Before we had children (and even before we were married), my husband and I knew we didn’t want a big family. He came from a family of two kids, and I from a family of three kids. Shaun said two or three. I always thought I wanted three, I guess because I came from a family of three.
So, two or three? What will we land on? How do we decide?
The biggest factors that weighed on our minds were…
My oldest was NOT an easy baby. He didn’t sleep no matter what we tried (and we tried it all). I mean, he never once slept longer than 3-4 hours any night, period, until after 18 months. No Matter What! We were tired. It was hard on us and on our marriage.
My second was a little easier, but he was a HORRIBLE teether. He started at 4 months and kept teething until almost 2 years. He also had recurring ear infections one after another which led to many more sleepless nights.
We have 2, now what?…
Once our second started sleeping through the night on a consistent basis, the conversations began again…. Well, this is about the time we got pregnant with our second. If we’re going to have another one, now would be a good time; but ARE we going to have another one?… This was an ongoing conversation for probably a year in our home.
I knew that deep down, Shaun was ready to be done. He didn’t want to go through the sleepless nights; and even looking beyond that, he wasn’t sure if he wanted three children. I was stuck in the middle–I could see both sides. How as a woman do you decide on something so near to a mom’s heart?
So we agreed to pray about it for a week and not discuss it. But at the end of that week Shaun still felt the same (done), and I still felt the same (undecided). Great, now what do we do? It’s not that I felt deeply compelled to have another child, but I can’t explain it… I just don’t think I was ready to submit to the idea of being done.
I had MANY conversations with friends on this topic. I wrestled with it from a Biblical perspective, too. Really, how do you decide?
Neither one of us wanted to make the final decision and then have the other person left with resentment down the road. If Shaun said, “We are done. That is it,” what if down the road when it was too late I realized I really wanted more? What if I said I wanted another but that child had health issues – would I wonder if Shaun felt like we had made the wrong decision? (He wouldn’t have, of course; but those are just some of the questions that went on in my head.)
Finally, I decided I needed to respect my husband and submit to him. Well, really God was telling me to submit. So I did… kind of. I would still bring it up now and then. Like when I was pricing clothes for our garage sale… “Are you SURE we are done?” I could see it eating at my husband thinking we had decided this, then I brought it up again. It was eating at me, too. I still wasn’t sure I was ready to let go. Finally one night we were talking it out heavily. I was in tears because I couldn’t decide what I wanted. All of a sudden Shaun said, “We are done”; and instantly I stopped crying and had peace that this time didn’t waiver.
After that I did have a moment of, “Well, we are really done….” I remember telling God, “Whatever Your will, let it be. You know our hearts and circumstances.” I also told God with total contentment, “When You look at our family I trust You if You see two little boys or if You choose to add to that (without us planning that).” I left it at that and was totally content and at peace about it. The conversation still popped up with friends asking me if we were done; but I was content and happy.
Share with us…. How many children do you have, and do you want more? Has this been a hot topic in your home?
For us the story doesn’t end here, actually…. Stay tuned next week. I will share a follow-up to this post on the rest of our story….