Thursday, March 31, 2011

Our One and Only?

Hubby and I feel pretty certain that we would like to try to have another baby at some point.  Who knows what will happen, but we'd at least like to try.  I know that life may have other plans... and I have to accept that bringing home a sibling for Eliza may be a long road.  BUT, let's just pretend for a moment that we're a couple who can "plan" like so many millions of couples out there (haha!  The word "plan" used in this context makes me laugh).

So.  The question is: when?

I think I should back up and say that things are so wonderful right now... our little family of three seems the perfect size.  Eliza is all we ever hoped for, in so many ways she is all we need, and we don't feel that feeling of 'incompleteness' that I've heard other parents talk about after having their first child.

We feel very complete.  Whole.  A perfect little family.

And yet, we still know we want another baby someday.  It's a dichotomy, for sure.

I don't know if this contentment is because of everything we went through to bring Eliza home, or... because we are just so very fulfilled by the present...?  I don't know.  But I can say for certain that I have everything I need and want right now, and yet I know that I want to do it all again someday - bring home another baby and make Eliza a big sister (she would be a great big sister!).

But when?

That's the question I don't have the answer to.  The only answer I can give is: not right now.  

Well that clears things up, doesn't it?

So, I'm curious about spacing (and at the same time I type this, I go back to my previous comment about how ridiculous a notion child spacing is to begin with...).  Is there an ideal number of months/years?  No.  I mean, I don't think so.  I know there is an ideal length of time between pregnancies for one's body, but I think I am nearing that time and this will no longer be a consideration soon.

I guess this post isn't really going anywhere except to ask you all, my wonderful, kind, and beautiful readers, for your thoughts - on any or all of what I have written.  Am I crazy?  Am I normal?  When did you feel ready to add to your family and how did you know it was the right time?  Did an unexpected "oops" leave you happier than you ever thought you'd be? (oh there are days when I wish this would happen to us... I dream of finding out I'm pregnant and already 8 or 9 weeks along with a strong little heartbeat already there!).  Do you think there is an 'ideal' spacing between siblings?

(Let me be clear in saying that I realize that I am beyond lucky to be able to even write about this topic.  I know so many women who don't have the luxury of thinking about this subject... I wish infertility would just go away and leave all my friends alone...)


AT said...

I think part of my decision to do a three-year spacing is that, well, less than that and I would have felt overwhelmed. But I feel like if I wait any longer now, starting over is going to feel more daunting. Having a two-year-old I'm loving the return of freedom and flexibility we have. It's a bit scary to think about starting all over now. So, as much as I crave and will love having a little one again, I'm also sort of feeling a desire to get this baby stage over with once and for all.

Summer said...

I find this topic fascinating because there is no one right answer. What works for one family may not be what another family wants.

I have always wanted more than one child, while R would have been perfectly content with one. Before Eddie was born, I thought a 2-3 year spacing would be great. After he was born, we decided to move up that time frame. For one, I didn't think it would happen again so quickly! We are excited that our kids will be so close in age, but we also know that the year ahead will be tough. We are fortunate to be in a position where this works for us.

That being said, we are done after this. I do have a feeling already of how "complete" our family will be and it's really exciting to me. I also don't enjoy being pregnant which I feel is a taboo thing to say, but it's true. I love the end result, but pregnancy is tough on me (and by default R). That is a huge reason for stopping at two kids.

Abby said...

Well, you already know all of my feelings, opinions, and experiences, but I'll share anyway. =) I totally understand the *complete* feeling. We felt so complete after Augie was born, and although we'd always talked about more, we were very happy to be a family of 3 (me more than E, I think). And you already know that our "oops" made me feel even more complete; I love being a family of 4. In terms of ideal spacing, they all have advantages and disadvantages....super close like us = insanely stressful pregnancy and first couple of years, but kids who are awesome friends and getting done with all stages at the same time. Two years apart = a little more struggle with jealousy issues, but an independent older, and they're close enough that you're still doing baby-ish, toddler-ish stages at the same time. More years apart = you have to return to baby stages and they may not be as close of friends BUT you also have an older who is actually able to really help and who can take care of themselves in more ways. Either way, you can't lose! And if you decide to stay a family of 3, you have Eliza, so you can't lose that way either! =)

AT said...

I would also comment that our motivation for a second isn't necessarily feeling "incomplete" as much as just feeling like our extended family is small and getting smaller, and liking just the idea of a bigger family. I'm an only child and am currently very stressed by being solely responsible for my aging parents. And though we hope to not put that burden on Patrick ever, it's something I'm currently very cognizant of.

I think there's a lot of awesomeness in being a 1-child family.

Alyssa said...

I recently wrote about the reasons we're thinking of stopping at one. Of course, we're leaving the door open because things can always change.

Good luck with your decision!

Katrina said...

I recently blogged about something similar... having to figure out "when" to try, and not realizing I'd have to think about it so soon after Jace was born. (I started getting anxiety that everyone I knew seemed pregnant again when Jace was about 13-14 months old.) Once I let those feelings out I felt better and realized I'm not ready now. But I will be someday... and hopefully everything goes smoothly and I'll be able to have another child. But, for now, I've realized that I love having a family of three and there are no feelings of incompleteness here either.

On the flip side though I will say Jace was a total surprise and I didn't even know I was pregnant until I was 11 weeks... sometimes your body makes up your mind for you, and I felt very lucky that my "surprise" was Jace. I wouldn't mind being surprised again :)

justadrienne said...

I'm sure you guys will be able to have another one when you feel ready! I certainly don't predict it taking me 3 years the second time around!!

Jessie said...

Whatever you decide will be awesome and amazing and probably a little stressful and "perfect" for you because it will be all you ever know!

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emmy said...

I know lots of people have their reasons for wanting different spacing. I totally get your thoughts on not being sure about having another. I don't know if I could handle the potential heartache emotionally. I feel so lucky to have gotten where I am, I don't know that I want to risk it.

(btw, I commented on one of your last posts under my real name, in case you were wondering who that was!)

TanyaS said...

On my daughter's first birthday I just looked at her and knew it was time for another. On my son's first birthday I looked at him (remembering the thought 2 years previous at my daughter's b-day) and knew without a doubt it was not time for a 3rd. I think its just a feeling you get that you can't overthink.

Wendy said...

Funny - shortly after E was born we started getting the questions of - when's the next one? Like hello people - let's enjoy this one first! I've thought about it recently though, and DH and I agree that the 2 year spacing is ideal, but of course, with what we've been through, if we are blessed to have another - whenever - we will take it!

B MoM said...

great question! I loved all of the answers you already got. I've got #2 on the way and my #1 and #2 will be 20 months apart. While I'm anxious at all of the work that will entail having two so close in age, I'm looking forward to the positives of having them be potentially each other's best friends/playmates and going through similar stages with each at the same time. I'm not looking forward to having two under age two and both in diapers, the potential fights and jealousy, but I think there are pros and cons to any amount of age difference between children. Glad you're thinking of extending your family and wishing the best in that endevour!

Jessica said...

I just have to laugh, only because I posted about this very topic a few weeks ago...and I am feeling a lot of the same. I feel completeness in our family, but the same need to also have another one. There are days when I think now is the right time and then days I think - Am I crazy!! I have an 8 month old. For me I really had to think about how long I wanted to nurse Gabby and for us that's at least a year..if I can go longer great, I am going to let her take the cue. DH and I are planning on NPP in August probably and see where life takes us and whatever happens happens. No temping, no charting, just being. Which I am actually excited for, just letting life to the way it's meant to be. You will know the right time,as it's only the right time for you if that makes sense :)

Idraena said...

I don't necessarily think there's an "ideal" spacing, and the number of kids total definitely affects it.

This is going to seem like complete assvice, I'm sure. But from my experiences, 2.5 years and under, or 5-6 years and over, seem like good options for spacing. I have several friends who are all 3-4 years apart from their siblings, including myself. Let me tell you, I HATED the four-year spacing. I was the older one, and my sister was always trying to tag along, but never quite able to do what I could. We get along great now, but we fought constantly when I was younger, and I have discussed this with a lot of people who have this kind of spacing and it seems pretty universal. The skill level/cognitive differences are just too great to make the siblings each others' "playmates and friends", but the older one isn't really old enough or able to take on the role of helping/mentoring/encouraging the younger one.

So for what it's worth, I'd definitely veer on the side of waiting a good long time, or getting started pretty immediately. I don't have/want any kids of my own, but if/when I do, I REALLY hope to avoid any kind of 3-4.5 year gap.

Eliza's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 5 ozs
Going home: 7 lbs 10 ozs
5 days: 7 lbs 13 ozs
2 months: 12 lbs 6 ozs
4 months: 17 lbs
5 months: 18 lbs 12 ozs
6 months: 20 lbs 13 ozs
9 months: 24 lbs 3 ozs
12 months: 26 lbs 13 ozs
15 months: 28 lbs
18 months: 29 lbs 3 ozs
2 years: 32 lbs
3 years: 34 lbs

Alice's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 11 oz
2 Months: 13 lbs 10 oz
4 Months: 17 lbs 15 oz
6 Months: 20 lbs 4 oz