How do people make these hard decisions about the number of children to have? What’s a good number? Presumably the right number for you is not the same right number for me. More importantly am I being greedy thinking of having a third?
I can’t seem to shake the feeling of needing another child. I imagine it is very primal, that over whelming urge to bring children into the world. It consumed my every thought after my son was born and only started to abate when hubby mentioned that two was really enough and he didn’t want to add another 2 or 3 years to his childcare calendar (he is a SAHD for 2 days a week). I had to consider that, it isn’t just about me and had I been a Stay at home mum then it would have been a different story. I’m not and we have childcare to think about.
About a week ago I made a joke about having a third and hubby made a comment that made me think he was more receptive to it now. It’s probably related to the fact that The Monster is causing us less trouble than he did a few months ago and we are realising how the two we have, are growing up fast.
Pickle was an IVF baby, but The Monster wasn’t. It still took a while for me to conceive him though and it is possible a third child may not come easily. That’s the first hurdle.
The second hurdle is my age and all the risks attached to that. Not just to me and my arthritic condition (amongst other things) but also the risk to a baby. The likelihood of having a baby with a congenital condition or an issue resulting from a difficult birth. I have to be honest, I don’t think my marriage would survive the pressure involved in raising a child with added challenges. Had it been my first, that’s a different story. How do I feel if my third child required too much extra care that I had little left for the two I already have. That worries me greatly.
The third hurdle is cost. Not really on the outlay (clearly I have everything from the first two) and not from nappies, as I use reusable nappies, but as they get older and want to join clubs, do sports, go on excursions, require funding for things. How can I reconcile my decision to have 3 children with the fact I may struggle to provide for them as they make their way in the world.
Of course, all of these hurdles are because I am a risk mitigator. All fine and well when I’m planning the launch of a product in a European country, but human beings don’t work like that. There are no guarantees in life. It all reminds me of a scene from Parenthood, one of my favourite movies and full of great lines related to raising children.
Gill: And in all those things, sometimes they´re gonna miss.
Karen: – Sometimes they won´t.
Gill: – Sometimes they will.
Karen: What do you want? Guarantees? These are kids, not appliances. – Life is messy.
Gill: – l hate messy. lt´s so messy!
Grandma: (Wandering into room) You know, when l was young Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. – Oh, what a ride. –
Gill: (sarcastically) What a great story.
Grandma: l always wanted to go again. lt was just interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened… so scared, so sick, so excited… and so thrilled all together. Some didn´t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. l like the roller coaster. You get more out of it. Well, l´ll be seeing you in the car.
Karen: She´s a very smart lady. Come on, Taylor. Your ears are ready.
Gill: (sarcastically)A minute ago l was confused about life. Then Grandma came in with her wonderful and effecting roller coaster story. Now everything is great again.
Karen: l happen to like the roller coaster, okay? As far as l´m concerned, your grandmother is brilliant.
So part of me wants to throw caution to the winds. I want another child, because I love the ones I have so deeply I want to create the family unit of my choosing. I want my children to have noise and emotion around them, arguments, laughter and learning to understand others point of view. Of course it could all go horribly wrong, especially if having a third creates unwanted friction later on in life. The one who doesn’t talk to the other two.
I was one of 3 children growing up, until the age of 11. At 11 years old by older, adopted brother killed himself. His story is for another day, but after the age of 11 I was only one of 2 children. It felt very small to me, very vulnerable only being 2 of us. My mum only had her third because when she unexpectedly got pregnant 6 months after I was born, she couldn’t bring herself to have an abortion. After 13 years of infertility and then having me, she knew what a miracle it was. So despite being in a bad financial situation at the time, she went ahead and had my sister. I cannot imagine how awful my life would be if she hadn’t had my sister. My parents were old school English parents, who didn’t “talk” or share emotion. Our household was one of sadness and walking on eggshells from the age of 11 until I left home at 18. My sister got me through that and we have that shared history. I can’t help thinking my experiences are clouding my thoughts about needing a third. Whether it is a deep-seated fear of something going wrong in years to come, or the need to create that family unit I felt crumble away at that young age.
I feel I need to make my decision soon. At this moment in time I will be 41 if I was to get pregnant in the next few months and I do feel I am pushing the limits of my own health (due to my condition) if I do. I’m also very much aware of how tired having three children will make me, so the sooner I decide the better.
How did you decide your family was complete? Have your experiences growing up influenced the size of your family? Really need some help of this one.