I am thirty-five years old and the stay-at-home-mother of two school-age children, a girl and a boy. My daughter, S, is nine years old; my son, X, is six years old. My husband and I have been married for thirteen years, but we have been a couple for almost twenty years now (he was my high school sweetheart). We also have a seventeen-year-old cat, a five-year-old dog, and a three-month-old fish. So, our family is pretty complete, right?
Wrong! My husband and I want another baby (or two). I say my husband and I, loosely. It has taken him quite a while to get behind me on this one. This decision has been five years in the making. When I weaned my son completely from breastfeeding, I needed another baby. My husband, however, gave me a puppy for Valentine’s Day instead. We named him Finnegan—Fin, as in “the end” the last baby.
I was satisfied with that for awhile. I knew I was not thinking rationally by wanting another baby at that point—but I did want one. Fin gave me something to cuddle when I wanted to and he followed me everywhere and stayed by my side. X was much more interested in what S was doing by that point and I was happy and grateful that they were infatuated with each other. Although my children seemed ready to be self-sufficient (as much as a twenty-one-month-old and five-year-old could be), I wasn’t ready to be completely independent of my children yet. So Fin filled that need. That was as it should have been then.
But the desire for children never left me. And I always felt a little selfish and ungrateful for even entertaining the idea of having more children. I mean, really, we had already been so blessed with two beautiful, healthy, (mostly) well-behaved children—a boy and a girl, so I didn’t even have the gender reason. Wasn’t I being just a little greedy to ask for more? As the four of us got older, I tried reasoning with myself. Did I really want to go back to diapers, naps, and tantrums? Sleep training and potty training? Did I want to stand in the back of the room rocking a fussy baby during my daughter’s piano recital, or chase a toddler around the T-ball field during my son’s game? Did I want to give up my book club, exercise group, yoga classes, and play dates and lunches with my friends to stay home and nurse a newborn?
In the end, the answer is yes. All these are minor inconveniences that make the experience of motherhood, sisterhood, and brotherhood that much more meaningful. The richness and complexity of our family life would be a wonderful setting to raise another confident, frustratingly independent, and compassionate human being.
So … what about that husband? Was it fair to put the burden on him of another family member to support? To rub my swollen feet in the ninth month of pregnancy? Change more diapers and wake up in the middle of the night to a cranky baby when he has an early meeting the next morning? Could he, would he, ever get excited about sharing our life as a couple with yet another person? In October, we went out for dinner on our wedding anniversary. Over appetizers, he told me that he was really ready to have another baby. While he still maintains that if it weren’t for me, he would not want another child, he will admit that he is excited about us having another child together.
Of course, he was outnumbered anyway, since our children have been asking us to have another baby for quite some time now. Apparently, “I want what my friend has” extends beyond the Nintendo DS (which they still don’t have). But our house is not a democracy, so they don’t get a vote, but it’s nice to know we have their support.
So here we are now, on our journey TTC (trying to conceive). Now that I am over thirty-five, it might be twins! Can’t wait to find out. Please send your blessings our way!