I can see clearly now

One of the hardest decisions a mother has to make is whether or not to have another child. This is an issue I have struggled with for a long time, probably since my youngest, who is now two years old, was born.

Should I have a third child? Or not?

Being a parent is the greateset experiernce that life has to offer, and every single day, I count my blessings. My children amaze me. Every day, they say something, or do something, that melts me. I teach them, and at the same time, they teach me. Patience. Love. Understanding. Compassion.

When I hug them, I never want to let go. When they fall asleep at night, I don't want to leave their side. I want to watch them sleeping, hoping they are dreaming beautiful, happy dreams. I hate seeing them cry, I hate seeing them sad.

When my oldest son started kindergarten this year, it was very bittersweet. I cried. A lot. I was very emotional. I couldn't believe he had reached this milestone already!

At the same time, it felt amazing to have a child in school. It is amazing to see him grow, to see him starting to read, to see him writing his name, and to hear him telling me about his day. He is becoming independent, more confident, less shy. He speaks like an adult, and sometimes I can't believe the conversations we have. He is almost five years old. My baby.

My youngest son is almost fully potty-trained. He is almost out of the diaper stage. He runs to the bathroom on his own. His vocabulary is increasing steadily, everyday. He's now asking "why" ten hundred times a day, and I love it. I love his energy, his happiness, his smile.

My sister is about to have a baby, and she's asked to take the change table. At first, I was hesitant. But the more I thought about it, the more confident I felt that was a decision I was okay with. Starting to give away the baby gear is a good indication of whether or not you're going to have another baby.

I have two amazing, beautiful, smart, active little boys. They are my entire life. They have made me experience life on a whole other level. Every day is an adventure, every day I have stories to write in their journals.

Being pregnant and having a baby is incredible. And holding your new baby in your arms, well, nothing compares to that feeling, nothing. I think, as women, this feeling of wanting a baby will never fully go away, no matter how many children we have. Because that awesome feeling when your baby is first placed in your arms is magical.

But at the same time, there are things that I am not going to miss.

I'm not going to miss not sleeping for months on end.

I'm not really going to miss breastfeeding.

I'm not going to miss gaining all that weight, and struggling for months on end to lose it.

I'm not going to miss the tantrums. (Even though sometimes the tantrums are the funniest things ever - my goodness, can a two year old act or what!)

I'm not going to miss the huge diaper bag I have to carry with me everywhere I go.

Or the unexpected diaper explosions.

Or getting peed on.

Or the worry that comes with each new child, the worry when each child gets sick.

I'm not going to miss the lack of freedom that comes with being a mom to a new baby.

Does this make me selfish? I hope not.

My life is devoted to my children, always and forever. I am a mother first.

At the same time, I'm craving a bit more freedom. As my children get older, the easier it becomes to go out. The freedom is great. And just enjoying life, and each new stage that comes with it - that's what it's all about.

So I think I'm complete with my family. With my two children. What more could I ask for, really? No matter how many children you have, it's taking the time to enjoy the little things that make being a mom the greatest job on earth.
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Jill said...

I always knew I wanted 3 kids... in fact life with just our 2 didn't seem complete.

But when the 3rd came along I knew he was our swan song. KNEW it.

And at the first available moment (aka 7 weeks post baby), I got my tubes tied.

Permanent. Definite. The best decision EVAH!

And it makes me appreciate each and every moment just a tad more... if that's even possible.

Lady Mama said...

I feel exactly the same! I've been thinking about it a lot - whether to go for a 3rd. I think I like the "idea" of 3 children, but the reality is, I don't think I want to go back there - to the newborn stage. I'm looking forward to the day we can travel abroad with both boys, go skiing, go out to a restaurant for dinner. I'm also really looking forward to getting my career going.

Of course, you realize now you've written this you're going to get pregnant?! Just kidding. Hehe. ;)

Chantal said...

You are not being selfish at all. Just true to yourself and I totally understand that. With me starting the baby stage again is hard in some ways and wonderful in others. Often I wished I could have just been happy with 2 kids. My life would be easier. But now I am happy. Happy with my 3. I am glad you are happy with 2. The freedom is great. you will love it. And you have you sisters kid(s) to spoil!

Chrissy MacCEO said...

Its funny that you posted this now because I was just going to post something similar! I feel like every friend is announcing their pregnanicies on Facebook & with each one I read I think "gosh, I'll never have that moment again where I say "I'm pregnant!" !

It is a good feeling, though, to know that your family is complete and enjoy the next stage in your life. I am right there with you, even though my uterus twitches every now and then ;)

SueMac said...

I always wanted several kids and God only gave me one. It took me a long time to come to terms with it and now I love that we only have one child. Today she is 12, she's in 6th grade. Enjoy the time with your boys before they hit midddle school.... it gets so very hard again. When they are babies they need you phyisically (and that is exhausting!), but when they are this age and through high school and beyond they need you emotionally.... and it is so much MORE draining. Enjoy every single minute!

nuckingfutsmama said...

You sound like an AMAZING mom to your little boys, and I don't think you're being selfish in the least bit. I think it's only natural to want to get a little bit of YOURSELF back again after so many years of giving EVERYTHING to your kids. Great post -- thanks so much for sharing! :-)

Elaine A. said...

I think everyone knows what is right for their own family, whether they want 10 kids (egads!) or 2! It certainly sounds like you feel your family is complete. I know mine is and it feels great! :)

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I have three kids - but technically, I was only pregnant once. And I can honestly say that I would never plan to do that part again. I really didn't love being pregnant. Of course there were some nice things - mainly feeling the baby move and the Christmas Eve times 100 feeling of excitement. But the nausea, the heartburn and the exhaustion the second time around when I really needed to keep up with my first baby...I won't miss any of that.

My neighbor has a three month old, and while I do enjoy holding him and watching him for her, after about 20 minutes of bouncing him on my knee trying to get him to burp, or pacing around trying to get him to stop crying...I think, I really don't want to do this again - it's so much work!

I have no desire to have another baby - a new baby. But I do wish I could go back in time and hold the babies I already had. I miss them sometimes and I'll always have incredible nostalgia for that time.

CalgaryDaddy said...

Great Post! I think you have a wonderful family now! How could it get any better?


Chelle said...

I know exactly what you mean, hun. Going from 1 to 2 was a big step for us--and lately I've caught myself wondering if another baby would be a good idea {NOT now, ha! Like 5 years from now}. But I just don't know.

Don't get me wrong--I love my girls. To pieces. So much so it hurts. And I would love another little one...but...I just don't know.

I love this post--and you aren't selfish at all. Far from it, hun. Sometimes we just know.


Jessica (The Unemployed Mom) said...

Great post! Being a mother is the most incredible job in the world. My husband and I knew we only wanted 1 child, and now he is 22 months old. We still feel VERY confident that one is it for us. It just fits our lifestyle. BUT, I can see why people have 2, 3 and more kids. They are such blessings! I will never forget the moment my bundle was placed in my arms, it made all my pregnancy miseries worthwhile. Good luck to you!

Finola said...

I have always known that I only wanted two children. I have adored almost all parts of getting them to the ages of 6 and 8, and I really feel that I am getting my freedom back. I am so happy to be at this next really fun stage with them.
And not to put anyone off who really wants a third, but there are three different families in my neighbourhood who had twins when they were trying to have their third!

MamaJoss said...

Beautiful post and so true to YOU...you are important and when something feels right, it's awesome to go with it -- love how you put it Lou. As for me and us...well, we'd love to have another in the next few years -- where's that darn stork though for real - doing all that pregnancy work is hard stuff.

CaraBee said...

You know I've been struggling with this very decision. It's not selfish to decide your family is full at 3 or 4 or 5. I think whatever we decide is what is right for us. It's a tough decision, though.

Anonymous said...

I have 2 kids, and I go back and forth on whether I want another. I will say this, though - the older they get, the harder it is to imagine starting over from scratch.

On the other hand, there is still a part of my heart that wants another. And it makes me sad not to listen. But maybe I would still feel that way after 4 kids, you know? I've spoken to some women who said that feeling never went away for them.

Tabitha said...

WOW.....we have the exact same thinking going on. I am also a mom of two boys - one who started Kindergarten this year (which is also very bittersweet yet wonderful) and one that is almost potty trained (and starting his first year of preschool this fall)

It's a tough decision that my hubby and I threw back and forth for a while. We have since decided that two is enough for us.

Good luck on your decision :)

Anonymous said...

I know what you are saying. We are in a very comfortable place with our kids and their ages and living a lifestyle that would in no way accommodate a baby. It's the trade off though. I miss the baby things, but when I get to do things I couldn't otherwise.

lz said...

We're in the same boat. My SIL just had a baby, and I'm pretty ok giving her my baby stuff. I think we're done. If we had another baby, I'd be happy, but unlikely to try for one. A friend of mine recently said, "The world is made for families of 4. After 4, you need a different car, a different table at the restaurant, and you're outnumbered." I see that. I would love a bigger family, but don't think I can handle it! Right now, when M is in school, just being home with Abs is a break. I can't imagine feeling like being with 2 is a break. I love these girls to pieces, but, like you, am looking forward to just a bit more freedom.

Anonymous said...

I had to make that decision and like you said yep thats it I am now Mother of four and I love it

Mom2Miles said...

I am almost 99% sure I do not want more kids. But everyone keeps asking me, and everyone keeps having more, and I keep getting older, and there's something about knowing my baby is my LAST... even so, though, I do think I'm fine w/ 2. After all, I can always adopt more if I change my mind someone. I would be fine never being pregnant ever again!

2 Little Irish Boys said...

I can really relate to what you are saying--I am finally beginning to feel like ME again.
Although, I would really love to have a 3rd--better decide quick. I am not gettin' any younger!

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said...

Beautifully said, Loukia. I wonder if I'll wish for three after I've had my second? Maybe, but I think this is it for us. I wanted my son to have a sibling, and he will. What I DON'T want is to have to upsize everything in our lives for the sake of 3 children -- bigger house, bigger car, bigger expenses... It may sound callous to think of another child in such a material/monetary fashion, but it's the truth!

You're right though -- being pregnant is such a wonderful time, and I am SO thankful I get to experience it one more time. I'll worry about the sleepless nights and weight loss issues later. :-)

Laurie said...

When I gave away my maternity clothes it felt weird and a little sad. Like you I KNEW I was ready and it was the right choice for me and my whole family. I did not want to do the pregnant or newborn thing again, despite the occasional little twinges about the excitement of pregnancy, I know that my three boys are the perfect number for me!

Krystyn said...

It is definitely a tough thought, isn't it?

For some reason, we've always said we wanted three...and we just sort of new that our family isn't quite complete.

Tiffany Lockette said...

Definitely a hard decision. What a great post though.

Nikosmommy said...

Ooooh girl, you are talking about MY life right now! I have 2 boys, (Nikolas 4, and Yannis 18mths) and I'm totally torn about going for the 3rd. I like the idea in theory, but the 9 months of being prego, the nursing, the WEIGHT GAIN all makes me kinda think mehhh, maybe not?! My little guys start kindergarten in Sept, *sigh* but I'll be busy with Kid #2 still. Maybe two IS enough?

Anna said...

Breathtaking. I really admire how open and honest you are in all of your posts!

To celebrating the little things at all ages and stages!