Two days ago, I gave away a carload of baby things to a local charity.  As I stood there, looking around my garage trying to figure out what to donate, I had this conversation with myself for the five hundred twenty-third time.

I should just get rid of the high chair, too.  And the co-sleeper.
But… what?  Are we done having kids?
Well…. I don’t know.  Maybe.  But we can always buy that stuff used again if we do have more.
But…but… (spluttering)…  What do you mean, ‘maybe’?  We’re not done!
I don’t know…It sure is nice to be done being pregnant and nursing.  We’re within a hair’s breadth of having our hands free again now that Theo is taking some steps on his own.  I’m heading back to work, there are trips we want to take…
But… we’re NOT done!  We only have two.  Two is NOT ENOUGH.

This is the point at which I shake my head, try to remind myself that talking to yourself may or may not be a sign of insanity, and confront this irrational fear that has been taking hold of me for over a year now.  That two kids are not enough.

I’ve always wanted to have more than one child.  I was sure that even with the tradeoff of less parental attention, I would be giving my child a gift for life: a best friend, confidante, partner-in-ice-cream-eating crime.  I know that mostly reflects what I have with my own brother and sister, and is no guarantee, but it still felt to me like having siblings pays off majorly in the end.  Also I want my children to experience as much of life and its relationships as they can.  In my ideal world, I have two boys and two girls so that everyone gets to have at least one brother and one sister.  I want them to grow up to be aunts or uncles, have nieces and nephews, enjoy big family holidays like I did.

But it feels like the universe keeps reminding me that two might not be enough for that dream to come true.  Sometimes you have two kids and then something happens.   One gets into an accident.  Or is diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.  Or is killed in a flash flood.  And then there is a gaping hole and not only have you lost one child, but your other child is suddenly an only.  Alone where he or she didn’t used to be.

I know this is irrational.  I know it.  And I know that this fear is not a reason to have a third or fourth child.  Because the more children you bring into this world, the more it feels like you have moved into the high stakes poker game, in which you never know where illness and suffering could take that round’s chips.  Even though there is nowhere safe once you become a parent at all.  There is nowhere safe in life, period.  I know that, too.

Still… I can’t shake this feeling that our family isn’t done yet.  After all, I really have always wanted more kids (being a third child myself, after all).  I hope that “two isn’t enough” is just an intuition that I have more souls to meet and welcome into my heart.  We’ll see.

Meanwhile, my garage has a lot of open space in the middle, and the co-sleeper and high chair still tucked into a corner.

9 Responses to Irrational
  1. Lynsey
    September 14, 2011 | 1:44 pm

    You are not the only one who has conversations with herself! I am so glad it isn’t just me. Sometimes I feel crazy. As far as the rest of your post…I am at a loss. I don’t really know what to tell you, but I sure wish I did.

  2. NJ @ A Pocket Full Of Dinosaurs
    September 14, 2011 | 1:58 pm

    As an only child, I really appreciate the thought that you are given towards sibling relationships. As a kid it was fine to be an only child, but as an adult I am SO LONELY for a sibling relationship…

  3. Shell
    September 14, 2011 | 4:42 pm

    It is so hard to know when you are done. I think the only reason I was able to give away most of our baby things is b/c we were about to move and it made sense to get rid of them instead of bringing them with us on our move.

  4. Alison@Mama Wants This
    September 14, 2011 | 5:43 pm

    If your heart says you’re not done, then leave the option open. I find that listening to our hearts sometimes trump listening to our heads.

  5. Rach @ This Italian Family
    September 14, 2011 | 7:03 pm

    I have zero advice on this one seeing as how I have no children of my own yet, but I know what you mean about the thoughts on losing a child. I have had many of those same thoughts when my husband and I talk about how many kids we want. Not that we should plan to have several out of fear of losing children, but you know what I mean, right? I mean, you’ve had some of the same thoughts too. Anyway, just know that I hear ya. And listen to that heart of yours. 🙂

  6. karen@strictlysimplestyle
    September 15, 2011 | 5:31 am

    It took me four years after the birth of our last child to realize that two was just right for our family. In time you’ll know what is right for yours-and you can always replace those baby things!

  7. Krista @ Not Mommy of the Year
    September 15, 2011 | 6:13 am

    I have the exact conversation with myself. At the end of my pregnancy with Cole, I was done. Done. Done. Done. Done. But then… and now that he’s six month old there’s a little voice that says… maybe not done. In some ways I do still feel like my family is complete. But in other ways, I think… maybe not. SIGH. I heard somewhere (Twitter, probably) that you’ll never regret having another one, but you might regret NOT having another. So there you go. For what it’s worth!

  8. Deidre
    September 15, 2011 | 9:19 pm

    That must be such a hard discussion to have with yourself – I don’t envy you that.

  9. Aunt Lori
    September 17, 2011 | 7:45 am

    This is embarassingly funny and absurd, but….when I was 46 years old and getting ready for a hysterectomy—even at that age–I wondered if I was “done.” And, I have FOUR children, for goddess’ sake!

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