I Know I Want Another Baby, But I Keep Chickening Out
by Carla Wiking
Photograph by Twenty20
The moment my second son was placed on my chest, I knew I wasn’t done having children. I had always planned on having just two, but I suddenly felt that my family wasn’t all here yet. And while my husband and I both want to have another child, my baby boy turned three several months ago and I haven’t even tried to get pregnant.
Every month I find an excuse to put off trying. I know in my heart of hearts that I would love one more baby, but I have totally overthought it and I keep chickening out. I should add that I’m not getting any younger, I will turn the oh-so-significant 35 in two short months. So if we're going to try for a third, we ought to get trying.
Between all the knowns (it will be hard, exhausting, and expensive) and the unknowns (the baby’s health, temperament, and sibling dynamics) I’m struggling to keep my eye on the prize and pull the trigger. Ultimately I know another baby, no matter the challenges, would be a wonderful and welcome addition to our family. I just wish it could happen on accident because I’m afraid that if it were up to me, I’ll just keep procrastinating until it’s too late.
I know there's never a perfect time to get pregnant, but lately I’ve been pretending there is and it’s always at least a few months off. I know, I'm just full of excuses.
Ultimately, my cowardice comes down to the following three things:
1. The heart wants what the body doesn’t.
It’s hard to try for something I know will be hard on my body. With both my pregnancies I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, a form of extreme morning sickness. While I know the end result will be worth it, getting up the courage to be that sick again with two other children to care for, is daunting. I’m not the glowing mama who loves being pregnant, so knowing I’m signing up for an aching back and epic cankles takes some of the romance out of trying for Baby #3.
I just wish it could happen on accident because I’m afraid that if it were up to me, I’ll just keep procrastinating until it’s too late.
2. Diapers and strollers and high chairs, oh my!
We are currently a diaper, stroller, and crib-free family. Since we obviously didn’t go for the two under two approach, we are now in a totally baby-free phase and it seems to have become a barrier to re-entry. It’s hard not to want to put off sleepless nights and diaper blowouts—at least just a little bit longer.
Having more than two children is out of the norm and I honestly feel greedy. It might be this psychological piece that’s really hung me up. I have two healthy children, who am I to ask for more? I adore being one of three sisters, but what if I spread myself too thin and my children resent me for it? Plus, I will officially be contributing to population rise. I think it’s these less tangible concerns that have me saying things like, “Let’s try after the Zika threat” or “Let’s just get through the holidays… spring break … summer.”
I am, of course, acutely aware that I could simply decide that I’m done having babies and move on with my life. But right now it doesn’t feel like a simple decision at all. Maybe I'll keep putting it off until it’s too late, or maybe my desire for that baby will override all these concerns and I’ll finally take the plunge.
One thing’s for certain though, it’s definitely not happening this month.