It’s a tough question to ask…how do you really know if your family is complete? Is 1 child enough? 2, 3,4? With the celebration of Middle Child Day this week, I thought I would look into this tricky question. Because honestly, no one is really an authority on this topic except for you and your partner.
So how do you know if your family is complete? How do you know when you’re “done” having children? There are actually some very valid things to think about when making this decision…let’s take a look.
How do you know how many is enough?
When I was young I always thought I would have 2 kids. I would get married, have 2 kids (just like my parents did) and then be done. I never thought of having more, and I never thought about having less. I’ll be honest, 1 kid was a lot, but I always wanted my daughter to have a sibling. So, we went for #2.
First things first…it can be extremely difficult to get pregnant. Period. Even for the first time. It was not as easy to have our second child. I didn’t get pregnant on the second month trying like I did with my first. In fact, we actually used some eggs that I had frozen prior to meeting my husband because neither of us were getting any younger and I wanted my kids to be closer in age. When my son was born I knew I was done. Not only done being pregnant, but done having kids.
What does it mean to be done?
We were lucky to be able to use previously frozen eggs, and even luckier that I got pregnant on our first attempt. But this is not the typical story. Some couple try for years to get pregnant the first time, and then continue to try again for another one. There is actually a concept known as secondary infertility that occurs when a woman has trouble getting pregnant on her own after a previously successful natural conception and birth.
So, you go through all of the ups and downs monthly, sometimes using assistance from physicians, other times just putting your faith in the process. But it is an emotionally taxing process. So much so that sometimes you miss all of the wonderful growth and development of the children that you already have.
Was the decision made for you?
We all know that as we get older it becomes more difficult to not only get pregnant naturally, but to also carry a baby to term. Yes, many older women are carrying successfully today, but there are even more that aren’t able to. And that’s ok.
In times like this it’s not always our decision as to whether or not to have another baby. Your body may just not be able to do it anymore. It sucks because you never want your body to ‘let you down’ but at times like this it’s extremely important to listen to your body and your doctors. If your doctor says that you put your own health at risk, listen to them. Hear them. Digest what they are saying. They wouldn’t be saying it if it weren’t true.
Making the decision for yourself
What if you’re healthy enough to carry again, but you just aren’t sure you want to. Below are some things to really think about before jumping back into the cycle:
Communicate with your partner: make sure you are both on the same page. You can save yourself so many fights and miscommunications by just sitting down and having the conversation. Make sure you take your partner’s thoughts and feelings into consideration, be open, honest and trusting.
Is your life balanced: Think about your life right now with however many children you have. Is it balanced? Are you able to be the parent you always thought you would be? Can you be pregnant again and continue to be that kind of parent?
Think long term: babies are only babies for a couple of months…then they are toddlers, young children and teenagers. The younger years are hard because they are so dependent on you physically, but the older years can be just as difficult emotionally.
Think about the finances: No one wants to mention this part, but children are expensive. Can you and your partner afford to continue living the life you want to live with more children? Will you be able to support all of them in the lifestyle you wish to provide?
Are you ready to start at the beginning again: Depending on how old your youngest is, you may not remember those first days, weeks, months of parenthood. If your youngest is out of diapers, are you ready to start changing diapers again? Are you ready to wake up every couple of hours for feedings again?
Its ultimately your choice
Even if you are unable to successfully carry another child, there are plenty of other ways to become a parent. You may go the route of fostering, adopting or using a surrogate. Whatever way you chose to grow your family, the choice is yours.
Everyone will have opinions. Everyone will share their opinions with you whether you ask for them or not. As long as you know that you (and your partner) are the ultimate decision maker, those opinions don’t really matter.
You do you
If you feel like you still have love to share with another child, then go ahead and have that conversation with your partner. If you think you’re done, talk about that. However many children you have, however big or small your family is, it’s yours. Do what’s right for you and your family. 😊