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Baby Fever: When do you know when your family’s complete?

As a mom of two boys who also happens to be in her mid-thirties, I get asked – scratch that, told – pretty much every day that I need to have a baby of the female variety, and soon. “You know, you’re not getting any younger,” helpful types tell me, as if I’m unclear on my own age or what it takes to make a baby. And most of the time, I can ignore them. Because most of the time, my heart feels like our family is complete. That is until suddenly, out of nowhere, rabid baby fever strikes and I’m left wondering, what if?

Why does calling the final score (Boys, 2; Girls, 0) have to feel so final? Oh right, because it is. The fact that I’ve been blessed with two awesome and grimy boys still surprises me more than anyone. What’s not to love about boys and the never-ending crossfire of Nerf bullets? OK, so maybe mothering boys wasn’t the motherhood I had imagined, but it’s undoubtedly the motherhood I love. Once upon a time, I dreamed I’d have a daughter. My sugar and spice vision included a mini-me who’d be madly in love with her daddy. We’d spend our days playing tea party, arguing over the morning hair routine and searching all over the house for matching ruffle socks. One day we’d fight over her awful taste in boyfriends and prom dresses and we’d have the beautifully complex relationship that only a mother and daughter can. So yes, the idea of adding a daughter to our brood is tempting (Need. More. Estrogen.), but even more than that, welcoming another precious baby into our family is just plain dreamy.

Or it is until I think of the reality of a baby. Children are a blessing, there’s no doubt about it, but once I get to thinking about the how and why, pesky logistics seem to suck the fun out of everything. Hey, I’ve been around the mom block long enough to know that babies never fit into logistics, probably because they’re not supposed to. I adore me some babies (especially chubby ones) but even a raging case of baby fever can’t deny the fact that a baby changes everything.

I’ve finally reached that sweet spot in parenting where I can pack up the kids and back out of my driveway in three minutes flat – hallelujah! My kids are potty-trained, able to dress themselves and even play together without fighting (on occasion). My house is no longer Babytown, USA and yeah, I like it.

The slacker mom in me thinks these self-sufficient milestones serve as undeniable positives in closing up baby shop for good. No longer mistaken for a pack mule, this glorious mommy freedom is a luxury I hadn’t known until now, and it’s good – almost too good. And as much as I shudder to think about reaching the final fertile frontier, sometimes I wonder if my actions speak for themselves. I’ve given away nearly all of my maternity clothes and whoopty-do baby contraptions I spent two babies accumulating. If we were to have another baby, we’d be starting from scratch. And scratch is expensive.

Then there’s the dreaded mommy guilt. You know, that uneasy feeling there’s not enough Mom to go around? Well I feel it, pretty often actually. My heart is capable of loving a fertile baker’s dozen but my time and resources simply aren’t as generous. I work outside the home and juggling the demands of working motherhood with two children is already hard. The idea of a working motherhood with three children seems impossible. The emotional and financial price of motherhood is high and worth careful consideration.

And then there’s the simple fact that even if I decide to get my preggo on, there’s no guarantee my body is up for the challenge. When I consider the fact that I’m getting older (tick, tick, tick), and my husband spends most of his time glued to a bicycle saddle (yikes, the family jewels!), the fate of our reproductive future quite simply remains uncertain.

I think about all of that, and then I think about the single reason that makes it all worthwhile. Yes, I’m most certainly talking about the precious baby with the sweet smelling head and itty bitty feet. If you’ve ever noticed how a newborn baby snuggles perfectly into that space between your neck and shoulder like a missing puzzle piece, you know. Aside from all that obvious deliciousness, there’s the joy. The joy that’s way bigger than the sleepless nights, teething struggles and daycare costs.

So the baby riddle remains unanswered, but part of me likes not knowing what the future holds. My heart and my head deliberate as my womb impatiently awaits a final ruling. On the upside, though, I do know this: Baby fever may come and go, but my family – the one I have right now – remains a true blessing.

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