Thursday, February 9, 2012

More babies? How? When? Why?

Welcome to the first Family Size Blog Carnival!
This post was written for inclusion in the Family Size Blog Carnival hosted by Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling and Patti at Jazzy Mama. Today our participants share their decisions on family size and whether or not to grow their families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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Dear Delilah,

Since early on in our relationship, your father and I knew that we wanted children. How many? Well, that was a question for another day. I always thought that I’d have one child biologically, and then adopt if I wanted more. It seemed like a good balance between my desire to experience pregnancy and birth and my desire to limit the extra burden on our planet and help children in need of loving families.

Well, then along came you, and things changed! Within a week of becoming a father, your daddy said he couldn’t wait to another baby with me. Maybe two!

Whoah. That was a conversation I wasn’t ready to have at the time, but as I settled into motherhood, I became more open to discussing expanding our family.

In deciding how many children to have, there were a number of factors to consider. For a long time, I wasn’t sure I wanted any more children. Our life feels so complete with you in it! The challenges of parenting one child in the newborn days were almost too much for me at times, how could I possibly manage a newborn and remain an attentive and nurturing parent to my beloved first born daughter? Of course, I’m blessed with ample support, and learned so much about parenting babies with you that the thought of another baby started to seem a little less scary. So then, how many more babies?

One of the first factors I considered was my age. I was 30 when I had you, and I wanted to be done having babies by age 35, give or take a year, for a number of reasons. Those reasons were primarily my plans for my own future. I was working on my undergraduate degree when you were born, with plans to continue to the graduate and maybe even doctorate level. Knowing how I struggled to balance my school work with my parenting philosophy, I decided to put off further education until I was done having babies, and ideally until those babies were in school themselves. Having my last baby at age 35 would put me back in school at age 40, which I’m comfortable with.

Another factor was how apart in age we wanted to space our children. Since I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t cut out for nursing through pregnancy, I knew I wanted to wait until you were at least 2, the earliest age at which I’d consider weaning. I also wanted you to be old enough to understand that there was a baby on the way. Well, now you’re two, you’re getting close to weaning, and you seem to understand that your aunt has a baby in her belly…so what are we waiting for?

Another consideration is the season we want to have a baby in! You were a winter baby, and being home with a baby all winter long was very isolating for me. Don’t get me wrong, I will never regret your February conception and November birth, because they resulted in you!  On one hand, it provided the opportunity for a strong bond between us, and for that, I will always be grateful. On the other hand, I would love to have a late spring or early summer baby next time, so that I could I spend more time enjoying my maternity leave outdoors, being active with you and your little brother or sister!

All that said, our plan is to conceive your sibling later this year in hopes of a birth next spring or summer. By that time, I’ll be close to 34, and since I’m definitely not planning any Irish twins, it seems likely that two babies will complete our little family. Of course, we don’t use hormonal birth control, and aren’t perfect in applying the Fertility Awareness Method, so there’s always a chance things won’t go according to plan. In that event, we’ll embrace whatever happens as what is meant to be, just as we did when we made the exciting and surprising discovery that you were on your way!

Love,

Mama

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Visit City Kids Homeschooling and Jazzy Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Family Size Blog Carnival!
Please take some time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants below:
  • The Perfect Family The family at Living Peacefully With Children isn't perfect, but the size is just right for them...at least for now.
  • Family Size Carnival Zoie at TouchstoneZ discusses how she loves the extremes of being happily child-free for life to being a mom of several. And on knowing when her family is just the right size.
  • Is Adoption for Me? Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares why she would consider adoption as the socially responsible way to have a large family.
  • Getting Used to Having Kids Lauren at Hobo Mama went from "probably one, maybe two" to wanting a handful, but not without some major struggles and soul searching along the way.
  • Magic Number For a while, Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales has wondered what the magic number will be for their family, but now thinks she's finally settled on an answer.
  • How Did You Get That Size Jorje explains how she "chose" her family size and why they aren't planning to grow again on Momma Jorje.com.
  • Family Size On A Per Kid Basis Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares how plans change as families grow.
  • More Babies: How, When, Why Joella at Fine and Fair writes to her daughter about when, how, and why she might get a sibling.
  • Family Size Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she has no idea what size her family will end up being; though she used to be sure, a few factors have recently come up to change everything.
  • Thy Will Be Done CatholicMommy hasn't decided how many children she'll have. And she never will. Because, you know, she's Catholic.
  • Sanity and Health Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about sanity and health considerations when deciding on her family's size.
  • Love Comes In All Sizes Melissa at Mothers of Change shares her family's journey to becoming a family of six!
  • Family Size Liz at Homeschooling in Buffalo discusses how this carnival occurs less than two weeks after "closing up shop" by way of vasectomy.
  • Family Size Blog Carnival Billy, a single mother by choice, writes about the size of her family at My Pathway to Motherhood.
  • Creating Your Perfect Family Size Dr. Alan Singer shares insights from his new book, Creating Your Perfect Family Size.
  • Our Family Size You might not be surprised to learn that Patti at Jazzy Mama can't find any reasons NOT to have more babies.
  • Economics of Family Size Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling uses an economic cost-benefit analysis to determine her family's optimal size.


7 comments:

  1. Joella, thanks so much for participating in today's blog carnival! I love this format of writing to your daughter about a new sibling decision. It sounds like you have given your family size a lot of thought and I wish you luck this year in growing your family!

    I also always wonder what a spring or summer baby would be like, as mine were all born in the cold months!

    Thanks for sharing!
    -Kerry @ City Kids Homeschooling

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  2. I always thought I'd be done with pregnancy by age 35, too, but my 4th was born when I was 36.5 years and I really don't see us stopping! It's fun sometimes how plans change.

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  3. How exciting it is to have made the decision to add to your family! :) I wish you all the best!

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  4. I think a lot of parents can relate to the "embrace whatever happens as what is meant to be" mentality. Thats where we are, too! (even after a vasectomy)

    I wound up with babies 2 days (and 10 years) apart!

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  5. Fun post to read! There are always so many factors to consider when choosing what's best for a family. Wishing you well on your motherhood journey!

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  6. How fun! I love the planning-to-conceive days. :) And I found that spring/summer babies worked very well for us, although it did encourage both relatives and random strangers to visit us during the newborn days, which was summer vacation for them. I was actually thinking it might be nice to try a different season next time, but now I'll know to avoid November, lol.

    It's interesting hearing about your plans to continue schooling. I don't feel anywhere near as ambitious, but I really admire you for that.

    I've also been wondering when I could reasonably start TTC another, since I'm soooo oooold (hee) but I also don't want to wean prematurely, and I know now that my milk supply tanks during pregnancy. I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in thinking such things through!

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  7. Lots of things to consider :-)
    Oh, I gave birth mid June - end of Spring and beginning of Summer, and oh was that a nightmare!! I mean love my daughter and all, but being with a new born in the hot summer.. well not fun at all!

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