Do you ever know when you’ve had your last child? When I held my baby boy in my arms almost two years ago, it felt so definite that I was done. Our family of four was complete. But as that same baby boy nears his second birthday and I slowly give away and sell the big items of his and his big brother’s babyhood, the question sometimes rears it’s head again ‘Are you sure you’re done?’.
I’ve pondered this question over the last couple of weeks and for me, I think the answer really is ‘yes’ but the tug of emotion that comes with change and letting go of those baby years has hit more than I thought it would. Maybe two years is the length of time you forget the struggle of that first year and the idea of snuggling a newborn head to yours and taking in their sweet smell becomes somewhat romantic, maybe it’s purely the biological pull or perhaps it’s my inner hoarder trying to trick me into keeping all the baby stuff ‘just in case’. Whatever it is, despite all the emotions, my rational self has made up its mind and it continues to pull these thoughts into line. So, maybe you’re never really done – you just reach a point where you make a decision to be done?
So, how does my rational self (and that of my husbands) know that two children is the right number for our family? Here’s the thought process I’ve gone through, and the discussions we’ve had, to reach the point that we’re getting rid of baby things. My hope is that it will help you, if you are tossing up whether to have another child.
1. Financial situation: Look, I wish that money didn’t have to come into it but for us having another child would severely stretch our finances. For us though it can’t be the only reason, as there are always ways to make do and you really can’t put a price on the love that children bring into your life.
2. Life goals: For me, this meant looking at what kind of life you want for you and your family and if adding another child would impact this in a positive or negative way. This can be tied to the financial goals, but it can also be about freedom, travel and personal growth.
3. Demands on time and resources: For us, this was a bit of a biggie. With J needing extra assistance with his speech and gross motor skills, it already sometimes feels we’re struggling to fit appointments and practice in, while also allowing him time to just be a kid and give Hugo the same opportunity. Having another child would make this even more difficult.
4. Demands on sanity: I’m the first one to admit that the baby years had a huge impact on my mental health and sense of self. I don’t function well with lack of sleep and combined with my perfectionist tendencies, I end up being really hard on myself. The past few years have taught me a lot about being a bit kinder to myself but even so, my feeling is that another child would push me past my limit sanity wise.
So now it’s back to packing up those well-chosen things that served our baby boys and us so well and moving onto the next stage with memories of those sweet snuggles and struggles that got us here.
How about you? I’d love to hear how you decided you were done with the baby years? Or how do you know you’re not done just yet?