I’ve got to tell you something. I have no idea if we are done having kids. I haven’t known if we were done since Jack was born, which was more than three years ago.
I never thought my pregnancy with Jack was my last pregnancy. We’ve always said we’d have four. (Don’t ask me why! I have no clue why we settled on that number.)
But for the last three years, I’ve just lived in this weird world of “not knowing.” And honestly, I think it’s the first time in my life that I haven’t had a clue what would happen or what I really wanted. I like to have a plan. I like to have my mind made up. I don’t like thinking about life in terms of open-ended, unknown possibilities. And yet, at the same time, I change my mind A LOT.
It would have likely been more comfortable for me to have spent the last three years believing that we were done having babies and then to have changed my mind than to just sit here NOT KNOWING. Or it would have been more comfortable for me to have spent the time believing we would have another when the time was right and then to have changed my mind. Either way, I like a mind made up.
Obviously I speak about this as if it were totally up to me, and I know it’s not. I know we could “decide” to try and not be able to get pregnant. I know we could do our part to prevent and still get pregnant. Maybe 100 times I’ve prayed to the Lord that if I was supposed to have another baby that I’d just be surprised. (The ultimate, I don’t want to decide can you choose for me please?) Also seems nearly impossible, as I am super in-tune with my body and how babies are made… (The Lord laughs at this sentence, I know.)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “We should just have another baby!” But when push comes to shove, I just can’t do it. Or, “Let’s just be done and move on.” Can’t seem to do that either. Oh this beautiful, terrible in-between.
So I’ve been walking around my house trying to organize and make it a home (we just moved here in March), and much of our storage space is being used up by baby stuff. The crib, the glider, BOXES AND BOXES of boy clothes, etc. Do I keep or toss? What do I do? As I write this, I think I’m just going to toss it.
Jack is three. The next baby and Jack would be like FOUR YEARS apart. That’s FOUR YEARS between when Jack graduates and phantom baby graduates. It’s a LOT of time in terms of childhood and almost nothing in the grand scheme of life. Some of my best friends are four years older than me. We could just move on to the next stage and NOT do babies anymore! There is something freeing and lovely about that thought.
On the other hand, having babies is “hard,” but it’s a lot harder when your OLDEST is only FOUR. (That’s the age Henry was when Jack was born. A’hem, no wonder I was overwhelmed.) At this point, my next oldest would be potty trained (presumably, c’mon Jack man, figure it out). In some ways, having a baby so much later could possibly be much more enjoyable. But I can’t know this ahead of time.
People call it “starting over.” They say that they don’t want to start over. It’s not really starting over. At this point, with elementary aged kids, we are established in our neighborhood and with our community. It wouldn’t be starting over. Another kid would truly just enter our lives and be a part of what is already happening. MOVING would be starting over. Having another kid would just be having another kid.
It’s funny that I wasn’t nearly as terrified to start having kids as I am to keep having kids. (Because now I know it grows up into a real person.) And decisions like this make me wish I lived in some other culture or time when decisions weren’t so personal and life wasn’t so independent. Like everyone does this, so you do this too. Everyone has five kids. Everyone works from home. Everyone learns to knit. Everyone disciplines like this. Everyone goes to this type of school. Everyone looks out for each other. While on one hand I love the “you do you” culture, on the other hand, we live in a culture at war with itself and it creates confusion on a personal level. Sometimes I wish my identity was wrapped up in “my people.” #WHOAMI? (Bahahahaha.)
Well that got deep quick. But I needed to process. Here’s to NOT knowing the future.