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What Size Will Our Family Be? It’s a Mystery!

Welcome to the first Family Size Blog Carnival!

This post was written for inclusion in the Family Size Blog Carnival hosted by Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling and Patti at Jazzy Mama. Today our participants share their decisions on family size and whether or not to grow their families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

I was very intrigued to see the invitation to this blog carnival, as the size of our family has been something I’ve been contemplating a lot lately!

The reality is - I have NO idea where we will end up in the question of choosing how many children to welcome into our family.

It’s kind of funny – up until about 6 months ago, I was completely certain of the answer to this question. My husband and I agreed – we wanted 4 children, ideally around two years apart in age. We wanted to have our first child before the age of 30, which happened (just barely), and begin trying to conceive again when Bean turned one.

I know to many people that whole paragraph may sound like the craziest of crazy, but we were completely secure in our plan and knew it was what we wanted.

As I’ve thought about it more over the past months though, I don’t think this is what I want anymore. And no one is more surprised about this than me (though you’d think having been a parent for the past 18 months would have taught me by now that you kind of can’t really “plan” anything).

There are so many factors rolled into this change of mind, but I’ll try to be brief…

1 – I don’t know if I could handle any more!

Bean is the absolute light of my life and I adore her more than anything, but being a parent is more exhausting than I ever anticipated! Part of the problem is that I have to work full-time, and in my ideal life I would be a SAHM, which I believe would make it easier for me personally to commit to the idea of having more little ones.

But as it is now, I often feel I can barely make it through the day. And I have a lot of help! A husband who is very willing to contribute in all areas, in-laws who provide childcare – I know I have it better than many who are struggling to do everything on their own.

I think if I do have more children, I will be able to handle it (though I’m now thinking more in the realm of 2 than 4!), but it’s definitely become a question of whether I really want to.

2 – I don’t have faith that I can have the birth experience that I want, nor am I as healthy as I want to be in regards to going through another pregnancy.

I am overweight – always have been. I hate it more than anything, but though I’ve tried and tried and tried, it’s not something I’ve yet been able to change.

This affected my pregnancy with Bean quite a bit – my midwives almost would not take me as a patient; I was required to consult with an OB end undergo a ridiculous amount of ultrasounds and other testing (something I would have refused had I known more at the time). I encountered all kinds of prejudice from healthcare workers and was made to feel ashamed on multiple occasions.

And while I know that there is validity to the fact that obesity makes for more complications in pregnancy, I had absolutely zero complications in my pregnancy. I gained very little weight, Bean was completely fine, I tested consistently negative for gestational diabetes and high blood pressure – everything about my pregnancy went right, but I was made to feel like everything about it was wrong just for the mere fact that I had dared to become pregnant.

All that to say – the same thing is pretty likely to happen again – and I just don’t want to deal with it. I want a home birth. I want to have everything be as natural as possible. But I know that the medical system will not see me as an individual who is very capable of making healthy and informed choices, but only as one more statistic that automatically equals high risk pregnancy.

There are other factors involved in this whole thing for us, but for me, these are two of the big ones.

To some, it may seem silly to base a decision of whether or not to have a child on the caliber of your pregnancy and birth experience (especially considering those are more of those events that you really can’t ultimately “plan”), but for me, those things are hugely important.

Ironically enough, they also contribute to my desire to wanting more children. One of the reasons (and I’m not saying it’s the greatest) I want to have more kids is to find redemption in my experience. I want to have a natural home birth. I want to have Dave catch the baby. I want to be successful with breastfeeding. I want to remedy the regrets I had in my experience with Bean.

I do understand that even if I got in the best shape ever, my birth experience may not be the one I planned for. But I do so hate having this issue make me an automatic disqualifier.

I also want to have more children because I just love them so much. My experience with Bean has been insanely awesome. She brings more joy to my life than I ever would have imagined possible. How could I not want to multiply that? I think about having another baby and feel that ache of longing to experience that awe and wonder once again.

Other things we consider – the husband wants more kids. I would love for Bean to have a sibling. She would get all of our attention and perhaps the best of us if she was the only child. Adoption could be a consideration. I may not be able to get pregnant again. We’ve experienced one miscarriage – what if it happened again? We are getting older. We both love being parents.

See? What did I tell you? NO idea!

Right now, we’re in that stage of not trying to prevent anything, but not actively trying either. I believe if another little one came along we would welcome him or her with everything in us,  but if he or she chooses not to, we will probably be OK with that.

For me, the not knowing is the hard part. I like to have a plan (as much as possible) and know the course. But in a way it’s freeing as well. I don’t know what’s meant for us, but I like being happy with whatever the outcome is.

In the meantime, I focus on Bean, keep trying to get healthy, and attempt to navigate the best way possible through the craziness that is my life. I do know that whatever size this family ends up being, we have been amazingly blessed in all that we’ve come through so far, and will continue to have faith that the best will come.

Do pregnancy and birth experience weigh into your decision on whether or not to have more children? Did you always know how many you wanted, or was it difficult to decide?

 

***

Visit City Kids Homeschooling and Jazzy Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Family Size Blog Carnival!

Please take some time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants below:

  • The Perfect Family The family at Living Peacefully With Children isn’t perfect, but the size is just right for them…at least for now.
  • Family Size Carnival Zoie at TouchstoneZ discusses how she loves the extremes of being happily child-free for life to being a mom of several. And on knowing when her family is just the right size.
  • Is Adoption for Me? Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares why she would consider adoption as the socially responsible way to have a large family.
  • Getting Used to Having Kids Lauren at Hobo Mama went from “probably one, maybe two” to wanting a handful, but not without some major struggles and soul searching along the way.
  • Magic Number For a while, Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales has wondered what the magic number will be for their family, but now thinks she’s finally settled on an answer.
  • How Did You Get That Size Jorje explains how she “chose” her family size and why they aren’t planning to grow again on Momma Jorje.com.
  • Family Size On A Per Kid Basis Sarah at Parenting God’s Children shares how plans change as families grow.
  • More Babies: How, When, Why Joella at Fine and Fair writes to her daughter about when, how, and why she might get a sibling.
  • Family Size Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she has no idea what size her family will end up being; though she used to be sure, a few factors have recently come up to change everything.
  • Thy Will Be Done CatholicMommy hasn’t decided how many children she’ll have. And she never will. Because, you know, she’s Catholic.
  • Sanity and Health Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about sanity and health considerations when deciding on her family’s size.
  • Love Comes In All Sizes Melissa at White Noise and Mothers of Change shares her family’s journey to becoming a family of six!
  • Family Size Liz at Homeschooling in Buffalo discusses how this carnival occurs less than two weeks after “closing up shop” by way of vasectomy.
  • Family Size Blog Carnival Billy, a single mother by choice, writes about the size of her family at My Pathway to Motherhood.
  • Creating Your Perfect Family Size Dr. Alan Singer shares insights from his new book, Creating Your Perfect Family Size.
  • Our Family Size You might not be surprised to learn that Patti at Jazzy Mama can’t find any reasons NOT to have more babies.
  • Economics of Family Size Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling uses an economic cost-benefit analysis to determine her family’s optimal size.



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12 Responses to “What Size Will Our Family Be? It’s a Mystery!”

  • Kelly, thank you so much for participating in this blog carnival! Family size decisions are so interesting and it sounds like you have many factors to consider. I hope you get to experience a home birth. It is pretty awesome! I completely agree with you that motherhood is more work and more exhilarating than I ever thought possible… and believe it or not, I actually think it gets easier with more kids! Thanks again for sharing your insights!
    My recent post The Economics of Family Size

  • What I hear in this post is that the decision to have another child is deeply CONSCIOUS for you–not something that you would do without genuinely knowing what would be good for you and for the rest of your family. I respect you for your consciousness more that I can really express. The choice to raise a child is HUGE and should only be approached with a true awareness of your intentions.

    I am also really proud of you (I hope that doesn't sound patronizing!) for sharing the experience of your pregnancy and all the biases and assumptions that you faced from medical personnel. It is so wrong that women can't be TRUSTED and have to be medically supervised at every step of pregnancy. In my heart I hold a deep desire that you will not have the same experience if you choose to have another baby.

    Much love to you and yours!
    For Freedom and Joy, Patti
    My recent post Our Family Size

  • Momma Jorje says:

    Pregnancy & birth experience definitely weigh in! I love being pregnant & I love birthing! I would have love to have a home birth this last time, but alas: possible serious complications lead us to choose a hospital birth.

    If you do have another, I hope you have a good experience and find healing through that.
    My recent post How did you get that size?

  • *grin* I do my best not to think about my pregnancy and birth. Both of them were easy, healthy, fine – so I have no reason to complain, but neither was a highlight of my life so far. The only times I find myself hoping that this month won't bring a new little one are when I reminisce about pregnancy. I never understood how other people could feel like they were glowing!
    My recent post Thy Will Be Done

  • Melissa Vose says:

    I definitely can relate to the birth experience weighing in on a decision to have more. It is by no means the ONLY factor, but I can say that shooting for a VBAC was very important to me. And then my VBAC was so redemptive for me that I wanted to do ti again (and did). I wanted more kids anyways but these were factors. Rather big ones.
    You have very legitimate reasons for wanting to pare down the original plans! =) Great post.
    My recent post Love Comes In All Sizes

  • phoebevonpop says:

    One of my previous reasons for wanting to have another baby was to give a natural birth a go – I've had two Cesareans and have never even been in labour. But I've managed to let go of that with the decision to stick with two children.
    I can totally relate with the to-ing and fro-ing between more children or not. And I even remember panicking, thinking "what have I done?!" when expecting my second, because I didn't know how I would cope with the extra tiredness, and sharing my time. It all worked out.
    I've also found that our future doesn't always work out the way we've planned or imagined, but it's often better that way!
    Phoebe
    My recent post The Magic Number

  • Hobo_Mama says:

    Well, I'm with you in the not knowing. :) It's an interesting limbo place to be, isn't it?

    I'm so sorry you had that awful experience regarding your weight. Grr. The way we overweight people are treated in this country, as if we can't be trusted and our bodies are ticking timebombs, makes me want to scream. I'm hoping you can find a supportive provider or figure another way through. Maybe someone online (at MDC or elsewhere) would have good recommendations for your neck of the woods. My second birth was very healing, so I can totally understand wanting to have a do-over!
    My recent post Getting used to having kids

  • Billy says:

    Love how while you love to have plans, you say it is somewhat freeing not to..
    I am so with you on the wanting another child (among other reasons and not as a main one..) so that to have a different (also hoping for home!) birth experience, doing better with breastfeeding etc.
    My recent post Family Size – Blog Carnival

  • Tipper says:

    This is the first blog post of yours I’ve read, so I’m not sure where you live, but having a home birth even if you’re overweight is certainly possible. It’s unfortunate that there are homebirth midwives who avoid taking on larger ladies as patients, without considering that we’re each individuals. I’m overweight (okay, obese) and having my second homebirth soon, and absolutely love that my midwife is confident in my ability to be pregnant well and give birth awesomely, without undermining my body because of its size.
    Tipper recently posted..Chicken ladies in the hen hizz-ouse

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