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? 

 

When It Rains It Pours

You know that saying “When it rains it pours”? Well we are in the midst of a monsoon over here. We just returned from a very busy, too busy really, weekend away. Then Neil started a new job yesterday which I am thrilled about however it is on the East Side of Portland and we are on the very far west so if any of you are familiar with Portland commuting that means he is commuting 2-3 hours/day which means he is leaving by 7:15am and isn’t home until 6pm (if we are lucky).  That compounded with the fact that our house is a mess, I’m not exaggerating either it’s embarrassingly unkempt.  When the UPS man comes to the door I make an effort not to open the door any further than I have to so he can’t see down our messy entry way into our messy living room.

To make matters worse or rather more challenging Edith has been sleeping terribly at night. At first I thought it was just the whole getting back from being away and being a little over tired but it happened again last night. I honestly am surprised I can even form a coherent sentence right now I’m so exhausted. Edith nursed for a good 45 minutes and then I needed a break because I mean honestly she wasn’t getting anything just nursing for comfort and after awhile it starts to get uncomfortable especially with the constant side switching.  Neil took her from me so I could pee and just a have a minute to breath and she lost it. She screamed the entire time he held her and then I took her and she screamed some more. Finally she settled down and nursed again and fell asleep. I picked her up brought her to her bed and placed her down just when I thought we were in the clear she starts screaming again.  At this point I am at a loss. I decide to change her diaper and see if that would help.  She was so exhausted she was falling asleep on the changing table but was still having burst of screaming.

After that I decided to just take her to the office and lay down with her on the futon.  Of course I forgot to bring a pillow so I fixed myself into an awkward side laying nursing position that left me with a stiff neck and sore back. Eventually she settled down again and fell asleep.  I wish I could say the same for myself but I was so uncomfortable that I only managed to sleep for a few minutes at a time before needing to readjust.  Finally at 2:3oam I had, had enough so I went back to bed and brought Edith with me.

I needed a break from her constant nursing, yes she was sleep nursing on the futon the entire time, so I tried to just cuddle her but she wasn’t having it.  She then proceeded to scream for a good 10 minutes before Neil finally took her to the nursery and sang her a song and she finally fell asleep until about 4:50am.  Then she was up and ready to come back to bed to nurse.  So I brought her back to bed and groggily nursed her and eventually I fell asleep. I then woke up at around 7:15 with Edith scratching at my chest wanting more although she had been nursing non-stop since she came to bed with us.  I needed a break so I snapped my nursing tank up and held her close, but again she wasn’t having it so she screamed and screamed and screamed so I finally unsnapped and she happily smashed her face into my boob. Finally 20 minutes later she was done and happy.

Here we are a few hours later and I’m barely functioning. Exhausted and trying to be positive about the day but also trying to prepare myself for another break down. Luckily she seems content to play with the empty boxes in the office and flip through the pages of Bagombo Snuff Box. Now it’s time for me to try and get our crappy scanner to work so I can send off some documents and find myself another cup or five of coffee.

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How do you manage tough parenting days?

When I’m A Parent….

I will never put my child in a cage…

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and then we bought a cage.

Okay so it’s not really a cage it is a play yard that we lovingly call “The Cage” and it has become totally necessary. Over the past few weeks Edith has become more mobile ie. crawling and climbing. Oh, and did I mention putting everything in her mouth (still) and because of this I couldn’t get anything done.

We needed a safe place to put Edith for short periods of time so we tried putting her in the pack n’ play and it works fine for about 10 minutes once per day and that just wasn’t cutting it so we decided to pull out the big guns and completely let go of the “no gated area” notion we had idealized and bought a large play area.

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Once I finally Neil finally figured out how to put it together we placed it in the dining room/living room and put down Edith’s playmat and added toys and books and dropped gently placed her in. Instantly she was in love especially with the fact she could pull herself up and stand and babble at me while I do work or dishes or fold laundry.

Just another lesson that while we have grand ideas before baby arrives it’s a whole other ball game when they actually do arrive.

What are your “When I’m A Parent” moments?

P.S This is the “cage” we bought (affiliate link)

Not Exactly What I Had Expected

Cafe Au Play
Cafe Au Play

Cafe Au Play (Source)

There were plenty of great groups and resources for Lindsay as a mom and her and Edith as a mother-daughter pair back in Vermont.  Between the bi-weekly moms meet up group at the yoga studio, post partum yoga, and other mom’s groups there was plenty of avenues for her to get together with other moms outside of her own social circle (which proved quite handy since our social circle didn’t exactly contain a lot of other parents!).  One thing that you didn’t see so much (if at all) in Burlington were similar groups for dads and their children.  I mean obviously as she gets older, there would be plenty of opportunities to participate in her activities whether they be active, artistic or otherwise.  But, there wasn’t really any venue to meet and interact with other new dads.

I was pretty excited to find that there were a number of dad’s meet up groups in the area on meetup.com.  I found one group that seemed like a good fit. It was a group for new dads to get together and discuss how they were doing as new fathers.  The meetup was at a cafe that also serves as a childrens’ play area (it even has Play in the name).  As we prepared for the meetup, I started to worry that the group was more of a support group than a dad and children’s meet up group.  Lindsay and I both came to the conclusion that if the meet up was at a cafe that was meant to be a cafe for parents to take their children that it would at least be fun to introduce Edith to other children.  So, we got Edith ready and packed up and headed to the east side to grab something to eat and explore the area some before the meetup.

When I got there, Edith and I headed inside while Lindsay went off to try to get some work done. I ordered an Americano and panned the room while I waited, looking for the other members of the meet up group.  When I noticed them, I saw it was at this point, a couple of fathers quite a bit older than me, neither of which actually had their children with them.  I had also overheard them discussing postpartum depression, something I hadn’t experienced and couldn’t relate to. I started to get a little anxious and texted Lindsay asking for advice on what I should do.  I can get pretty anxious enough as it is when meeting new people, but realizing I’d be the only person at the dad’s meetup at the children’s cafe with a child and that, at least initially, I would struggle to find something to relate to these other dads with, I quickly changed my order from for here to “to go” and hurried out the door, back to the car with Edith in tow, hopefully without being noticed (I think the barista actually picked up on the situation as she asked me if I wanted to change my order to “to go” before I had a chance to ask her). While I think that it’s a great thing to have a support group like this for dads who are experiencing issues like postpartum depression and who generally are having a hard time with parenting, that just isn’t something I can relate to.

For now, I’ll continue trying to find a group of parents that I can relate to and make friends with for both myself and our family.