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I Want Another Baby But Not Another Toddler

Photograph by Unsplash/Dakota Corbin

Almost every single month, when “that time” rolls around, I wonder if we should try to have another baby. With our youngest turning 4 this summer, I'm on the cusp of a whole new world as a mom. I’m entering total big-kid territory, at once terrifying and totally exhilarating, because for the first time in a decade, I am looking at an existence of life without kids home all day.

I honestly didn’t ever think this day would come, and back when I was a new mom struggling with having kids one right after another, I thought for sure I wouldn’t make it out alive. But now, here I am, looking at the light at end of the tunnel. ButT instead of dancing my way into freedom, what am I doing?

Pining away at the thought of having another baby, that’s what.

With a diaper-free and sleeping-through-the-night existence in my future, for some reason, I can’t stop thinking about having another baby. I’m ogling over babies in public, swooning over adorable chubby baby pictures on social media and waxing nostalgia over the baby clothes still in our closet. Every part of me would love another baby in my life.

But that’s the major problem: I want the baby, not necessarily what comes after the baby stage.

Because the honest truth is, I want a baby, but the thought of toddlerhood again makes me shudder.

When I picture a baby in our home, my heart just soars. The baby snuggles, the soft cheeks, the excitement of the first baby claps and giggles—all of it just sends a straight arrow of longing to my heart. But then I think of what happens after the baby stage, my thinking changes.

The honest truth is, I want a baby, but the thought of toddlerhood again makes me shudder. I picture the years of literally chasing after a toddler, the terrible twos, the potty training ... and suddenly, I'm second-guessing myself.

I've heard it said that you should plan for the family you hope to have, not the baby you hope to have, and I believe that's excellent advice. Because, as the sentiment goes, babies don't keep. So, until I can reach the point where toddlerhood sounds just as appealing as holding a chubby, sleeping baby in my arms, I will remain somewhere between wanting another baby and being quite content to know that my baby days are behind me.

Until next month, that is.

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