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How Did You Know It Was Your Last Baby? (A very personal look at having children)

IMG_3791It’s not that I don’t love having children, it’s just at this time I can’t imagine more than four.

Selfishly, I don’t think my body can physically handle having another baby. However, from the outsider, I had a healthy / active pregnancy. I was not on bedrest, I didn’t have gestational diabetes or any other health issues. We didn’t have to undergo the heartbreak of miscarriage or infertility. That’s why I say “selfishly”.

It’s important that I spell all of this out, I am incredibly blessed and beyond grateful for the four gifts God has given us. I don’t particularly love being pregnant (I think that’s okay to admit!), but I have no complaints about my pregnancies. With all of that being said, there is a large part of me that feels after having four children in six years, I need a break.

I posed this question on Instagram asking you to weigh in. How do / did you know it was your last baby? Or, if you’re not there yet… how many children do you want? Check out the post here.

The answers poured in and you opened your hearts to me. Many of you have battled health issues or suffered the pain, heartbreak and exhaustion of infertility. Many of you worried that finances will get in the way of expanding your families. Some of you were brutally honest about not being able to handle more than one or two children for your own sanity. Some of you admitted you wish you would have had more children while you had the chance. I applaud every single person who took the time to answer my questions. Your answers opened my eyes in a completely new light.

After I read your answers (there were over 100 of them!) it lead me to do some soul searching. I felt that MY reasons for not wanting more children were completely selfish. I shared these thoughts with my husband and he told me something that I hadn’t considered. Just because I’ve had 4 healthy pregnancies and 4 healthy children doesn’t mean I have to have any more. Just because other people may suffer the heartache of illness, loss and infertility it doesn’t mean I need to continue having babies.

That being said, my husband would love one more child. As I sit here holding my 3 week old and listening to my 6, 5, and 2 year old children run around and play I can’t imagine more. But I’m also not ready to completely close the book either. (WOW! I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M TYPING THESE WORDS!) Honestly, I don’t think a woman should make that kind of decision during postpartum, these hormones are real y’all!

I’m writing this blog post three weeks after my son was born, so I will circle back to it in 6 months and then again at a year. Help hold me accountable!

In the meantime, I’m writing the main reasons I feel 4 is plenty for me. (My feelings may change, but this is how I feel today, ha).

  • Health. In 7 years I survived a major car accident that shattered my pelvis in 7 places and bound me to a wheelchair for 5 months. Less than a year later I had Luke. 16 months after Luke, I had Eden. 2 years after Eden I had Adam. 2 years after Adam came Jude. I’m exhausted.
  • Energy. I am starting to feel a little spread thin and I worry that I’m not dividing my time up evenly while still leaving time for myself and my husband. How do moms of more than 4 children do it? How do they find time to give individual attention to all of their children?
  • Patience. It takes a lot of patience to be a mother. Whether you’re a mother to one child, three or five it takes patience. I’m not sure I have much more patience to give.
  • Materialism. These are silly reasons, but things to consider. Like our bedrooms, the size of our van, the idea of flying anywhere with a large family, getting two hotel rooms when we travel, getting a very large table or booth at restaurants, etc. Like I said, these reasons are silly, but I think you’d call me a liar if I didn’t think about some of these things.

One thing I don’t take into consideration is what people think about us. I know many people probably think we are completely nuts for having so many children… and I honestly do not care.

I am an only child, my parents would have loved to have more but it wasn’t in the cards for them. I prayed and prayed and prayed for a sibling. That prayer was never answered…but God works in mysterious ways because He has blessed me four times over with all of these children! Amen.

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