I need to do a little external processing here. And I figured what better place to do that than with my ETMB tribe? So, I hope you’ll excuse me as I try to work through some rather complicated feelings I have about capping my family at two kids.
I have been gifted with the most beautiful three-(almost four)-year-old daughter and a most handsome eighteen-month-old son. Being their mother is by far the hardest thing I have done in my entire life. It is not because they are difficult kids, because, in truth, they are not. I believe it has more to do with the fact that motherhood calls for full-on self-sacrifice. And I am a very selfish person. So, basically, everything hurts.
Not A Fan of the Infant Stage
This past fall, my son turned one. The morning of his first birthday, I remember waking up and feeling like I had just crossed the finish line to one of the longest marathons in history. Here’s my first unsavory confession for y’all. While I adore squishy babies swaddled tight like a burrito, I do not enjoy the infant stage.
Lack of sleep does terrible things to me. I was angry a lot his first year. I struggled to place my fast-paced schedule on hold and often felt resentful. My son was often sick, rarely slept, and only wanted me- leaving me feeling drained, exhausted, and desperate for some space. It was a hard, hard first year.
The thing is that from the moment my son was born, throughout his first year, I felt, with deep conviction that there was a third baby. It was a strange feeling because I was both thrilled and terrified to know our family wasn’t complete. I would often get up in the middle of the night with my crying son and think to myself, “Am I really going to do this a third time?”
Yet, I found that I was anxious to go ahead and get pregnant so we could have the third baby and get past the infant stage. I had a distinct sense of wanting to “power through” that first year. At the same time, I would feel elated imagining my three babies all together on Christmas morning, or the fun of seeing my baby boy be a big brother.
I honestly wanted another baby as much as I did not want another baby.
I have never felt so torn. But on my son’s first birthday, I was suddenly no longer confused. It was as if a switch had been flipped: I was done having babies.
Happy With The Cap and Yet…
As my son began walking and babbling, his sleep improved and he began attending a Mother’s Day Out program. Life began to feel easier. I began to write again. I felt a lot less crazy, and I wasn’t as angry. Then I realized that I didn’t want to go through that first year again. While I still loved the idea of those three babies at the Christmas tree, my two babies felt like gift enough.
Deep down, I felt like I could be a better mom to two than I could be to three. So my husband (who never wanted a third, for the record) and I agreed- we were done having kids.
That was nearly six months ago, and I am still sure of that decision. But lately, another feeling has emerged: the dreaded mommy guilt.
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This post was originally shared on the East Texas Mom’s Blog! You can read the rest of the article here.