When Your Head and Heart Conflict Over Having More Babies

We are done having babies.

At least I think we are.

It’s something I find myself questioning as our second and final baby is rapidly growing up before my very eyes, reaching new milestones before I even realize she’s mastered the last. It all happens so quickly, causing me to dwell on the thought that there will soon be no more babies in our home. No more babies. That is so hard to wrap my head around. Which is funny because my husband and I have spent the last nine years of our marriage being absolutely certain we want only two children.

My reasoning and logic are absolutely positive we are done. We have two healthy, beautiful girls who are abundantly happy and make our family complete. It’s what my husband and I have always envisioned, and that part hasn’t changed. We like the thought of easy, even and close – our tight knit family unit of four.

My heart, however, doesn’t feel the same. It often overshadows the notion that our family capacity has been met and easily forgets the miseries of pregnancy, the sleepless weeks, the enormous learning curve and seemingly impossible logistics of adding a new member of the family. My heart tugs and pulls and plays tricks on me. A lot.

Because I love everything about having baby. The fanfare and excitement of first
announcing “I’m pregnant!” and then 9 months later, the rush of finding out the sex and letting your friends and family know “she’s here!”. The intimacy with your spouse during labor and delivery. The first days turned weeks of life with a new baby in the house. The permission you give yourself to not shower or clean or do anything but snuggle the warm little wonder you just brought home. The way time stands still. The way your baby nuzzles into the crook of your neck, letting you know you are needed. The late nights spent getting to know this little person you just met and dreaming big dreams.

More Babies

photo credit : Alison Moore Photography

The thought of never bringing home a baby again has created a sadness I’ve never known. To never have a round belly full of new life, a dewy newborn placed on my chest, a much-anticipated meeting day, or a middle of the night feeding creates a pit deep in my stomach.

Some have always dreamed of a big family, some prefer to throw caution to the wind, and some are happy with one and done. We have always known our limit is two. After many thought provoking discussions, it mostly comes down to quality over quantity for our situation. Everyone has their limits on time, energy and financial resources. For us, those things are maxed out at two. We like having plenty of “white space” in life, and even with two, there is a struggle to find a balance. But we still feel we’re able to give what we have without stretching ourselves too far beyond our margin.

I will never forget when I was pregnant with our second, I was so nervous about having “enough” for two children. How will I love another baby like I love my first? Where will I find the time for both of them? A friend who had just had her baby #2 wisely told me that my time and energy will most definitely be divided, but my love would multiply. And she was right. My heart expanded and my love really did multiply.

But my time did not. 

Even still, with every new pregnancy announcement and every call to come up to the hospital to meet a new little bundle, my heart (and ovaries) yearn for that feeling again. To go through it all again – the morning sickness the labor the postpartum blues. I would most certainly do it all again! But I have to wonder, do I really want another baby? A baby who grows into a toddler, a child, a person?

I really don’t think so.

Because whether by choice or circumstance, there is always going to be a last baby. It doesn’t matter if it’s after your first or your fifth, it still stings the same. And if I’m completely honest, the pregnancy, birth and homecoming of our second is much more a blur than our first. Because the second time around, we had a toddler in the mix as well. Whereas the first will forever be acutely poignant in my mind. The pace of life with two sometimes scares me, it moves so rapidly. And I suppose the more children we have, the more blurry it will become.

So perhaps all these feelings of baby fever are really just nostalgia? Putting away outgrown clothes and prepping our toddler for preschool are things that physically take my breath away. Because it not only means no more babies, but that my own babies are growing up. And grasping that concept feels a whole lot like mourning. And to cope, my heart decieives me into thinking I want more, but really, it’s just the desire to do it all over again. With the babies I already have. 

So it becomes clear to me. We are most definitely done having babies.

I think.

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11 Responses to When Your Head and Heart Conflict Over Having More Babies

  1. Shelby July 17, 2015 at 10:43 pm #

    Thanks so much for this post. It’s exactly what I’ve been struggling with. I’ve described it as “mourning” as well. I appreciate not feeling alone in this!

  2. Jen July 18, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    Great article! These are the exact thoughts I have on a daily basis. The sight of a happy baby or new mom and I’m yerning for another one of my own. But what I don’t miss is the sleepless nights, the public tantrums, the constant need for my attention, and to do that all over again WITH two other children that need the exact same thing is what makes me sure that two is enough in order to keep me sane (and my marriage intact).

  3. Julie July 19, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    After the birth of our 4th child my head said we are done. But every time someone asked I would say yes but inside I did not feel like we were done. I would dream I was pregnant and wake up sad that I was not. I would be envious of those around me who were having babies. I was torn for years. I wrestled back and forth for many years. Finally after 6 years we felt it was now or never. We welcomed our 5th baby to the family. I no longer have that feeling that something is missing. I no longer dream of being pregnant. I feel complete. The nice thing about having such a big gap is it is almost like bringing the first baby home again. All the excitement is there along with re learning what to do with a new one. Plus, I have the added excitement of having my older children there to help and witness the miracle of babies. They are all enthralled with their baby brother and often I have to ask to have him back so I can have a turn. There is no rule on how many kids you have to have or how close together they need to be. Sure life gets a little crazy now and then but I no longer have that internal battle and I am at peace. You are most definitely not alone in your battle.

  4. Shawna July 20, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    This is my response to this blogpost:
    I suggest follow your Heart. My
    head is telling me not to write this, but my heart won’t let it go!!
    When I was a teenager, and “planning” out my life, my limit was 3 children! Then, I said my vows… To God, to My husband and lots of family and friends! My life was forever changed for better or for worse! In saying my vows, the Priest asked,”Are you open to God’s children?” I said, “I am. ” I didn’t go into deep reflection on that until I went to a retreat when I was pregnant for my 3rd child. Honestly, I thought I was going to lose my head while I was following my heart! But, as hard as it was, I learned a lot about TRUSTING God’s will that year in many ways! God wants us to do one thing: place everything in his hands. That’s it! It sounds so easy right? As a mother, sometimes that’s so hard because we know what’s best, right? Wrong! Back to the vows… I thought “Wow, I’ve reached my “limit” really fast, now what?!?” Father didn’t say, “are you open to children for only 3 years”. The personal development and pondering began during that pregnancy! I was 24 and started having issues. I will never forget the feeling I had when my doctor told me that I may not be able to have more children! I went back to the day, my sister and I begged my mom to have another baby! Leah was around 4, and I was 12. I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t have more children, at the time, but I remember the sadness she had! Please, don’t take this the wrong way, if you’ve chosen to tie your tubes or get “cut”. I promise, I don’t judge you! Later, I learned that’s why mom couldn’t have more kids. My mom has always been my best friend. She has always had all of my respect! She has taught me so much about life and she has molded me into the woman I am today! She had a “hard” life.. She got pregnant for me when she was 16! So yes, we fought like sisters, but I always respected her and loved her more than life for everything she sacrificed for me to have a better one!! If she would’ve listened to the world, I wouldn’t be here today! I’m going to close now, because I could go on and on about my beliefs. If I would’ve listened to the world, my 3 precious boys wouldn’t exist. I’ve been told to stop having kids and I’ve been asked probably a thousand times if I have tvs! You know what? Yes I do! You know, I won’t have these 3 tvs in heaven, but I will have these 6 precious souls with me, who at times, make my head hurt like hell, but make my heart full of love! Believe it or not, Jesus, speaks to our hearts and we just have to listen.
    Jesus, I Trust in You!

  5. Hannah July 23, 2015 at 8:27 am #

    I have been struggling with this too. We have twin girls, almost 2, and they were born at 27 weeks and spent 3 months in the NICU. The experience has terrified my husband and I and we are too scared to ever try to get pregnant again. We tried for years to get pregnant and after shots we were able to have the twins, and my heart always toyed with the idea of adopting. Now that the twins are older that feeling is stronger. But I am afraid to let go of what we have, I love that we both have a buddy, a 3rd adopted child may be left out since the twins are besties (seriously, they love each other so much its too much) and we know the financial burden, a bigger house, cars, day care cost, etc. would be a lot and would take away from the life we can afford to give the twins now, with colleges and vacations and the comfort we have now.

    Thanks for this post. After reading about how you miss the “newness” I am realizing that might be me too, and having a third baby just so I can feel excitement, bond with my husband, get some attention, have people surround me with love, is selfish. It is selfish of me to want that and take away from the attention and time I can spend with the two I have. I work full time and feel stretched as it is, I never see my kids enough. A third baby won’t make that any easier. If I want to bond with my husband – I don’t need another baby. I need date nights. If I need newness and excitement – I don’t need another baby. I need to plan a trip with my kids, a project, time with my family. Realizing that the big things in our life – graduation, wedding, having kids may be over, but the happy times have just begun. It’s important for us to be happy with what we have, and realize how unbelievably lucky and blessed we are to have healthy, happy kids. I remember there’s a reason why my husband and I always said we only wanted two, not that I would regret having another, but it is not what is best for the family I have now. Attention, excitement, and wearing sweatpants are not reasons to bring a life into this world. I am going to be content, hopefully you can do the same!

  6. Andrea July 23, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    This is my brain almost exactly except I always thought I’d have 3 and now accepting that 2 is probably the right number for us is something I’m struggling with so much even though my head knows it is best. Thank you!

  7. Rachel July 24, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    This made me cry. I feel the exact same way.

  8. Janelle July 24, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    Fantastic article! We are trying to decide if we want another one after our twin girls and this article really hits on all the thoughts that have been running through my mind the past couple of months! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Sarah July 24, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

    Oh this article speaks directly to my heart. I always wanted 3, actually 4-5 I thought. But we have 2 healthy boys and my husband feels up to his limit. I want more but can see that we would be stretched much thinner. I am trying to look at our family and the pros of it just being the 4 of us. I love what you said at the end about just wanting to do it again with your kids you already have.

  10. Lori July 24, 2015 at 11:18 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing. A current mental struggle for sure!

  11. Jennifer July 27, 2015 at 11:09 pm #

    this is absolutely how I felt after having our two baby boys now 5 and 3. I was going through nursing school.working,and being a full time mommy and wife. I would have moments where I felt like there is no way on earth i could ever want another baby added to this crazy life yet there were moments I would give anything for that feeling one last time. Four month before graduating I found out that I was pregnant with our third child and was devastated at first. I honestly did not expect it and could not imagine having another child. We are now 10 weeks away from meeting our baby girl and I couldn’t imagine life any other way! I feel like she is the piece that completes our family puzzle and I’m so blessed to soon have 3 babies to share all this love In my heart with!!

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