The decision to have kids is one of the most important decisions many of us will make in our lives. Some couples are lucky and know exactly what they want and when, so they decide even before the wedding that they will have two kids in the next four years or one child within the first three years, or whatever combination suits them. For others, it’s not so easy. Maybe they originally thought on one, but then mom wanted a sibling for her child, or dad wanted a son in addition to his daughters. Sometimes the decision to stop having any more kids can be hard.
For President Obama, it was a little easier because he let Michelle make it. In a recent interview, the President was asked if would consider having another child in addition to his daughters, Malia, 12 and Sasha, 10. He quickly answered that it wasn’t his decision to make:
“You know, you act as if this is a decision of mine. This really isn’t,” Obama told co-anchor Robin Roberts. “As Michelle points out, I did not carry 10 pounds in my belly. I think what Michelle’s general view is, we’re done.”
He also said that fatherhood is “a combination of complete and total affection and devotion to that child”. It was refreshing to hear that the president is pleased to have two girls and felt no pressure to add a son to the mix, along with his acknowledgement having complete devotion and affection is a prerequisite for having a child. It can get ugly when one partner wants another and the other doesn’t, and it’s unfair for the child if one parent caves in and has a child that is not 100 percent wanted on both sides, but I fully understand the need to want more.
After more than 15 years of always having a baby around, my newfound independence is both welcomed and unsettling.
What do I love? I love being able to take a shower without asking someone to watch the baby. I love not being pregnant and never again having to go through labor. I adore having quiet time when the kids are off on their own and I feel my writer’s sensibilities slowly inching their way back into my mind through all the chaos and loudness that comes with life when you are raising children.
I miss a lot. I miss the smell of a newborn. I miss the constant cuddling and rocking with babies late at night when the house is quiet and they need a bottle. I miss pushing a stroller around on a warm spring day. I miss watching a baby sleep.
Yet I realize that I am really not missing out on anything really. I was very fortunate to have had my children in my twenties and now in my thirties, I am entering another phase of life. As they grow, I grow as a mother. So instead of first steps and words, I’ll now be there for first dates and graduations. Instead of mending hurt knees, I’ll try to to help mend hurt hearts. I share daily laughs and discuss politics with three bright kids that I am glad to call my own, whom I know in the end are really not my own.
I am just privileged to be along for the ride… and oh what an exciting ride it is.
How did you decide how many kids to have? And once you did, have you ever changed your mind about it? What do you miss most about having a newborn in the house?