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To Have Another Baby or Not….{That is the Question}

I just had an ideal toddler afternoon {and no, that’s not an oxymoron}. My daughter Ellie is 15 months old and while sitting on my back porch sipping coffee, reading a book, and watching her play contentedly alone in her baby pool for more than an hour, I decided that 15 months is by far the best age yet. We are happily settled between the age of “I love you, but mommy needs more than 3 hours of sleep” and the age of “I don’t want this slushie. I want ice cream insteeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaddddd.” 15 months is fantastic. She’s sweet and cuddly. She doesn’t tell me what she wants to wear today. She goes to bed at 8 and we don’t hear from her again until 8 the next morning. She eats what we eat, but she doesn’t eat enough to warrant having to spend $7.00 on the kids mac and cheese. She can entertain herself for hours going down the slide at the park. It’s fantastic.

To Have Another BabyLast week, I took a pregnancy test. I didn’t think I was actually pregnant, but I’m still breastfeeding, so I don’t get the confirmation every month that I used to count on. After 5 days of nausea where the only thing that sounded good was a pint of chicken lo mein from my favorite Chinese joint, I thought I’d better pee on a stick just to make sure. Pregnancy tests are not for the faint of heart. It doesn’t really matter if you’re hoping to God there’s a line or making silent deals with God that if there isn’t you’ll be more careful next time, there’s enough anxiety in them to make you want to vomit (which doesn’t help if you’re trying to convince yourself you’re not actually pregnant). I bought the test from the local drug store with my toddler sitting on my hip. There was a look that the checkout guy gave me that bordered on sympathy, but he mustered out a “congratulations!” as he rang me out. I thanked him, thinking I wasn’t really sure whether I wanted a “congratulations” or not. It certainly wasn’t our plan to have another baby yet. Our favorite line when others ask about baby #2 is “We’d like Ellie to be a little more self sufficient before we do this again,” but the truth is that there’s a lot to consider before choosing to have another baby. And yet there was a little voice in my head that thought, “This could be great. If it was a surprise, that means no keeping track of cervical mucus and losing sleep during the two weeks between ovulation and when you can take the stupid test.”

The truth is that I think about it a lot. Sometimes I look longingly at the pregnant woman at the grocery store and I think that it would be so much fun to have another baby and that it’s crazy to wait. Then I remind myself that having a baby means I actually have to be pregnant again and that we have to go back to sleepless nights, round the clock feedings, and an inability to commit to anything more than 2 hours in advance…… And suddenly I’m wondering if maybe Ellie would be better off as an only child.

My mind often feels like a battlefield. Behind the fake smiles and the well-laid plans, the decision to have another baby or not have another baby is riddled with anxiety, thrill, and stress. In the spirit of vulnerability and taking off the veil, I thought I’d share with you a few of the musings that take place inside of my head almost daily. This is what crazy looks like.

I sort of forget what it was like to be pregnant. It was so wonderful to feel that baby roll over inside of me and know that I was protecting and growing a life. It’s a privilege to be a part of a miracle. Plus people held doors for me and let me cut in front of them in the bathroom line.

I’m going to have to push another baby out of a hole the size of a pen tip. It took months for me to recover from the first one, and toddlers don’t let you sit on the couch and rest. How do you explain to a 3 year old that mommy’s hoo-ha hurts and she can’t sit on the floor?

If we wait too long to have another baby, Ellie is going to have swimming lessons and ballet and preschool and play group, which is going to make getting the new baby on a schedule such a challenge.

If we wait until Ellie is 3 or 4, she would be in preschool for part of each day, which would give me alone time to bond {or maybe even nap!} with the new baby.

College is so expensive. So are weddings. How are we going to save enough for multiple kids?

The infant stage seems like such a blur. Those early days where the baby just sleeps on your chest are so fleeting. I think I’d really treasure them next time.

If we wait another year to start trying, Ellie might be fully potty trained by the time we have a second. That means only one in diapers!

Those nights where the baby would wake me up in the middle of the night dancing on my bladder are for the birds. Then comes the stage where you literally lay down and wonder how you’re going to get yourself back upright. I don’t miss not being able to tie my own shoes or go more than 20 minutes without having to pee.

Lots of people only have one child.

My sister is literally my favorite person on the planet. If I don’t give Ellie a sibling, she’ll never get to experience that.

The world needs more good people raising good babies to go out and make a difference in the world.

Ellie sleeps all night. You never realize how valuable sleep is until you’re up all night with a screaming infant. Do we want to go back to that?

The up all nights is such a temporary thing, and there’s something so precious in those quiet moments with your baby, alone, rocking in the middle of the night.

Babies are such a gift and blessing, but they also uproot your life. Just know that in the quiet moments of your day when you’re longing for another little bundle or just thankful for the ones you have, you’re not alone.

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