I’ll admit, right now having a third baby is pretty much the only thing on my mind. With my recent loss, the reality of whether or not a third child will be coming into our lives is at the forefront of my mind. Mr. Cereal and I reacted very differently to both the news of the pregnancy and of the loss. So with all this emotion swirled up in the decision, I decided that a pros and cons list could help me get though my head and I could use that clarity to help drive us into these important conversations.
I wasn’t really sure when I was pregnant with Little Bug if I would want to do this all again. I don’t particularly enjoy being pregnant, but I have a vision in my mind that if we were to do it again, I would know that this is my last time and be able to savor each moment and try to remember it all. The idea of feeling the first movement again, and having the anatomy ultrasound at 20 weeks to find out the sex of the baby, watching the baby roll around in my tummy, and all those other first moments is so appealing to me. Being able to experience it all again with LeLe and Little Bug would be so special. They are both old enough now that they would actually be able to grasp the situation and would be able to really enjoy the ride right along with me.
I love giving birth. I may be crazy, but both times it was just the most magical and amazing experience. From the first contractions right down to the last push, I love it all. I felt (and still feel) empowered by the strength it took me to give birth both times, and I would absolutely love to experience that one more time. I am usually feeling pretty let down by my body, but in those moments, especially when I was actually pushing the babies out, I have never felt more in tune and connected to my body before. Magical doesn’t quite describe how it felt, but it is as close as I can think of.
And after all the woes of pregnancy, labor, and birth, you get to hold this little tiny human, who you made and who is a part of you. This little being has been inside of you for months, the bond is intense for me. I long for those first few moments after giving birth, when you are finally holding your baby and you feel like the world has just stopped for a while. It’s so incredibly special. And not just for me, but for Mr. Cereal too. Those first few days, weeks, and months are all so hard, but they are also so fun and exciting, and so special. The bonding, the breastfeeding, the amazing speed at which the baby grows. It’s all just something I want to experience again.
One of the things I was really looking forward to when I was pregnant with Little Bug was LeLe getting to meet him for the first time. This is something I can picture in my head, with Little Bug and LeLe coming to the hospital for the first time to meet their sibling. I know it would be such a special moment not only for them but for me and Mr. Cereal to see as well. And the idea of all three kids together, growing up together, being their own little pack is so appealing to me. Having big family gatherings as they grow up, and having huge Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations at the house with the kids and all their spouses and eventually their kids. These are the things I picture for us as we grow older and our kids grow up. I’ve always wanted a large family, and three kids fit that bill.
Maybe the biggest pro for me, beyond all the other things, is that I truly love being a mom. It is something that fulfills me in a way that I cannot explain and I wouldn’t dare try to. I feel confident as a mom, happy as a mom, content as a mom. I feel like my kids know that they are my world and that I love them and I feel like my love for them only compounds my love for Mr. Cereal. My family is the most important thing to me and adding to it seems right to me.
I was a little surprised when I started writing my lists that I had so many cons. Because in my mind I want a third so badly that the cons always just floated around, but were never concrete in nature. But, as I have forced myself to think about and identify them, I have found a few that hover and I can’t seem to justify.
I am not good at being pregnant. I gain weight easily, I sweat profusely, I am dizzy, cranky, and kind of mean. I don’t love being pregnant. I have anxiety that is through the roof while I am pregnant and I know that this alone is a reason I should seriously consider being done. I have yet to have a pregnancy that was easy and straightforward, and that is seriously scary to me.
With Little Bug, I ended up with gestational diabetes. This was rough at first, but I managed it ok with the help of some meds, and everything turned out fine in the end. But the likelihood of me having GD if I get pregnant again is high, and that in combination with my already limited food diet means that I am going to struggle to find foods that I can eat, and more specifically, I am going to struggle to find foods that I can enjoy. The one plus side of this is that I would likely gain significantly less weight that my two successful pregnancies, so that could end up being a pro in a strange way.
One of the things I struggle with the most with a newborn is the lack of sleep. I do not do well without sleep, and I know that it affects me as a whole person and that in turn affects my family. I can distinctly remember wishing I could just get three hours of sleep in a row when Little Bug was a baby, but that very rarely ever happened. I struggled with him especially because he just did not sleep, and I couldn’t sleep when he did because of LeLe. The first 4 months were an absolute nightmare, and I actually ended up going back to work earlier than intended because I just wanted peace and quiet for a few hours of my day. I am very worried that this will be the case again, and how would I possible handle three little people needing my attention and time? Two kids means that each parent gets one kid and we can divide and conquer. With a third, they now outnumber us, and that is terrifying.
For me, the biggest adjustment would be how we would reconfigure our life. This extends beyond just the logistical nightmare of childcare (I can’t even let myself think about this one), and dives into the most basic issue of finances and time. We are functioning pretty well right now with our income, and while adding another child to the mix would not have immediate impacts, it would down the road in some significant ways. For the immediate time though, some logistical things we would have to consider are buying a car that can fit three car seats (our current car does not), how we would continue our bedsharing or how we would transition LeLe to her own bed, how we would juggle my schedule with another person in the mix, and how much longer we would be able to stay in our tiny, but very much loved, house. All of these changes mean more money and more time that we don’t necessarily have right now. The biggest con for the family, in general, is the cost of adding another person. As I said above, the initial costs would be minimal, but as the kids get older and they need more things and that means more money. I grew up in a poor household, and that made a lot of my young life stressful and honestly, pretty crappy at times. I do not want to do this to my kids, but I also know that I would work my tail off to make sure that this wasn’t the case for them.
. . . . .
There just isn’t a clear answer. I can’t justify or explain why I want another baby so badly, and that is something that is a source of frustration to me. I wish I had some magic words that made it all clear, and made it the right choice. And there are days, many days, when I wish that the choice would just be made for me. I am hoping that over the next few months, Mr. Cereal and I can come to a decision and have it be the right decision. I hope, for my own dreams, that it is to add to our family, but because I have no control, all I can do right now is be patient and figure out what is best for our family.