Family planning comes in many different forms. I’m not just talking about condoms vs pills vs IUD, or natural family planning vs birth control vs “pull-and-pray”. Some families decide how many kids they want, and take the necessary steps to fulfill that goal. Others are blessed with children they didn’t expect, while others hope to have babies and have difficulty conceiving without help. Some people adopt. Some moms have babies until their uterus craps out, and others are happy with the one. Some people choose not to have kids at all. There are so many different combinations of family, that I’m confident I’ve left some out and have already alienated a reader or two.
One of the favorite topics of debate is what is the ideal family? People say things like:
“Why would someone only have one kid?”
“What’s wrong with that Duggar lady and why does she keep having babies?”
“(Fill in the blank) kids? Wow. You must be really busy!”
“You breeders really think you’re something, don’t you? Quit bringing your spawn to restaurants and on airplanes.”
“Birth control is a sin.”
“Natural family planning is crazy.”
The one thing I know is that every family is different. There comes a time when you have to make a decision. Have kids or not. Plan for it or let nature do its thing. If you decide to have kids, how many? I don’t like the phrase “start a family.” A couple without children is as much a family as one with one kid or nine kids.
I always wanted two kids: a boy and a girl. I would have the girl first, and the boy second. Just like my younger brother and me. Oh, and 20 months apart. Perfect. Also, I would have them both before I was 30. Well some of those things happened, and some didn’t. Even though not everything went as planned, everything turned out just right. We are happy with our two, but is our family complete? Here are some contributing factors to help us decide.
- If we have another baby, my mom, mother-in-law, and sisters-in-law will all get off my back about having more kids. The same goes for my friends with more than two children. Of course they all think I shouldn’t stop reproducing just yet. On the other hand, one more baby won’t stop the family members. If I have three, they’ll insist on four. Besides, I kind of like the pressure. Their arguments are full of how great of a mom I am and how wonderful our kids are, and my friends’ pleas are really just them begging me to join their club. Popular much?
- If we’re done having kids, we can get rid of all of the baby stuff. I get as giddy about getting rid of my kids’ things as I do receiving kid stuff. Because of that feeling, most of our baby stuff is gone, but we still have toddler silverware and cups, potty seats, and baby toys. I’ll keep the booster seat and Pack n Play for my friends that come over who won’t stop having babies. You know who you are.
- If we have another baby, I don’t have to go back to work full-time. I have to admit, this is a very compelling argument. I see you, ladies with your youngest heading off to kindergarten and a swollen pregnant belly. I see you, and I nod in support.
- If we’re done having kids, I can go back to work full-time. A second income would be welcome, as my wardrobe and retirement account have been sad and forgotten the past few years. Also, I never love my kids more than when I’m at work.
- If I have another baby, I can wear maternity pants again. My belly loves elastic waistbands more than chocolate. Sweet, sweet, giving elastic. Also, after being pregnant or nursing for the better part of three years, my boobs look like fried eggs, and I would really like to have my milk bags back.
- If I’m done having kids, I can rest easy knowing my nights will be full of sleeping and not of tending to crying children. At least until high school, when they’ll be out late, and I’ll be awake crying over the stupid teenage things I’m sure they’ll be doing.
- If I have another baby, I’ll buy myself a few more years until all of my kids prefer their friends over me. Right now, they still think I’m cool. They like hanging out with me. Without a third baby, I’ll be obsolete by the next presidential administration.
- If I’m done having kids, I don’t need to worry about reining in the bounty of small pieces that litter our house. Legos need to be off the floor to protect my delicate feet, but they don’t need to be locked up to protect Little Number Three.
- If we want more kids we should get to it. My husband’s insurance is kick ass, and having a baby right now would cost us zero dollars. Also, I am already considered of “advanced maternal age” and my old eggs won’t be fresh for too much longer.
- If I have another baby, I’ll have to be pregnant again. Months of vomiting, aversions to something delicious, no booze, disgusting body disappointments, and at the end, my undercarriage violated in unspeakable ways to get that baby out.
I think I’m happy with the two I have. Are you done having kids? Why or why not?