As a little girl, I always assumed I would have a big family of my own someday. It was completely normal to me. I came from a family of 6 kids. Almost every single family I grew up with, relatives and friends alike, had 4-6 children. It was what I knew.
I then met my husband, who is an only child. I came from six. He came from one. Two entirely different worlds. So when it came to planning our own family, there were many ideologies from both of our families hidden deep below the surface. We really never did the whole…”I envision us with 4 kids spaced 2 years apart” type of thing. We knew we wanted to have children together and really, that was just about it. “One at a time” we always told each other, that is if we were blessed enough to have any at all. I threw my assumptions of having a big family out the window along with any expectation we felt from those we love. We were married, had a wonderful year as newlyweds and soon began trying because we felt ready. Shortly after a devastating miscarriage, we had our first, a baby girl. And boy did she fill us up. To the brim. The joy she brought us was unexplainable. Soon after she was born we began receiving the question When will you have your second? I know people mean well by this and personally, I typically welcome the question and really enjoy talking about it with family and friends. But then there were those times it came from complete strangers and it made me defensive. Maybe we were trying and we couldn’t conceive. Maybe I miscarried again. Maybe I was waiting until our daughter was 9 months old to start trying. Though none of those were my reasons, that question, when it came from strangers, made me feel pressured. Our real reason? We just weren’t ready for another one at the time.
When my daughter turned a year, we began loving the idea of her having a sibling. It just happened….our hearts opened up a little. It was still difficult to imagine having enough love to share with another baby but we knew that’s what we wanted. So we stopped preventing and soon after, another baby on the way. We were thrilled…and to both my husband and I, it felt right. So a baby boy joined our family two wonderful years after his sister. And right now, as I write this, I sit here. Breath taken away, tears rolling down my face, dripping onto the keyboard. Because I couldn’t imagine one single, itty bitty ounce of any of our lives without him. Our daughter filled us up…and now we are just simply overflowing. We are blessed. So blessed to even have had the option to have another. I went from not being ready and not being able to imagine loving another child to this in the blink of an eye. It happened. Organically.
And now the question has begun pouring in. Are you going to have a third? Is that our plan? We have no clue. But do we really need to know? So many things in our lives are planned, day in and day out. Retirement planning. Date night planning. Birthday party planning. But children? People? Human beings? One at a time, for us. With each unique child comes a new experience for my family and me, and with each experience is growth and enrichment. And through our growth and enrichment we become closer to what we want in life and what is best for our family. I don’t want the pressure of conceiving another. I don’t want to portray to my two fortunate children that we need another to be happy and well. I don’t want to have another just because it’s what you do next. Or because its something I said I was going to do so I have to stick to it. If we choose to try to have another I want it to be because our family is ready. Because our home has enough time and energy for another. Because our hearts are opened up. Because having another feels right. And we just aren’t in that place right now. Maybe we will be there tomorrow. Maybe we will never be there.
Every situation is different. Every family is unique in its own wonderful way. We all have our own wants and needs and I feel fortunate that we have been given the choice to decide on how we would like to go about planning our family. How many children are you planning for? Or are you having your children “one at a time” as well?