Holding Off


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I know there’s almost never a ‘right time’ to have a kid. But there are times that are better than others. And now isn’t that time. As I reflect on that negative pregnancy test from a few weeks back, I really feel that I dodged a bullet. Because while I know I would grow to love another child, right now isn’t the right time. What scares me, is will waiting be the right time, either?

If I am being 100% truthful, I only want 1 child. AND I also want a daughter, and a sibling for Potamus. It’s hard to hold those tensions. The more settled in I am lately, the more I realized that some of my angst of dealing with Potamus this summer was the projection and future-focus of the ‘what if’ having a second and how I was sure I wouldn’t be able to to do it. There was the infatuation with babies (certainly hormonal) that I hadn’t exprienced before Potamus was born, and seeing my friends with babies and this thought ‘oh, I want that.’

But do I want that? Or do I want what I once had, when I held this little human I created, who is now growing at such a rapid pace? I don’t know the answers to that, but Boof and I have been in a hard place relationally/emotionally/physically, and as parents. I think independently we do a good job parenting, but together we aren’t where we’d like to be. And I think that my desire to ‘rush to have another’ has been as a desperately perfectionistic attempt to a) bandaid a difficult situation, b) keep up with the joneses, c) give me more ‘ammunition’ when complaining about my identity/work-load balance/etc.

Even admitting all of that on paper is both cathartic and makes me wonder how many people will stop reading because surely I’m the worst woman ever (next to Miley Cyrus, of course 😉 ). It’s hard to admit that I was rushing in to a situation to try and fix an already hard situation, because we all know that’s the dumbest logic ever.

So I decided to make a decision. Instead of continuing to play ‘Russian Baby Roulette,’ by leaving the decision each month up to condoms or chance/fate/God, I am going on birth control. And I’m not going on the pill. I am choosing the IUD without hormones. It’s both an exciting and scary decision to make. Because  I know in my heart it’s the right choice, because it takes some control back on my own body, that feels it’s been subject to every whim and fancy, but it also means a decision has been made. We have decided to not have any more kids. …………….yet.

We will revisit the conversation next year. But even just saying that gets me nervous, because part of holding off means letting go of this ‘dream’ (that I’ve felt very influenced by media/friends/family) of having kids 2ish years apart…3 at most. Because now we’re talking 3.5 years apart at minimum. Probably more like 4.5. And that feels different to me, in providing a ‘sibling relationship’ to Potamus. Feels different adding an infant into a household revolving around schoolish activities. But that’s all getting ahead of myself, because, right now we are done having kids.

I’m looking at it that way because I love having one kid. I really love it. The thought of putting the IUD in has actually let me take exhale, as if I’ve been holding my breath for a really long time. It’s hard to describe, this feeling of contentedness and satisfaction and freedom with a choice. And yet, I’m worried about explaining this decision to others. So many people have opinions and beliefs about waiting for more kids, or what it’d mean to have one kid, but I know what’s right for us. And this is it. For now that is. And that’s what I need to keep in mind.

And, in it’s usual timely fashion, yesterday Offbeat families featured this article entitled 8 ways to help you deal when the time isn’t right to have a baby. I suggest you read it 🙂

How did you decide when/if to have kids (or have more kids)? How did you handle criticism or comments from family/friends? Any experience with the IUD you want to share?

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9 Comments

  1. Well, I wanted kids super close together until I had one. Then, I remember so well having those same mixed emotions about having the second. I had one great child, and couldn’t imagine loving another one like I loved her. But, I think a lot of time, you just have to have faith. As corny as that sounds. I think you feeling like you want to exhale at the thought of waiting means it’s probably the right one. We all have the idea of what we want in a family before we start one. Thank goodness I didn’t stick with what I originally thought I wanted which was at least 8 kids. CRAZY TALK.
    I have the Mirena IUD (5 year) and have had a love/hate relationship. It’s been in for a year and a half and now it’s great because I have like a one-day period that is super light. LOVE that part of it, but during the first year of it, I hated it. I’ll be honest. My periods were like 11 days on, but then still on a 28 days cycle, which if you do the math means I was pretty much on a very light, annoying period all the freaking time! But, now that I practically don’t have any period, I love it.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience! I know that waiting is the right decision. And I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, because I also know that if I was pregnant I would love a second child. But some of my fear about having a kid in a few years is going back to my childhood…and remembering when my sister was brought home from the hospital. I think having a sibling when the older child can remember being an only child can be harder. But that’s also just speculation, too. I feel good, so much lighter, about this decision of holding off to even make another decision next year. I feel like I don’t need to rush, and before I felt like I needed to rush or just ‘get it over with.’

  2. I am in the midst of making my second, will be born in about 11 weeks and our kids will be just over 3 years apart. For what it’s worth, 3 years was my minimum, I needed the time to recover, bond with her, feel confident, be in the physical shape I preferred to start pregnancy in, etc. My sister and I are 4.5 years apart and having her in my life as a sibling and friend is perhaps one of the greatest influences in my life. That said, having another kids just for the Joneses for for a sibling for Potomas, is as you know and have already figured out, isn’t a good enough reason when your marriage and life are in the balance! Good luck! 🙂 Enjoy the down time! 🙂

    • Oh, this is so helpful to hear! I know many family structures where there’s 4-5 years between siblings, but there’s a sibling in-between (like my husband and his youngest sister, or me and my sister). It’s actually my little sisters who are 5 years apart and I see that they are able to be friends but also able to be in totally different stages…which sounds both delightful and exhausting. But I wonder how it would work with boys, or even boy/girl. Though I think that if I waited a few years even, that my experience having another would feel vastly different than doing it now. Almost like a re-set, which could be good or bad in its own right. The round-and-round thinking is exhausting, but my body and soul and mind feel so delighted with this newfound only-child-motherhood that I’m going to experience for the next 12 months plus.

  3. You’ve written similar posts that i commented on so i hope i don’t repeat myself!

    People space their kids in all different ways. The only one i personally dislike is the teenage spacing, for example having a baby when you have a teen. If i was 15 i would be fucking horrified by my mom getting pregnant. Haha.

    My sister and i were 3.5 yrs apart and it was great for my mom. A lot of parents love the 4 yr difference and it may turn out to be the best one for your family! The 2-3 yr is popular, but a total headache. Once they’re older they will have plenty in common anyway. Going from 1 to 2 is so hard and I think spacing them further will ease the strain for you.

    It seems like you and Boof haven’t parented together very often and I bet that’s why things aren’t perfect there. Maybe when you have #2 it will actually smooth out, because you’ll be parenting side by side more often.

    I have the Paragard IUD and it’s much better than hormones. Just be prepared for heavier periods. I want to get a Mooncup or something, so i’m not changing tampons every hour. Also the bf does feel it sometimes.

    Have you checked out the shettles method for conceiving a specific gender?

    That article hits close to home…I want a baby to take care of so bad. 😦

    • Yeah, I definitely think that taking this year to parent together will be helpful in adding to the brood. And I have to let go of some of my ‘perfectionistic’ tendencies. As in, there isn’t a really right way to space the kids (though God forbid we ever have the teenage spread, that would be terrible…mostly because I’d be 40 giving birth and that sounds miserable!)

      Thanks for the heads up on the heavier periods. I used to have heavy periods pre-Potamus, so hopefully the worst is it’ll go back to that. But it is annoying to go through a super-plus box of tampons each period 😛

      Also, when I saw that you wanted a baby so bad…made me wonder…do you want a baby, or do you want YOUR baby? I sometimes wonder if I really want another baby, or want Potamus to be a baby again.

      • Of course I want *my* baby and for a long time that was enough to make me never want another one. Individual humans are beautiful and irreplaceable and that’s what makes losing them hurt so much. I know a lot of people who would think, “how dare she give one away and keep another one, she must be heartless.” However, I refuse to spend the rest of my life weeping at a shrine of my firstborn. I have to take what opportunities i have. I now see having a baby as something new to feel excited for; it’s more than just something I’ve done before. Enough time has passed that I no longer think of baby #2 as replacing him, only coming into the world to be his/her own self, and i have to trust that I will love a new baby just as much, and not only because of the cuteness of infancy. You will be excited for the new and different experience of a second baby, too, and realize it’s separate from the wistfulness of seeing Potamus grow up. I hope this made sense because I’m too lazy to re read it for coherence.

      • Definitely makes sense! I think we’ll both be in places where #2 will be different than #1! I’m glad you’re in that place where it won’t be a replacement baby. Just like I’m happy to realize that when the time is right baby #2 won’t be a bandaid for a hurting marriage, and will hopefully be welcomed with much celebration and fanfare 🙂

  4. It’s not easy to realize those things about yourself (let alone share them here!) I went through something similar awhile ago– on having number 3. I had to take a very hard and honest look at myself, my marriage and my family to see what’s best for us. It was an eye-opening experience and a major awakening on who I am (not what I could be or thought I was ) as a mom. Good for you on staying true to yourself.

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