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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Knowing

I've written and re-written this post several times in my head, and every time I do, it sounds dumb. So I'll just put it out there-- How do you know when you're family is complete?

It's a question I've been struggling with since Brennan's birth. Before he was born, I was convinced that 2 was our magic number and we'd be done. And it certainly means we're done in this house since we've only got the two bedrooms and a third bed will NOT fit in there (we're not planning to move in the next 2 or 3 years anyway...but probably will in the next 4 or 5). But now? I'm not so sure. And who knows, maybe all of this confusion in my head is still post-partum hormones surging or something.

I love my peaceful little guy and my oh so sweet girl. And sometimes there's a part of me that wants another one or maybe two. But then the practical side of me kicks in. The part that reminds me that babies are cute and three-year-olds are fun (most of the time), but they grow up into kids that want to play sports and take dance and go to college. The dreamer part of me has big plans for our family. I want to do a Disney trip in a few years when they're 4 and 7 (so they'll remember it) with the dining plan included. I want to fly down there and stay at one of the resorts with a view of the castle. I dream of taking Cate and Brennan to Europe and exploring Australia or maybe Africa with them on vacations when they're older. We're disciplined about money here, and I believe we'll do those things. But I know that the more kids we add to our family, the more disciplined we'll have to be to do those things.

I love that with 2, they'll always have at least 1 parent at their soccer games/dance recitals/band concerts/etc. even if they both have an event on the same night. I love that with 2 we fit comfortably into a restaurant booth. Or in a small sedan (though we love our minivan, we don't need two). There are lots of things I love about just having two kids.

My heart is so full already. I'm blessed to have these two wonderful, healthy, beautiful kids. I love them equally and also differently (lovin' a little boy IS different than lovin' a little girl, but that's a post for another day). Add to all of this the fact that I refuse to use any form of hormonal birth control anymore. I've dealt with some of the nasty side effects and just don't care to do that anymore. I'm not a fan of the other forms of temporary non-hormonal birth control and after a lot of discussion, we feel like an outpatient surgery for my willing husband is the best way to go. When we're ready to do something permanent. Which we're not.

So I feel like I'm in limbo at the moment. I don't want another baby right now. Not next year either. And probably not the year after that if I'm being realistic. But I'm afraid to commit to a permanent form of birth control because I'm afraid I'll change my mind. I'm about 80% sure we're finished and 20% not so sure. I have friends that say they always knew they wanted x number of kids. Friends who already know their families are complete. But how? How do you know? How do you get to 100%? Is it when you're done with diapers and can't fathom doing it again? Is it when your kids are all in school and the thought of starting all over tires you out just thinking about it?

The question doesn't eat away at me or anything. I'm not stressed out about all this. I really just want to know how other families have come to be at peace with the size of their broods. Eric and I are praying for God's guidance on this one. That He'll make it clear to us when our family is complete. When B decides to get up at 4am to eat (instead of his usual 5:30), I think there's no way I want to do it again. When Cate snuggles into my side to read a book, I think that maybe I could. I want to be done with diapers but not done with cute little clothes.

For now, we're treating Brennan as if he'll always be our youngest. As he outgrows clothes, we give them away. We'll do the same with his toys and other baby gear. We've already given a lot of Cate's clothes away. And I guess, if God changes our minds, we'll start over and buy new things.

But seriously though-- for my few readers out there-- how do/did you know?

~Melody :-)

Linking up with Pour Your Heart Out today.



PS... I just realized that this is probably the most personal I've been on my blog in awhile. Thanks for reading. :-)

9 comments:

Tudor Rose said...

I don't even HAVE children and I struggle with this sort of question, although in a very, very different way. Up until about, oh, four years ago I was convinced I didn't want kids. I looked into tying my tubes, into donating my eggs (if I wasn't going to use them, somebody else might as well), but now I don't know. A part of me does want children, and I admit much of that comes from all of you lovely bloggers. Reading what your lives are like, the good and the bad.

It's not like I'm in a position where I need to make a decision today. Probably not even next year or the year after. But, still, it's there. How do you know kids are right for you?

Emily said...

Great post, Melody. I also struggle with this. At times I am confident I want three children. At others I think I am crazy that I am even pregnant with my second! I think that some people definitely do just know, and sometimes God plays tricks on us. A good friend of mine had 3 kids and really wanted a 4th. After much discussion with her husband they had their 4th child. And now she is due with her 5th in June. That was God's little surprise for them!
As for my parents, my Mom told my Dad that they would have kids until she turned 40. True to her word, she gave birth to my youngest sister less than 20 days after she turned 40.
I think that as Brennan gets older and you and Eric adjust to life with a toddler and a preschooler, you may miss that baby stage again. But, you make good points about wanting to be able to extensively travel and do fun things that you might not be able to do if you have more kids.
I will tell you that coming from a family of 7 children, my parents still took us on wonderful vacations and instilled a love of travel and history that I can't wait to pass onto my children. In the end if may not matter where you go, but the journey it takes to get there and the experience you gather along the way. :)

The Riggs Family said...

Thanks ladies!
@Tudor Rose-- I had a period of time when I didn't want kids either. I was too selfish. And I think that if you want kids, then they are right for you. I haven't met anyone that has wanted kids but then it's turned out to be a disaster.
@Emily--I like your perspective and I know we'll still be able to do fun things even if it means my "dreams" change a little to accommodate more children if we decide that's where God is leading us.
It's just so frustrating when you know so many people that seem so sure that their families are finished/will be finished after x number of children.

Carly said...

I'm not sure how you know. Dylan wants 2. I want 2 and an oops. I'm sure if it's meant to be it'll happen no matter what you decide.

Shell said...

It is so, so hard to know. We have three and we are done. But, there are times that I still feel a little sad about that. I always wanted four...

I guess I don't really know, either! It's just a feeling.

Mrs. R said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog for PYHO.

This is a tough question, and I find myself wondering the same thing! I have a seven week old, and for me...we feel so perfect as a family of three that I can't imagine other kids. Maybe that's natures way of helping us spread them out, but I'm shocked that I feel that way. I always thought we'd have 2 or 3, and I would love a little girl. But for now, I can't imagine us as anything other than what we are!

Adrienne said...

So hard! I know from personal experience I dealt with regret after making permanent decisions. It was tough to deal with, so until you're sure don't do anything perm. Two is a good number, but you have to do what's right for your family. Such a hard topic. Stopped by from Shell's.

Mama Marchand said...

Good question ... I've often wondered the same thing, Mel.

Chris and I have never been able to decide how many we want ... and to be honest, two sounds fabulous to me right now. But, what if I can't have another? Or what if we get pregnant with twins (eek)?

I think you and I both have plenty of time to decide. :)

Heather H said...

I feel your pain. Having only one, I struggle with this question a lot. I know in my head that one is about all we can handle and there are a host of other reasons to stop where we are...but my heart longs to give her a sibling - some days. Other days, when she's being "wonderfully" 3, I thank my lucky stars we don't have two of her to deal with.

I hope to come to a place one day where I am wholely and completely at peace with the size of our family.

I'm sorry I don't have some advice for you, but I certainly understand your struggle!

P.S. Have you considered Mirena? I know it has a small amount of hormones, but it might be your answer. I love it.