Tuesday, October 7, 2014

if we'd stopped at one...

You have one baby and it isn't long until folks start asking when you'll be having another.
I remember Cormac being six months old and thinking,  Man...we might be done.  This is tough and I cannot even imagine having two.  How in the world would I do it?

But then he turned one and it was suddenly as though I knew I could handle another.  Another sweet baby. Another adventure!  Our plan was always to have more than one, but we wanted at least 2 1/2 - 3 years apart.  I got so eager and overcome with baby-fever though that I went off birth control right after the little man's first birthday, figuring it may take some months.  Sure, it didn't take more than a month the first time...but I'd heard sometimes the second "try" can be harder.  So, ever the over-planner I decided to ditch my pill and start "natural family planning" until we were ready to conceive.  Okay, so many women are successful at this NFP thing, I know.  There are classes you can take and books you can read and it does really work.  If done properly.  My version of simply tracking and avoiding and sorta-kinda being more careful (with maybe an oops here and there) was definitely not effective, because --

I was pregnant less than two months after going off the pill.

I was shocked (though, really I shouldn't have been) and totally freaked out.   I honestly wasn't mentally prepared to be pregnant quite that quickly, and then I went through a phase where all I could think was: Whoa, maybe I will be terrible at this!  What have I done?  I need more time with just Cormac!

It took a while to be at peace with the pregnancy.  

Looking back now I realize how God's hand was in it all.  I needed to get pregnant before Cormac reached his "terrible twos" and it got much harder.  Heck, I may have decided to stop at one had we reached that phase!  But he needed a sibling so as to learn he is not the center of the universe.  I don't think all children need this...but he is one very bossy and ego-centric kid and I am watching him learn and grow and struggle to become the teacher + sharer + "kind boss" that I think it would have been hard to evolve into without a kid sister forcing him to.

And I needed a girl.  Though I thought I was a "boy mama" and was convinced the second child would be another boy throughout most of my pregnancy...God gave me a huge surprise when out popped a girl.  I was instantly in love.  I was instantly a "girl mama," too.  It has been the most natural and lovely experience having a girl.  

If we'd stopped at one 
I'd still have this face to look at all day...
 ...and yes, it is an awfully sweet face to look at.  My boy with the kissable cheeks and the eyes that twinkle both sweetly and devilishly when it suits them.  
 But, if we'd stopped at one I'd have missed out on this face...
 ...and that just wouldn't do at all.

She's got spunk that doesn't quit.  Her tantrums, while very seldom, put Cormac's loudest fits to shame.  She is adamant and feisty and I know I am in for some big trouble when she starts talking...and pretty much all throughout her adolescence.

She is also chill and sweet and silly and has a giggle that will melt your heart.  

Yeah, there are days when I feel pulled in two directions all day long.  Days when I feel like I am not giving either of them enough individually - enough love, attention, teaching, supervision, 'special time.'   Days when I reminisce about just how much easier it was with only one.

But then I see them hug each other, hear him apologize to her (without being prompted) and see the absolute joy on her face when she looks at him...because despite all the bickering they adore each other at the core.

So, I am glad we didn't stop at one.

The bigger question, which I get often now, is: "Are you done?

I haven't felt a strong pull to have a third yet, and am starting to think I never will...so we'll see what God has in store.  I was a third child, after all.

I mean, what if my parents had stopped at two?

They'd have missed out on this face...
I like the hands folded angelically.
Ha ha.  I think back on my family of four kiddos and while it was super fun at many times to have a bunch of siblings around, especially at family gatherings...it was also pretty chaotic!

I don't do super well with chaos...nor do I think my third child would be any different than my first two, in terms of energy level and spirit.   So I think "chaos" would be a given.

Could I handle the chaos of three kids?  Yes.  Could I handle it well?  Probably not - and my position as "third-born" may contribute to my longing to have just two kiddos that I can focus on.

Anyway, I love the topic of birth order and hearing what thought-process mamas go through when deciding to be "done" or have more sweet babies.

If you are a mama (or dad!) how did/do you go about making this huge decision?