Saturday, 17 January 2015

Am I ready for a third child?

"Oh the pigeon pair!" the elderly lady said to me, admiring my two young children. "You can stop right there now. Your family is complete."

Complete? Is it really? How do I know? 

A family of four is so....nice. A mum, dad, one boy and one girl. It's a little too neat perhaps?

I clearly remember discussing the subject of children with my husband-to-be on our one year anniversary of "going out." He had asked me how many kids I wanted and I was a little stumped at first.  I was just 21 and I hadn't thought much about being a mum. I just thought about myself, really. I thought about my career prospects, future travel plans and hopefully marriage. Being a mum was something far, far off in the distant future (although it ended up being only three years later!)

After a little bit of thought I answered that I'd like no more than three children. I had come from a family of four and it was always hectic, noisy and stressful. I wanted a little less of that. And him? 10. Yes, 10 children. Which later, thankfully, dropped to five children after much discussion. Can you tell he's from a Catholic family? Every sperm is NOT sacred in my books!

We never did come to a firm agreement on the number of children we'd like to have. Once we married I just hoped it would sort itself out. we are today, two children later. My husband would love at least another two more and I'm adamant that one more would be enough. But even one more is a massive thing for me. It had led me to ask myself, am I ready for a third child? 

There's a lot to consider.

So, to help me decide, I've put together a list of the positive and negatives to help me (and maybe you) work this one out. 

Negatives of having three children:

1. It costs more - emotionally & financially

2. We will need to go through the baby stage again. Sleepless nights, leaking boobs, slouchy female bits, and poo avalanches.

3. We may need to buy a new car or tightly squeeze into your current model.

4. According to research (which is based on a survey of 7,164 U.S mothers) transitioning from two to three children is overwhelming as parents become outnumbered. But we're bigger aren't we?

5. Nearly every body tells me that two was easy and three is a real stretch on your physical/emotional/mental/financial resources. Three is not just a crowd, it's a circus.

6. More clothes washing. Enough said.

7. There will be a middle children who may be vulnerable to middle child syndrome. The children will either need to all play together or one will be left out. Maybe four children then?

9. We will miss out on all the "family deals" aimed at two parents and two children.

10. We will be replacing both of us and adding another human to this already overpopulated earth (that one is courtesy of Dick Smith).

11. More children to drive around to various friends' houses and after school activities once they grow up. Many parents with children from around the age of 12 to 17 tell me they are part time taxi drivers for their children.

12. Less "me time". I don't get much of this anyway but at least I get time to myself at night and the occasional day out by myself. This will all end while the baby is young.

13. I will be putting my career prospects on hold yet again. I've working in various part-time and casual roles since having children but I haven't progressed or found a job I particularly love.

14. I will have to go through pregnancy, birth and the dreaded postpartum period again. In the past two pregnancies this has included battling a daily heart arrhythmia during and after pregnancy, postpartum thyroiditis, and a long and unpredictable labour. Then there's the good old changes to your body: spider veins, droopy bits here and there, and leaky plumbing. Oh the joys!

Positives of having three children:

1. Two just doesn't seem to cut it. There feels like there's someone missing and that we aren't a big enough family yet.

2. With more children, surely one of them will take care of me and save me from going into a nursing home when i'm old! (Please!)

3. The more the merrier (so the saying goes). More beautiful little people to love and get to know. One of the most wonderful things about being a parent is discovering your child's unique personality and nurturing their character. It's also about accepting the things you can't change but still guiding them in the right direction. It's a privilege.

4. My kids are now a little older (they will be at least 3 and 6 if we have another baby) and will be able to help out and possibly not be so jealous. It's a bit different compared to 3 under 3!

5. Although there are many hard things about the baby stage, there are also so many wonderful things about little squishy toes, soft baby hair, button noses and sweet milk cries. Feeling clucky yet?

6. Three is a crowd  and with five of us in total it would be like our own little party/circus/club/team.

7. I grew up in a family of four, my husband in a family of seven. Although there were some negatives in growing up in a big family, there's now a lot more positives since we've become adults. When we all get together at Christmas, birthdays etc we really enjoy each other's company and our family have become our closest friends. We love that the kids have lots of aunties, uncles and cousins. Family gatherings are busy, loud and fun!

8. When I'm old and grey I would find so much pleasure in knowing that I have a family that will continue growing. I would love to one day have a home full of my children, grandchildren and even their children celebrating Christmas or birthdays together.

9. Two children may seem like enough for now but how about in ten years? Twenty or thirty? Will I ever wish I had more? Will the family seem too small when we are all adults sitting around a table for dinner?

10. Children are blessings! They bring great purpose to our lives, they bring more fun, more wonderful memories and more challenges which we can grow and learn from.

I was able to list a number of negatives but I think they are all outweighed with the fact that one beautiful, little life could possibly be created and enjoyed. New life is a miracle!

Raising kids and bringing them into this world is tough but there will come a time when they are adults that we can count them as friends (i hope!)

So how about you? Did you make a decision to stop at a certain number of children? Why? Maybe it wasn't a choice and you would have loved more. Sometimes we just need to count our blessings whether they be 1, 2, 3, 4 or more.

I wonder how many I'll be counting...