Friday, August 01, 2008

When is enough, enough?

With all appropriate credit to Dickens, I have to say that this year has been both the best of times and the worst.

Yes. Definitely the best. Two delightful, clever children are like hundred-watt incandescent bulbs of joy. Worst? Yes. Definitely the worst. Two needy, novelty-requiring children are like twenty-pound ankleweights on the mind and body, especially when one doesn't sleep. Throw in the ever-increasing career pressures and all the other everyday stressors and...well, yes. Worst, too. Where life used to be fairly placid, even-keeled, with a generally contented bent--aside from infertility--it is now a series of leaps and crashes, constant swings.

I'm finding that those highs--those sweet, sweet highs--have a sort of addictive hold on me. I long for them bodily. When Josh tucks his soft head in the crook of my neck, I am suffused with joy and a powerful longing, and a desire to cry. It is moving too fast. He is getting so big. And I start to think that we should try for one more, just one more. One more soft, small baby. One more child. And then I think, Am I fucking nuts? I am barely holding on now. Jeff is barely holding on now. If life doesn't get easier for us soon, it may affect our relationship permanently. The strain is already palpable: we're quick to irritation and wholly wrapped up in things other than each other. There is a division of hearts and minds in correlation to the necessary division of labor.

But there is something so pleasing in the notion of three. It seems...abundant. Full. Rich. Also, marginally insane and possibly greedy.

I have not gone daft; at least, not wholly, and not yet. (Feel free to disagree.) I know full well that now is not--NOT--the time for another baby. I also know that I'll be 39 next month and am, Joshua's easy conception notwithstanding, infertile. My eggs--poor at 35--have not bested Ponce de Leon and found the Fountain of Youth. If there is to be any chance of a third, we can't wait for peace to reign in our household and our children to become self-sufficient before we commence the attempt.

So: we cannot try now. I know that. And perhaps, if Josh starts sleeping through the night and Olivia finishes the miserabloe months-long potty training odyssey we were fool enough to embark upon, and we start getting sleep and some orts of free time, we will find that we really, really love it and don't want to mess with our stability for anything. Or maybe, just maybe, we'll feel so good about our relatively calm and stable life together that we think, what the heck, let's make the attempt. What's one more?

I don't know. I just don't know. I guess I figured I would instinctively know when we were done. I don't.

If you've been there, did you? Did you know when you had finished building your family? Was it clear?

15 Comments:

Blogger VHMPrincess said...

after needing fertility treatments to get the first 2 children, #3 was an accident, when the 2nd was only 7 months old.

Yes it is hard. But it was already going to be hard, adding a third REALLY isn't that much more work - you're already up bright and early in the morning, making 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, what's a little extra?

And a rough year or two is a small price to pay for a lifetime with a child (once they are 3 they are SO MUCH EASIER!! Actually, once the baby could walk we hit an easier go of it.

Good luck deciding - we'll be reading along!

1:46 PM  
Blogger Bittermama said...

I was right where you are about a year ago, thinking I'd always wanted three but that things were hard enough that it maybe wasn't such a good idea. Then things got... well, different if not all that much easier. It's still really hard, but the four of us are into a great groove now and it suddenly clicked about 2-3 months ago that I really don't want another child. I'd always thought that I wanted three, but I can't imagine anything other than our happy little foursome now. It all just feels perfectly complete, whereas a year ago that wasn't the case.

Now if we can just find the time and money for that vascectomy...

1:52 PM  
Blogger BrooklynGirl said...

I'm right there with you: in no position to consider #3, and yet here I am, considering it.

I do know though that at least now there's not that hole of wanting that was there before so even as I stare down my 39th birthday, I feel like whatever happens will be okay.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

I definitely identify with not wanting to rock the boat..hope the next few weeks and months bring you calm and clarity.

3:04 PM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

The decision was sort of made for me. I had mild PPD after the first (I really only realized it in retrospect) and quite serious PPD after the second. We are all happy now. We are done; I'm not risking this hard-won return to happiness for anything.

1:08 AM  
Blogger ばらっち said...

Hello.This is first time for me to visit your site.
I have three children (6year-old boy,4year-old boy,2year-old girl)
They are angel, sometimes devil, though...
I'm happy if you link to my site.It is written in Japanese but show pictures.
baratch family

3:12 PM  
Blogger MsPrufrock said...

I wonder about people who never have this conundrum. We wonder about this ourselves, and our answer varies by day. If you find the secret, please let me know.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

I always wanted one more till suddenly one day I realized 2 things. One after 10 years of secondary IF and 2 m/c I was less than excited that I was late.( Just late not pg) and two Life is good and adding another now would not be fun.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

See, this is not the post I expected to see from you next, though I am glad you posted it. I'm there myself, with one, and a husband in his 50s who has two adult kids in addition to our one and doesn't want any more and didn't really want this one (but to be clear, is a devoted, devoted dad).

I always wanted two and never thought it would be right for me to parent an only, yet also didn't realize it would take 5 years to conceive the first, nor just how tired I'd feel.

We have one embryo on ice, allowing me to delay deciding (not doing the FET is out of the question for me, but of course the odds of it working are similarly stacked, though in the other direction). After that...?

Truthfully, either world (only child or two children for me) is potentially a good one. I'm just not sure how I'll choose.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Menita said...

First: hell yeah t is hard. I am in the midst of an utter meltdown. BUT it does get easier and the kids are the source of about 96% of the joy in my life.

Second: About when your family is done. You know, after Polly was born I had a very real, physical sensation that someone was missing from our house, someone who should be there. Since Jack arrived, that feeling is gone. Sometimes I'll check in with myself to see if I am truly done and yes, it feels like it.

So if you feel someone is still missing, and you are going to miss them all your life...I get it. I would have mourned not-Jack possibly forever.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous LEB said...

We planned (irony) four.

Had one easily, then lots of miscarriages, then SIF, then IVF & another miscarriage, then had number two.

Decided to try (old fashioned way) for number three - that would be the last, we wanted to put ttc behind us. Got pregnant (relatively easily), made it to 17 weeks then number three died.

Now we have no idea what to do - we should be satisfied, we should be sensible, but we don't feel we're finished.

8:29 AM  
Blogger tonya said...

I can sooo relate to this, and I wish I had an answer. If getting pg only involved me, I'd already be journeying there, and praying to stay pg. However, my hubby has posed all the logical protests-- lack of resources (money, no relatives nearby), and he also feels his family is complete. How can I sway his logic? Nothing I say or do can change the situation nor his opinion, barring a big lottery win (ha!). He asks why I'm not happy/content with the kids we do have (I am, you jerk, and my contentment is a big part of the reason I want more, besides that I've always dreamed of 3 or 4)....

I really feel like there is another child out there for me, for this family. But I don't know if it will ever happen for me again.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I know that I comment this on every one of your blog entries, but I know how you feel. #1 conceived via IVF, #2 conceived 'naturally'. They are only 17 months apart and we are struggling to keep our heads above water. To add to this mix, we recently started looking for a house. My husband wants to just let nature take its course and if we have a third it's meant to be. I cannot decide, but know that I will not survive the next 9 months if I am pregnant. In my mind, it will get much easier after #2 turns 1 yo and then I will decide. In the meantime, abstinence seems to be making the decision for us.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous dee said...

I think it's just one of those things. I don't have any rational explanation for it but I've lately been thinking similar thoughts.

Like you, I've recently hit 39 and am pretty sure that our family is complete with 2 kids. Recently, though, I've been thinking of soft little babies and wondering if maybe, just maybe, our family would be "complete" with another child. My husband has also been putting the bug in my ear as he's keen on a third.

But...the difficult pregnancies, the NICU, potential complications, PPD, and more. I just don't know if I could do it again. So much risk, so much 'pay off.' Sigh.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous fisher queen said...

There is no good time, is there? That's the cliche, but after reading all these comments, I know it must be true.

We have one precious babe through IVF, and I am now pg naturally, which is still an utter shock to me. Strangely, I feel much less connected to this pregnancy than I did to the IVF pregnancy. It's not a great feeling. Add to that, we've got an embryo in storage- I wrestle with the idea of embryo donation, and can't get there. I never, ever imagined three, but (knock wood) it may happen. Then again, I'm speaking too soon...but it's hard not to try to plan ahead.

4:29 PM  

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