Most of the time, I am very accepting of our decision to stop at two children. Our reasons are sound and we know it is right for us. However, I do sometimes long for another baby. Or more specifically, another pregnancy and baby experience. It can be easy to mistake those nostalgic feelings for something more serious. It is important for me to remember the difference between romanticizing the fun parts of pregnancy and actually wanting another child. They are certainly two very separate motivations.
I had a miscarriage last fall. It would have been our third child. The trauma of the miscarriage coupled with the fact that the pregnancy was not entirely planned convinced us that we are done having children. As I’ve said, I am mostly resigned to this outcome. As excited as I would have been to have a third child, I know deep down that our family life is built very neatly around there being four of us. We would have made space- in our home, our vehicles and our hearts- but it would have been tough. Most days, I am at peace with it knowing that this is the way it needs to be. Some days, I am not. At all.
There are days where I see baby shower pictures or a protracted gender reveal on Facebook and I feel a twinge. There are days where I get into a conversation about baby names and I remember the ones we had set aside for the child that did not come to be and it makes my stomach hurt. I also have trouble sometimes seeing the baby things at Target or a sappy formula commercial will send me to The Bad Place. It is rare that it turns into anything more than a passing “oh, that would have been nice” but at times, it can be very upsetting. This is when I have to keep in mind that after all of those fun things, there would be a fifth member of our family. Forever. That permanency is very different from merely being wistful for the most exciting and memorable parts of the process.
My husband and I have discussed all factors at length and I know the choice to stop having children is the right one for us. It is still difficult to separate the feelings of excitement about another pregnancy and baby from the reality of another child. I am also aware of the fact that my kids getting older means I am missing the baby days but in my more sensible moments, I realize that I miss their baby days. Not that I necessarily want to start all over again with another child. It is obviously a difficult tangle of feelings and I will probably be working through them for a long time to come, but this is where I am at right now. Mostly, rational. Sometimes, a blubbering mess. A work in progress if there ever was one.