"For over a year – OVER A YEAR – I’ve been in the middle of a baby-crazed bout of indecision. I didn’t think I wanted a third child. Two was always the plan. Then suddenly, a girlfriend and I have dinner and she spends an hour convincing me that I SHOULD want a 3rd (likely because she is having a 3rd) and then suddenly all I’ve thought about for a year and one-half is having a third baby.
Biologically, my body is craving a third baby. But do I really really WANT one?
Here’s how this plays out: I see a pregnant woman and become consumed with envy. Then I see a mother of a newborn and feel so GLAD that I am not her. Then I see a family with 3 older children at the beach and my craving for another becomes utterly intense. And when one of my children do something wonderful—be it small (saying “thank you, mommy”) after dinner, or big (sleep for 12 uninterrupted hours, wahoo!) I WANT ANOTHER.
But when my almost-3-year-old is throwing one of his epic fits, or my 5.5 year-old has trouble with a friend, I think “how could I possibly DO this again? All over again. I can't!” And I don’t think I can.
My husband needed some convincing, but now he's in the "if it's something you want, let's do it! I'm on board." But realistically, he'd be a-ok with 2 children instead of 3. So here we are not trying but we’re not NOT trying. So every month I feel both relieved and disappointed when I get my period. If I want another baby I’m at the age where I need to hurry up and do it.
Can I handle a 3rd—diapers, and drool, and bottles, and leaky breasts and all? But can I imagine my Thanksgiving table WITHOUT a third? I’m consumed with doubt, indecision, and a little bit of panic. Advice? My window's about to close, here."
Well, don't panic. Here's what I see here:
1. Your girlfriend was having some sort of pregnancy-induced temporary unsolicited advice syndrome by trying to convince you to have a third kid. Seriously. Why would she do that? (Answer: hormones and fear of being alone.) I get that she wanted company, but now you're in a tailspin and you would have been fine had she not brought it up.
2. Now that the horse is out of the corral, you have to separate out what you really want. It seems pretty clear to me form this email that you don't really want another baby, and you really super don't want a toddler (I get that, for sure). But you might want another child.
3. Are you willing to do the baby and toddler and preschooler stuff again for the joy of having another child? That's what this boils down to. If it's going to break you (or even just make you more uncomfortable than you want to be) or stress your relationship for a few years, is it worth it? I would not look at the moms of three little kids, because you know that's temporary. I'd look at the people with a 16-year-old, a 14-year-old, and a 10-year-old: is THAT what you want?
Readers? If you did it, how do you feel about it? If you didn't do it, how do you feel about it?