Family of Three or Family or Four?

This has been a question that has been weighing on my mind since Edith was born. For many years, Neil and I were content being a family of two. After a surprise pregnancy back in 2009, we started to warm to the idea of being a family of three. Fast forward four years, two more pregnancies and one baby later we became a happy family of three. However, as Edith gets older I’ve started to wonder if I want to stay a family of three or will we round ourselves off as a family of four?

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I would like to note that I AM NOT currently pregnant and have no intentions of being pregnant again for a while, if ever.

I went through a period right after Edith’s birth where I had baby fever and couldn’t stop talking about having another child. Neil was less than thrilled with the idea and I still feel that he is leaning much closer to a family of three. I cooled off and reined myself in on the second baby talk and actually got to a point where I was fine with just the three of us. Now, here I am, with baby fever again.

I love the idea of Edith having a sibling, of being pregnant again and of having a full house.

On the other hand, there are so many possibilities and things that make me nervous about having another child.

  • What if I miscarry again? I had two miscarriages before I had Edith and there is always a concern that this could happen again. Miscarriage is a tolling experience both emotionally and physically on the whole family. I wonder how we would react to another miscarriage and how it could effect our family.
  • Money. Having a child is expensive. One child was a big change and I realize that adding a second child to the mix won’t be such a big change at first but thinking ahead to school years, traveling, university and beyond and I start to have heart palpitations.
  • Different experiences. Neil is really happy with having one child and despite growing up with a brother they aren’t close and his experience wasn’t a very positive one. He would have been happy being an only child. I on the other hand grew up as an only child, always wanting a sibling. I know that I was lucky enough to do as much as we did when I was younger because I was an only child. But, even now, as an adult I often long for a sibling.
  • Travel vs. a “Big” Family. If you follow us you know that Neil and I are always on the go.  We have really slowed down over the years but regardless we love to travel. Having another child would make it more of a challenge to travel since we would have to spend more money of flights, food and entertainment.
  • Balance. I already have trouble balancing being a SAHM, WAHM/blogger, wife, being a health coach, working on becoming a doula and making time for me.  Having another child would mean putting some of these things on hold, most likely health coaching and my dream to become a doula.  I would also have to cut back even further on blogging. Right now, I’m not sure if I am ready, even though I know I will have to make some changes in the coming months/years as it is with just one child.
  • Body Image. I am still carrying around most of my baby weight and I don’t know if I want to do it all over again. I would really like to lose the baby weight (and maybe more) before we even try to have another child and the idea of going through this process just to have to do it again isn’t high on my list of things I’d like to experience again.
  • Breastfeeding. We just celebrated our one year breastfeeding anniversary and, let me tell you, it has been quite the year.  I don’t see us stopping breastfeeding for at least 6 months and we could easily continue to go for another 24 months. Breastfeeding, while great for nutrition and bonding, is exhausting and honestly, I would love to wear a non-nursing bra again. I am not sure if I am ready to go from nursing Edith to nursing a new baby soon after or even at the same time.

As I read this list, I think “Wow those are a lot of reasons NOT to get pregnant!”. But, honestly, they are a lot of trivial things, aside from affordability. Right now we aren’t really talking seriously about potential #2 and we will not even consider start trying until Edith is at least two so we have a whole year to decide.

How did you come to the decision to have one child?  If you only have one child and plan to keep it that way, what were the factors involved in making your decision? 

 

3 Comments

  1. We are going through the exact same thought process as well. We were always thinking “one and done,” and now that G is nearly one, I am having a hard time letting go of my baby! For us I would say the main factors are financial, and freedom…we want to be able to travel, as you said, and doing so with two children is not only more expensive but more limiting. The people I know with only one child have a LOT of freedom (once the child gets older) to either take the kid with them and have it be pretty straightforward, or leave the kid with someone (people are usually keen on watching one child but not necessarily two or three!).

    Another thing is the sleep…if I get another sleeper like G I may not make it!

    • I have to agree those are our two biggest reasons and financial is the biggest of the two. Having children is expensive especially if you don’t want to go through the traditional public school rounds. However, despite that I really would love to have one more but we will see.

  2. Obviously it is ultimately your decision, but these are two of the big reasons I want more than one child:

    1. I was an only for many years until my dad and stepmom had my brother and sister when I was in 6th and 9th grades, respectively. I can say with 100% certainty that my life is richer and fuller with them in it. We have never lived together, so practically speaking I have always been an only child, but I cannot imagine not having them in my life now. I want my kids to have the same experience.

    2. Only children bear an enormous burden as their parents age. I will be solely responsible for my mom when she ages and needs more care, and then eventually I will have to handle her estate alone. Both are huge burdens even with a sibling, but without, they are overwhelming. I know it sounds macabre, but it’s a practical consideration we, as parents, need to remember.

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