As most women would know, when a group of mothers get together socially, invariably the subject of babies will pop up at some point and someone will ask if you would like to have any more. It seems that no matter how many children you have, you must decide whether you want more. Hesitate for a second when asked and you will usually be given a knowing smile and the response “you aren’t done…you would know” or “If you aren’t sure whether you are done, you will definitely have another”.
But, what if you don’t ‘just know’? I have pondered this subject on and off for the past couple of years. My husband is 100% done, but I have found it very difficult to put a final answer on the table. Tears have been shed and arguments with my partner have been frequent. I have gone back and forth many times weighing up the pros and cons. The pros are easy to find when my daughters are sleeping well and getting along but the cons quickly make themselves apparent when one is sick or having night terrors or when I have a rare night out with girlfriends without the stress of knowing ill be up feeding all night when I get home.
It isn’t easy being unsure. When I tell other mothers that my husband is happy with two children but I am not certain, his feelings are deemed irrelevant. More than one woman has told me to “trick him, he will come around to the idea eventually”
I’m not sure who would want to bring a child into the world if it wasn’t 100% wanted by both parents and I wouldn’t go against my husband’s completely justified right to have an input. Imagine if he sneakily got the snip, I would be livid.
After mulling over the decision for a long period of time, it occurred to me that sometimes it isn’t about whether you want any more children, rather it’s whether you can or should have any more. Sometimes we need to choose the children we have over the children that might be.
Our eldest goes to a wonderful school and that costs money. We could have sent her to public school but she is thriving where she is and we have made a choice to keep her there and have enrolled her younger sister. They are able to attend swimming lessons, dance classes, music lessons and whatever else they may like to try down the track. We are able to manage the medical bills including glasses and OT sessions for our eldest. We can save and buy a house in our preferred suburb.
On a more selfish front, we are finally able to have more freedom as our girls grow and become more independent. They sleep later and play well together. We can travel together as a family easily and even child free if we choose. All of this is only possible in our current financial situation and having another child would change all of that. We are lucky to have the life we do and we choose to live it within our means and not be stretched financially, emotionally and mentally.
Having said that, I don’t believe my heart will ever be “done”. I will always be clucky and will grieve for the babies I will not have. I will never again have the excitement of seeing those two pink lines appear, never feel those incredible first flutters of movement in my belly, never have the moment of finding out the gender and holding my newborn for the first time. I won’t feel the pain and joy of breastfeeding or the unique heavy weight and scent of a milk drunk newborn.
What I do know is how incredibly lucky I am to have two healthy, happy daughters who are my whole world. Many of my friends have gone through the pain of infertility and I genuinely understand and appreciate how lucky I am to not have experienced that. My girls are growing into kind, funny, individually talented little creatures and it is a joy seeing them change. They make me happy every day and I cannot imagine a world without them in it. They are enough. They are everything.It is time to embrace the next phase of life for our little family.