These might be personal but I would love to hear more about you built your family, like child spacing, when you know your family is full, etc? I just had my first, an adorable guy, 3 months ago and constantly debate in my head waiting 9 months before trying again or waiting a few years. Or how families seem to know when they have the right number of kids for them, how do they know that number?
I've had people tell me it was harder going from 1 kid to 2 and some tell me it was harder going from 2 to 3. I have baby #3 on the way and am curious as to what you think? Was it harder for you to go from 1 to.2 or 2 or 3 and why?
Also, how did you prepare yourself and your family for the new addition?
Also, how did you prepare yourself and your family for the new addition?
These questions seemed to go hand-in-hand to me, so I decided to answer both at once. Bring on the run-on sentences and comma splicing!
Okay. Honesty here. When Cub was six months old, we stopped any precautions that could prevent us from getting pregnant. Yes, yes, when our first wee one was, well, wee, his father and I loved being parents so much that we decided to throw caution to the wind and allow the possibility of a subsequent pregnancy to be much more ... likely. However, since I was breastfeeding and I'm one of those gals who doesn't have a period while also lactating (oh hey there, world!), I therefore did not get pregnant while breastfeeding. Did you see that? Did you see how I threw that "I do not get pregnant while breastfeeding" statement out there, as if it were blatant fact? Well, in my case, it is. I simply don't ovulate while pregnant.
(I am welcoming the onslaught of "YOU CAN TOTALLY GET PREGNANT WHILE BREASTFEEDING" comments with open arms. Hello, comments! So, I will also say, YOU MIGHT GET PREGNANT WHILE BREASTFEEDING. I simply never did.)
So, even though no contraception or protection was used starting when Cub turned six months, we did not conceive until after I had weaned him and had one period (oh hey there, world!). I found out I was pregnant with Naomi on Cub's first birthday. So! Child-spacing! We just always wanted our kids close together. Both of us come from families with only two kids, and at least three years difference between ourselves and our sibilings. I think part of our motivation was the hope that our kids would experience the same stages of life together. And, honestly, we just really loved having a family and wanted to add to it sooner than later.
However. That being said...
Only one of our children is planned (by us). One. Out of three. I think I just gave away which child that is, so DON'T TELL THE OTHER KIDS. I am always cautious when saying that we have children who were not planned (by us), because I know and love and mourn for those close to me who have trouble conceiving. I never want to come across as though having children for us was "no big deal" because it was. And it is. Remember, it was after eight months of "trying" and one miscarriage that we finally conceived Cub. That's my own small story. But, it can also be a little jarring to become pregnant when you weren't planning on it. So, I want to be honest about that, too.
Having three little ones so close together is both completely chaotic and absolutely fun. This is my own experience: Going from 0 to 1 children completely changed our worlds. Postpartum anxiety, surviving solely on trail mix, and nightmares where I could hear Cub screaming but couldn't find him ... that defined the first three months of his life. And my first three months of Motherhood. It was such a dramatic and intense experience, but once the fog cleared and my hormones stabilized, I was fine. And, so, for us, going from 1-2 kids was, in comparison, a breeze. My mind was clear and I knew what I was doing. And that's saying a lot, because Naomi was a tough baby. I mean, TOUGH. But the transition was very easy.
Two kids to three?
When you have two kids, Mom is outnumbered, but Mom and Dad as a team are not. When you have three kids, everyone is outnumbered and Mom is REALLY, REALLY outnumbered. Now, again, you have to remember that our kids are very close together--Cub and Naomi are 20 months apart and Naomi and Lydia are 18 months apart. Cub, our oldest, had just turned three years old in October when Lydia, our youngest, was born in January. That's a lot of kids really close together, which means that even the oldest still depends on Mom for his basic needs--food, clothing, etc. Thankfully, Cub was potty-trained, but that was about it. All three kids still needed me to help feed them, get them dressed, and things of that nature. Plus, none of them were in any kind of preschool or daycare program, so all three were home with me all of the time. It definitely got overwhelming at times! When Lydia was a newborn, before my husband started his business, his old job kept him late most of the time. So, I was alone with the kids from breakfast to bedtime. I know, again, everyone has a different story, and there are always Moms who have it harder than I do. But when you expect your husband's hours to be normal and they aren't, it can be really, really hard when your "normal" becomes "not having him around". It's a bummer for everyone. So, for us, those first few months were a whirlwind. It took a lot of getting used to. Thankfully, his new job has all kinds of awesome flexibility.
I didn't have postpartum anxiety, but I did have some low moments of not being able to see ten minutes ahead of me. Does that make sense? There were literally times when I couldn't imagine how I was going to get through the next ten minutes. Lydia needed to eat. Cub hit his head and was crying. Naomi just wet her pants. And I've had to go to the bathroom for three days. What do I do?! Nevermind the laundry creeping out of the laundry room and the dinner burning on the stove. Those were hard days!
But, there were a lot of good days, too. And the days have gotten so much easier since Lydia turned one. As she gets older, the other kids do, too, right? Naomi is potty-trained. Cub can almost totally take care of dressing and getting himself food for snacks and things like that. Lydia toddles around and no longer breastfeeds. With every month that passes, we gain more freedom in what we can do.
Having three really close together is fun. Every day is a party. Lydia is learning to play with the older two. Cub and Naomi have a precious friendship and go on all kinds of adventures together. We love spending time together as a family. My husband and I laugh to tears at least once every day with the funny things our kids do and say. We are thoroughly enjoying and relishing this stage of life--our house is full of love.
So. How do we know when we are done having kids?
One thing I have learned about us: We don't.
We had that "done" feeling once and our family continued to grow ... and we love it. I'm so glad we weren't actually done. I can pretty confidently say that we will not have any more biological children, but God could call us to adoption someday. We are totally open to that if He does. We could go from three kids to six--who knows. He has overwhelmingly taught us that His plans are best and we completely rest in that. If our family is done growing, great. If we have kids out there and don't know it yet, that's great, too. He keeps us on our toes, for sure, and our desire is to keep our hearts open to whatever (or whomever) He brings our way. We are absolutely confident that we have absolutely no idea where He will take us next and we are absolutely okay with that. So, are we done? Most definitely maybe.
See? I told you there would be lots of run-on sentences and comma splicing. My apologies.
Oh, and lastly, as far as preparing our kids for a new arrival, we put the car seat in the van about a month before she was due, to get them used to it. We didn't really go overboard with me carrying a doll around or anything like that, but, when Lydia came along, Cub and Naomi had each other, so that made a difference. Cub was never jealous when Naomi was born (he just kind of went with it), and Naomi was rarely jealous because she had Cub to play with and distract her, if that makes sense. I always worried more than was necessary. Everybody adjusts. I did and still do make a point to spend one-on-one time with each child every day, whether it's reading a book or doing a craft or snuggling at nap time. They are each their own unique person and I love getting to know them as the little individual personalities that they are. If I keep their love tanks full, they're more likely to be loving to each other.
Good questions, friends!
Have a lovely day!