I once had my palm read when I was young.
I was told that I was going to have what, at the time, sounded like some crazy number of kids…6 or something like that. Laughing, I pretty much wrote off palmistry from then on. I mean, there was no way I was going to have so many kids! Right?
It certainly didn’t fit into my idea that I was going to have a set of twins and that would pretty much be that. But, here I am…twenty-some years later with baby number five on the way. Maybe all those creases in my hand said something after all. So, person I thought was crazy…I apologize. I never anticipated or planned to have this many children. I never planned to have my first at such a young age, but I can’t imagine NOT having any of them now.
In the last week or so, I’ve had two separate conversations with friends that led me to think about all of this. In one conversation, I was told by a recent first-time Dad that they aren’t planning to have any more since they are “too old, no offense” to me. (He and his wife are my age.) In the other conversation, a friend jokingly stated she bets that she is “the only person I ever feel as though I need to justify not having any more children to”. She has three living children and hopes to have 6 more between the ages of 40 and 50.
This conversation came from my statement that even though I would not have issues with having more children, I am not so keen on the whole process anymore. The idea of carrying, birthing, and nursing over and over again has, let’s just say, lost its luster.
I’ve also determined that I really, REALLY like my sleep and that is something I just don’t get much of during those early years.
Usually one of those is around two in the morning. The problem is, I can’t seem to go back to sleep after that one. Case in point, I’m writing this at three in the morning. I don’t want to be awake. My body still feels tired, but here I am…wide awake and if pattern persists, I will be for at least another hour. So, basically that translates to me never getting to wake up at that nice early hour of at least 6 o’clock that I’d like. Instead, most days, I’m dragging out of bed around 7 something and feeling less than refreshed.
Oh well, it’s my special brand of insomnia, I suppose. In any case, this whole lack of sleep thing plays it’s part in my ultimate number of children decision-making. (Check out this offensive, but funny bed-time book for exasperated, sleepy parents ONLY. Here is a reading by Morgan Freeman.)
So, what does that mean for me? Truth be told, I was still sort of hoping for baby number 5 to be babies 5 and 6.
I was a little disappointed when only one showed up in the ultrasound. Twins would have rounded me off nicely, figuratively (and literally) speaking. And twin boys would have given this last little one a built-in, same-sex playmate. Yes, twins would have been nice (although I’m quite sure I would have lost my mind a little with the logistics of it all).
Six kids, for some reason, would have felt like that magic number for me that said, “I’m done and I’m okay with that.”
So, do I understand the first friend who said they would only be having one? Most definitely. In fact, it was just me and my son for 10 years. I really believed at one point that he might be the only one I’d ever have. I still look back on those years with just the two of us with great fondness.
And do I understand my other friend who has ultimately birthed 5 and still hopes for at least 6 more? Most definitely. There is a sort of longing, and guilt even, on my decision to stop after this one, though I truly feel it has started taking its toll on my body…things are going on downtown with this pregnancy that just shouldn’t even be allowed.
I’ll spare you all those intimate details, but suffice it to say…it’s just not right, darn it! Never mind all the typical aches and pains and the fact that this little booger has caused me about 14 weeks of all day nausea so far.
No, it is no longer my cup of tea. But, that being said…I would still have at least one more, if the process could be magically skipped. And, yes, we have considered adoption and wouldn’t rule it out either, but I’m not personally interested in bringing more government into my home…a process pretty much inextricable with adopting.
The bottom line is this…everyone has their own circumstances and personality which shapes and molds their ideal family number. This number can change over time…I can certainly attest to that.
We all have the right to listen to our hearts and our bodies and determine what is best for us…ideally without guilt involved.
So, to all those parents out there that say one and done…I’m so happy for you. To all those parents out there who say they can never have enough…I’m so happy for you. And to all those parents with everything in between…I’m so happy for you. Enjoy your children and your circumstances with all your heart and never regret that you don’t have more or you don’t have enough. You have exactly the right amount for you right now.
Love every moment of it (even the inevitable tough ones)! After all, there is nothing quite as special and perfect as your family…don’t you agree? 🙂