With two small children happily thriving in our house, my husband and I face a dilemma many couples wrestle with when they reach this point in their lives: should we have another baby? The problem with this question is that our answer seems to change daily, sometimes hourly. When you’ve got the two kids, a boy and girl, everyone kind of assumes that you’re done having children. But what happens if you’re not done? Or what if you don’t know if you’re done? How do you know if you really want another baby?
I consider my husband and myself fairly practical people. So when it comes to the subject of having a third baby, the first issue we always discuss is space. We live in a comfortable three bedroom house and while it’s great for a family of four, a family of five wouldn’t necessarily fit. Sure, we’d all fit for a while. The kids could share rooms. But when we look at our long term plans, we’d have to move into a bigger home. And moving is a hassle… and we have a lot of stuff… and I love my house.
Then we get to the school debate. We are extremely fortunate to live in an exceptional public school district. Having said that, my husband grew up attending private schools and holds out hope that we can send our children to private schools. And private schools are expensive. While we may be able to afford private tuition for two children, private tuition for three kids for 12 years adds up big time! And don’t forget that bigger house I mentioned earlier. Suddenly having a third child is looking very expensive.
And then there’s my age. For the record, I have absolutely no health concerns or reasons for being leery of having a third child at 35 years old. I know many moms, several of my friends in fact, who have had children much later in life than mid-thirties. My problem with having a child at this stage in my life is I’m starting to feel older than my youthful twenties. I had no problem with the all-nighters, late night feeding, and general lack of sleep and total exhaustion you feel when you have a new baby with my first two kids. But I’m two years removed from having a newborn and I am grateful for my sleep these days.
So with all these reasons not to have another baby, why are we still discussing it???
I think people struggle with the decision to have a third child for lots of reasons. When I was pregnant with my first child I remember talking to women who were pregnant with what would be their last child, and for many of them, the prospect of never having another child made them very sad. I didn’t understand that at the time, but faced with the thought of not having any more kids, I’m starting to get it. It’s closing a chapter of your life that you’ll never have again, and that can be an emotional experience for a lot of women. And then there are all the feelings that come with watching the children you do have grow up. I’m not ashamed to admit I teared up dropping my daughter off at preschool for the first time. My little baby was growing up. She wasn’t my little baby anymore. While I’m thrilled at the remarkable young woman she’s turning into, that still doesn’t mean I’m not just a little sad to see it happening. And I still have my son! He’s only two. But next year, when my daughter starts kindergarten, he’ll be starting preschool — then what are we going to do?
There’s also the fact that my husband and I always discussed having two or three children. This conversation isn’t based entirely on watching our current kids grow up, but it also comes from the original plans my husband and I always discussed for a family. My husband is one of four children, and I’m extremely close with my brother, so the concept of siblings and family is very important to us.
Which brings us back to should we have another a baby? I honestly don’t know! At this point, I’m starting to think we should just flip a coin.
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