Friday, March 7, 2014

Worrying: The Family Planning Edition

I like how before I had kids, I would spout off children numbers like I knew what I was talking about.  "Oh, perhaps four, definitely three."  Four years of poor sleep and walking on eggshells around a volatile child, and I am giving childless Lady Susan the stink eye.

I worry.  I like to worry about things over which I have no control.  I also like to worry about things in the future which are subject to change in unpredictable and unimaginable ways.  As one can imagine, I waste a lot of energy in useless worrying.  So of course, I am worrying about whether or not I should have another child.

Part of me would really like to stop at two kids.  Finn is a handful.  He has sensory issues.  He is overly anxious (Ha!  I wonder were he gets that from) and lacks independence.  Enna, compared to her brother is much easier, but in respect to other children is strong-willed and spirited.  She will be a handful.  It appears that Mr. F. and I do not breed mellow, easy children.  It would be so lovely to accept our family as it stands.  I could enjoy raising my children and focusing on their needs.  I could also rejoice in never having to be pregnant again and suffer from extreme nausea and depression.  That is such a happy thought.

There is a small part of me, however, that argues for a third child.  I feel like one doesn't quite get a complete family dynamic with just two children.  I worry about a lack of a strong sibling connection when there is just the two.  (I also know that I have nothing to base this on, only limited observation.)  I am less concerned about when they are young and more concerned about feeling connected to a family and siblings when they are adults.  Both of my sisters have provided a huge blessing to me as an adult in completely distinct and different ways.  I want my children to have more than one option available to them.

You see the problem with this, right?  I have no way of ensuring that my children will be at all close to their siblings.  I could very well raise three kids that will have nothing to do with each other as adults.  This thinking also assumes that Finn and Enna can't experience the close friendship and support I desire if it were just the two of them.

In either case, this isn't the time to decide on future children.  When talking about this with my sister, she said these wise words, "You don't need to make this decision right now."  Very true.  First, I need to be getting enough sleep at night.  One of my children really needs to start sleeping through the night, and I honestly don't know which one of them that will be.  Finn also should be in school.  Things will be very different when there aren't two kids at home all day.  

So yes, I should not be worrying about this.  Yet I am.      


Jaimee said...

It's funny, because I know you come at this having experienced a 3 child family. I come at it from a 2 child family. I think people tend to feel a desire to replicate their family number (assuming things went pretty well). I was horrified to learn I was pregnant with #3. I worried that I would be creating a "middle child" and all that comes with that. I worried I would be robbing my second of his babyhood because #3 came along in under 2 years. I worried about finances for all three to do things and go to college. We had to upgrade to a mini van. Oh, and then there is that article that says three is the hardest number and you'd be better off having four to round things out. There is definitely a lot to consider and your sanity should be one of them. But your sister is right, you don't have to figure it out right now. Get Enna to two, get her potty trained and weaned and then see how you feel. Meanwhile we are SO DONE. LOL!

Melanie said...

I do this all of the time. I get upset or worried about situations or conversations that have very little basis in reality.

I can't speak to deciding how many children to have, but I do know that feeling pressured to make a decision is probably not the best time to actually make a decision.

RFamily said...

I told M the title of this post and he said something about it being further proof of us being perfect friends for each other. I'm not sure how much of the constant worrying in my head is actually said out loud, but yeah. I could have written this post. While our decision is made, I continue to find a surprising amount related to family planning still to worry about. I think your sister's advice is perfect (and by the way, I feel like you frequently share really awesome advice from a sister. Always the same sister? Can I borrow her?) I will say the thing that finally tipped the scales for me was making a decision based on what I wanted long term vs. what I want right now. I am not particularly excited about another couple of years of insufficient sleep, being out of shape, having no time, etc. etc. (and that's with easy pregnancies and relatively easy kids) but would like a larger family long term, even knowing it does not guarantee more sibling closeness.


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