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waxing poetic about an exersaucer

We took it to the basement this week.

It’s been a fixture in our living room for the better part of 5 years, in two different houses. It was a playmat for both of our tiny, squirmy, brand new babies.

on her belly

getting big.

Then it was a bouncy, jumpy, noisy containment device and jungle gym for the busy babies they grew into.

hi Momma

silly girl

not liking the bow

EXERSAUCER!

adoration

trying to put the whole exersaucer in her mouth

Wheeeeeee!

It was also a chew-toy for our cats and the girls.

But now both of those babies are too big for the exersaucer (well, they don’t necessarily think so.) And honestly: I think I’m okay with it.

I thought that putting the next-to-last Baby Thing away would make me sad (we still have the pack-and-play in the living room to keep Audrey contained if I need it while making dinner, showering, etc.) And it IS weird, I’ll admit that. But I think…

I think I might be ready to be done with babies.

This subject is a constant state of joking around lately. Dan would have another baby in an instant. He not-so-secretly wishes for a boy, I know that. And while I would have loved to experience raising a child of both genders, I love that my girls each have a sister. It’s what we were gifted with and I feel very content with that.

But of course, the question: do we have a third? Three kids, two parents. GULP. Outnumbered. We have the space in the house, and I know we’d have the space in our hearts. But do we have the space in our ENERGY LEVELS? Do I have it in me to go through another newborn phase?

Most days, I don’t think I do. I’m not even on the fence about it- I’m running through the field at full-throttle and the fence is disappearing behind me. I’m moving forward into a future with two daughters. Two beautiful, blonde, lovely, healthy girls who I hope to mold into smart, strong, loving women.

photo shoot

And there are hard days, when everyone is whining and clingy and demanding and I simply cannot fathom even in my most imaginative moments adding another human being to my life. CANNOT. IMAGINE. IT. Two is enough. DONE.

But then there are moments when the baby is snuggled on my chest all warm and chubby, or Maggie tells a hilariously nonsensical joke (usually about poop or underpants. FOUR YEAR OLDS, YOU GUYS.) and we are all laughing and giggling and there is love and fun and… adding a third wouldn’t be THAT bad, would it?

Those moments of imagining a third baby are rare, I’m not going to lie. But they do happen.

I’m at the point now where I think I probably won’t change my mind and purposely have another baby. If we have a Surprise… then okay. God obviously has another plan for our family and I’ll embrace that Imaginary Third Baby and it will all be okay. Nobody ever REGRETS adding a baby to their family, you know? But doing it on purpose, planned carefully as our first two were, is something I can’t picture.

I worry. Even though we crack jokes about surprise pregnancies and packing away baby things and not giving away maternity clothes just yet, I worry that Dan will resent me someday for not jumping into having another baby. And I worry that even I may regret someday not seeing what other kind of insanely awesome and crazy cute person we can make.

But I also worry that I would resent feeling pushed into the decision, in those dark moments in the early days of newborn-hood that I honestly don’t enjoy all that much and when I look back on this time last year, I cringe at some of my thoughts and behavior and feelings. Those are not my proudest moments. I don’t do Baby Hood very well sometimes.

But the baby phase is so short in the grand scheme of things. It goes quickly- a blessing and a curse. So I try to skip over the New Baby Idea and imagine having three KIDS. Three to shuffle to school and activities and family gatherings and college and… wow. THREE. It seems like so MANY PEOPLE to care for, and I worry about someone always being left out. Would having three kids mean that we wouldn’t be able to be the parents we want to be, because we’d constantly be stressed and frazzled and exhausted? (I know that sounds dumb because plenty of people have three and even more kids and they do it very well! But is three right for US?)

And then there are the selfish reasons: I’d be giving up my body again for another 2 years or so. I’d have to breastfeed again (argh. We do not get along very well.) I’d most likely have to put my work life on hold for a while because right now working and two kids is hard enough. There are so many things I want to do and having another baby would put those things on the back burner for a while.

I don’t have an answer to this question yet- at least not a final one. But as we get closer to Audrey’s second birthday next year, and each time another baby thing gets packed up and stored away, the pressure to Make A Decision gets stronger.

Will we ever hear the rattle of the spinny thing on the exersaucer again?

No clue. But I do know I have to go change someone’s diaper for the second time this morning.

27 Comments

  1. Sunshine
    @littlemisssun

    With Isaac getting ready to turn 7 (!) and Sophia getting read for Kindergarten the thought of starting all over again completely overwhelms me. Like you, some days I like the idea of a third, but the more I think about it, and try to imagine the logistics, the more I start to hyperventilate. Yeah, I think we’re done. And I think I’m ok with that.

    Dec 1 9:33 am


  2. Tracy
    @overmom

    Very real post. Honest. Thoughtful. Great.

    I have 3 kids. Obviously, lol. It is glorious to have both genders. (but for me..I not so secretly wanted a baby girl) I could not imagine not having 3. We are out numbered. We are frazzled and tired and going crazy. All of the time. BUT we love it. Charlotte was not supposed to be here 18 months after Logan but surprises do happen (hense the tubal because I am fertile myrtle). Only you can decide if you want another baby. I totally get the resentment that you might fear. Understandable.

    I find myself crying when Charlotte does “first things” because I know we are done. Packing away stuff makes me sad. I would love to have another one if pregnancy did not bite so much! ha.

    The right decision will be clear when you know! Hugs.

    Dec 1 9:40 am


  3. Erica

    This is similar to how I feel about having 2!

    Dec 1 9:46 am


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      It’s funny because I only felt that way about having a second baby for a little while, and it was never very strong- just a ‘well, maybe we can just stop now? It’s perfect right now!’ I always knew I’d have another baby. But this time is so much different, which is why I wonder if this means I’m truly done.

      Dec 1 12:44 pm


  4. Oh lady, I sorta know how you feel. Parts of me absolutely want to have another baby. Parts of me would get pregnant in a heartbeat. Unlike you, I adore the newborn stage (although I think age 2 is my favorite age so far) so that doesn’t put me off at all.

    I worry about juggling 3 kids, a house, my career, my husband’s career. It’s a lot. We have a good thing going now. Our kids adore each other. We lucked out by having 2 laid back kids and adding the 2nd one was seamless. I don’t know that we would luck out again.

    In all likelihood, we are done having babies (unless there is a surprise baby). We have given away most of our baby stuff. I just gave our baby swing to daycare this week. And the pack n play went to Xander’s teacher for her new baby.

    I always heard that I would just “know” when I was done having babies. I’m not sure that’s really the case, but I’m becoming more and more ok with not really knowing for sure.

    Dec 1 9:54 am


  5. keli
    @kelihoskins

    Love this post. So much. I’ll be honest … I still struggle with MANY of these same thoughts on a daily basis. And I AM pregnant with our third. I know, I know. I am kind of in denial, still. I need to just get on board and deal with it, right? But there’s still this teeny tiny part of me that is all, “But we only wanted two!!!” /whine

    Anyway, I think you have the right attitude. If it accidentally happens [hi!] then it’s meant to be.

    [And if it’s meant to be, the third baby can’t be as hard as our 2nd babies, right? RIGHT!?!?!?!?] ;)

    xoxo
    I sure do love you … and I actually miss being pregnant together.

    Dec 1 9:55 am


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      ha I certainly hope for your sake that #3 is easier than #2 ;) And you’ll get on board- the beginning of any pregnancy is weird because until I was feeling kicks and stuff, it didn’t seem real. And I still had moments- both times!- when I was in denial, up until delivery! LOL

      Dec 1 12:47 pm


  6. I’m sure all moms can relate to this. I sure know I can. I had a very sad moment when I put my daughter’s beautiful crib bedding into the hopper at Goodwill. Not because I was so very attached to it … I knew even if we had another baby, I’d purchase different bedding, but because of what it symbolizes. I go back and forth too. I would in many ways love to have another baby. My husband REALLY would. But we do have “one of each” and they’re both healthy and wonderful. We could afford another one, but it would mean doing without some of the fun extras. A fifth plane ticket when four are already so expensive. And like you said, outnumbered. And as much as I would like to experience the oh-so-short baby stage again, I realized one day what I would be taking away from my two in terms of myself and my time, both during that baby stage and beyond. So like you, we’re not doing anything permanent … but there are no plans and I am 99% great with that. I think. ;)

    Dec 1 10:01 am


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      Those are my thoughts exactly- I worry that having another baby will take away time from the other two, even more than it did with Maggie when Audrey was born. That was hard enough- spreading myself even MORE? oof. Can’t imagine it. Plus, I’m liking our sleep again ;) ha

      Dec 1 12:49 pm


  7. red pen mama
    @redpenmamapgh

    big, big **hugs**. I am glad you are open to the possibility of having another even if by accident. :) We never know what God has planned for us. I could’ve written this post two years ago (I may have written a similar one, as a matter of fact). Three kids has its challenges — I won’t mislead you there. We shell out a lot in babysitting money so I can take the girls where we need to go while the baby naps on the weekends. But it’s worth it. And having a third, a boy OR a girl — you wouldn’t regret it, and Dan wouldn’t care about the sex. As for energy levels… I hear that. But you are young! Young as I was when I STARTED having babies (fate is cruel sometimes).

    If it happens it happens. And if it doesn’t, you have the right of it. You are so, so blessed with those two beauties.

    But if you write this post again in another year? That’ll be the chink in your armor! ;)

    Dec 1 10:09 am


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      ha yeah if I’m still waffling this time next year, I think I should just DO IT. (but I’m pretty sure by then I’ll know either way- then ONE OF US is headed to the doctor, either for prenatal exams or SNIP SNIP. LOL)

      Dec 1 1:08 pm


  8. Amy

    I have ALWAYS wanted 3 kiddos, but I don’t even have two yet. I feel like I will be in the same boat as you in a few years after our second child. You hit the nail on the head when you said that the newborn phase is a blessing and a curse, sooo true! Motherhood is joyous and rough, being out numbered during the rough times is a scary feeling.

    Dec 1 11:05 am


  9. Michelle
    @notraisingbrats

    Before we knew we were having a second girl, the husband said he would want to try for a third child if we ended up with two girls. I told him to stop chasing the unicorn and that we could end up with three girls. That was enough incentive for him to want to stop. It is such a difficult decision to make but for me, I’m happy with ours. There have been a few times in the last year where I feel a bit of the “What if …” like when I gave away all my maternity clothes, the baby clothes and all baby gear.

    Dec 1 12:25 pm


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      I’ve pointed that out to Dan before: THREE TEENAGE DAUGHTERS. WHAT. ?? It… doesn’t seem to worry him too much (he says he’ll be brain dead and drooling in the corner by then anyway, so what’s the difference? He’s such a drama queen. ha) I would definitely not have another one just to ‘try for a boy’- it would be to have another BABY, even if we were kinda secretly maybe hoping for a boy ;)

      Dec 1 1:11 pm


      • Jesabes
        @jesabesblog

        I have two sisters – all three of us were born in three years and I loved it. I think my Dad would tell you it wasn’t that bad:) (When we were older, that is – I bet when we were little it was INSANE.) I was kind of hoping for three daughters, actually! My husband is super thrilled to have a son, though, and I am happy to have one of each.

        Dec 1 10:30 pm


  10. K
    @twoadults

    I used to really wrestle with whether or not to add another one as I LOVE being pregnant, and so seeing the end of that is what makes me sad. Many of my reasons for not adding a third little person are 100% logistic (a bigger car, refinishing another bedroom, more daycare and private school costs, my now being a super high-risk pregnant lady), but they are considerable to me.

    And although I feel twinges here and there when I see smallish babies, I am really very excited about the direction our family of four is moving in. I am excited to take vacations and Do Stuff. I am excited to teach them things. I am excited to have Ezra and Iris grow up with one another.

    I think we are meant to be a Foursome.

    Dec 1 12:28 pm


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      The logistics make my HEAD SPIN. For real.

      I’ve held several tiny babies in the past year and… no twinges, no baby fever. Which isn’t necessarily an indication of anything, because I never had ‘baby fever’ with before the girls either. (I am very analytical & practical in my decision-making, not emotional at all. heh) But definitely no baby fever now.

      I’m just ready to move on from caring for babies and start raising kids, you know? I’m excited about it.

      Dec 1 1:15 pm


  11. Kelly
    @Tooptumber

    So, can I just say that I am getting sort of wistful thinking about your girls growing up? And I’ve never even “met” them!

    I can completely understand where you are coming from right now. There are lots of days where I feel so overwhelmed and I wonder how I’d handle another one when sometimes I don’t think I am a fantastic mom to the two I have.

    And yet. YET. I often feel like there is someone missing… still waiting to join the family. Not sure what is going to happen in regard to #3, but it will have to be decided soon. If Lilah gets too old I won’t be able to go back to the drudgery of babies. :)

    Awesome post, Jen. Thought provoking and a great glimpse into your thoughts. :)

    Dec 1 2:37 pm


  12. I’m very much in the same boat but we’ve made the firm decision to be done. Still sometimes I find myself thinking crazy thoughts – like that my husbands vasectomy will be the one in one million and fail and we’ll have a surprise 3rd. I think that’s just hormones talking because rational me is so happy to be heading toward a life without diapers, pack and plays, and the general load of equipment that babies require.

    Dec 1 3:31 pm


  13. Melissa
    @sempremelissa

    Well, you know my feelings on the matter! lol…

    It’s a very personal decision, and there is no right or wrong answer. You and Dan are great parents, and you’ll have lots of fun and get through the rough patches whether you stick with two kids or add a third. Just enjoy where you’re at right now… it’s a good place to be. :)

    Dec 1 5:21 pm


  14. Susan

    Jen, with my babysitter out with pneumonia for the past three weeks, I could have TOTALLY brought baby #3 to you each day! Anytime you want a little dose of 2 month old, just let me know :)

    Dec 1 7:07 pm


  15. Erica
    @ericahuff

    This is pretty much exactly how I feel, down to the breastfeeding and not-awesome newborn-ness (which I’ve just started again, yaaaaaaaay sigh).But right now I’d say I’m 97% sticking with the two little ladies.

    Dec 1 8:28 pm


  16. Jesabes
    @jesabesblog

    I worry about the same thing, but in the opposite direction – I’m postitive I want another baby, but my husband isn’t so sure. I’m pretty sure I won’t ever be OK with not having another, but worry I’ll push him into it and he’ll resent being forced. At least its easier when it’s the woman who wants another baby – I’m not asking him to be pregnant and breastfeed.

    Dec 1 9:24 pm


  17. I love these kinds of posts. I love reading about how other people make this decision. I was on the fence about when to have a third until a surprise pregnancy (and subsequent miscarriage) threw me into wanting a third RIGHT NOW. And now here I am halfway through this pregnancy, and I’m a little nervous how it will be in March when this third baby gets here. But I’m also sure three isn’t going to be the end. My husband isn’t as sure as I am, but he isn’t against having more either. I wonder though how I’m going to know when we’re “done” for sure.

    Dec 2 12:31 am


  18. We know without a doubt that we want two–he’ll never waver from the two, but I can imagine being really sad/nostalgic as that second baby grows. We’re also planning a pretty big age gap so I can go back to school, so I’ll be a bit older for the second, which will probably reduce the odds of me seriously wanting a third later on.

    Dec 3 2:49 am


  19. Jen

    Very thoughtful post…without a doubt, the dynamic would have been the same in this house, but God has a funny way of making those decisions for you, what a sense of humor He had with us!! (although today I lack some of the admiration of that sense of humor with 1 consecutive hour of sleep due to teething unhappy children!!) Kidding of course, we are blessed, as are you..with 2 or 3!

    Dec 4 11:17 am