Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A tough decision



How do you know when you’re family is complete?
A doctor once said to me: “If you have two, why not three? And if you have three, then you may as well have four!”
He, of course, has four children and adores kids, but his words have always stuck in my head when it comes to how many children is the right amount for us.
My littlest one is now 15 months and a few people have already asked me if we’re going to try for a boy (since we have two daughters).
But my husband and I are undecided.
We’d love to have a son, and would also be happy with three girls – after all, pink is my favourite colour.
But after a rough night of no sleep, I’m in the “no more, no way” camp, but a Huggies advertisement pulls me back to the “awww, perhaps just one more” side.
It’s a tug-of-war between my heart strings and precious sleep and so far there is no clear winner.
Sometimes the decision seems so easy. I had an intense longing for another baby after my first, but now I’m not so sure.
Having my second child was easier than I expected but I think that’s because there’s a big gap between the baby years.
Despite this, I often feel like I’m in a constant state of exhaustion.
I ask myself: “Do I have the energy for another two years of pregnancy, breastfeeding, nappies and sleep deprivation? Will I have the energy to do another set of homework, another bedtime story, another ballet run, and can I afford to feed another hungry teenager?”
Many women will cringe at the thought of doing it all again, whereas others have made up their minds even before they have their first child.
I asked a few friends and their answers were all different.
“I’ve been feeling clucky for so long now that I knew I wasn’t finished, and luckily my husband felt the same way,” said a mum who is pregnant with her sixth baby (yes, number six, that’s not a typo).
“I’ve got three boys and I’m really happy, so even though it would be lovely to have a little girl, I don’t think we’ll go again, and my age is a factor as it might be a lot harder for me to conceive,” said another mum, aged 36.
“My husband had a vasectomy after our last baby, so he made the decision for us, because I would probably keep on having more babies,” said one mum of three children, two boys and a girl.
I have plenty of friends who have their pigeon pair of boy and girl, and plan on having no more, but there are LOTS of couples who continue to conceive to get the gender they want. 
I once met a woman with four sons, who was pregnant, and with an expression of great relief announced she was expecting a girl.
I wonder how she would have reacted if she was expecting another son, or perhaps twins!
Sometimes the decision is completely out of your control.
Fertility, health, age and financial stability all contribute either directly or indirectly to your decision.
You might also worry about how much time you can devote to each child, the growing piles of laundry, unending housework, excessive noise, sibling fights, zero personal time, the logistics of getting three or more in the car and actually going somewhere, grocery shopping... see, now I’m talking myself out of it again.
The one thing that I know for sure is that you can’t always decide these things for yourself, quite often nature has a way of making that choice for you.
If you’re thinking about having another baby, or have three kids already, check out www.havingthreekids.com – it’s one of the funniest blogs I’ve ever read about this very topic.

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