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How do you know when you’re 'done'?

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FamilyofFour

A North Shore Mum, who would prefer to remain anonymous, opens up about her dilemma about how many children to have:

I had never really put a number on how many children I wanted to have; to be honest it never really occurred to me to do so. But lately I’ve been wondering, both in private and out loud if ‘I’m done’ yet. How do you know when you’re done?

A dear friend of mine told me that when she held her third child in her arms, she knew that that was it, she was done. I haven’t had that feeling and lately in fact I’ve been thinking that I’d like to go back for round three. I think about it a lot, so much so that I think I’m not done. But, the decision is not mine alone.

My husband is done. He’s quite adamant about it. Actually he’s vehement about it. No more, that’s it. No discussion will be entered into. I can see his point. We have two fantastic kids whom we love and adore. We’re just that little bit older; I am late 30s, he’s cracked 40. Do we have the energy for a newborn? Our children go to bed at 7.30 and we don’t hear from them again, mostly, until 7am. Once you’re getting regular sleep the thought of giving nothing short of horrifying. On the odd night where one or both of the children are awake, I stumble out of bed to go to work feeling like I’ve been on an all-night bender.

But, I’m not sure. I’m the eldest and my Mum was 36 when she had me. I had two straightforward pregnancies and two natural labours without complications. My body recovered well. I know the risks of complications increase as you get older, but everything’s a risk right?

Why now I ask myself? Perhaps because my eldest child has spoken of a desire for another sibling. Perhaps because I realise I’m getting older and the time will come when it’s really no longer an option. Perhaps because deep inside myself I long to place my hand on my swollen belly and feel the life moving inside me. Perhaps because I desire to hold a newborn on my bare chest and look at their little hands and rub my cheek across their tiny head whilst marvelling at the miracle of child birth. Perhaps I just want more.

Another friend of mine, similar age to me, has just announced that she is pregnant. I confessed that I was a little bit jealous and that whilst I would love another baby, my husband was not so keen. Her pregnancy, whilst wanted, is accidental. She suggested I have ‘an accident’. I thought about this for a microsecond before discarding it. I could not deceive my husband like that. Both of our children were planned and wanted. Despite how much I want another child a ‘planned’ accident would fly in the face of that. I couldn’t do that to my husband, or to our children.

This desire of mine has caused some angst in my household. I bring it up semi-regularly with my husband, both seriously and in a joking way. It never goes over well. On the day our eldest child mentioned it, my husband thought I’d put them up to it. I hadn’t, but I can see why he’d think that. He knows I want this, but it’s a decision for two and one of us has decided and the decision is final.

I have many, many things to be thankful for; a husband and children whom I love and who love me, a home. We have a great lifestyle where we can afford to go on holidays and buy little luxuries. Our children are at an age where we can go out and do things as a family with only the minimum amount of whining. Another baby would certainly curtail that. But I think I’ll always wonder about ‘what if’, what might a third child be like? A boy or girl, dark or fair, extroverted or introverted? This is looking more and more like wishful thinking.

I am slowly and reluctantly giving up on my hopes for a family that numbers five. This makes me very sad but then I have so much already and two beautiful children. A part of me worries that I’ll regret this for a very long time.

Do you think this North Shore Mum is ‘done’? Should she go for #3?

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