Enough is Enough

These days I seem to field a lot of inquiries about when we’re going to have another baby. And probably like many parents, on the good days I think “Sure! Now is good!” and on the bad, “We’re done." Our thoughts have become further muddled by logistics (e.g., finances, Jon’s loss of his office/meditation station), and guilt about the prospect of never again being able to give Laurel our undivided attention.

It’s refreshing when others have the answers and today we’re thrilled to introduce Tracy, a new guest contributor, who has made her decision about family size. Read on, and weigh in with your opinion on ideal family size.
“The word is out. I want a third baby. Call me crazy (at least 5 people already have), but that’s the truth. And no, it’s not because I have two boys and desperately want a girl. A girl would be lovely, yes. But so would another boy. I happen to think the ones I’ve already got are pretty neat. Not to mention the odds of actually having a girl are not in my favor.

Peoples’ reactions to my wanting a third child have taken me aback. They’ve ranged from barely disguised cynicism (“Oh, I suppose you want a girl?”) to open hostility (“Why would you want a third child?”). Sometimes the tone implies I’m being selfish, which I don’t understand, because it will be me groaning with pelvic pain while I turn over in bed. It will be me laboring to birth another baby. It will be me breastfeeding and getting up to soothe a baby trying to figure out how to sleep through the night. Selfish? How? Only a few have said, “That’s wonderful.” Or, said nothing at all, like it could possibly be fine, normal even, to want more than two children.

There was a time between the birth of my second son and his 6-month check up where I really thought 2 might be it. Then, one day he and I were standing looking out the window to our backyard trees (one each, for the boys), and it hit me. There was another person for this family. That image hasn’t left me since. Not that I don’t waffle every now and then. I know going back to baby land won’t be a piece of cake, but I can’t shake the feeling that I will regret not having a third child for the rest of my life.

There have been all kinds of web-polls lately asking what people thought the ideal family size is. I’ve come to look at it this way: enough is enough. Every parent knows when they’ve got it left to give, and when they have just enough to do their best job with the kids they’ve got. I admire people who decide one is enough, just as much as I am awed by some of the women I know with six! For my husband and me the magic number is three.”