It was an ordinary Sunday.
My two girls (ages 3 and 1) were giggling on the floor beside my nightstand. My husband and I were cuddled up, listening to our girl’s banter, and all at once, my heart knew—we are done having babies.
I guess I should back up a bit.
I had our first daughter when I was 33. We were intentional about waiting to have kids. We wanted to work on our careers, travel, and live as much as possible beforehand.
I gave birth to our second daughter when I was 35.
I was miserable throughout my pregnancy. And the c-section recovery was even harder this time around. The first three months were a blur. I quietly suffered from postpartum depression while I tried to navigate our new normal of having two kids under three.
About two months ago, we hit a sweet spot. The girls were thriving, my husband and I were in a great place, and life was good. And then I felt it—this desire to have one more baby. I recognized it right away. It was hard to say it out loud as my husband was very clear that he did not want another baby.
Knowing this, I tried to ignore the third baby itch. But after that didn’t work (go figure), I came clean to him:
Me: I know this goes against everything I said before, but I really think I want another baby.
Him: (takes a deep breath and looks at me like I have three heads) ummm…I don’t. I feel like our family is complete. I don’t want to watch you go through another pregnancy.
Me: Rationally, I’m with you. But I’m just not ready to let our third baby go.
Me: Because I’ve always wanted three. I always thought I would have three. I know it will be hard, but I know we can do it. Here’s what I’m asking—we take a few months to really think about it.
Him: You are the one who will have to carry another baby. I’ll support whatever you in your decision. My vote is no, but take some time and figure out what you really want.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I got my answer.
I was hovering over a tiny white stick that I had just peed on.
While waiting for the test results, I had a full-blown panic attack. All the feelings came at once—how will my body do this time around, how will I manage three kids while my husband is traveling for work, how am I going to make sure my girls get the attention they need, etc. All I could think was please, Lord, let it be negative.
I walked out of the bathroom, looked at my husband, and whispered, “it’s negative”. I have never been so relieved in my life.
It was at that moment that I realized having a third baby is not what I want. It was never about what I actually wanted. It was about what I thought my life should be, and what I had envisioned all those years ago. But people change. As we grow into ourselves and into motherhood, what we thought we wanted isn’t always so. Instead, you find contentment and happiness in what you have.
I often think back to that ordinary Sunday and smile.
Smile for what we have and for what our future holds. Just the four of us.