I always wanted kids. That decision was easy…but when to call it quits? That’s is where the struggle lies…DISCLAIMER NOW: I am the most grateful mother that ever existed.
I had a plan. Or at least I thought I did. I would be married by the time I was 25. I would have twins, one boy, one girl, golden retriever….blah, blah, blah. Reality Check. Plans are a bitch.
Plans like this are inevitably going to stress you out because you don’t have control over those expectations and chances are the house is going to win. Married at 30, a little tardy (as per expectation, but the groom was worth the wait), picked up our Golden Retriever the day we landed from our honeymoon and got right to work on those twins. Just kidding. I mean there was “practice” but we knew we wanted kids but felt we needed to live a little as a married couple, get settled in our careers, and somewhat mentally prepare for being parents. From then on…it’s all just a blur.
Fast forward to present day. I am the most love-obsessed mom of two boys –not twins. I couldn’t love them more. My husband always said he wanted four kids. In my head, I screamed, “What am I? A baby factory?!” Nu-uh. Coming from a family of two kids, I was content with two….I think. Yes, I’m good. But wait…am I?
And then it began, the internal struggle every day to answer the question of whether or not we want to add to our family. I realize that this may come across as insensitive to those who perhaps cannot have children for some variable or another, but please know this is not my intention.
I’m not going to lie…I really do ask and contemplate this question every single day and several times a day during moments of bliss and during moments of breakdown. Having a baby is a huge decision. HUGE. Here are some factors that sway my decision on whether or not to continue to grow a larger family or to retire the ol’ uterus and focus on Momming my two adorable boys.
For moms, it’s essential to remind ourselves that all mamas mother differently. Each mother’s reason to have more children or not is entirely her own, and so incredibly valid. Practice being judgment-free.
Here is what goes through my mind….
I always wanted to have a little girl. I love the relationship I have with my Mom. We had so many bonding moments from shopping trips, New Kids on the Block concerts, and those epic Glamour Shots we did that one time…. But here’s the thing…Baby making with a focus on Gender is a dangerous slope. I truly feel like I am meant to be a Boy Mom. I feel it in my bones. But when I see my girlfriends with their little minis, I yearn for that bond. I am also terrified of what having three boys will do to me…Boys be crazy busy!
For some, money may not be an issue, but it is for many Moms and families. Don’t get me wrong, you can always find a way to provide for your kids, but selfishly…I want to be comfortable. And numbers aren’t a strong suit of mine so I need to be realistic and financially responsible.
You know when you wonder if something is missing in your family. When you hold someone else’s baby or admire the beauty of a baby bump. Or that feeling where you feel complete when you are watching them play. Or that feeling where you’re like, “Oh hell no.” after a major meltdown or sickness blitz. Or if you are just lost and really can’t decide and it actually hurts to be so undecided. You hear that proverbial biological clock ticking louder and louder with every passing stroke of time…but then you also panic when you hear those strokes dissipate into the maternal abyss. Stop and calculate your feelings. Also, it is a woman’s body, but it is the decision of both partners in the relationship to add more kids to the equation. Empathesize and strategize with your partner.
Sorry to all you Dads out there..but there is a greater fear in us than in you. Fear of everything. Typically women like to know everything. We like to pretend that we can go with the flow, and in some situations, we can, but when it comes to making, carrying, birthing, and raising a child there comes a great deal of stress. And you can’t predict a thing. With Little Man, I got pregnant right away and kinda sorta gleefully anticipated that “morning sickness” that most women get…but nope…I got crippling headaches as my pregnancy symptom. The whole 10 months…cause yeah…it’s 10 months. I loved being pregnant; The first one, the excitement, the gender reveal, the singing, the talking, the rubbing, the eating…oh baby. And honestly, the labour wasn’t that bad. I had an amazing midwife, she was cool as a cucumber. Honestly. It wasn’t that bad. 5 Hours start to finish. I almost had him in a car, but yeah, not that bad.
Then there was baby 2. I miscarried Baby 2. On my birthday. Alone. My heart broken forever. Fate would say, it wasn’t meant to be. And that is all I can share on that.
And then there was The Duke. Before that smiley face on the pee stick told me so, I questioned, “Could I get pregnant? Could I carry full term? Why am I not pregnant yet?” The inner workings of a woman in this time of her life is a tornado of emotions, questions, doubts, and hope all mixed into a hot minute. But I was blessed with another pregnancy…with complications. I was spotting. Headaches. Placenta Previa. Low lying placenta, ultrasounds every week “to monitor”–that’s fear AND relief — But then I was told I had to have a c-section due to the nature of my pregnancy. The anxiety of that broke me. Again, expectations are a bitch. Don’t take this the wrong way, giving birth is giving birth, it doesn’t matter which door that precious babe exits…but what I was thinking was, “I am alone. I have a toddler. My husband’s job takes him on the road. His job schedule is unforgiving. Down and out with an incision for 6 weeks? I can’t”. My situation could be much worse. But guess what? My emotions were valid. I will never discount another woman’s emotions and feelings in a pregnancy, loss of pregnancy, or attempt of pregnancy.
But The Duke came into this world swiftly and safely. But then he didn’t want to latch. I remember vividly in the wee hours of the night in tears, following 10 stressful months of carrying him, an excruciatingly painful induced labor–because I was allowed to try a vaginal birth–saying to myself, “No more. I can’t do this again. The exhaustion was too much. The emotion is too much“. But then he eventually did latch. But my feelings remained the same.
Momming is hard on the heart and the soul. The Duke fell sick at 6 weeks old. Really sick. This is the most broken I have ever been. A moment ago I had to stop typing and fold my hands over my face trying to push the tears and pain back in.
No mother or father wants to see their tiny baby struggle to breathe, to be awake, to eat…to have tubes down his nose and needles in the tiny veins of his skull. The fear of watching my child struggle was enough to tell me no more. I said it over and over again. Please give me him and I will never ask again.
I’ve put another child in an ambulance after holding him panicked during seizure-like reactions due to spiking fevers….which seem never-ending as a parent. So I ask myself am I scared to have more kids? Yes.
Would I call myself selfish? Yes. We all are. We give ourselves to our kids, we give all of ourselves to motherhood. And in that promotion of mothering, we may not fully understand it initially, but we give ourselves and NEVER get back the original. I don’t want the original. That’s not what I am confessing. What I’m confessing is that there are certain parts of myself that I miss and want to reconnect with. There are parts of myself that weren’t developed to fruition and I want those parts of me to grow still.
There are things that I miss, like time to myself, leaving the house in one swoop with just a set of keys in hand, following through on my bucket list items, dating my husband whenever I want, getting my body back to a state I’m comfortable in, having reunion trips with the girls, or having a career.
There is also the sub-factor of Exhaustion to consider. I only say sub-factor because I actually believe it could be its only category. With just that solitary word stated and parents around the globe would nod in understanding and empathy. So yeah…exhaustion.
Something to Prove
I’m not a bad person. My kids are my life. I will do anything for them and I do. They are my lifeline, my motivation, and the reason I want to reconnect with myself because having a healthy relationship with the self is something I want them to value. They make me want to be spontaneous and adventurous, they make me miss my husband; the root of how this love tribe has grown. They help me find inspiration in my friends who are now becoming or are already mothers. And they make me want to make a name for myself, a name they can boast about as well as their Dad’s. My dream career that was planted in the 4th grade. They should learn from both of their parents that if you chase it with fervent passion, you can get it.
My boys; husband and dog included are the reason I can grow. The reason I am growing. If we have another baby could I do it? Yes. I could. I would be tired. It would be harder due to hubby’s new job expectations but the love would be there. I would have it to give. But ultimately, it’s a conversation of variables and back and forths, and an honest realization of the self and what you need. It’s about truths and owning up to them.
So am I done having kids? What do you think?