How do you KNOW when you're done having children?
Everyone says that when you're done having children, you'll know. You'll just know. But I don't. I've got, by most standards, a big family. My husband and I have our own three children, my oldest daughter is eight, my son is five and our baby girl is a year and a half. We've also got my husband's daughters from his first marriage, they're twelve and ten. That's five children. That's a lot. It's a mini-van full, it's a table full, in fact, it's two tables at lot of restaurants. It's no exaggeration to say that we bring the party to pretty much any party we go to, because when you've got five kids, anytime you go anywhere, you're bringing chaos and fun and excitement. My life is busy and there are absolutely times when I'd love the opportunity to be cloned so that each of my kids could get 100% of my attention.
My last pregnancy was really hard, non stop nausea and horrible, horrible itchy dry skin. Braxton Hicks contractions all the time. I don't really like being pregnant, honestly. I love feeling the baby move, and I like the clothes (I think maternity tops are cute, I know it's weird), but the rest of it? The peeing all the time, the heartburn - it's not fun.
So why did I go misty at the Childrens Science Museum yesterday, when I saw a mom wearing her newborn baby? The sight of those little leggies and that sweet little baby head snuggled up against her chest made me go all gooey inside. I freely admit that I adore babies. I flat out love them. And I know, I know, they keep getting bigger, and as they get bigger, they get more complicated and more challenging. I've got an eight year old just starting to deal with peer pressure, a five year old who's not at all happy about kindergarten, a toddler who's already embracing her independence and two stepdaughters that are rapidly approaching adolescence.
Even with all the challenges, there's an incredible beauty to raising children. Watching the children grow and learn and develop. Seeing glimmers of the incredible women that my stepdaughters will be, watching my first baby grow into this big, big grown up girl, my son (who still looks so tiny to me as he walks into kindergarten) forming his first real friendships with kids that aren't my friends' children, and my baby, my baby girl toddling around the house, singing and mooing and growling - every single developmental stage is represented here and I love every minute of it.
There's a part of me that feels like maybe, just maybe, there might be another baby in my future. My husband would be delighted to just keep going, a la Michelle Duggar. He's not adamant about wanting more children, just absolutely open to the idea. I don't know. We're getting older, at thirty seven, it probably won't be as easy to get pregnant as it was, and there's a part of me that's superstitious about it. I've been so blessed with healthy children. Should I tempt fate once again? Should I just be grateful for what I have - when so many people I know wanted to have more and couldn't? I haven't made any decision yet, and probably won't for a while. I like the three to four year age difference between children and with my youngest less than two years old, I know I'm not ready. Right now, I'm way too busy to contemplate another pregnancy. But I do. Contemplate. A lot.