The Big Question… Are you done?

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How many…

IMG_4017Once your child turns… oh, about 1… it seems like the comments and questions start coming…. “So, it’s about time for one more….” “Ready for another one yet?…” “When is the next one coming?…”

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….

 

11 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for sharing! This was a struggle for us to decide also. We too have two kids 19 months apart and thought when we STARTED having kids we wanted four. But after the second, we prayed about whether we should have more (something I hadn’t thought to do before actually) because it just seemed like a decision WE had to make. After a lot of talks, prayer and talking about all the variables and factors that go into having kids and raising them, we have also decided to have two. Of course if God wants us to have more that can still happen but we are content and feel that we are lacking nothing in our lives. We had to ask some hard questions like is my worth tied into filling our lives with children? Grandchildren? What, at it’s core, is the reason for having more kids? Do we feel like we are missing out on anything by only having two? And we decided after much deliberation two was great for our family. We feel whole, complete and thankful to God for his rich blessings. Thanks for sharing and for letting me share this book on the subject! Wow. Wrote a lot there.

    • Lindsay, sounds like our journey was very similar. We talked a lot about everything you mentioned. I am so glad you are at peace and were able to work through it with your husband! It is a huge decision. I am so glad you shared with us!

  2. Jodi…I have been thinking on this same subject A LOT! It is such a hard decision! I sometimes find myself feeling guilty because I still have a desire for another child. I feel like it makes me seem ungrateful for the three babes I have. We are still in limbo…undecided. BUT I have peace that God knows the outcome!

    • Katie, I don’t think you should feel guilty at all! You’re such a good momma to the three you have, another one would be just as blessed! It IS such a hard decision, I agree! But I think it’s so personal and only one that prayer can help with! We struggled with knowing what to do this whole past year but I feel like I finally have peace about it, just like Jodi! Getting that peace sometimes takes some time and consistent prayers!

  3. I have also been thinking about this subject a lot as well. I have 2 younger sisters and love the family dynamic that comes with having 2 siblings. I go back and forth all the time about what is “right” for our family. I have peace in knowing that we do not have to make any decision right now and can wait and decide a few years down the road. Also one of my best friends said something to me that really stuck with me…she said ” You will never regret having another baby, but you might always regret not trying for another.” I’m sure by the way I answered this question you can tell what I hope happens in the future for our family but it is in God’s hands so we have to see what HE wants for our family.

  4. We just have one daughter, and she has been a HANDFUL. A very difficult baby, completely done napping by 2…just a bit tiring 🙂 I also had some post partum after she was born. We love our pumpkin to PIECES, though, no doubt! Our situation is such that we will have to wait about 2 years before having another child…which means she will be at least 4 when we have the 2nd child. I want her to have a sibling and always imagined a family of 4…but sometimes I don’t know if I can handle it. Then I feel guilty about those feelings…I only have one child right now, for goodness sakes! Many have more than 1 child and seem to do it just fine!!! This is definitely a good topic, and it seems like many go through a difficult time of ‘Are we done?’. Thanks for posting – look forward to following response!

    • Kristina, Thanks for sharing. I can totally relate! I remember after having my second child thinking what on earth did I do with my time before I had two. But trust me I wasn’t sitting in front of the TV eating twinkies! A mom of 6 just shared with me the other day that God give you just the right amount of grace. If you have one he gives you the grace you need for one child and if you have two so on… My boys still aren’t easy but I know God uses that to depend on him more. I think when I did have another child I just got more efficient about somethings and then just didn’t care about other things. I was so scared about having a second child too – same fears you had. Even through the pregnancy I was worried he would be a hard baby. But some how only by God’s grace did we make it through.
      And don’t EVER say you only have one child and don’t compare yourself to those other moms who have more! You have one amazing energetic daughter and you sound like an amazing devoted wonderful mother to her!

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