Is she not just the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? I mean, seriously. Seriously, People. Who knew miracles like her were possible?
She’s sitting on a trio of folding wooden theater seats I scored on Craig’s List last week. They’ll live in the mudroom… when we have a mudroom. For now, they live in the hallway downstairs. It seemed like Fate had found me: 3 wooden chairs, 3 lockers, 3 children.
Perhaps we are stopping at 3 kids? Can you know for sure? Is it appropriate to decide based on vintage furniture finds? We’re struggling. Not that a decision has to be made… but, yeah. Kinda. My brain needs a decision so I can process life a little better. I’ve heard a mother never stops thinking “maybe one more” or “what if?” No getting away from that… it’s just IN you. I’ll certainly always have that. Is it possible to know- really know– when you’re at your limit?
I say NO MORE because parenting is hard. And, I’m tired.
I say I WANT MORE because I’m just tired and parenting is hard. (And LOOK AT THAT CHILD.)
How can it be the same reason for both?
We’re at high-maintenance ages with some special needs thrown in there for good measure. This complicates life in general, especially What’s the Plan? conversations. My brain (and our family) needs a little closure… or, at least sound and loving advice… one way or the other.
So, if you knew, how did you know?
July 23rd, 2012 at 12:50 pm
My wife sent me for a vasectomy – that’s how I knew! 🙂
July 23rd, 2012 at 2:16 pm
I hear you. That decision is such a big one. I think a quick, “Yes, of course have more!” and a short, “No way – stop now!” are far too simplistic when there are many things to consider that go into whether or not to have another child. Sometimes the decision is made for us (which is kind of nice, because then it just is). Once you have another, you of course cannot imagine not having them or having stopped at the one before. But I think that having another can be romanticized at times if a couple isn’t realistic too. Of course it’s all worth it in the end, but I had to consider my personal circumstances and health (mental and emotional and physical) and try the best I could to understand my limits and be honest about, could I be the Mom I needed to be to my other kids if I had another? Maybe that’s not fair to ask because maybe then no one would have more b/c until you do, you don’t really know how you’ll do it. But you do it. I think that’s probably the grace they talk about that God gives you when you need it. And not before. I do not want to be one that says – Yep, do it! or No – don’t, or put hesitation there if there doesn’t need to be. But I think that it’s ok to be done and as a couple, be the ones to decide and not just “leave it up to God” when we don’t do that with other areas of our life because he has given us choices and intelligence – I really don’t think He’s upset if we don’t have as many children as is possible. (As one counselor on the radio says, “The ‘no’ vote always needs to win” which really is wise since it can create other big problems if someone makes the decision for the other person and just goes ahead). But then again, having a child is a risk, no matter the number and sometimes may not make all intelligent sense. But I would hope that the couple would both be on the same page and not think they are somehow disobeying God if they know they are at their personal limit. So, all that to say, all you can do is the best you can do in knowing what to do because in this arena, there isn’t a right and wrong for everyone.
Thanks for you posts and blog. I love it.
July 23rd, 2012 at 5:12 pm
I always say… if you are at the edge, possibly heading over… you should stop. But if you do not feel close to the edge then keep going. For us, 3 was good…. so there was very little transition with 4. It truly was our easiest addition. So glad we kept going. Peachy is a delight. xo elly
July 27th, 2012 at 8:53 am
I’m with Shelly on this one. Completely. That said, sometimes God has other plans. We thought we’d have more than one, at least. But it’s been over 4 years of wanting and no baby. Of course, that’s the simple explanation…truth is it’s been 4 years of sometimes wanting another and other times being so grateful we don’t have more because of certain sets of circumstances, but that’s just me. Jose has pined for another baby the entire time. So, adoption? Infertility treatments? Leave it up to nature and God? Sheesh. This is a tough one.
July 23rd, 2012 at 6:49 pm
I knew when the eldest started school and I slept through the night, and it was wonderful. A few years later, my husband decided he might want another, but after 1 week of getting up at 2am to let our elderly & cripple dog out made him realize he also likes to sleep thru the night… I continues to let him get up with Koko (aka I feigned sleeping thru her barking & whining), just in case he thought about it again.
Sometimes I think of another… but I think that is why we have dogs and rabbits and lizards and frogs and….
July 23rd, 2012 at 9:14 pm
I’m struggling with this too…or whatever it is. I always wanted a big number (4 or 5), and I’m feeling fine with just two right now, but having a hard time realizing it perhaps? I think this last pregnancy was God’s way of saying, “Stop here. That’ll do.” So…I look for little signs like that, I guess, and figure if something like an adoption door is opened for us, we will take it. I agree with you though, 3 is a VERY nice number!
July 24th, 2012 at 2:09 pm
Man, I was hoping for more direction here! It’s a question I bounce around these days too. I’m surprised to find – after taking 5 years to have another – that I’m already considering one more. But I am. But I won’t wait 5 years this time – if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. I think a lot of the reasons people stop – like your vintage furniture finds – are relatively arbitrary. My husband says he feels like travel would be easier with 4 than 5 – beds in hotel rooms, size of rental cars, etc. Even using “maternal age” can be arbitrary – some women are just starting when others want to be finished. It’s a tough question. And probably not one to be totally decided when you’re still waking nightly with a less-than-one-year-old.
By the way, what on earth are you doing with yourself with only one wee one to watch after? Please share, so I can daydream for myself!
July 24th, 2012 at 3:41 pm
With ‘only’ one wee one to watch after? Ha. That’d be more than enough to keep me plenty busy for the day! I have three boys ages 6 and up, and I’m still wondering when things will slow down . . .
July 24th, 2012 at 11:33 pm
Doug and I had our 2nd and immediately thought, “We’re done.” We wisely realized that 2 weeks after having a newborn is not the time to make a decision like that, so we waited another 3 years. We still felt the same way…both at peace and complete with 2. So we finalized things and have been at peace ever since.
July 26th, 2012 at 10:14 am
I have been “done” after each kid. But our family just never really felt complete until I had the fourth. Now, it just feels right. This is such a personal decision, and not one to be taken lightly. I pray that you and Curt will have clarity and peace as you talk through the possibilities.
July 26th, 2012 at 10:49 am
Man, I wanted to offer you some sage advice here, but I got nuthin’. I feel like Mandi’s experience is the closest to ours. Since the early days, my wife and I had the number “4” in mind. I don’t know if we even talked about it. We both came from families of 4, so there ya go. We just figured that was the number. But, like Mandi said, there was not a feeling of “completeness”. After number four we started down a “quiverfull” path of just taking our hands off the wheel and seeing what God would do. Well, God gave us 3 more kids. These 3, they are great. We can’t imagine life without them. Would life be easier? Um, yes. Much. We had two boys, 20 months apart, then a little girl, Katie Joy, 18 months after that. We question our sanity every day. The two boys, Jack and Will, they’re a hand full. And Katie, she’s a tornado trying to keep up with everybody. It’s hard every. single. day. But if you put that on one side of the scale, and then put three human beings on the other side, does it really matter how hard it is? But after numero seven, my wife and I both sort of had this feeling of, “Whoa, the quiver is full.” That was a tough decision for us. Tougher for me, actually. Having a super cute baby like Katie Joy, or your own little sweetie, Abigal, can give you the false confidence to believe that you can just keep cranking out these perfect little creatures. See, we always thought that the baby days were the hardest…the feedings, diapers, the poop, the spit-up. We thought if we got through that we’d be good. But then our kids started getting older, as children are wont to do. And we realized we were fools. Teens are hard, pre-teens are hard. Oh, they are HARD. The attitudes, the arguments, the issues…they all get bigger. Our youngest is now 20 months old and I can say that life without a teeny tiny baby in the house is a bit easier. But is easier always better?
See, I’m no help at all.
July 26th, 2012 at 10:54 am
You’re no help, but you’re wonderful 😉
July 31st, 2012 at 2:03 pm
We still want more, but we’re too old. But two feels like too few, but I can’t imagine stretching to raise another baby. I’m tired. And yet I dream of adoption, sometimes. A friend has six and says it’s been easier with six than five – family flows better. Just sayin’, Katie. Stop when you’re ready to stop. Doesn’t sound like you’re ready.
July 31st, 2012 at 5:12 pm
Katie… I struggled with this too!! I thought why in the world would I make things more complicated than they already are. In my head I always pictured 4 but going from 2-3 was hard for me. Rusty was done for sure! I never felt completely satisfied with only 3. I think if there is a doubt youre probably not done…We prayed a lot and Rusty came on board…All that being said we now have 4 and the wives tale is true, after three its all the same. There are days I am complete chaos and those watching must just laugh. I lose my mind some days. All that being said after this last child I knew in the hospital that this was absolutely IT!!! I am complete, I look at this family and feel my quiver is full. God will give you peace and hopeully A LOT of patience. Whitney (crazy mom)