How Many Babies Is Too Many Babies?

My husband and I talk about having a third baby.

My heart really wants it. My head doesn’t.

Before I ever had kids, I always assumed I would have two. I’m one of two as is everyone in my family. It just seemed normal to only have two kids (My husband is one of five so he was hoping for at least four. “NO WAY” was my answer to that). So when I got pregnant with my son I knew I would want a sibling for him. When he turned two I was pregnant with my daughter and felt great about it. Until I felt horrible.

I had a terrible pregnancy with L. I was literally sick until AFTER she was born. I remember reminding myself on the way to the hospital, “ask the doctor how long it will be after she is born until the nausea goes away.” Awful. On top of that we moved across the country when I was three months so we were in complete upheaval. It was hard. As was the labor. Another distinct memory I have is looking at my husband with desperate eyes and breathing, “I will NEVER do that again.” I was terrified and I meant it.

So, now I find myself with a five year old, a two and a half year old and a completely unexpected desire to do it again.

But, wait, I’m just now starting to sleep through the night!

I nursed both my kids until they were two and neither slept through the night until after they were weaned. So let’s add that up- 9 month sleepless first pregnancy, 2 years of nursing through the night, another 9 month sleepless pregnancy followed by another 2 years of night nursing. That’s five and a half YEARS without sleep. I’m a bitch when I don’t sleep.

Of course, this would lead any sane person to conclude that doing it again is the wrong path to take. Why would you do that to yourself?! Apparently, both my husband and I lost most of our sanity in the last five years.

Not only am I sleeping again, but I’m remembering who I am. I’ve lost all the weight. I have free time to pursue career oriented activities. My husband and I are getting along great. What gives?! What is this crazy urge to throw myself under the bus? Of course, babies are wonderful. My children are the biggest source of pride of anything I’ve accomplished. But two is enough, right?

Well, maybe. Except for that other one that is haunting me….

I know a lot of other women struggle with this decision. I’ve Googled it enough to know. It’s a decision that can significantly alter the course of your life (as having children tends to do). Right now, I could either pursue my career, the degree I paid a hundred million billion dollars for OOORRRR I could have another baby. Which will it be?!

Because, I’m not sure I can do both. When I have a baby I’m not that crazy-awesome multi-tasking work-from-home and also participate in a patient, calm, meaningful way in their kids lives type of mom. I’m the impatient, bitchy, have a meltdown most days from lack of sleep type. When I’m sleep deprived everyone knows it. And as much as I feel like another sibling is a wonderful gift to give your children, I don’t want it to be all wrapped up in the same package as Monster Mom.

But, then there’s the guilt. The guilt of choosing your own needs over your kid’s. Both my husband and I have expressed that we feel another sibling would be great for our kids and we’d be happy to have another person in our family BUT we really don’t want to do the baby thing again plus the whole financial side that comes along with three. But feeling that way makes us feel selfish. Is it? I don’t think so, but we feel selfish anyway.

I don’t know what will happen. It’s the worst not knowing but we have yet to make a firm decision. My heart is pulling me hard in the direction of “just do it”. I imagine myself looking back in old age at my life. Will I regret not having just one more baby? One more child to watch grow. One more sibling for my beautiful kids. Someone they could depend on when I’m gone. Because, I image in retrospect those first few difficult years will seem inconsequential.  But my head is screaming “NO”. “It will send you over the edge!” it shouts. “Your body will be broken, your stress level will skyrocket and your chance at doing something with your life will pass you by!!”. Is it right? I just can’t know.