Deciding to have a child was an easy choice for me to make. I always knew that I eventually wanted to have kids and I was excited to become a Mom. Number two was also an easy choice because I had never really entertained the idea of having an only child. Now we are faced with the decision to have more or stick with two and it’s proving to be a tough decision for me (and my hubby).
Three feels like a game changer in some ways. You’re outnumbered, it requires a certain type of vehicle (as the
proud humble new owner of a minivan, something I swore I would never own, we’ve got that base covered) and it pushes back any plans for me to re-enter the workforce by another few years. At night time, when everything always seems worse, I am done. I don’t want to be pregnant again, I don’t want a newborn and the sleepless nights that come with it and I am ready for the next phase of my life. In the morning when I am rested and eternally optimistic I want another baby. I think to myself, “This is amazing! These little people are so fun and I love this! This is what life is really all about.” The idea of Declan being a big brother is enticing and there is something appealing to me about embracing this stage of life with gusto and going “all in”. I would be a poor scientist if I didn’t acknowledge the influence of peer groups and our cultural cohort. Where we live, people have a lot of kids. Three seems to be the norm but we know several people with 4 and 5. Our area is bucking the national trend since all of these families are university-educated and not religious. When you look around and see your friends doing it, I’m sure that factors in, at some level.
When we just had one we were able to keep one foot in both worlds – we could still go out and act like a childless couple with all our childless friends. But after we had our second, that was it. We still socialize of course but there is no kidding ourselves as to what we are. We are parents with a young family. I enjoy this stage but I also recognize that it is relatively short and that it gets easier (in some ways) when the kids are a bit older and in school. Having a third at that stage seems less intimidating than a new baby now. But that’s how you get kids – you have babies.
I know that no matter what happens we will make it work. I guess that’s a good place to be. If it turns out that I don’t get pregnant than I will march forward with my wonderful family of four. If I do get pregnant, than five it is and I’ll be happy for that too.
These considerations have made me think a lot about Mormon women and how they choose to add children to their family. All they have to do is pray to the Heavenly Father and he will confirm that another baby is waiting in the premortal existence to the family. No wonder women receive confirmation – maternity is a hard thing to deny and we are hardwired to want babies (well, at least those of us who want them in the first place). It also places undue stress on a mother if by chance she doesn’t want another baby. It isn’t like you are refusing something that is not yet created. For her, the baby (well, it’s soul anyway) is already there. Waiting. Hand-picked by God to be a part of your family. And if you deny them the opportunity to come to earth, presumably they linger in the premortal existence for all eternity. Wow. No pressure or anything.