I’m Afraid to Start Having Babies (Again)


Three days ago I decided I was ready for another baby. Then yesterday I changed my mind. Today I feel indifferent. And that’s only the last three days, folks. This yes-no-maybe so baby pendulum has been swinging back and forth for a couple of years now.

Unless you’ve been living under a pile of laundry (hey, it happens), you’ve read Babble blogger Chaunie Brusie’s viral post about how she’s afraid to stop having babies. I felt that way once upon a time, too. Back when I was younger. Back before two miscarriages. Back when growing our family was just one of the many ways my husband and I were growing in our marriage, growing in our careers, and growing in our wants and desires.

But it didn’t take long before we were all grown up and all grown out with two young kids and two merciless careers that didn’t allow us much time to enjoy our growing family. “No more babies,” we’d whisper in passing as we took turns caring for a hard-partying infant or fevering toddler at 2am.

“But you just have to try for a daughter!” people would tell us. Try for a daughter? We could hardly manage the children we had. At a time when our kids were the first ones to be dropped off at daycare and the last ones to be picked up, we wondered how we would ever manage a third, no matter how desperately we wanted to. But we couldn’t help but think someday. Someday when life calmed down a little. Someday when our kids were a bit older. Someday when I was finally able to leave my job — then we’d have another baby.

And then one day that someday arrived. When I left my job to focus on our family, things became a whole lot simpler. And we loved it. We’re still loving it nearly three years later. And perhaps we’re loving it a little too much, because even though now is the perfect time for our someday baby, something unexpected is standing in our way: the parenting sweet spot.

Yes, friends, we’ve reached the parenting sweet spot — that enchanted measure of time in parenthood when your children pretty much care for themselves as you stand off in the distance and worry/pray a lot. Sure, you still have to help with homework and cut up your youngest’s pork chop, but there’s no more butt-wiping or childproof drawer locks. There are no late-night diaper runs or tantrums in aisle 5. And if all that sounds too good to be true, it gets even better. The biggest perk of your membership into the Parenting Sweet Spot Society is the glorious realization that the journey that lay before you in parenting is every bit as exciting as the path you’ve already forged. Whoa.

Now that our kids are of a self-sufficient age, friends and family are offering to watch them more, giving my husband and me a little time to focus on each other and ourselves. And you know what else? At this stage, our kids make for some seriously awesome company who are able to travel, sit still, focus, and engage in a way they’ve never been able to before. Now that what we’re able to experience with our growing kids is virtually limitless, I have to wonder where our someday baby fits into this equation.

Chaunie Brusie may be afraid to stop having babies, but now that my kids are 7 and 12, I’m afraid to start. Do we have it in us to start all over again? Are we ready to give up our seats in the Parenting Sweet Spot Society? I’m suddenly not so sure.

Until my heart and my mind are able to reach a mutual and lasting decision, I’m choosing to focus my energies on the blessings of the two children we have. They may no longer fit inside the crook of my arm or release sweet baby breaths upon my chest as I lull them to sleep, but they continue to fill my heart with as much love and joy as they ever have. Baby or no baby, I’m excited for the beauty of whatever comes next.

Image courtesy of Lori Garcia

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