Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thoughts on Three

As I've mentioned, I've been spending a lot of time watching "A Baby Story" while I've been home on maternity leave.  They feature all sorts of families--first baby, second baby, sixth baby (!)--and it's definitely been food for thought in regards to the dynamics of different sized families.  I've been pretty adamant through most of this process that this would be it for us, which is why I was extra disappointed about not having a girl.  Now that we have two boys, I still have a lot of mixed emotions.  I love Carter so much, so I wouldn't change a thing, but I still have moments where I wonder if it would be worth it to try for a girl.  I see so many families on the show that have two kids of one gender and finally get opposite gender on their third try.  They're always so excited and so fulfilled by it.  Of course, there are also the people who try and try again, only to get another of the same gender.

And that's the tough part.  If we could guarantee that number three would be a girl, I'd be very tempted to try again.  But since we can't guarantee it, it would be a huge risk to try.  Because ultimately, I don't really want to do this again.  All I could think as I was going through the agony of labor and the discomfort of the immediate aftermath was that I was never going to do this again.  I've found relief in that throughout, from the rough pregnancy to the late-night feedings.  I'm not sure I trust my body to do this again, since it had such a hard time this time and I'm only getting older.  The mental and physical challenges of getting the house ready, attending to a new baby, and dealing with Jacob's adjustment haven't been easy, and it's been a relief to think that we don't have to worry about it again. 

But it would be amazing to have a girl.  And even if it's another boy (God help me), babies are so precious and it's such an amazing experience to get to know another child and see their personality.  But a girl...it would just be so different.  I guess my biggest sadness is that if my boys get all that I want for their lives, inevitably it means they will grow apart from me.  If they grow up and get married, another woman will be the most important in their lives, and I don't want to be that mother-in-law.  If you have a girl, however, it's easier to grow that friendship forever.  There's no conflict or competition there. 

But reality is that we can't pick the gender, and having a third child changes everything.  We'd start running out of room in our house, we'd need new vehicles, and we'd no longer fit at the average restaurant table (or our kitchen table, for that matter).  It would cost that much more money for daycare.  And as I get older, we'd either face higher risks for birth defects, or we'd have to have another one pretty quickly, and I'm just not sure how I feel about that.  One thing that I've definitely taken from "A Baby Story" is a sense of relief that Jacob is as old as he is.  No, his response hasn't been great, but at the same time, the thought of managing a newborn along with a super-needy toddler gives me major anxiety.  I'm so happy we're past that point now, but if we were to have a third, that's probably a scenario we'd be facing.  The amount of stuff that goes along with a new baby can be overwhelming, and I can only imagine how much worse it would be when we'd get all new girl stuff.  It's felt good to reuse the boy stuff, but I've felt like even the newborn clothes we had to get for Carter are almost wasteful.  We needed them, of course, but they'll only get a month or so of use and chances are we won't reuse them.  Imagine an entire wardrobe of girl stuff and a full set of girl toys!

I'll admit I felt a little sad about starting the process of putting away my maternity clothes (bye, skinny jeans, it's been fun!), because chances are they'll never be used again.  I'm debating keeping a few items as part of my normal wardrobe (mostly fitted tank tops and t-shirts), but I don't want to wear them out in the event I do need them again.  Now that I know my body tends to flip babies the wrong way, I can't help but wonder if that could be prevented and if I'd discover labor doesn't have to be the torture it has been the last two times.  A third go-around would be less daunting if I knew that part could be easier.  But the thought of going through another pregnancy and risking an even earlier delivery scares me a lot.  I feel lucky that we have two healthy kids and wonder if it would be asking too much for a third.  Not to mention, nothing is guaranteed and you never know what challenges might lie ahead with the kids we have. 

Long story short, while my heart would love a third child and the prospect of having a girl, the rest of me knows that it's probably not logical, practical, or advisable.  Part of that makes me sad, and part of it gives me peace.  One of today's "Baby Story" episodes featured a mom that got her girl after a couple boys, and she said something to the effect of, "Now that I have my girl, it's time to stop this [meaning, one pregnancy after another] and start enjoying my life."  I totally get what she means.  Instead of planning and dreaming of more, it's time to live in the moment and invest in what is before you.  Part of me knows that I need to just get past the girl thing and embrace my role as a mom of boys.  I can always hope for great daughters-in-law, right?  And granddaughters beyond that?

It's not always easy, though.  I love my boys, however, and wouldn't have it any other way right now.  When people ask me if we'll have a third, my answer is, "Not unless God decides differently!"  And that is certainly the case.  We would most likely need medical assistance to make a third, but if we randomly got pregnant without that help--whether or not we were trying--it would certainly be an act of God.  And if that's the case, who am I to argue?  But for now we're done at two.  I still hesitate to say that Carter completes our family, but he's definitely another piece of the puzzle and we're ecstatic to have him here. 

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