Is that my girl's seat?
I have three boys under seven years old. We are a family of five and every night we eat dinner together at our rectangle dining room table. There are six seats. I look at the empty seat and quietly wonder each night, "Should we have another child?"
The mixture of feelings when bringing a new baby home from the hospital are incredible. Even the nervous emotions feel thrilling. You don't know what your future will look like. You expect there will be difficult moments but happiness carries you through it.
Having another child for a girl is the best way to have a boy. There are no tricks and no guarantees. It's a flawed reason to have a child. Would that invite disappointment?
39% of expecting women choose not to know the gender before birth. Are they afraid to be disappointed? That wasn't me. I wanted to know as soon as possible. There is more than enough excitement at the birth. One less surprise and more time to plan is a good thing. I learned about my third son from a cupcake at twenty weeks. My mother baked them for a reveal party. Sure, I felt a sad twinge at the blue-creamed center but afterward I recognized that my three children would be a band of brothers, that ancient and tightest of bonds. Then I felt truly grateful. Now my young boys are old enough to play together. They compete and constantly fight. Do I honestly have the energy for more?
Maybe. It's a joy to teach children a new skill and observe them make a discovery all on their own. Newborns are completely dependent but every day they become a little less. Each new birth resets that clock. I just started getting the confidence to take them places. Sometimes we go to restaurants. We even went on a summer vacation. My youngest could be out of diapers soon. We can actually do things now. Do I want to pause that again?
Not really. Life feels like it's maturing and it's great! Most days my cup feels overfilled. The boys are lively, fun, and super close. They are in a ton of sports and activities. There are three sets of friends to see. They are in school and daycare and someone is always sick. When one finally starts to feel healthy, the next one gets sick. Do I have enough patience, enough love, enough time for another baby? Can I fit another child in my life?
Yes. There is room for one more. Children are the reason to try to improve and be the very best at everything you do. The kids could share rooms. No big deal. Hand-me-down toys and clothes build character. In a large family everyone helps out and that's a good thing. Three is great but is four too much? How would an additional child change our dynamic?
Each pregnancy it's impossible to imagine how a new baby will change your life. Each time my seer skills failed me at what my expected new baby would look like and would be like. My lack of imagination is no indication of what can and cannot be. Children are God's way of expressing that the world should go on. There is no greater blessing. Will I make a decision today that my future self will regret?
I'm 35 years old. My fertility reduces each year and the risk of genetic abnormalities increases. I probably need to decide soon. I'm so lucky for the wonderful kids I've been given. Am I greedy to ask for more? It's already more than enough. I'm grateful and exhausted. I'm happy and hopeful. Our family works. We fit our house. Do I want to upset the balance we just found?
Spend the day with a friend's baby and try not to melt. Babies smell so good! They let you nuzzle their necks and kiss their chubby cheeks all day long. Spend the day with a friend with older kids and it's fun! Older kids are capable of helping out. They can entertain themselves. They can sit in the pew and ride a roller coaster.
I'm not sure. Am I done?
Originally published on HFVH blog.