Last month I enjoyed a week long vacation with family that included an
almost 5 month old and almost 3 month old - many would think I'd love
the 'baby' time because my baby will be arriving soon.
With my current children being 6 and 4 many people think I 'wanted' a
third because I missed having a baby.
Don't get me wrong. I love babies. I appreciate them. I love to
cuddle. I love to snuggle. I love to nurse. I love that stage. But I'm
very happy it's a stage that tends to go quickly.
I wanted a third 'baby' because I want a third child. That's how I
knew I wanted to give it a try. It wasn't about babies. It was about
growing my family. And I'm delighted it worked out and we are eagerly
awaiting the arrival of my third child.
I find it funny that in our society it is ok to question and give
opinions about families. I can't even count how many people were
confused when I told them I was expecting. Strangers would ask - 'Oh,
is this your first?' No. 'Ah, your second.' Nope. It's my third.
'Oh, so you have two girls? Two boys?' Nope. One of each.
Apparently you are only allowed to have a third child if your first
two are the same gender. You are allowed to try to experience the
other gender and give it one more go. The idea that I had two
children already, and one of each gender, seemed to blow their minds!
I was seriously asked a few times - was this an accident? Unplanned?
How outrageous it was of me to simply want to grow my family.
Obviously family planning is so full of personal decisions. I also
know moms of 3 boys or 3 girls that get a sympathetic look of, oh, you
tried for one more and it didn't work out? Why can't people simply
want more children?
I think this also goes the other way. I know several families that
have one child and feel complete. I feel so bad when I hear someone
say to them, 'oh, you have to give so and so a little brother or
sister'...... do they? I remember reading a comment from someone once
and it really stuck with me. Having a second (or third, or fourth)
shouldn't be about giving your current child a sibling. It should be
about you and your partner wanting another child. There are no
guarantees that two children will grow up being best friends. I would
like to think that I am giving my children a similar experience. In
20 years one can call the other and say, 'oh boy, you will never guess
what mom just did/said/etc...' and since my children will all grow up
with me, no one else will understand like they will. They will share
a childhood and share the memories. But, they might not be best
friends. Do I hope they are close? Of course! But if their best
friend is a childhood friend or a cousin and not their sibling, will I
be ok? Of course!
I think it would be great if we can remove our own expectations for other people. What's good for me and my family might not work for them. And that is ok. And what works for another family might not work for me. As parents we are all entitled to make these choices based on the needs of our family. No judgement.
So unless we are complementing the exhausted mother of one or the juggling mother of multiply kids on how she does it ...let's remember to respect all parents and all choices.
Photo: Paul & Paula
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