mindful living, effortless style

how-do-you-know-your-family-is-complete

Midweek Musings: How Do You Know When Your Family’s “Complete”?

It’s mid-week pals – how are you doing?  The concept of a new feature, Midweek Musings, has been stewing for a while now.  I even started it on the DL way back here but then got distracted and have yet to officially launch it.

That’s partly because I’ve noticed a tendency in myself to be really excited about a new series for MPMK right up until the time I introduce it. Then I promptly lose all interest in the topic and the thought of coming up with fresh ideas for it on a regular basis feels like pure drudgery (see evidence of series started and never returned to here).

This one, though, WILL be different.  It’s another part of my 2013 goal to increase the conversation (on that note: thanks so much for taking the time to answer our new questions of the day and to comment on posts – I’m so grateful when you all share).

Think of Midweek Musings as a virtual conversation between friends – the types of talks you have with your best buds over coffee or during a play date.  We’ll cover parenting, for sure, but other stuff too – marriage, friendship, self-care, guilty pleasure… your basic girl talk (although dads are always welcome in the conversation!).

To begin, as a sort of act of faith, I wanted to dive in with a very personal topic: How do you know when your family’s “complete”?  

When it comes to family planning, to date I have been a very private, if not down-right sneaky, individual – not really letting any friends or family in on the fact that we were trying until the trying was done.  But recently something strange came over me.

I don’t know what happened. I looked at my two littles, who are only 20 months apart and for all intents and purposes BFFs, and thought, “Holy sh*t! If we’re going to have a third we need to act SOON for him/her to have any chance of penetrating S and C’s inner circle.”

And ever since then I can’t seem to shut myself up about it.  These days I’m wrangling every mom I see into a conversation about if/how they knew their family is complete.  Because I don’t.  I have neither a clear conviction that there’s another soul out there waiting to join our clan nor a firm belief that we’ve hit capacity.  What I do have, is a persistent and loudly ticking clock in my head rudely reminding me that I need to make a decision – and soon.

There are so many factors that go into a choice as big as this one (do they get any more life-altering?).  Oddly enough, one of the biggest factors for me could be used as an argument both for and against another baby.  I don’t have a lot of extended family, you see, and our kids don’t really have cousins (nor the prospect of cousins that will be close in age). A big item in the pro third kid column is simply adding to S and C’s family.

Let’s face it, parents don’t have a lot of control over how close their children are as adults.  And, despite my best efforts, there’s the chance that my children may not be close due to a whole host of factors ranging from personality to geography. Adding another sibling into the mix ups the odds that each child might have at least one sibling they see as a bona fide support system – something I REALLY want for them in their adult lives.

On the other hand, as I said, S and C are very close in age and really are a tight-knit duo.  I worry that even now the age difference between a new baby and each of them (at least 5 years for C and 3 1/2 for S) might be too big to overcome.  When I take the kids out now to parks, indoor play spaces, etc. they always have a blast because they have a built-in buddy.  But baby #3 wouldn’t have that.  When he or she is a toddler, C will be in school and S will be in preschool several days a week.

And there are a few more minor things to consider – Can I have three small children in the house and maintain my sanity? Will they all fit in our house?  Can we afford to feed, clothe, and educate them all??

So that’s me – Miss Gray Area.  What about you…

Question of the Day

Do you know how many children you’ll have?  What factors have gone into your decision making?

P.S. I threw up a quick social survey on the topic here – take a second and weigh in, should i have 2 kids or 3? (disclaimer: results are not binding).

P.P.S. In case you’re wondering about the lack of opinion from my husband in this post – he certainly has one.  But as I slowly dip my toe into the pool and begin to open up a little more here, my goal is to divulge only what’s mine to share.  That is to say, I’m going to do my best to include my own thoughts, feelings, and experiences but to keep my husband and children out of it.  I believe, especially in the case of my children, that my family should have ownership over those things and should not expect that they be broadcast on the web by me.

POYEL-ebooks-button460

 

line-graphic


P.S. New here? Don't miss "The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle", available just once a year. It's a $1030 Value for only $29.97

SALE HAS BEEN EXTENDED FOR 12 HOURS ONLY - ENDS 9/16 12 PM PST!



{ 151 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily February 20, 2013 at 12:27 am

For me it is a practical decision. We have reached parenting incompetence with our three – another child might not stand a chance! I have room in my heart for more kids, but i don’t have the patience or fortitude for them. It doesn’t mean I have stopped cooing over newborn photos or half-wishing for an “accident,” though – I have decided that my mind is free to fantasize about babies as long as the rest of my body stays far away!

Reply

Jen February 21, 2013 at 10:31 am

Exactly what Emily said, except change the “three” to “two”. Thanks for being more coherent than me in the morning, Emily.

Reply

Sharon February 20, 2013 at 12:28 am

My husband and I decided definitively last week that we are done, our family with one son (almost 5) and one daughter (25 months) is complete. He is the eldest of three and has always been very vocal in his dislike of the sibling dynamic he grew up with. Because of that, we said we’d either have two or have four. We had a “scare” recently and when discussing the ramifications of adding to our brood realized it wasn’t in the cards for us. Our kids will most likely not have cousins, and if they do they will be much younger than ours which makes me sad but seeing how close they are I know it’ll be ok. Two parents, two children, two hands each…

Reply

mpmk February 20, 2013 at 1:21 am

I have definitely heard that sentiment from other parents – someone once described it as the difference between man to man defense and zone defense :).

Reply

Tiffany February 20, 2013 at 1:44 am

Sharon, would you mind elaborating a bit on what about the dynamic he disliked so much? As you can see from my mini-novel below ;-) I’m having a reallllly hard time deciding about a 3rd, so any added perspectives on what it’s like growing up as one of three would be super helpful! Thank you!!

Reply

Kelsey February 20, 2013 at 8:05 am

It was always odd man out with my family growing up. I am the oldest of 3 girls. I am 22 months older than one and nearly 6 years older than the next. You would think I would have got along with both of them, sharing and bonding being close to the same age with one, and being the big helper to the other. It didn’t work that way, I was left out constantly, they live together now. I guess it may be our personalities, but either way I decided 2 or 4! So everyone gets a buddy, instead of being left out.

Reply

Beth D. February 21, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I am middle of 3. Constantly left out even as an adult. My older and younger sisters are so much alike, in looks and personality. I decided to have 2 or 4 kids. My hubby doesn’t care. He has such a big heart. I think my older sister was the only one who didn’t mind being one of three. If we argued, it always felt like no one was on my side. Either 2 against the middle sister or two oldest against youngest. With3 kids, someone is always left out.

Reply

sharon February 21, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Hi Tiffany. While I obviously can’t speak for my husband, from what I understand, he absolutely hated the ganging up and the competitiveness. He’s the oldest, followed by a brother then a sister. Also, his parents weren’t doing well financially for most of his childhood/teen years and he was forced to take on a lot of responsibility, both financially and as a role model/parent for the younger ones (dad was absent a lot due to work).
I’ve been around his family for almost 14 years now and I think that it has more to do with his parents and their parenting style than the actual number of siblings and their dynamic. His mom blames him for ruining her body, for being a horribly difficult child, etc, etc etc. They just weren’t equipped(financially, emotionally, etc) to handle three kids and that was very much transferred to my husband. I think he and I could do it, but he is so sure it would completely throw off our family balance and ruin things that I’ve decided not to push the issue.

Reply

Marki February 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I was the middle child of 3, and have no complaints. Sometimes it was two-against-one, but the factions were constantly changing — it wasn’t one of us in particular who was usually left out, so that probably helped. Mostly, we got along well and played together — I could spend time with my sister doing girly things, and liked to play sports with my brother, so I liked having both around. We were very close in age, too. I can say, though, that I’m planning to stop at 2 kids simply because my parents were run ragged chasing us around! They seemed to spend their lives driving us around. I think when you’re outnumbered by them, it’s a challenge.

Reply

Amalia March 8, 2013 at 10:29 am

I agree with you. Two children, two parents, two hands each!

Reply

Judith February 20, 2013 at 12:33 am

In our case, I thought I’d always have regrets about not having a third. And while I’m sure we would have made a very happy little family of four, I’ve never heard anyone say they’d give their third child back if they could go back in time ;) It was a hard decision, though, and I know already that I’m definitely done at three. It’s going to be twins now, isn’t it…

Reply

mpmk February 20, 2013 at 1:23 am

I would assume so – yes.

Reply

Elizabeth February 20, 2013 at 12:45 am

Very well said! My husband and I are at the same crossroads. I have my heart set on a third although I am not quite ready yet with my two little boys still at home. I can’t really give a concrete explanation for my need for three but it is there. By the same token, four sounds like absolute madness for us and I won’t even consider it. Funny how we have those feelings in our guts, isn’t it? Good luck!

Reply

Michelle Spiess February 20, 2013 at 12:50 am

I am trying to figuring out the same thing right now! We have two kids – 3 & 7 and I am trying to convince my husband that we should have one more child. I fear that my kids will not be close to a new baby, but then I see how they light up every time they see one. I fear I am getting to old for another baby, turning 37 next month. I fear the financial aspect (really my husband fears this more than I) and being able to provide a childhood filled with vacations and privileges that I did not have growing up. Like you, one main reason I want another child is because of the lack of cousins. My mom was 1 of 2 and I am 1 of 2. My sister is not having kids and we really don’t know anyone on my dad’s side. My dad and uncle have both passed away from cancer. I feel like my family is slowly fading away. Sorry to go on and on…just wanted to let you know that I am also trying to find out if my family is complete.

Reply

mpmk February 20, 2013 at 1:26 am

Elizabeth & Michelle – when husbands and wives are at different places (I have a friend that calls it “team two” and “team three”) it makes the issue even more complex!

Reply

kelsey February 20, 2013 at 12:53 am

This topic weighs on me everyday. We only have the one and every rational and logical piece of me says one is enough- we make a perfect threesome, now that he is four we have so much of our freedom back, and just one has allowed for us to feel comfortable in our finances, something I never felt as a child in a large family. He gets to go to ski school, regular vacations, and doesn’t see his family weighted down with financial insecurity. Now that my friends are having their second and sometimes third! I feel cheated. Like I made a rational and logical choice, but maybe not the best choice. Still, with the first nearly 5, too late to rethink.

Reply

mpmk February 20, 2013 at 1:33 am

I agree that once you’ve finally made it past the sleep deprivation, potty training, and nap jail – the idea of going back is more then a bit daunting!

On another note, my sister and I are 6 years apart (it’s just the two of us) and though we didn’t have a lot in common as kids we are close now.

Reply

Jill February 20, 2013 at 8:00 am

I can see not wanting to go back once you have your freedom, that a HUGE part in deciding.
As for the siblings, my sister and I are 3 years apart and I can’t think of a time that we have ever been close, there is always jealousy or competition, or comparing ones self to the other. I’d say the closest we’ve been is since having children, but now I’m pregnant with my 2nd and she can barely sit in the same room as me because she’s been wanting a 2nd for 2 years now and her husband won’t hear of it. So there is jealousy again!
That being said my cousins are 5 years apart and they get along so well. I think because they’re always at such different points in their lives that all they can do is root for each other.
Good luck either way!

Reply

Stacey February 20, 2013 at 1:40 am

I am so desperate for more opinions from families that have chosen to stick with one. It’s rare and that makes it scary! My husband and I had no preconceived ideas about how many kids we wanted- going with “take it as it comes,” as our motto. But our first is now 22-months and I’m nearing 35 so the question keeps nagging. And all our friends are having or planning their 2nd. Between my husband & I, we can only name a handful of only children we’ve known throughout our lives. We both come from families of four. We agree that we are totally content with one- love the adult/child ratio :), want to travel and not worry about tight finances, etc. But we also agree, we enjoyed and still enjoy having a sibling. Is “for the benefit of our first,” any reason to have baby? If we only have one, and all our friends have two, will it be weird?

Reply

Tiffany February 20, 2013 at 2:02 am

I can only speak from my personal experience as an only child, but for me, I always wished I had a sibling, and said that if I ever had children, it would have to at least be 2. Now it may be very different if you’re a family who does things together all the time, but my parents were not interested at all in doing things or going anywhere with me, and were also super strict about not letting me go anywhere or even talk on the phone much with friends until later in high school. So I admit I may not be a very representative case, but I just know I would have looooooved having a sibling. I see how close my husband is with his brother, and fully admit to being jealous of the bond they have since I’ll never get to share anything like that with anyone. I also see how insanely close my son and daughter are, and am just amazed and thrilled by it every day. (Of course, I also realize they may very well grow out of that as they get older, but for now I’m cherishing it, and crossing my fingers that it stays that way!)

Reply

Bob (girl) February 20, 2013 at 3:37 am

We have one and are pretty sure we’ll be sticking with one. My Mum is an only, I am one of 2 – my husband is 1 of 4. While I am close to my sister my husband is not close to any of his siblings.

Choosing 1 we are aware that we will need to spend more time with our only than we would if we had more; that’s fine with us. We often extend invitations to ‘family’ outings to a friend and meet up with our friends for joint family outings. She has many friends that are children of friends of ours that are the same or similar ages-at least 2 of whom are also solo kids, and is an honorary big sister to one of them. We also make sure that she lives by the same rules we would use if we had more than one.

We are not ruling out a second although we have very little inclination to have one just yet. We have set ourselves a time limit after which I just feel that I am too old to start again. (I already feel that I just don’t have the energy for another one!) To be honest I’m actually looking forward to that date and hubby going for the snip ;)

Reply

Carol Ann February 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Stacey,
My husband and I are both only children so when we married, we knew we wanted at least two and prayed that they would like each other! (Both of our parents could only have one child.) I always wanted a sibling as did my husband. He was lucky enough to have over 20 first cousins (fairly close in age) so he doesn’t feel he “missed out.”
We both were blessed with rich, but not spoiled, childhoods – however, if I had any power to go back and change circumstances, I would still want a sibling. After years of going to weddings and various showers, I still get misty-eyed that I won’t be that special someone to a sister or brother.
Our two kiddos (26 mo and 5 months) are IN LOVE with each other right now. I cherish every day as I know it can change!
As I grow older, my BIGGEST concern being an only is the weight of having two aging parents. This is compounded with my hubby being in the same boat. I don’t want to be a burden to my children later in life, but if nothing else, I WISH that I had someone to go through that part of my life with when the inevitable happens with my parents.
However, if you and your husband are content, follow your hearts. Feeling financially secure and sharing life with one child is (obviously) completely fine. And don’t worry about your friends – while they are sleep deprived and changing diapers and chasing after their brood, you can smile at each other and know you’ve made the best decision for you!

Reply

Lindsay February 21, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I was an only child (for all intents and purposes…. my brother was 18 and moved out once i was born) and not once do I remember saying “I wish I had a sibling”. I was happy and content being an only child. I had all my mother’s attention and got to do lots of things I wouldnt have gotten to do with another child in the mix because of financial difficulties. My daughter is 2.5 and we are expecting #2, exctly 3 years and 1 month apart. To answer your question about having another “to benefit the first”… that is the main reason I chose to go through with it. To be honest, I felt that our family was complete after #1. just perfect really. neither of us come from a large family and her only two cousins are much, much older… since my brother is so much older. I wanted her to have family when we couldnt be there for her, and this was my only option. Dont get me wrong, i will LOVE her little sister just as I do her, but i still go through the feelings of guilt and panic when I think of the amount of attention she may lose in the process. only-child syndrome as i refer to it :) We will not have 3, because, well, I don’t like the “middle child” thing, and I feel like I have given my daughters someone other than us to guide them through life. Something I don’t really have, which will make losing my only parent in the future that much more horrifying. Just my take :)

Reply

Tara February 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I’m an only child. I married an only child. And we might only have an only child. We at first thought we would have 2 kids for sure since we are both the only ones. But now that we have our daughter, our family is feeling a bit more and more complete. Neither myself nor my husband have had an regrets or complaints about being the only child. Families come in all sizes, you just need to do what fees right for you.

Reply

Janet July 12, 2014 at 4:57 am

My husband and I have been married 10 yrs and have 1 little girl who will be 4 in August and she looks to be our one and only. She has a 16 yr old step brother living in Australia and if we had another baby trips there would end due to the $$$ involved. I worry about her dealing with things on her own but push that aside with the benfits on being my one and only – dance lessons, camp, vacations, undivided attention and have decided that will have to be enough as at 40 it does not look like I will be starting again in this life.

As for the only child wishing for siblings, I can say as an oldest child in a family of 2 that I had the wish to be an only child. Wishes and thoughts for what could have been are natural but don’t take away from the blessing of what was!

Reply

Kristen D February 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Wow – so grateful another mom of 1 replied! I read this because a lot high my son is only 2 and 3 months we are so content and happy with our little family! My husband and I are on the same page – we both started thinking we would have one but Hudson (our son) makes life complete. I’m no out of potty training or nap jail yet and I feel very strong about our decision. Although other ppls opinions do hurt. I am looked on as not a “real” mom, etc but after a terrible pregnancy and very scary delivery I think I am good with one.

Reply

Kristen D February 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Kelsey – Wow – so grateful another mom of 1 replied! I read this because a lot high my son is only 2 and 3 months we are so content and happy with our little family! My husband and I are on the same page – we both started thinking we would have one but Hudson (our son) makes life complete. I’m no out of potty training or nap jail yet and I feel very strong about our decision. Although other ppls opinions do hurt. I am looked on as not a “real” mom, etc but after a terrible pregnancy and very scary delivery I think I am good with one.

Reply

Donna Schussler February 20, 2013 at 1:13 am

I actually teared up when I read those lines about having neither a clear conviction either way but a feeling of needing to make a choice soon. That is where I am at. I am almost in a panic, worrying that I may make the wrong choice, also at the wrong time. I have a 5 year old, 23 month old and a seven month old.I was the middle child in a family of three children. I hated being a middle child myself and now find myself floundering since my younger brother died 5 years ago. I am without that anchor. I am no longer the middle but the youngest with feeling no rights to it. I did not like the dynamics of three children growing up, it always seemed 2 against one. Now its worse, there is no balance, no one to take my side when I am at odds with my sister. I have this fear that follows me, what if god forbid anything happens in the future and my children have a simular experience. Its an irrational and almost inappropriate thought that I cant help. My experience has left me with the need to surround my children with family. i do want my middle to ever feel they way I have. All that said the practical side reminds me of the mental, financial and even physical strain a fourth could mean. I have no idea how to make this choice right and finding it difficult to know what is right. I just know if a fourth is in the cards it needs to be soon as my husband and I are older. I simply want to make this choice for the right reasons and don’t know how.

Reply

Donna Schussler February 20, 2013 at 1:17 am

That should say I do not ever want my middle child to feel the way I have instead of do

Reply

mpmk February 20, 2013 at 1:39 am

I feel for you Donna! I think it’s the time pressure that makes the decision so tough. I really hope that you can find a way to come to a decision that gives you some peace.

Reply

Laura February 20, 2013 at 1:15 am

My husband and I have been discussing the same thing. We have an 18-month-old little boy and a baby girl due in June. This will be my last pregnancy- I get very sick (hyperemesis gravadarium for 24+ weeks) and I just don’t think I could keep sane with 2 kids and being essentially bedridden. 1 kid has been hard enough, and we currently live near family who has been great to help out. We are planning to move away in the near future though, so that support system would be gone. I grew up with just 2 kids in the family, and it was a great experience. I feel like we will be able to offer our kids opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. For us, it just feels like the thing to do.

Reply

mpmk February 20, 2013 at 1:41 am

I get sick with pregnancy too – until 20 weeks with S – but I can’t imagine going through hyperemesis gravadarium. My hat is off to you.

Reply

Heather February 20, 2013 at 1:16 am

My mother and I had similar experiences. I am the youngest of 8 with all brothers! When my mother was in the delivery room with baby boy #3 she saw a young woman (20 years or so) walk into her room and just smiled and then was gone. She knew that was her child just waiting (that was me :)!). They had only planned on having 3 kids but another 10 years and 5 more babies and I arrived and they knew they were complete.

When I was pregnant with my 3rd I dreamt of this beautiful pale skinned, white haired baby boy (my husband is hispanic so our first 2 came with nice olive skin and dark hair). I loved this baby like he was mine. When I woke I told my husband that we may need to adopt down the road…our family is not complete. However, when I met my 3rd baby, it was the baby from my dreams! He is still my little angel baby. We both knew at that moment that our family is complete.

I know that everyone does not have these perfect moments of clarity but I am so grateful for mine and letting me have peace with the decision of having my “little” family of 5.

Reply

Jocelyn February 20, 2013 at 1:17 am

We just had our third child 4 months ago. We felt very happy with two but I was never completely sure about it. To have more seemed a little crazy but to never have another one also seemed a little sad. Our oldest just turned 5 and our middle one is about to turn 3 so I have 3 little ones with me at home all day. It can get a little hairy at times but it really hasn’t been a hard transition. It was harder on me to go from one to two. Of course now having our youngest, I couldn’t imagine not having him. It feels like he’s always been with us. I am pretty sure we coudn’t handle any more finacially and I don’t know if my body could stand being pregnant again so at this point we’re happy to stop here. I am like many of the rest of you with wanting the kids to have a bigger family. There aren’t any cousins and all our family lives far away so the thought of them having each other sounds nice. I also imagine one day having them all together for holidays with little grandkids running around and it sounds like so much fun. It is definitely a difficult question though and one that everyone comes to a conclusion to differently.

Reply

mpmk February 20, 2013 at 1:46 am

I love that picture of the big family with all the grandkids down the road. I’m actually not a big baby person (gasp). For me the carrot is what a family of 3 would look like in 5, 10, and 20 years from now.

Reply

Sarah February 20, 2013 at 1:22 am

I always wanted four, but the fourth was a surprise (ie. oops!) in terms of timing. That being said, I have ended up being so grateful for the surprise aspect of her arrival because it released me from the agonizing internal debate you are going through now! Who knows how long it would have taken us to decide to have a fourth (they are all really close in age), but it worked out just fine. I am also so done – I love holding other peoples’ babies, but we know that we are thrilled and at full capacity with the four we have.

(And forgive me – I’m an editor and I can’t help myself: it’s “all intents and purposes,” not “all intensive purposes”.)

Reply

mpmk February 20, 2013 at 1:49 am

Thanks for your insights and your eye – all fixed :)

Reply

Tiffany February 20, 2013 at 1:33 am

We’re really struggling with this decision right now too. We both WANT to have a 3rd, but we just can’t decide whether we *should.* Our son was born 3 months before our daughter turned 3, and we couldn’t be happier with the distance in their ages. She was old enough to be a huge help and pretty independent when he was born, and I am blown away each and every day by how close they are, and how wonderful they play together. I do worry whether a 3rd would be a happy addition to that bond, or if it would detract from it (or if the youngest would just be left out, especially with a 6 yr difference from our daughter). Especially with having a boy and a girl, I wonder if adding another of either sex will create an imbalance and another reason for one of them to feel left out. I’ve been told before by a mom of older kids that she’s noticed that with 3 it always seemed like someone was getting left out when they played (although it varied which one that was). But I wonder if it’d be nice if someone wants alone time (which mine often do), if it’d be nice to have another sibling still available to play with. I’m an only child so this is all new to me, which also worries me since I really don’t have a clue what it’s like to grow up with siblings. Would I just be inviting constant chaos into the house? Is someone always going to be going through some sort of “fun” stage? I mostly worry about having enough patience to still be a good mom to all of them – I don’t want to add another and then spend all my time being frazzled and grumpy b/c it’s just too much for me to handle, when maybe with just 2 I could have been able to handle that level of craziness and still be pleasant. We’re also pretty positive we’re going to homeschool, so I worry even more about that, and about being able to work with 3 very different age levels, and especially if I can devote enough attention to each of them. And of course we worry about being able to afford it. Would we be happier with having another person to love in our family, but we can’t do as many things as we would have with 2, or would we be better getting to not be so strapped all of the time? We have fantasies of us all playing games together and loving spending time together, but is that just a fluke thing that isn’t likely to actually happen? My family isn’t close at all, so I always envied those who got together with theirs as adults and had a blast – is this a totally rare thing, or is this quite possibly what we could make happen? My kids don’t have any cousins yet, and we won’t likely live close to any anyway, so this will probably be it for their close family, so we thought it’d be great if they could have another sibling. But it sure is nice that our 2 enjoy the same things now, and are close enough that they can tag along to each other’s classes – a new baby would make that a lot harder. I know that no one would say they wished they didn’t have one of their children, I just wonder if the family life would be more enjoyable without all of the extra stresses and logistical complications that the 3rd adds (or is it just worth it all?). We’re giving ourselves until the summer to decide once and for all, so I am so grateful for this post and it’s timing. I’ve definitely had people tell me they “just knew” after their 3rd that their family was finally complete, which makes me wonder if the fact that we don’t know yet or feel like we really want another one means we should. And I know someone who has older ones and wishes they would have had 3. I just don’t know if it’s better to stay with the safe, less-stress route, and just go on thinking ours are so great that it would’ve been nice to have another, but we sure love the ones we have, or to go for the added stress hoping the next one is also laid-back and gets along well with the others and makes the family more fun, but may also make me crazy mom and not be like that at all. (Sorry, you DID ask if we were conflicted and why – can you tell I’ve been going back and forth on this forever now?? Every single day I flip-flop!) ;-) I can’t WAIT for some helpful comments on your post!

Reply

erbrooks April 3, 2013 at 9:14 am

Tiffany, I am in almost exactly this same situation, I mean, I could’ve written this down to the ages (but opposite sexes) of your children. I cling to the idea that the closeness doesn’t usually evolve naturally but with the, rather constant, help of involved parents. My Aunt, who has nine kids herself, said you must encourage the closeness. Oy, which means more work, with a lovely payoff in the end. Or will my third just be a difficult child, who requires an awful lot of attention. Or will the kids become closer to each other and we will become less involved with each but overall much more involved? Will we be able to savor or will it be constant chaos? Yes, everyday I think of these things and nearly everyday decide something different. So much for a helpful response, just a sympathetic, “we-are-in-the-same-boat” one…

Reply

Jodie February 20, 2013 at 1:57 am

I always wanted three children and my husband only two. We figured we would have the argument after the second was born. While I was still in the birthing suite, holding my second child, my second daughter, I looked at my husband and said “this is it, this is our family”. That little girl is almost 2 now and I still feel the same. I know it sounds trite and cliche but that’s how it happened for me, I just knew.

Reply

Lucy February 20, 2013 at 3:02 am

I have 2 lovely children now aged 10 and 7, one of each gender. For me I would still love to have another child to add to our brood even though I am nearly 40 and my husband is over that figure by a mile!
However, my husband was adamant that two was enough, we had two healthy children one of each, enough money to provide for those two with the things that we wanted them to do and things that they do not! Who could ask for anything more! And as we get pregnant at a drop of a hat -( honestly we do), he has had a vasectomy so that we cannot have one now! It was a joint decision just a harder one for me to accept.
Saying that now my children are a little older I am going to broach the subject of fostering small children into our family. So maybe I will get lots of 3rd children after all!

As for age gaps – my elder sister is 18 years older than me, I have a brother 16 years older and another sister 11 years older! My eldest niece is actually only 2 years younger than me. We all got on fine when I became older and independent and we had things to talk about, as a youngster not so much, but I look back and cannot say that it affected me at all, in fact I got to stay with my sisters in holiday time at their houses and get spoiled by them. My husband has a brother with a 2 year age gap – they are not close at all even though we do see him more than my siblings due to distance. Chalk and cheese is how you would put them together! Personality of children is far more predictive on how they will connect rather than age gap. My children get on like a house on fire – still play together even though my son is 10 and starting to feel the hormones flying around in his body on occasion!

Reply

katie February 20, 2013 at 3:16 am

what a topic close to my heart! i too have never shared if we were ‘trying’ with either friends or family… however we have been extremely fortunate with our trying – falling pregnant in the first month each time. we have recently been doing the HUGE umm-ing and ahh-ing about the good old #3, we have been blessed with both a boy and a girl and yet i feel like my last pregnancy was only the ‘hump’ and we both still had the feeling that we wanted our family to look more ‘full’ when sitting around the dinner table in 10 years time. in my eyes two is ‘neat’, and ‘easy’ (as other people have said, two adults, two kids or one hand each!), and ‘fits’ so easily (most ‘family passes’ are 2 adults 2 kids). however we are a bit crazy ourselves and thought that ‘neat’ wasn’t exactly us :)

the big issue was the space/time/financial discussion… we have a 3 bedroom house, only drive a small car, and i work from home so i really need to be able to juggle work with the kids around. it all seemed too much to even contemplate with a third little person in the mix. sooo, we put it in the ‘too hard basket’ and left it undiscussed. a few months ago i was then chatting with a friend who has 4 children and lamenting the fact that logistically it was impossible for us to have any more kids. her response was short, and affected me beyond belief… “You never regret the children you have, but you’ll always regret the ones you don’t”.

as you might expect, our discussions began again, caution was thrown to the wind, and i am now 5 weeks pregnant (and both terrified and thrilled!). i know it is very early days (i hope i have no friends who read this blog, lol!) but provided all goes to plan i now really feel like we have made the right choice :) funny thing is that now i ‘know’ where as i had been so up in the air before now. life is going to change in such a big way, i know the going will be tough financially (and probably emotionally – sleep deprivation with three poppets will be fun!) but all i say now is – bring it on :)

Reply

katie February 20, 2013 at 3:16 am

sorry for the essay!!

Reply

mpmk February 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Your “essay” made me smile Katie – it’s so comforting to know that you at least were able to come to a decision and are happy for it :)

Reply

Jenni February 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Wow. My husband and I are in the exact thinking process you described, Katie. We know we have more love in our hearts to share, but want to be responsible financially in terms of house, car, education and other provisions.

With much respect to all of the heartfelt postings before yours, I must say, the quote that you shared about never regretting the children you have but regretting those you do not – just struck the chord in me that my have been my tipping point to officially cast my “vote” for the third that we have been discussing. Thank you for sharing that message. It will forever stay with me. :-)

Reply

Liz February 20, 2013 at 3:22 am

Oh, this is such a toughie! We were where you are about 4 years ago. We had two children very close in age (15 months apart) and just felt in our hearts we couldn’t ever say we were done although there was no desperate need for another child either. In the end we decided to give it a go and said if it hadn’t happened within the year, we’d leave it with no regrets. We really were ambivalent about it. After several months I fell pregnant and our third child was born with a 4 and a bit and a 3 year gap between her and the others. She’s now 2 1/2 and is an absolute delight. I love the dynamic that she brings, the older two dote on their little sister and they are all very close and play together constantly. I can’t imagine not having her in our lives and am so happy we went for it. But practically speaking, it’s SO hard work. Somehow it’s more than 50% more work again!! The house is in constant chaos, the washing pile is never ending and every day is like an exhausting whirlwind!! So don’t underestimate that impact too!! I never have enough time for all of them, but that
does mean they learn sharing, waiting, helping out!! I have other friends with 3 too and they all seem to find the practical side really hard going. I think Emily’s phrase of ‘parenting incompetence’ sums it up perfectly! I’d never want to put anyone off but just be prepared for a tough few years, especially if they are all quite little.

Reply

Kirstie February 20, 2013 at 3:52 am

We really wanted three children but our first two were both premature (both under 30 weeks). We were so lucky with both that they are healthy and well that it just feels too risky to try again. The impact on the current two children if a third pregnancy was to not have such fortunate outcomes would be too great financially and emotionally. So begrudgingly we are complete.

Reply

Janalin Hood February 20, 2013 at 4:55 am

What if… we could rid ourselves of the weight of this decision? What if instead we let God choose it for us? Our culture is so hyper-programmed to schedule every detail of our lives. How much are we missing out on because of it?

We have two children- a daughter and then a son that is three and a half years younger. Our daughter was a surprise a few months into our marriage and our son was planned. In hindsight I feel that there is a child missing in between the two of them… Now that the aformentioned clock is ticking, my convictions are strong that our culture has it all wrong about family planning. When we ask ourselves if our family is ‘complete’ should we instead ask if we have too much love? Because when we view children as love it is a game-changer. Is there such a thing as too much love?

Reply

Crystal February 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Your response is incredible. Our first two are “perfectly” planned and we’ve been struggling with the idea of a 3rd.

But you’re right, I need to turn it over to God. He has plenty of love for me, so I have plenty of love for children.

Reply

Tiffany February 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Amen Janalin! Leaving it in GODS hands and letting HIS WILL be done in our lives is the best decision! I know how many kids God wants me to have is the Perfect number!!! Whether 1 or 5 Let Gods will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

Reply

Emily February 20, 2013 at 4:59 am

This is something I have thought a lot about too. After my son was born, I was certain I wanted to have three. I couldnt believe how much I loved being a mom. I now have a 3 1/2 month old daughter as well and I feel surprisingly complete. She had a very scary birth and we feel so grateful that she made it healthy and safe. So I do think some my feelings come from fear, like we don’t want to push our luck. I also sometimes think that my desire to have three was more about not wanting to let the exciting baby creating, pregnancy, newborn part of my life go. Like I said, my little one is still very little, so Im not sure we are ready to make the decision “permanent” yet, but I am definitely believing that our beautiful family is complete.

Reply

Lisa February 20, 2013 at 5:22 am

So nice to know im not alone in this. I recently blogged about our 3rd child dilemma as well. We have two children, one of each, with a 2 year and 2 month age gap. If we were to of had the same gap between number 2 and number 3, Id need to be having number 3 right now!

Both my husband and I float in and out of wanting a 3rd or feeling like we should stop at 2. Im really concerned that my wanting a 3rd baby is more about missing the excitement of it all. That moment of discovering you are pregnant really is priceless. But I can relate to what Katie said about a family of four feeling very ‘neat’ and proper. I’m the eldest of 6 children so I’ve never felt ‘neat’ or proper and still think with a big family mentality.

My husband is the eldest of 3 children and he has issues about the 2 against 1 scenario.

Our reservations about having a 3rd are much the same as everyone else’s: ‘two hands, two parents’, only live in a 3 bed home, extra financial burden and potential lack of opportunities for our children if we add another one to the mix, a feeling of wanting to get my life back a little (finish my studies, start my new career) and a lack of family support. Im also the mother of 2 very ‘spirited’ children and I have concerns about how I would handle a 3rd child.

So I can explain all the reasons why I dont think we should have a 3rd, but cant really explain why I do. All I know is that it is something I think of DAILY! Hourly even! I seem to be obsessed with counting how many children other families have when Im out and about. I constantly imagine what it would be like with a 3rd, school drop off’s with Miss 3 and my big pregnant belly in tow. Three children in the back of the car, ive imagined every scenario! And I’m embarrassed to admit how many times ive googled ‘having 3 kids’, ‘should I have a third child?’, ‘reasons not to have another child’!!

Luckily for us, age and fertility seem to be on our side. I’m only 28 and both times we decided to ‘start trying’ we fell pregnant first go. We have given ourselves a bit of a deadline for making our decision-next year after my 30th birthday in May. That means for me Id get to celebrate my 30th birthday without being pregnant or breastfeeding, and it gives me time to have nearly finished my studies before the next baby would be born.

But honestly, I often find myself hoping for a happy ‘accident’ to make the decision for us!

Good luck making your decision. I look forward to hearing what you decide!

Lisa

Reply

LovePeanuts February 20, 2013 at 5:38 am

I could have written many of the same joys and worries about my two very close knit boys when they were toddlers. They are 27 months apart with very different personalities and gifts. By the time they entered school it was clear – one is very sports and math oriented the other arts and literature. They are still best friends. Reality is though that their very different gifts/personalities will either tear them apart or make them very close. Neither my husband or I are lose with our same gender sibling and we both want something different for our boys. So last spring, we decided to grow our family. We didn’t want a 6 year age gap between the boys and the new sibling. We opted instead to become licensed pre-adoptive foster parents with the intent on a preschooler. Training complete, rooms ready and licensed within six months. In Nov, we got THE call for a 4 year old girl AND her 5 year old brother. We jumped. We now have four – three boys (8, 6, & 6) and one girl (5). We’re a new family, just 100 days in, but we finally feel complete.

Yes, it will be about 2 years before we have the paperwork complete and are legally one family. In the meantime, we recieve a monthly financial reimbursement to help with costs, get the opportunity to know the birth family and can prepare our financial future for the four children that are ours. Yes, we will have an open adoption. Yes, there are trauma issues involved but there are also great supports with therapists and social workers who are amazing. Most days the kids have fun together. Most days are full of laughter and those days make up for the high stress days where the only thing that works is early bed time and a glass of wine for mama.

Reply

Anna February 20, 2013 at 9:10 am

Thank you for sharing this! This is what I want and I was just terrified it could never happen this beautifully. I’m glad it is possible.

Reply

LovePeanuts February 20, 2013 at 10:06 am

Anna- It’s possible! Just find a really good trainer (county or agency) who will ask you the hard questions… what kind of medical issues / behaviors you can handle (we choose food allergies/asthma and ADD/ADHD/SPD), personality preferences (my sons made it clear the new sibling HAD to like sports or it wasn’t going to work), and then once you have that personality profile of the right foster child for your family… don’t deviate. It is okay to say no to referral. If you’re interested, check out a local info night at your local Child Protective Services or foster agency. They are usually two hours and will help you know if you have the patience for the waiting game of foster to adopt.

Reply

mpmk February 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Thanks so much for opening up and giving us this glimpse into your life – the gift that you’ve given to your children (and they back to you I’m sure) truly is awe-inspiring.

Reply

Jacqueline February 20, 2013 at 5:52 am

We always said we’d have 3, both coming from 3′s, but when it came down to it my first 2 births were so different and eventful we couldn’t face doing it again, having said that I wouldn’t have been upset if it had happened.

As the eldest of 3 (all girls, born 1977, 1980 and 1983), I’d say that I’ve only just become friends really with my youngest sister in last 5 years, , as she was only 12 when I left home to go to university at 18 and although we generally get on well I see us as 3 different pairs rather than 3 together. I feel they get on better with each other than they do with me, because they had their teenage years as a pair, whilst I was at university, and I suspect my youngest sister felt left out when she was younger – being the baby who destroyed lego models and not being able to ride a bike when we could.

I love being one of 3 but also now theyre older and im passed the point where going back to nappies and sleepless nights seem possible I’m quite happy with the 2 I have!

Reply

Kari February 20, 2013 at 7:36 am

I would love to have this discussion as a matter of “should we or shouldn’t we.” But as a barren mother, who must rely on adoption to provide my babies, it’s a choice of when do we gather courage to throw our hat in the ring and start the waiting game again.
With two boys (9 & 5) thriving, we have just finished up the paperwork for that hopeful third. And I’m concerned about the dynamic of three–I’d prefer four. And at 37, I’m worried that I won’t be in the running for a fourth. Will I be too old? Will the babies all be too far apart? Will it even be an option? Will I end up smothering the two I have for lack of another baby to snuggle?
I have no control over any part of it. So I wait. And I’ll happily take whatever I’m given.

Reply

Julie February 20, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Thank you Kari!
So nice to hear from another mum who doenst actually have the same control over whether or not to add to the family!
I wanted to be a mum by 25… but after 3.5 years of trying I was finally mum at 27.
Now my very special blessing (son) is nearly 3.5 and it’s been another 2.5+ emotionally challenging years of trying for number 2. We always thought 3 would be nice… but it seems with recent test results that we were lucky to have the one, and there may well not be any more. Financially adoption and IVF are out of the question, and IVF is a risky procedure for us even if we could afford it.
So please, you mums out there that are able to choose whether to add to your families or not, thank God that it’s that way for you, and that you have children with relative ease.

Children certainly are a blessing :)

Reply

Alex February 20, 2013 at 7:54 am

I went through a similar internal debate over whether or not to become pregnant with the baby I’m currently carrying who will be my 5th (hubby’s 6th). As you can imagine our hands are already pretty dang full with 5 kids ranging from 8yo to 1yo, and our finances are pretty tight. But we’ve made a lot of adaptations (we have a late 80′s model RV that helps us travel affordably and cozily) and are pretty used to crazy around here. Two things finally tipped the scales for me: 1) someone in our family lost a baby at 35 1/2 weeks, which was so devastating and really brought home to me how short and precious life is, and 2) both my husband and I really wanted one more no matter how “good or bad” an idea that was and, gruff man though he is, he said it well, “It just feels like everyone isn’t here, yet.” To me the most important factors to consider are less the external ones and more the internal ones. Though in our case it helps that we have very supportive family on both sides, and our kids really wanted one more baby (the 4yo was even drawing pics of me pregnant at preschool so I wouldn’t “forget” what it was like, lol). Whatever decision you end up making, try not to second guess yourself or look back. No matter how much we plan for a particular type of family, life often unfolds in entirely unpredictable ways.

Reply

Jessica February 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Thank you so much for your response. We have three beautiful girls, and are currently trying for our fourth baby. Yes, we are tired and overwhelmed at times, and finances are not cushy, but I feel exactly like what your husband so eloquently put into words–I don’t feel like everyone is here yet, either. Your comment helped me feel like we’re not completely crazy:) I have always envied people that are blessed enough to come fom big, loud, love-filled families…..we are on our way! Trusting in Him always.

Reply

Jen February 20, 2013 at 8:04 am

I’m pregnant with our third and fully intended on having a forth, however, pregnancy doesn’t do well for me (I struggle with severe anxiety and post-partum depression that medication doesn’t help with). However, I loathe the idea of having three. I grew up as one of three girls. The sibling rivalry was and is absolutely insane. My parents each had a favorite (I wasn’t it!) and there was always an imbalance.

I swore I would never have three, but I’m really struggling with the idea of another pregnancy. I have to consider the ramifications on difficult pregnancy on my children who are already here.

Reply

tess February 20, 2013 at 8:14 am

We have 3–two are 14 and 15, one is 5! I always knew I wanted three. I was happy with two but something felt like it was missing. It was hard to have the first two so close together and with the personality of my second, I knew we would have to wait for at least a few years to have another. Well, life got in the way, then one miscarriage and a second. We prayed for direction from God and got confirmation to go forward. I knew that whatever the outcome of the last effort was, that would be it for us. We are so blessed to have a third. She was the easiest baby and we’ve always had built in babysitters. The older two love her and frankly, she’s fresh air when the teenagers are crabby.

Reply

Laura Walker February 20, 2013 at 8:24 am

I think one of the best gifts you can give your children is more siblings. What better way for your kids to learn compassion, sharing, problem solving, communication, service and love by fighting, playing and interacting with each other. Now that doesn’t mean you have to be like the Duggars and have 20 children. I think you have to take into account, space, money, age, and your level of patience or desire. For me I know I want three but the idea of four sounds too crazy and too overwhelming, and I wouldn’t be the kind of mom I want to be. But if you are on the fence about having another one, do it! You won’t regret having another baby, I’ve never heard anyone regrets having another child only they wished they had more. Ok and one more thought, at the end of the day it’s up to you as parents to decide and not look back. Just decide to be ok with two and enjoy every minute or take the plunge to have another and enjoy every minute of having another! Either way don’t second guess yourself.

Reply

julia [life on churchill] February 20, 2013 at 8:48 am

My husband and I planned to have 4 or 5 kids. But for now we have two. They are a huge blessing and (with some medical and developmental challenges). Pair that with the large distance from our extended family and we feel 2 is the right size for our family for now. My two are such a gift, and such good friends. If we have more kids we might have to have them as a set :)

Reply

Anna February 20, 2013 at 8:55 am

I am right where you are. I have a 5yo and almost 3yo, and I am almost 36 and trying to decide on a third. Both my husband and I are one of two, so that is what we are used to, but I can’t help but feel that I am supposed to mother one more. To complicate matters my husband is 9yrs older than me and definitely feels he is done. I have two close friends who just had twins naturally and that scares the &$@ out of me. I feel so blessed with two healthy, beautiful boys and I am scared I won’t be so lucky with the third. Like you, I am not really a huge baby lover (well I love holding other’s babies but hate the sleep deprivation, etc.), but I want my kids to have big families when they grow up. My sister probably won’t have children and I grew up without cousins and wish I had more family to rely on. I am terrified that something is going to happen to one of my boys leaving the other all alone, but at the same time, with my little one almost potty trained, I’m scared of starting all over again. I am so jealous of my friends who recently had babies and know for sure they are done. They really are cherishing every moment and I feel a little sad that I never had that conviction of holding my last baby. Then considering all the practical delimnas of 3: car to drive, bedrooms, three college educations, inability to do amusement parks without a third adult, travel, $$$$$, etc., it getsnsonoverwhelming (i have always said hsving a baby is not a rational decision). We have been in the mindset that if an accident happens, God’s will be done, but we are not actively trying. I just hope I don’t regret this decision. I’ve also considered adoption or fostering, but i’m just not sure if I am the person to deal with the emotional impact and psychological consequences to make that dynamic work. For now I just pray about it every day. Thanks so much for opening up this forum.

Reply

Megan B February 20, 2013 at 8:59 am

I feel like I’m in the minority here, but we are DONE. I have a 6-year-old boy and a 2 1/2-year-old girl, and there is no doubt in my mind or my husband’s mind. The first time the 4 of us went out together I said, “This just feels so natural.” I always thought a family of 4, especially one with 1 boy and 1 girl, was way too cute. I kind of still feel that way at times actually! But my kids get along really well (they’re building a fort as I type this), and I don’t want to be outnumbered! To get extra personal, when I had my daughter, I decided to get an IUD figuring it’d give us 5 years to decide whether or not to have more kids. We’re halfway through the 5 years and we’re sold on the 2 kids. I can’t say that there’s anything concrete that made the decision for us; I think it’s just our gut instinct. I also know that I’m done because when I hear about friends who are pregnant, I no longer feel that longing to be pregnant as well (and I loved being pregnant!).
I personally think that if you don’t know what you want, you can’t go wrong with either decision. I think it’s much harder when one spouse wants another one while the other spouse is done.
Good luck with your decision!

Reply

Sherri February 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I loved your comment. I am pregnant with #3 (unplanned) at 25 weeks and just now really starting to feel the excitement because of all the mixed feelings. I think that what you said about hearing about other pregnancies and not longing for it really hit home. I was content with my 4 year old son and 3 year old daughter but still had such a fondness for pregnancy. Although we came to different conclusions for our families, I very much thought your post sounded just like me! …and ironically makes me much more comfortable about #3. I think that you “love being pregnant” made me feel like eventually this will pass when my family is complete.

Reply

Megan B February 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Thanks, Sherri. Good luck with your pregnancy!

Reply

Gina February 20, 2013 at 9:00 am

Ours was more of a rational decision – if I am using the right word. When I met my husband he had 2 boys already. I had always wanted 3 but we discussed that between his 2 boys and our future kids we should stick with 2 of our own to make it a family of 4 kids, so I agreed. That was how our decision was made. It made sense financially and emotionally to not run ourselves thru the ringer with more than we can handle.

Talk about age difference… when my daughter was born (my husband’s 4th child) his oldest son was 18 yrs old! While they probably wont be close forever, right now they both adore each other (she is now 2 and he is almost 20).

Reply

Sarah February 20, 2013 at 9:11 am

When our oldest was 2 months old my husband starting asking when we were going to have another baby. ( I kept telling him when get got pregnant and gave birth is a good time for another) But we decided right away that we would have one more and that was it. Since we had to have another Csection I had my tubes tied right then and I am so thankful for that option. I wouldn’t have went in to get them tied if I wasn’t already opened up…

Reply

elle February 20, 2013 at 9:29 am

We have 5 boys and we are done. We had them all rather quickly and it has been a lot of work but a lot of fun! We never felt complete until the 5th one came and they all love playing with each other. I think as a result of having them close together they have learned to be very caring and unselfish. They are all in school now but I look back at those baby- toddler days very fondly. That baby- toddler stage is such a short time of life and now I get to converse with boys and young men and it is awesome! I’ve always heard you never regret the kids you have, only the ones you didn’t. Life is too short to not bring more love into the world!

Reply

JennyM February 20, 2013 at 9:53 am

I think the only thing that matters is if you and your partner WANT to raise another baby. The family system adjusts, and you can only know/understand the current sibling relationship as it exists this moment. The size of the house/car/bank accounts are all secondary issues that can be figured out with the answer to the first question. I know that for us, my husband and I felt done after two. So when we are asked, Are you having more kids? The standard response is, Not on purpose? :) Good luck and GodSpeed.

Reply

JessE February 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

We have one, 20 months, and plan to have another. We’ve always said we’ll have two and definitely plan to do so. I’ve been an only child, a youngest child, and the oldest child of 4 (by way of remarriage and adoption). What I know from my experience is that I definitely want to give my son a sibling that he will grow up knowing and hope that in our tight family, they grow to be close. As the oldest of 4 money was always tight and while I wouldn’t change my upbringing, I do want to be able to travel comfortably with my children around the world and send them to college. So, for financial reasons, car reasons (I want the option of being able to drive a regular sized SUV or sedan), and generally just for being able to manage them both (we don’t want to be outnumbered!) we’re very likely to stick with two. As for spacing, we would likely already be ready for #2, but I just started a new job, so we’re hoping for our second by next year (just before I turn 35). I hope that 3 years won’t be too much time between them.

Reply

JessE February 20, 2013 at 10:28 am

Oh and as a note to any that are concerned about spacing (as I am–so I should heed my own advice) I am closest to my youngest sister who is 11 years my junior. I guess you just never know how sibling relationships will develop and can only hope for the best!

Reply

Mary Anne February 20, 2013 at 10:29 am

I was divorced with two small (age 1 and 3) children when I met my husband. He’s basically been the only Dad they’ve ever had, despite their father still being in the fringes of their life. We got pregnant pretty much on our honeymoon and had our first daughter 19 days before our first anniversary when our older children were 7 and 9. We debated having another but we saw how close the older two were and we didn’t want our third child to not have a sibling/playmate close in age so we didn’t try, but we didn’t not try (if you get my drift) and just let nature take its course. Our fourth child is 20 months younger than our third. Four months after our fourth child was born, my husband had a vasectomy (and then, funny enough, two years later I needed a hysterectomy so we’re really done for sure!)
For all of you that think that four is too many, I say au contraire! Yes, mine are further apart than many of yours (they were 20 months, 8-1/2 and 3 weeks after her 11th birthday when my youngest was born) so they weren’t bam!bam!bam! right in a row and I was able to have a “helper” in my older two, but really – who has four kids in four years? Won’t most of you have at least one in school by the time a fourth one arrives? Do you know what that means? That means: you will have someone who can read a story to a sibling while you make dinner; you have someone who can play a game with a sibling while you feed a baby; you have someone who stays up a little later than a toddler for some special one-on-one time; you have someone who understands that mom only has two hands and she really will be there for them in a minute; you have someone who you can hand the coupons to when you go shopping and they will feel soooo important and valued to pick those items off the shelf when you’re shopping and you’re teaching them math skills, life skills, and the value of a dollar, and home management skills without them even realizing it. (I remember doing that with my mom and feeling so grown up and I was the youngest!)
My oldest daughter and my younger two daughters are so close I never would have imagined it – they’ve bonded over TV shows, books, music, and teachers they had in school (despite being 9 and 11 years apart!) The older one introduced the younger ones to Gilmore Girls, the younger ones introduced the older one to Dr. Who. They all four had the same English teacher in high school and he instilled in them a love of literature (Thanks, Mr. P!!!) beyond Harry Potter and Rick Riordan.
Yes, there were times I went to the grocery store to talk to an adult because I was surrounded by babies all day, but I also lived 3500 miles away from my family for my husband’s job. When I immersed myself in my children’s school PTO, that was no longer the case (and their grades increased dramatically because my awareness of what was going on at their school was likewise increased.)
My husband is one of two and I am one of ten children, so four is a “compromise” of sorts to us. Now, our children are 25, 23, 16 and 14; the oldest has her Master’s and two Bachelor’s degrees; my son has a Bachelor’s and an Associate’s degree; the 16- year-old is a junior in high school and the 14-year-old is a sophomore. The two older ones are living independently on their own each several hundred miles from us in different cities and supporting themselves financially. We’ve always told them they could do whatever they set their minds to do and darned if they didn’t go and prove us right. I went back to college and finished my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (with four children) when my youngest started first grade. I felt it was important to show my children how important a college education was – at whatever age they were. It also showed them how important it was to study and helped the older two earn scholarships to college, which has really helped our budget!
Whatever you decide to do, have another or not have another child, it has to be a decision you make on your own. You and your family are the ones who live with that decision and are impacted by that decision. Other people can weigh in on it, but they do not have to live with it – you do. So, don’t give anyone else the power to make a decision that will impact your family for the rest of your lives. Don’t make a decision out of the fear of “what if…?” or “can I…?” because life is messy and uncertain. I say that because six months before I got married I was involved in a mass shooting similar to Sandy Hook, yet here I am. You don’t know what’s around the corner; what’s the saying “Man plans and God laughs”? That’s not meant to discourage you, that’s meant to ENcourage you to live life to the fullest.
Have food fights with your kids. Jump in puddles. Dye their hair purple when they’re in high school. Kiss them in front of their friends. Sing out loud in the car. Dance like Ellen when a song you like comes on in the grocery store. I’ve done it ALL. And the best thing I’ve ever heard is “So-and-so wishes she could come live here because she said it’s more fun at our house.” (So-and-so wasn’t in our car this morning when I told daughter #2 she wasn’t going to her after school activity because her assignment that’s due tomorrow wasn’t completely finished and I was picking her up right after school but daughter #3 was allowed to go!) Yes, they pretend they’re embarrassed (sometimes) but other times they dance, laugh, and sing along. They get joy out of life. And I think they got that from the saying “the more, the merrier!”… but that’s just me and my opinion. Don’t let me influence you.
Your family has to live with your decision. Like someone said in an earlier post: “You will only regret the children you didn’t have.” Can you live with it? Yes? Then you’ve answered your question and your family is complete.

Reply

Jenny February 20, 2013 at 10:54 am

Mary Anne,
I didn’t read your comment until after I submitted mine. I relate to your story in so many ways even though I am still “at the beginning.” If I have a fourth, the two youngest will be 4 years apart which concerns me a bit, but you have also given me the reminder that age gaps don’t matter! My sister and I are 17 years apart and we are great friends!!!! Thanks.

Jenny

Reply

Jenny February 20, 2013 at 10:46 am

I come from a family of 8 kids, I am #2 in the line-up and the oldest girl. My youngest sister just turned 17, the age I was when she was born. I helped raise her and my youngest brother! As much as I love my siblings, I knew that having 8 kids was not in my make-up. 4 seemed like a great number to me and knew it would be my max. After I had baby #2 I had some complications that required surgery. My husband and I decided that we were done and I was fine with that. But then a few years later we were divorced. I remarried and had baby #3. Until recently I thought I was done, but then I realized I want my youngest to have someone closer to his age and to not be an “only child” when my older two are away. I like the even number of 4 and I just “feel” like someone is missing! I have plenty of worries too, but I feel like this is a matter of following my heart and trusting in something greater than myself.

Reply

anonymous February 20, 2013 at 11:28 am

I am the oldest of 3, my husband is oldest of 2. He grew up with no cousins, I grew up with too many cousins :D We have 3 kiddos, from 10-18, and have tried for more since our youngest was a toddler. It just never happened…I always wanted more, but really believed if it was meant to happen, it would. We love our kiddos, they’re all 3-4 yrs apart. That said, they don’t get along perfectly -esp. now that we have teens, but they love each other. My sister and I were only 12 months apart, and NEVER got along till we were adults (we even shared a room), I think its never going to be perfect, as we all hope and dream, but it works. Age differences don’t seal the deal. A lot of that has to do with upbringing, and more specifically personalities. That’s why friends, even cousins can be so important. I love my sister but I honestly am closer to a few close friends. We live close to each other, and see each other, don’t get me wrong, but we aren’t super close – but do love and respect each other. I think things happen for a reason, and we can’t decide how things happen, we just have to take what we have and treasure it. God will bring the people we all need into our lives, whether it be through sibling relationships, friendships, etc… My closest cousin and I are almost 12 yrs apart, we are very close friends. Don’t underestimate those relationships, you never know how they can blossom. My father came from a family of 8. His youngest brother was 18 yrs younger (my dad was in service at 18), all this to say, he is closest now to his youngest brother, and its so crazy the things they have in common! The number of children is not important, that will be different for everyone, and may not even come as you hope or expect, but we have to just love, nurture, and pray for the ones we do have, and the relationships that we are blessed with, including cousins, close friends…people are put in our lives for a reason! Anyhow, I’m thankful for my family and its definitely not the way we hoped or planned, but I feel blessed and excited at what I’ve seen happen for my kids in relationships, when I worried so much when they were little. Oh…and after all that trying, and even considering adoption –
We just got a little shocker, a surprise pregnancy…many years later than we ever expected, we are ALL super excited to be on this new adventure. I know the kids will be a big help and are loving planning and thinking about the future… Don’t give up, and don’t worry, it never worked for me all those years!!!

Reply

Katherine February 20, 2013 at 11:29 am

I always wanted a girl and a boy and now thank God we have them. Our family is complete for me but my husband wants one more. I just feel that due to my career path, architect, and the economic situation that comes with it I wouldn’t be able to have one more. But again you never know since my little girl was barely born 5 months ago…maybe desire to have another one in the future once she gets bigger.

Reply

Heather d February 20, 2013 at 11:44 am

My husband and I ate both the 5th of 5 kids and we loved growing up with our older siblings and now both have close relationships with them. We want that for our children too and have always said we’d have 3 to 5 children. We have two boys, 2 years and 3 months, and we’re planning on having two more. I have to have c-sections and my dr said four was the most he’d like me to have, so we’re having four kids and we’re happy with that. Yeah it’ll be rough for a few years, but oh so rewarding on so many levels.

Reply

Liz February 20, 2013 at 11:52 am

I am in the exact place. I have 2 girls 21 months apart. The clock is ticking. For some reason I always thought I would have 3 kids. I’m almost 37. I am only giving us a year or two to decide. I still don’t feel ready because my girls are only 2 and 4. I’m also afraid of taking away time from my girls. I really think I will be ready once one or both of my girls start school. I truly believe there is never a good time to have kids you just have to do it if you want another.

Reply

Loren February 20, 2013 at 12:48 pm

It’s really a tough decision and either way, it’s not easy. I’ve struggled with wanting another child vs. the practicality of adding a third child to the mix. I have 2 boys, 23 months apart with the youngest going into kindergarten in the fall. Only now do I feel like we are managing and really enjoying being a family of 4. But there are times that I feel like I have one more child waiting but the reality of being 42 yrs. old, working full-time, and just exhausted with everyone’s schedules, keeps us from pursuing. Plus, I just don’t know if we can do it finacially too. Though I have a good friend who has 3 boys and loves it.

Reply

Carrie S February 20, 2013 at 1:40 pm

So interesting–because I have been extremely vocal about my wants/concerns/desired/questions regarding having another baby. I have actually blogged about it often (example here http://rowdystroudy.blogspot.com/2012/08/convincing.html) , because I think hearing others opinions helps me reach my own understanding on the matter. My clock is beyond ticking (my oldest is 7) and I don’t feel as though we are finished yet, although, the idea that I SHOULD be finished is like a flash light in my face. That type of age gap doesn’t make any logical sense. And yet, I think everyone has different circumstances (we sure have due to illness etc) and I have finally reached the conclusion that maybe I am just one of those Mom’s who has children spaced far a part. And that is OKAY.

Reply

Melanie February 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm

My husband and I plan to have 4. We have 3 boys now, ages 5, 2, and 9 months. I was one of 3 and I am not crazy about this dynamic. Someone was always being teamed up on. I would really love to have more than 4 children, but we have decided that this would be too difficult financially.

Reply

Alyse W February 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Well since our family is still starting out, we don’t know for sure but the “Plan” is to just have 2 kids. Right now we just have one son (18months). His birth was a scary process where he had to be in the NICU and mom and baby almost didn’t make it. and as new parents it really scared us about having more. Originally our plan was 2 if we got a boy and a girl but if we got 2 boys or 2 girls we would try for a 3rd. Now however, we are both pretty set on just 2 and would be happy with 2 boys if that is what happened. We don’t want DS to be an only child since there won’t be any cousins near him either. I grew up as the oldest of 6 and it was to loud and stressful for me and I don’t really have a good relationship with any of my siblings. It was always the older kids vs the younger or the boys against the girls and we all just seemed to constantly fight. DH grew up the oldest of 2 most of his life (until an oops baby came) and him and his brother were the best of friends. So 2 kids is our set number but never more than 3

Reply

Sarah February 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I am so relieved that there are so many people out there facing the same dilemma I was facing. I have two boys – 4 and 19 months – and I had this gut feeling inside that I want to have a third. Unfortunately my husband is quite adamant about not wanting anymore kids. A few months ago this was causing quite a bit of animosity between us and I was extremely upset that he was “denying” me my third child. Because he was so intent on not even considering another I had to really search deep down and try to make sense of this feeling of being incomplete without a third child. First I know that I want a daughter. And of course this is so silly because I would most likely end up with another son. My mom and I are extremely close. She is literally my best friend. I think I am scared that because I know she won’t be around forever I want to have a daughter of my own to have this relationship with. Of course though even if I did end up with a daughter there would definitely be no guarantee that we would end up close. Another reason I want a third is I have always dreamed of having a large family. I am the youngest of two kids and my brother and I are very close but we always dreamed of having more siblings. I want those big family dinners and lots of grandkids and family vacations with lots of people and big Christmas mornings. But again there is never a guarantee this would be the case. My husband has five other siblings and none of them are close. One other reason I realized a third kid was something I “needed” was because I think being a stay-at-home mom is what I do, what I am good at. When my two boys get to school age there will be no one left for me to take care of during the day and it will make me feel insignificant I think. Realizing this really hit home for me. It was selfish reasons why I wanted another when my husband clearly does not. Now I am happy to wait a few years and if we BOTH decide a third child is right for our family then maybe we will try. We are very lucky to have two beautiful, healthy, awesome boys and an income that supports me to stay home with them. If a third child is in the cards it will happen but I am no longer loosing sleep over it.

Reply

Chris February 20, 2013 at 5:34 pm

This was a hard discussion for me also…. I am an only child, my husband was the middle of 5. We each had our issues with being “the only one” and “one of many” but added to that….he already had 2 children from a previous marriage (aged 8 & 6 when we married). He was done with kids…but really wanted one. It was a nice compromise- still a small-sh family, but my daughter has 2 siblings. The age difference has made it hard for them as youngsters, but I hope they will all grow closer as they get older.

Reply

Chris February 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm

We’re done at two. We had always been wishy-washy between 2 or 3 (me two, him three). Those were the size families we each grew up in. But I also had some parameters. My first was born in April 2010, so he’s approaching 3. I didn’t want kids more than 4 years apart because I DO want to get back into the workforce, or at least involved in some adult activities (volunteering, etc.) while my child(ren) are in school. So, if I didn’t get pregnant by this summer, we were having an only.

We’re not, though. I’m 9w with our second, due in September, and s/he will be our last. I have hypermesis AGAIN, and it’s truly not been fair to the child that is physically present in my life to be unable to interact with him in the way that he needs on a daily basis. So it’s just not something I’m willing to do again (honestly, everyone is surprised I’m even going through with a second pregnancy, I was so miserable the first time around). Plus, a third child would mean losing our guest bedroom which really is not a realistic thing when we have a lot of out-of-town family that visits with regularity.

So… I’ll be having Essure implanted/done as soon as I can post-partum, and that’ll be the end of it for us. But we’re both content with that decision.

Reply

Lauri February 20, 2013 at 7:40 pm

It’s interesting to skim the notes and see all of the comments. I have one little boy and my family is complete and I’ve known it in my bones since he was born. There are lots of practical considerations for this – living in the Bay Area and trying to pay for another or two, being 40, increased chaos, etc. – but those would only be obstacles to overcome if I wanted a bigger family. But I really don’t. I love having one child, I love that I can really focus on him and how he’s magically changing everyday before my eyes. I love the idea of close-knit siblings, I’m a twin (and, boy, was I hoping to have twins!) but there will be lots of ways to build an extended family for him. And, if we’re fortunate, we will teach him how to find his own brothers and sisters that make his life complete and full.

Reply

Gabrielle February 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm

We have 3. 5, 4 and 12 months. I have to say that the first two were 18 months apart and that was crazy, but they are best friends. It was a whole different experience being pregnant with and having #3. There were two little people so excited for and just waiting for him to be born. When my water broke, I will never forget the two of them holding hands and cheering. Now he has the biggest cheering squad for every little new thing he does, we are all in love and he loves his siblings. I have been questioning if we should add a fourth. Time is ticking and I’m not quite ready yet. I guess if it happens, it happens. I don’t feel completely ready to shut the door. At times it is nuts and the fear of the unknown ( i have 3 healthy children, what if this one has a problem, would I blame myself? )but I have never heard anyone say they regretted having another child, but I have heard people say they regret NOT having another.

Reply

Tiffany February 20, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Great question! For us, we always thought — 4 kids. When we had our third, it put us over the edge (can we really do this? this is HARD!) Our kids are 5, almost 4 and 2. I’m currently about to have number 4 and throughout this entire pregnancy, I’ve felt a completeness inside. I’m really enjoying the “lasts”, and feel like our family is now complete. BUT, I must admit, making the decision to have 4 kids instead of just 3 was tricky. In some ways we felt like it was “impractical”, but we just knew that our family wasn’t done yet… godspeed trying to figure it out for your family!

Reply

Amy K. February 20, 2013 at 11:56 pm

hmmmm…. it was different for me – we had always known we wanted at least 2, and then #2 took waaaayy longer than planned, so he was born when I thought we might be having a third. For quite a while after that, I wanted another baby, and then suddenly, when a good friend got pregnant, I was SO relieved it was her & not me! That was when I knew we were D.O.N.E. And man, it was nice to KNOW. Good luck figuring it out for your family!

Reply

Carrie February 21, 2013 at 2:13 am

I got back and forth about this constantly. My husband will have as many as I will say yes to having (he would go quite high)! We currently have three, ages 7, 4 1/2, and 2. At one time I thought we should have five, but I have awful pregnancies and sickness even into post-partum, so the more we have the less I think I can handle another pregnancy. But I am pretty sure there is one more for us. I get excited and scared thinking about it. It nags at me constantly — I feel very drawn to having this fourth child. I look around and think, there is someone missing. But then I think about logic, and my health, and a list of reasons the other way. On hard days, I think well I guess three is ok, but always I come back to having a fourth. The idea of a newborn makes me so happy and tired at the same time, but the thought of caring for a newborn outweighs the cons for me. I don’t care about giving them anything fancy — I grew up on a farm, without a lot of money or traveling, but there were five of us kids and we had a total blast together and with our parents. We all still have close relationships even though we don’t all live close. I see how happy my kids are and how well they get along, and how happy we are to be a family. Why not add that fourth? But that will definitely be my max and I’ll probably run off and get my tubes tied. Hah.

Reply

Grace February 21, 2013 at 8:11 am

Reading everyone’s comments about how much they hated being one of 3 kids, or are avoiding having only 3 kids is freaking me out a bit! We have three kids, (4, 3, 9 months) with the idea that we would have four- but I can’t do it again. I love love love being pregnant and am so sad about not doing that again, but all three of my kids have had raging, screaming, inconsolable, up all-day-and-night colic until almost 4 months. It makes me insane, I turn into a crying, sleep deprived, “I hate my life” mess until they finally start to settle.

I am one of four kids, we didn’t go anywhere fancy or having nice things, but we were always a really close-knit family and I loved the noise and chaos and the fun of the larger family. Like Carrie, I am really drawn to a fourth kid, it’s what I’ve always wanted, but I don’t think I can handle another newborn. Maybe we’ll just adopt?

Reply

Cammie February 21, 2013 at 9:05 am

I never thought I’d get married much less have any children. Once I did get married and discovered how passionately my hubby wanted children I agreed that we could have 1 or 2. After our 2nd I felt like there was something important missing from our family. Then the 3rd came and he is a treat and blessing. My 2 oldest treat him like a king and for 2.5 years we’ve been comfortably “finished.” Until recently, when this maybe 1 more bug hit me. I’m now in the same boat as you and have no idea what we’ll chose.

Reply

Christina February 21, 2013 at 9:37 am

There are a lot of comments (!) and I didn’t take the time to read them all so sorry if this has been said a hundred times. The age difference isn’t what makes sibs close of not. My brother was born when my sis and I were 6 and 9 years. She and I were never good friends and we both adored him. Now, at 34, 31, and 25, we all get along great, and visit regularly. As our parents age, I’m sure we will have no more than the usual difficulties with sharing the responsibility to care for them. (I too have 3 kids, spaced 3- 3 1/2 years apart, and I want another.)

Reply

Ashley February 21, 2013 at 9:54 am

We have 3 healthy babies. 3.5yrs, nearly 2 and a 4 month old.
I am personally the youngest of 3, and very much disliked the dynamics (odd one out…), my husband is #2 with 3 other sisters, which he seemed to have a good time with, but also had issues being the only boy (left out of the ‘girl’ trips…).
We always thought 4, but with pregnancies having issues with each, needing a csection, having #3 closer then expected (and thus wanting #4 to be close too) and surrounded by friends who are complete with 3 or 4 kids, we are yearning to move onto the next stage of life. Yet, my heart is always pulled to this 4th child and I feel my reasons to be done are selfish ones (ready to get back into shape, not stretch out my clothing, escape for a few hours and not worry about feeding my precious baby….).
And then I think of how nice the equal # of 4 would be…. And I pray for peace in an answer!
Hope you are sorting through your thoughts and feelings as you read these posts and feel some peace in what you decide!

Reply

Alissa February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am

You ladies have left some amazing responses. I appreciate everyone sharing their stories and that everyone is so positive! We had three boys in four years. I always thought I wanted three, but I don’t feel our family is complete now. I would of course love a baby girl but mostly I just feel something is missing. I grew up in a family of four and I loved having three siblings. We weren’t all close growing up (typical sibling rivalries and having different interests) but overall we got along well. Now the four of us sisters are close and I love having a big family. I honestly think about number 4 daily….. my youngest is 16 months so we still have time. I love the sentiment that you will never regret another child but you may regret not having another child. Now to convince my husband!! ;)

Reply

Kacey February 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm

It was a simple decision for us though it crosses my mind what was I thinking ans my 1 week old is sitting there screaming. She is our sixth ( I have a 13-year-old stepson and five of my own ranging from 7 y/o to 1 week, no multiples.) My husband would’ve been done with two but I was insisting we have a large family since I came from a very small family. We were deciding to have wine we threw it up to fate. We gave it a year if we have one God wanted us to have one if not our family is complete. At this point I couldn’t imagine not having her but now I am truly done after this last pregnancy. I think you just know when you are done. If you are on the fence just chalk it up to God, fate, or whatever you believe in. That way you won’t have regrets.

Reply

Kacey February 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm

*Not wine Gwen

Reply

Charlie March 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Oh, wine would have worked fine for me, I probably have one or (ahem) two or three due to wine!!

Reply

Martha February 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm

We started thinking about another {and what feels like our last} in September of this past year. The conversation arose that our youngest was the same age her brother {baby #1} was when we found out I was {surprise!} expecting baby #2 after just 8 months postpartum. At first I was embarrassed. What were people going to think having another baby so soon?!
But God’s greater plan was at work, and looking back, I couldn’t have done it better.
We like the age difference between the first two and how they have such a special bond, even though they are different genders, because they are so close.
And we decided we wanted a playmate that was close in age to the third, even if it was a different gender, too. And to be honest… I REALLY wanted a July baby. {We currently have three children, one in each season, except summer. So it just seemed right. For us. And we would try to time it, to make our chances greater for conceiving a boy. Two of each sex. One in each season. You know, full circle. Perfection.}

So for us, it was not really a question of a “number” per say, God has always provided for us {abundantly} and we put full trust in the fact that if it were meant to be, it would just happen. We just never really felt like, “this is it.”

I always had this feeling, like if you knew that God intended you to have another, and was giving you this intuition to have one more, how could you deny that inner pull? The fact that you are debating, means you are intended to have one more. In my opinion. Or you wouldn’t be on the fence. Otherwise I think that feeling would just be void. It is important to discuss family and size BEFORE you marry, so that you are not left making a decision based on one person’s feelings about it.
Some people don’t have the desire for children at all. And others have the one, and they are fulfilled. While others have four, five and six. I think it just varies upon your environment. Your religion, your own childhood and upbringing, your circle of friends, your community.

I think for a lot of people it is about dynamics and feeling like they can provide adequately.
Four just seemed better than three for us. Two wasn’t enough.
I think you will know. You just get this feeling. Whether it is your mind, your body or your soul telling you, I think you will get your answer.
I didn’t have that feeling after the last one was born. Like something in that delivery room told me, I’d be here again.

Reply

Ashley February 22, 2013 at 10:53 am

Thank you for this! I like the part about ‘if you are debating, then one more’. God puts those tugs on our heart for a reason :)

Reply

Rosie February 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I don’t know if you ever do “know”. I understood that, after number 4, really we should stop, for both practical and financial reasons and so my husband had a vasectomy, but there is still room in my heart for more and I would still love to have more.

We had 4 pretty close together, a 2 year gap between the first two, a 17 month gap between 2 and 3 and a 21 month gap between number 3 and 4, so the eldest was 5 and a quarter when number 4 was born. The first 3 were planned, the 4th was not, but even though the last 15 months have been hard work, I’m pleased that it’s worked out as it has – at the moment with the older 3 there is ALWAYS one being left out and so I am pleased that number 4 is going to even that up as she gets a little older.

Reply

Agata February 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm

$we always wanted to have three children. We have two and in 2011 I got pregnant with the third one. Then, at 17 weeks the infection got in and I lost the baby. And then, we tried and re-tried only to have two miscarriages. There’s a huge clock in my head reminding me that I’m gonna turn 39 this year and that, let’s face the truth, I’m probably already too old to have another baby. Still, I can’t definitely say: I’m done. Especially that my husband is not of that opinion and our other two kids are still hoping for a new addition to our family. Why, oh why isn’t it working???

Reply

Jenn February 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm

We started our family off saying we wanted 4-5. We absolutely LOVED our 1st and had our 2nd by the time our 1st was 2 1/2. They were the best of buds. My hubby had a week off of work, so when he went back, I did freak out a little adjusting to taking care of 2 childrens needs instead of just 1, but eventually I got used to it and everything was fine, but after freaking out I decided I was good with only 4 instead of 5. We had our 3rd little boy when our 2nd was 2 1/2 also. The 2 oldest LOVED and ADORED their baby brother and still do. The older 2 were both hard for their own reasons, but when my 3rd came along, he made me soooooo happy! He was such a happy/sweet baby and has been my sunshine and monkey since. We are now expecting baby boy #4 and can’t wait for his arrival along with his 3 older brothers. All of our boys have been soooo excited to welcome the new babies home, no jealousy issues. We are planning on being done after this little guy arrives. We are feeling its right financially along with home capacity at this time and we want to be able to enjoy family trips together while they are young! I adore babies and always will, I feel it’s too final and sad to say this is the last one, but thats our plan for now anyways. The 1st 2 kids were hard adjusting to for me, but when the 3rd came, it just all flowed naturally and we just adjusted to a 3rd without any problem. Good luck with your decision!

Reply

Jessica February 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm

There has been a lot of discussion about timing and the number of siblings and how that influences how close they are or how well they get along. And you might be able increase your odds of having kids who are close by doing this or that or the other…. but probably not that much. Really, personality is just going to be a huge factor. Period. And you can choose your timing and how many kids you have (to some extent) but you have to take what you get when it comes to personality :) So, to me, choosing if and/or when to have another one has to depend most on my own desires and hopes for parenthood, and less on the other children involved.

Reply

Heather W February 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm

We now have four children ranging in age from 3-9. I will not lie, three young kids at home at once is a crazy hard full time job. But we wouldn’t change a thing. Each child is an amazing miracle and teaches everyone in the family. Good luck with your decision.

Reply

Amy February 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Wow! Thank you for talking about this in open forum. I am amazed to see how many people are thinking/debating/wondering the same thoughts I am. I hadn’t thought so much about the sibling dynamic, though I am the oldest of three and have always been the odd man out. My husband is middle of three and he wasn’t the odd one. Maybe that is why he is more for and I am more against the third one. God bless you in this careful decision. I appreciate my mother’s advice to me so much, count the cost before building the tower.

Reply

Sarah P February 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm

We currently have 5 children. Our youngest is 1 month old TODAY! Eek. They grow up so fast. lol. Anyways…its always irritated me that people always ask nearly immediately after the birth of one child if you plan on having another. (One of my grandmothers already has.) How rude! Let my uterus take a break before I have to think ok? Our 4 girls: 14 in May, 9 in June, 5 in August, 2 in May & then we added our sweet baby boy in January. We’ve got descending age gaps between each but its approximately 5 years, 4 years, 3 years & 21 months (close enough to 2 years, right?). Pretty funny right? Anyways without tell you too much #4 was supposed to be a boy, but came out a girl…#5 actually has boy parts. So the lucky kiddo has 4 older sisters. Yikes! Is that what we are cursing him with for life?

I come from a family with 2. Just me & my little bro (8 years younger) & we are pretty close. I’m also like a second mommy to him which can suck for both of us at times. I always wanted more sibilings but my parents had a hard enough time getting pregnant with the 2 of us. My hubby comes from a big mixed family. Him, plus 3 immediate siblings & 3 step siblings all “grew up together” via mom & step-dad (whom he calls dad) & then he also has a 1/2 brother from his bio dad & another woman sometime down the road. For all intents & purposes my hubby is the “baby” of the family…despite being a twin (fraternal w a sister) he was still born 2nd. He always liked big families.

So how do we decide? Being LDS (Mormon) we pray about it, go to the temple, discuss as a couple, pray some more & consider a lot of things. What things? Health/age, income & home size are the 3 biggest things. I’m also one of those LDS mommies who refuse to be pregnant when my child is getting married or having babies of their own. To me its sort of creepy. But thats just me. So IF we decide to have any more they’ll be along before our oldest daughter turns 18-20, which is the average (but not always) age most LDS girls get married. (Yeah I know I’ve thought about this a bit much.) So we have 4-6 more years for any other babies. Now do I want more??? Maybe. My hubby actually asked me the other day how I was feeling/recovering since giving birth last month. A few days later I told him I think I’d like 1 more. If its twins we get 2, if its another girl…well then so be it. If its a boy then Thank Gosh!!! But only time will really tell.

Reply

Sandra February 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm

I’m in a completely different boat than all of you: we haven’t even had our first! This is both of our second marriages (no children in our firsts) and we are both 33 years old. We plan on starting to try in the next 6 months or so. I know we are definitely having one, but completely unsure about anymore than that. Mostly because the simple thought of more is exhausting!

I was the oldest of 2 or the second youngest of 5. My father had 3 kids with his first wife, the youngest of which is 11 years older than me. My two older brothers would occasionally stay with us, but for the most part it was just me and my baby brother (3 years and 2 months younger to the day). Him and I have always been close (of course, we had, and still have, our differences of opinions and can piss each other off). My husband, on the other hand, is 7 years younger than his older brother and both of them were adopted. My husband was adopted at birth and his brother as a toddler. His brother is, to put it INCREDIBLY nicely, less than a saint and lives far away. They have NEVER been close. I’m not sure it had as much to do with the age difference as it did the personalities.

We both always felt that 2 would be ideal, but have recently been giving this a second thought. For a (very) brief moment we thought about skipping the whole kid thing. This was largely due to us performing aunt and uncle duties watching my brother’s 3 kids (1 his, 2 from my sis-in-law’s previous marriages; ages 15 months, 8 years and 10 years). The two older ones do not get along all that great, and while my baby nephew is a dream, he’s still exhausting. We know the dynamics of our own family (no matter the size) will be different, but it had us questioning things for a bit.

Then there’s the whole adoption thing. My husband will be forever grateful to his birth mother (I believe she was a teenager) for choosing adoption. He adores his adoptive parents and has NEVER said the hideous “You’re not my real parents” to them. You would never have guessed he was adopted (unless, of course, you noticed the incredible height difference: my husband is 6’1″ and his parents are both under 5’5″), but from a family and love perspective you can see it was meant to be. So, this has us both considering the possibility of adoption, as well. In order for that to happen, however, we’ll have to reconsider the one child thing.

Anyone out there have a mixed family (adopted and biological children)? I’m curious about the dynamics and whether there was any fear of not loving the adopted child as much. I’m thinking that’s a valid fear, however, I doubt it ever comes to fruition when you bring the child home.

Reply

LovePeanuts February 22, 2013 at 5:56 am

We’ve got 2 bio boys (6&8) and 2 foster -to-adopt kids (siblings boy 6 & girl 5). We’re a new family just coming together last Nov, but everyday I watch the kids grow closer and I find that my love for all of them is similar. It helps that we have a a good personality mix. It also helps my boys desperately wanted a little sister through the process and got it. It is also wonderful to see my two kindgerartener sons begining to pair off and form the bond of twins. We’re still new to this but I don’t regret opening our home and taking in one more than we had planned. :)

Reply

Jeni February 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I am a mother of four with ages 1, 2, 5 & 9. I am also pregnant with our fifth. Out of all of my children, 3 were planned; the first three. These last 2 pregnancies have been total accidents and totally not when I would want them. Not only has my body not healed and recuperated from the third pregnancy, let alone the fourth, but my husband is still in school and my pregnancies are the kind that require strict bed rest and lots of it.
However, despite the fact that I will have given birth to 3 kids in 2.5 and I will probably be lucky to walk to the end of the block and back, I am happy to have yet another fuzzy head in my family. I love each one of my kids individually as well as as a group. Despite the differences in age my 5 and the younger 2, they play together really well. My older 2 have the opportunity to hold responsibilities that their peers don’t and they love to take care of the babies.
I believe that all families are different which means that every family has different place where they are done. Some have all the children they can before they medically can’t have anymore, for one reason or another. Some think that it is irresponsible to have more than one, whether socially, financially or otherwise. I know of some families that have stopped having children because they learned they didn’t like children as much as they thought they did and one friend can’t stand the thought of having any more kids because with every pregnancy she has spent several years getting her psych meds back in order. For everyone it is different and should require lots of thought.
All that being said, I am going to have a long talk with my doctor about more effective birth control options as this last pregnancy began while on the pill.

Reply

Rae February 21, 2013 at 5:27 pm

I have two boys 19 months apart and my Husband wants another kiddo. At the moment I feel done…of course he is deployed in Afghanistan and its getting close to a year since I have been playing the roles of mom and dad.

I worry about the difference in age, if a third would break into the brothers bond. If with 3 one would be left out. My Husband then instantly votes for four. I’m undecided but leaning towards being done. My theory is I don’t think I can handle more children than I have arms. Maybe that will change when the Mr gets home and we are a team again. For now, I am stuck in the gray area with you.

Reply

Alyssa February 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

I ave been reading the comments and I am pretty sure that everyone will think I am crazy! ha ha We currently have 4 children all 18 months apart and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon. I LOVE my children and LOVE to see the bonds they all have with each other. My children are my world and I am excited to have more join our brood :-)

Reply

Alyssa February 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm

My husband and I actually knew we were done while I was pregnant with our second child. He’s now 13 months and we have a daughter who is 4. I definitely have some pangs now and then knowing that certain stages are done for good but I also know there is plenty of good things to come. For us the decision was more medical based. I had some serious complications during pregnancy and we also had two miscarriages. We know that our two children are miracle babies and didn’t want to risk my health for another child. With that said, when my son was born I felt incredibly at peace with us as a family. I truly did feel like we were the right number and exactly where we were supposed to be. I didn’t really expect that and had worried that I would be longing for one more as I had after my daughter was born. So a family of four we will remain!

Reply

Karen February 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm

We are in the middle of trying (have been for over a year), even though my husband is still on the fence about baby #3. We have 2 girls, 2 and 5, but I am absolutely positive there is another baby for us. At one point, I had thought 4 was our “magic number,” but as our girls get older and it takes longer and longer for #3 to materialize (and as I get older), I’m beginning to think (fear?) 3 is it for us. Its just a gut feeling I have. My husband is afraid to add more because he is youngest of 8 and feels his parents bit off more than they could chew- though I’m glad they did since he’s the youngest!! I am middle of 3, which is probably why I have always thought 4 was a better number, but I just can’t see us with only 2 kids. I have had the same discussion with many of my mom-friends only to discover that it’s different for each couple and even each individual!

Reply

Jen February 21, 2013 at 9:43 pm

You may be done with pregnancy, and the trials of raising an infant, but none of you should panic if too much time passes and you haven’t had another baby. There are so many children in our world in need of a loving home. Maybe the way to complete your family is through adoption. Then, your siblings could still have someone close in age, and you get to love another child. Yes, there are added difficulties, but since when does our fear of the unknown rank above the well-being of a child?

Reply

Helen February 22, 2013 at 3:53 am

Here is my story. I always wanted 4 kids. I love children, love teenagers but had never been around babies much at all. I am 1 of 3 and the only girl in my family. I ahve cousins but none of us are close. My husband is one of two and his cousins are 20 year older than he is. We both wanted 4 to give our kids family.
My first was unplanned but very much wanted, he just came earlier than we expected. I hated only having one child and wanted to give him a sibling straight away as I loved being his Mum. Then we miscarried and then again and then again. Finally we got pregnant and our first daughter was born, 31 months between them. Again around 6 months PP we tried again and miscarried once again before finally having another girl. They are 23 months apart. We then avoided for over a year before starting to try again. 14 months long months later we were pregnant again, due June this year. Everything went well and then 19 week U/S the baby was gone and had been for over a month.
My dreams are gone. That beautiful boy, the one to complete my family is gone and I just feel done. I don’t think I can go through it again.
Sometimes the choice is taken from you.

Reply

Jennifer February 22, 2013 at 8:34 am

Dear Helen,
I’m so sorry for your many losses, none easier than another.

~jennifer

Reply

Jennifer February 22, 2013 at 8:32 am

My friends with more than 3 say that once you tackle 3, every number afterwards is a piece of cake (there are two fams with 5, one with 6, and two with 8!). We’ve been so inspired by their sense of peace compared to our friends with 1-3 (we are expecting our 3rd this summer). I can’t say what is right for another family; I have found that the bigger families tend to be more patient, generous, and exciting, so we’re following in their stead. Good “luck” with your decision!

Reply

Annie February 22, 2013 at 9:21 am

Oh boy! I’ve had this same conversation with myself, my husband, my friends, etc over and over again….how many kids, how many kids, how many kids???? I’m an only child, my husband has one brother and we have two kids (3 & 9mths). Each day I have a different opinion on having another child or not- my husband could be swayed either way.
On one hand I totally want the whole “Family Stone” type gatherings. You know, the kids now grown up bringing their families to Christmas, the banter, the jokes, the tears, even the fights. I never had that as an only child (not that I’m complaining…I loved it!) But on the other hand…I feel like the majority of the days I’m counting down the minutes until my husband gets home. I know we’d find a way to make room in our house and budget for another baby if that’s what we decided but because we can doesn’t mean we should right? And here is the other thing that’s killing me- these mom’s of three, four, five kids that think they are super mom and “you’ve got it easy if you have less kids” then they do. What is with that? Being a parent his hard (and of course rewarding) regardless of how many children you choose to have. At this point for us it feels like a quality vs. quantity argument (and I mean that just for us personally, I know there are many, MANY quality parents of large families) Adding another member to our family would decrease potential money spent on sports activities, vacations, schooling (private vs. public- a 3rd would mean public for sure), space in our house. But, as you mentioned, wouldn’t it also add so much fun and interest to the relationships!? I wish everyone well as they decide for themselves.

Reply

Erica {let why lead} February 22, 2013 at 10:46 am

Im pregnant right now, and while I’m very grateful for that blessing as well as my other two children, my big quandary is whether one more pregnancy would be good for our family, and to be honest, my marriage! I don’t feel myself, emotionally, while pregnant, but my heart longs for a fourth for our family. The only good news is that I’ve got some time to think about it. First, I just need to have this baby! :)

Fantastic question and comments!!

Reply

Melissa February 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I’m struggling with this as well. I’m currently pregnant with my first and have had a truly horrible pregnancy. I’ve had hyperemesis and horribly painful deginerating uterine fibroids. I’ve had to quit my job which puts tons of financial pressure on my husband and I have tons of anxiety due to my risk of pre-term labor (due to fibroids). I’ve already had three surgeries before this scheduled c-section to get pregnant in the first place. Im incredibly grateful to be pregnant but now I’m filled with guilt that my child might have to be an only. Not only am I completely unsure if I can take the emotional and physical toll of another pregnancy but due to my health it would have to be fairly close together. I loved having a sibling growing up and we still get along and I’m so sad that my daughter might not have that bond. I haven’t ruled out surrogacy or adoption – I had just always planned for more children.

Reply

Charisma February 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm

I am the mother to three. They are all 3 years apart. My oldest is a boy and the next two are girls. During the toddler years it was very exhausting and hard to have three but now that they are out of the dependent age they are so much fun. I don’t think we have middle child syndrome in my house hold because my middle is the most outgoing and fun personality of the three. I personally came from a family of 4, me being the oldest and only girl there were times that I felt left out but now that I am an adult it doesn’t bother me. My brothers have been great uncles to my kids (no cousins in sight from my side) I am so thankful for this. My husband and I decided we were done after 3 because we didn’t want to split our attention between another child (we feel like there is never enough). We do spend a lot of time with our children and do deal with the expense of travel with three children but feel that most of the year we are at home and the memories we make with three children is worth the extra expense. Three was a good number for us and I wish you luck in your decision.

Reply

Sarah February 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm

We are done. Our family is complete. We have two boys, 2 & 4 years old. When we look into the future and plan our dreams, we are content to have them include our boys, just the four of us. I think I was convinced that our family was complete when the news that a couple of our friends were continuing to grow their families to include 3 and 4 children was shocking. I couldn’t believe it. I loved being pregnant, I loved caring for my tiny babies, but I am really loving the craziness that is raising my two big boys. We are ready for the next chapter in our lives.

Reply

Kelly February 22, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I waiver back and forth on this issue all the time. My children are spread out and there seems to be no end of love between them (I have a 7 yo, 3yo, and 10mo). I know that THEY could handle another one, but the jury is out on myself. My DH has already advised me he has hit his capacity. Me… I keep seeing that I have at least another 7 years of fertile years and I have a hard time saying that we are all done. It may sound ridiculous, but it just seems so permanent to state at age 28 that I’m all done. That and it is hard to let go of the big family dreams I had as a teen/college student. I keep telling myself I will re-approach this decision in the future.

Reply

mpmk February 22, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Just wanted to stop in and say THANK YOU again to all of you for sharing. I’m not able to respond to each of your comments due to the sheer volume of them but know that I’m reading, and benefitting from them all – as I think many people who make their way to this page will.

~Steph

Reply

Kat February 22, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Great post. Thank you. Good timing. My husband and I have been rounds about this. We are just deciding between one and two. The day you posted this I had an appointment to have my Iud removed, so I felt it was a sign that it was the right thing to do. We agree that we want our 3.5 year old son to have a sibling, but have been dragging our feet. We are so “comfortable” with our family of 3, that’s its hard to imagine a new one coming in to the picture. But, a good friend once told me you will never regret the children you have, but you may regret ones you don’t have.

Reply

Angela Rae February 23, 2013 at 9:30 am

I thought about this post all evening, night, and morning because this is a question I ask myself about our family. Today, the answer dawned on me = “The laundry tells a mother when the family is large enough.”

Reply

Carrie February 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm

My midwife made me realize something about siblings that I hadn’t considered before she spoke of such things. I was one week post delivery with our daughter (and 2nd child) and she told me that I had given my son a gift that he would be able to call a friend for all his life. I feel like siblings will be here after I’m gone. I can’t imagine navigating this life without my sisters! There are 3 of us and we have always had a blast together. I’m trying to convince husband that I need another one for my family to be complete, but I’m not sure he’s on board and I can’t make myself have an ‘oops’ baby!

Reply

Heather February 25, 2013 at 10:30 am

I remember feeling a similar anxiety when we had just one child. There are so many reasons to have more children and other, practical reasons not to add to your family. We decided that our daughter should have a sibling and we had another daughter. They are 3 years and 8 months apart, but they play well together and adore each other (they do fight, of course, here and there). I hope their sister bond continues as they get older. As some others have said, I know this sounds cliche, but one day I just knew our family was complete. We were going on a walk about a month after our second daughter was born and I got this overwhelming feeling of “this is our family” and I felt content. It probably doesn’t happen that way for everyone, but it did for me. I wish you the best with your decision–remember: there is no right or wrong here. :)

Reply

Kristin February 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm

My husband and I have just recently decided that we are going to add to our positive chaos with one more child soon. We have a 3 1/2 year old girl and almost 2 year old boy who are BFFs. I always knew we were going to have a third but we decided to start this summer for sure. From personal experiences (and slightly morbid too) I have always wanted three kids. I also come from a family of three kids. I had a friend who lost his only sibling and it affected him greatly (and apparently me too). He no longer has that dynamic in his life. It’s gone and he’s the only one who will be in charge of his parents when they are in need of help later in life. Trust me, I know how crazy that sounds but it is something that I’ve thought about a lot. It is a concern of mine, therefore, we are having three children because we feel our family is not complete, but also because of past personal experiences I’ve had. I think that you know in your heart when you are finished. I also know for me personally, that it’s going to be tough once that last baby comes for me. The idea that I won’t ever get to experience all of those feelings that come with pregnancy and the baby stages again, makes me sad just thinking about it.

Reply

Hope March 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm

So, I only read a few of the comments above so I’m not sure if anyone has said anything similar. My husband & I have 4 beautiful boys ages 8 1/2, 6, 5, & 3 1/2. We decided we were done after the 4th. Everyone always questions my decision since I have no girls. I didn’t want to try for a 5th boy. Part of me feels like I’m not done, although my sanity tells me I would be crazy to add another. When I speak about my family, I call it my little family even though there are 6 of us. I grew up an only child so I know what a little family is. I say don’t worry about the age difference. My oldest adores the youngest. they are (almost) exactly 5 yrs apart. They get along really well and my oldest is always promising the youngest special time together. I think how many you have depends on if you can handle it. How thin you are willing to spread yourself. Trust me, with 3 in school I am constantly dealing with something. Its all worth it to me. We have fun when we go places. They all have a playmate when someone gets mad at another. Also, its not an odd number so nobody EVER gets left out. That was the main reason I didn’t stop at 3.

Reply

Rinta March 12, 2013 at 3:38 am

Nice posts. Please visit mine to see posts on family and bringing up kids

Reply

Charlie March 13, 2013 at 1:06 pm

It all depends on your children’s individual personalities and how you raise them. I was youngest of three, and we never got along and are not very close as adults. We were pitted against one another and were not encouraged to love one another. My husband was one of two, and because of absent parents and a very chaotic upbringing, he and his brother are best friends and always look out for one another. We decided to have two or four, then we accidentally had our third. And it’s fine. They are 8, 6, and 3, and he fits in just fine. He’s close to them both, tries desperately to keep up with them both, and its like a party in our family even when it’s just us! The older two (a boy, then girl) got along great, lots of kisses and sweetness, until she was about three, then she started getting too competent at a lot of things for his comfort and they still struggle… she’s on his heels academically and in other ways and he doesn’t handle it well all the time. If we only had two it would still be that way… the third one is a nice connector for them. They all play, and since the first wont be sweet to his younger sister, having a much younger brother gives him at least someone to practice sweetness with. (and wrestle.) Now we are having a fourth, which was a huge decision and a scary jump, but we both knew our family was still ‘missing’ someone who was supposed to be with us. We just knew. Maybe not everyone does, but I find that a lot of my friends with two or three just “know” that they are done. I think if you are still thinking of another one it’s really worth exploring. Think how lucky that younger sib would be to have two awesome older sibs to love him or her. Oh, and we are having a girl. Our daughter is still walking on air, and the youngest boy is almost as excited. It will be boy-girl-boy-girl, and it will be great. It’s somewhat about how you treat them that they reflect in how they treat their siblings. And then there’s each child’s individual personality and issues. You can’t control how they get along but you can sure influence it. Good luck in your decision!

Reply

Lisa March 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I honestly think about this issue every single day. I have a 2.5 year old, and another on the way, and so badly WANT to be done having kids. However, I’m petrified that I’ll regret not trying for a third at some point…both my husband and I were one of three, and it’s got to be useful at some point to have more than one sibling, right? Ugh. Just the thought of doing it all over again with two boys sounds dreadful…

Reply

Liz August 8, 2013 at 11:15 am

My husband and I have a delightful son that will be 4 next month. My husband is an only child and is set on having only 1 child. My heart is set on having a 2nd child. I did have complications during pregnancy but our son is healthy. My husband says he can’t take the stress of another complicated pregnancy. I feel that I will go through life full of regret if I don’t have a 2nd child. However, if I were to convince my husband to have a 2nd child and things didn’t go so well, I would forever feel guilty. I am at a loss on how to deal with this. It is not something a couple can really compromise on. In the meantime, time is ticking onwards and I am getting older. Any words of advice would be so helpful.

Reply

Fashionista13 April 17, 2014 at 8:37 am

I really want a third but am barely getting any sleep now with my 9 month old little girl. My soon will be 2&1/2 in June so they are pretty close in age. I will be 42 inJune so my clock is ticking. My relationship with my husband has been a bit strained as well since we disagree on some parenting issues and I have a pretty stressful job. Everyone in my office is pregnant with their first and it makes me want another more! First me and my husband need to get back on track then I could start considering it. I look very young for my age and feel young but having 2kids back to back is a lot of work…. Good luck to everyone whatever you decide!!!

Reply

sarah July 11, 2014 at 5:58 am

I’m not really sure that you will ever feel completely “done.” We have 4 boys ages 5, 3 1/2, 2, and 4 months and I still think I want another one in a few years – not because “we’re trying for that girl” (the most annoying thing people like to say to me), but because I’m an only child though and always wanted a big family. There’s always a bit of a transition phase when you bring a new baby home, but mine all love each other tremendously and look out for one another. I see nothing wrong with having a large family if everyone is happy and well taken care of.

Reply

Sarah O'Brien July 11, 2014 at 8:58 pm

I’m moved by reading all this, wanted to share the ending of my recent considering this decision. My husband and I both come from 2- child families, both 19 months apart. That’s what we wanted when we started. I conceived after 3 months off the pill in 2008… fraternal twins, boy and girl. So many people, even strangers, would comment to the effect of, “One of each. You’re done now, right? ”

My babies are healthy and strong. But I thought, did I want two kids, or two pregnancies? Overwhelmed by two newborns, I thought I was missing out on some of the cool stuff of only having a ‘singleton’. I wanted another. But only after I got out of survival mode with these two. The thing that scared me was the increased chances of conceiving twins again (10x more likely now than awoman my age who’d never had multiples).

Just after the twins turned two, I went off the pill. About a year later, I conceived. (Scheduling sex, or having energy for sex, was now a lot harder) We exitedly bought the minivan. But, I miscarried. It was emotionally devastating. Then he deployed for 10 months.

My new fear about trying to conceive was that there would be something wrong for this child. I wasn’t scared of physical deformity, but of mental illness. My little sister is bi-polar, and watching her adult life had been… painful. I didn’t want to have an Adam Lanza. So hubby came home from deployment, life went on. He deployed again. Something still gnawed at me. I WANTED another child, against all logic and fears (founded or not).

So after return from second deployment, we began trying again. I conceived, what would have been a 6 year age gap between the twins and this one. But I was cautious of getting emotionally bonded because of what happened before. So when this one miscarried in May, it wasn’t as devastating. I just felt numb. I felt that this was my sign not to tempt fate any more, because I wouldn’t be able to have a healthy child. Or handle the illness of a third child.

Shortly after this miscarriage, my 5 year old son was diagnosed ADHD. I know I am not perfect, and I don’t think I could have handled a third child with mental illness thrown in the mix. So I conserve the resources I have to make sure my son and daughter get the full attention they need from me. I am satisfied now, no longer feeling that clock ticking. I just got my IUD placed, because I’m a chicken about getting my tubes tied, and I won’t ask my husband to do something irreversible. Not having that “what if” hanging over me like it had these past 4 years is a relief. Although I do feel the twinge in my breasts as my friend, who just had her third child after six miscarriages, with 6 years between her oldest and this one, starts to breastfeed her infant. I know I am done, because my kids need me more than they need a sibling.

Reply

Tika August 5, 2014 at 11:55 am

I have 4 kids, 5 and under. My husband and I are open to having another child. I wholeheartedly believe God when He says children are a blessing and a heritage of the Lord. Yes, some days are bat crazy, but seeing my kids grow and learn moral character are things I wouldn’t change for anything. My pregnancies have been a bit difficult, but God saw us through. Giving my kids siblings and fostering a loving environment are gifts and irreplaceable treasures.

Reply

Conniezufelt August 5, 2014 at 12:16 pm

My sixth, yes sixth, is turning one. I knew she had yet to come when she visited my husband in a dream when he was in Iraq and told him she had yet to join the family. I was sure beyond a shadow of a doubt my whole pregnancy she was our last. I proclaimed it to the world, but now I am stuck. I can’t imagine never doing this again. Doesn’t help that all give older children are online with the baby and they all ask for another. Every family is what it is. I’ve asked this question to so many over the years and every older woman’s response was either you KNOW when you’re done our I would have had more if I could have. We haven’t had a trip to Disney and my kids haven’t done every extra curricular they’ve dreamed of, but when they grow and go out in the world they will have a whole team rooting for them to succeed, cheering for them when they do and helping them along when they stumble.

Reply

Kathy August 5, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I an the oldest of three girls. We grew up with the normal sibling rivalry but now in our adult lives we are all very close. We are in our 50′s and spend lots of time together and are always ready to help when needed.
I had three children….girl, then 18 months later a boy, and then 2 years later another girl. They are all in their 30′s and they are close also. Them may not always agree but they are very supportive of each other.
When my children were in their teens I also got custody of my three step grandchildren and raised them. You never know when your family is complete….. I thought we were done after our second child and definitely after the third. I wouldn’t change a thing…they are all blessings now that we are getting older and my husband and sister have medical problems. The children are helping when we need them. God gives us what we need and what is best for us. :-)

Reply

Renaye August 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm

I actually think you might be overthinking the age gap thing a little too much. There are 7 years and 9months between my little sister and I, but everyone comments that we are as thick as thieves. I still talk to my brothers who are 10, 9 and 7 years older, but not the 2 who are closer in age. Both my eldest brother and I have 3 kids each – we spaced out our kids approximately 4 years apart (I had my first 11months after my brother had his last). Also, my best friend has 4 children, the first 3 were spaced 4 years apart, then the fourth was less than 2 years after her third. We all actually found the four year age gap pretty perfect for us and all the siblings within each family plays well together (my best friend lives 5 hours away; I only see my brother at Christmas)

Reply

Mimi faretra August 6, 2014 at 2:41 am

Funny, since I was a kid I wanted to have two kids, and now, pregnant with my second baby I just see it too clearly, ( my husband too) I don´t want to go through another pregnancy, and two is the magic number that reinforces its presence. It´s been almost two years that I haven´t dined properly, and will be for another two or a little bit more with our newcommer, since attchment parenting is our option. And although it´s gratifying, I really do need to rescue part of my former self. Mental sanity through parenting is the strongest factor in our decision!

Reply

Alana August 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I teared up reading this because it is so totally how I feel. I can see this post is from more than a year ago, so perhaps others comments coupled with time has given you greater insight. Still, I feel so compelled to share my own perspective. As I said, your depiction is so very much where I’m at. The only difference is mine are a two-year-old and a one-year-old (15 months apart). My hope has been that come school time, I will have a clearer sense of whether or not my husband can take on a third. There is absolutely enough room in my heart for an entire brood. It’s just the back-to-back pregnancies (I was basically pregnant from June 2011- June 2013 – with a 6.5 month break), the sleeplessness and the two toddlers pulling at me are hardly facilitating a levelheaded decision making process. Prior to my pregnancies (and knowing all that they entail), I had wanted a large family. I had always loved babysitting, and being amidst bigger families, in part, because we had no cousins around. I grew up with two younger brothers. As others have said, there can be an odd man out. But in my case, and at least in one of my brother’s cases, it was welcome. We did stuff with each other when it interested us, and had alone time when we needed it. We were three years apart respectively (1984, ’87, and ’90), and got along really well. Maybe because of the age gap, the gender difference, and/ or the fact we all gave varying interests and personalities meant no competition.
The part about my childhood I cannot shake is that the best part, hands down, unequivocally was the birth of my youngest brother. Nothing compared to bringing him home, helping my mom bathe him, coming home from school at lunch time to check-in, ultimately playing teacher with him as my student, buying him candy with my babysitting money and so forth. My mom always reminisces of my second brother waking, the first question perpetually out of his mouth, “where’s Brendan (our youngest brother)?”
There’s no doubt in my mind your kids will LOVE having a new sibling,and as you’ve said, you’ll love them through and through too. The question is,mod we have the energy to do it all again?

Reply

Sonia August 9, 2014 at 7:15 am

We have a boy (almost 5) and a girl (2 and a half years old) and everybody assumes we’re “done”. My husband says that, for now, we can’t have another.
But I still haven’t decided. For one side, I’m enjoying the fact that, as the kids are no longer babies, we can do a lot more things as a family without having to take everything with us. Family trips are much more fun now. And finantially we can handle things the way they are now. But… I don’t know, I miss something. Everytime I see a baby, it’s like my ovaries hurt! :D My youngest still asks to nurse, although I have almost no milk (she asks for it only at night and loses interest very quickly), and I’m at that fase when I’m starting to miss breastfeeding and at the same time I feel relieved it’s coming to an end… And I’m 35, so I should make up my mind soon.
Just to add up to this, I started thinking of adopting, maybe an older child…
Yes, a lot of mixed feeling here, too.

Reply

Mia August 9, 2014 at 7:29 am

For us, it’s only been recently that we even discussed the possibility of a third child. We have our daughter who is 6 and our son who is 4. There’s no way I can imagine getting so lucky a third time but when hubby had a conversation with his Dr about a vasectomy, the choice needed to be made. I thought I was finished, that our family was compete but the idea of such permanence scared me. It turns out, though, our instincts were correct. At 32 and 33, we are finished growing our family. For now. Later in life, once we have achieved some personal and professional goals, we plan to foster and adopt. That’s how our family will continue to grow and I can’t wait. :)

Reply

Harmony August 9, 2014 at 8:21 am

Well, my husband and I have been considering a 4th child… and after reading alot of these comments I’m thinking we should. I was worried that my twin boys (4) would always have a buddy and my daughter (2) would always be on her own. Many of you with a family of three, even without twins, seem to have had that experience and obviously as adults it’s affected you negatively.

Reply

Leave a Comment