After I had my first child, I knew I wanted a second baby. Boy or girl, it didn't matter to me. There was no question about it. I waited until my son was about 18 months old and in time we conceived our second. Now that my daughter is reaching that same milestone, my thoughts are very different. I'm now starting to question whether I want a third, even though it was always in the original plan.
Having two children means they don't outnumber us. It means we can take the entire family out to dinner and a movie just for fun and not only on special occasions. We won't have to live on Cheetos and water with only two college educations to pay for. And soon, I won't have to change diapers any more (cue the Hallelujah chorus).
But then, I wonder about what this unborn child could be like. What if he or she becomes the sunshine of my life? What if he rocks my world in a way I can't possibly imagine? Could I really give that up for the selfish desire to wear comfortable jeans and not have to put my body through the discomfort of yet another pregnancy? I can't answer that yet.
I come from a family of two, while my husband is from a family of six. To him, large families mean boisterous fun, teasing, and a strong sense of loyalty. It also meant that he almost never went out to dinner with the entire family. He never really had birthday parties, either. And yet, he doesn't miss them since he never knew what it was like. Unfortunately, he does know what it was like to have an older brother hang him from the doorknob by his underwear.
For me, some of my happiest memories come from the intimacy of a small family. We went out to Sunday brunch every week after church at the officer's club on base. I am very close to my parents, and because my children are the only grandchildren, they are spoiled rotten.
As each month passes, I question whether I want our family dynamic to change. Do I want to go back to the sleepless nights, only now with two older children in tow? Do I want to juggle the bottles, baby food, diapers, and spit-up while trying to give the others time alone with me? Or do I want to keep our family the way it is?
What made you decide to have another child or to quit while you were ahead?
Michelle lives with her husband and children in southeastern Virginia, where she teaches sixth-graders and also write historical romances.