby feet! Gummy grins and sweet baby smells!) Maybe I want to keep up with the Joneses. Maybe I still have so many great baby names to use. Maybe I really enjoyed breastfeeding. Maybe I’ve lost my mind. My “baby” will be three in May, and then all of a sudden I’ll wake up one day both my children will be off to college and married with kids. At some point, the childbearing years end, but perhaps it’s THE END that makes me want to keep my babies babies, by having just one more.
I’m so curious about how people make these decisions about growing their family (or not growing their family.) How did you decide to start a family? What made you have one baby? Two babies? Seven babies? Are you done having babies? HOW DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE DONE!!!????