I do not take for granted that we are really lucky that this is an easy do-or-don't question for us. J and I are so fortunate to have been able to conceive exactly when we wanted to (twice!) without month after month of disappointment. So, the question is, do we want to have a third child?
I think about this question all the time. Here are some of the most arresting (in my humble opinion) thoughts on the topic, in no particular order, and from a completely random assortment of sources.
From a woman in the checkout line at the grocery store, mother of three:
You'll never regret the children you have. But, if you regret not having them, then you're old and it's too late.
From a friend, mother of three, on her Instagram feed:
You don't know your perfect number of children until you've surpassed it. #stillkeepingallthree
From a friend's mom, mother of three:
It just felt like our family wasn't complete. Once we had our third, I knew it was.
From a friend with no children of her own:
It seems like having three means you're really only a mom; it's your whole identity, which is great if that's what you want.
From my cousin, mother of four:
The transition from two to three was the easiest one for us.
From a friend of a friend:
With three, that was when I really felt like it was too much and I couldn't handle everything.
When you have your first child, of course it's a huge deal, and kind of scary, and completely amazing. Then, in my mind, having an only child was never an option, so naturally, the second came along as a given. But the third. That is really something. Deciding to have a third child, there are no illusions. You know exactly what you're getting into and it's no small thing!
As of next week, I will have been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for FIVE SOLID YEARS. That is an extremely long time. And as much as I love all of this intensive mama time, I'm really starting to wonder what it would be like to feel normal again. If we have another baby, it's going to be at least another three years, from conception, before I feel normal again. And then there are all the logistical and practical considerations like cars (minivan?!), car seats x 3, travel x 5, swimming lessons and camp fees and tuition x 3, being outnumbered, needing a big living space and so on.
I just keep pondering, because Theo isn't even two yet and I am loving every minute of his babyhood. Besides, he and Coco are just about the most perfect, healthy, incredible little beings imaginable. It's the toughest question in the world, and not the least bit important to answer right now. I think about it a lot all the same.