Wednesday, May 04, 2016

In Honor of the Time I Asked Google if I Should Have a Third Child

Last night I came into the living room and found my husband playing "Butterfly Kisses" from his phone and singing it to Willa. I asked him if he was doing some emotional cutting. He was just being silly and in love with his baby girl. In that corny and sweet little moment, I remembered how we had struggled so much over the decision to have a third baby. And here was my husband singing one of the sappiest songs of all time to her. It seems ridiculous now that this was once a hard decision. 

One day when I was feeling torn about whether we should leave well enough alone or try to have another child, I googled "Should I have a third baby?" I was really hoping to find an amazing blog post where some mama would show me the way and answer this question for me. I read a few things but none of them satisfied me. 

One of my struggles was that Annabeth was already in kindergarten (her big brother was in third) and this would be like starting over. But while my year of freedom had some definite perks, I felt sad when I saw other moms out with their kids during the day. I avoided going inside Chickfila during breakfast or lunch because it made me emotional to see a million little kids and their moms. I realized that the point of life was not to get my kids raised as quickly as possible so my husband and I could live some fantasy life of relaxation, travel, and date nights. Some of that is good, but it was not what God intended our lives to be about. 

I also struggled with my age. I would be considered advanced maternal age with any future pregnancy. My mom was really young when she had me and when I calculated how old my sister and I were by the time she was 35, it freaked me out. (I was in 8th grade by then. Eek!) But I realized that if a peer came to me and asked "Am I too old to have a baby?" I would've said, "No! Absolutely not. Go for it!" Why couldn't I tell myself the same thing?

On November 11, 2014, our dear friends Cassi and Dustin had their first baby - a sweet little girl named Sadie. Curtis and I were so excited for them and we were up at that hospital as soon as we heard that she'd been born. Being in the hospital and holding that little bundle - we looked at each other and knew we wanted to do this again. It was a few months before we were expecting. Guess what my due date was? November 11, 2015. The Odoms are expecting their second baby and their due date is actually Willa's birthday. 

I will never forget telling our kids that we were going to have a baby. We were in the back booth at a restaurant called Newks. I had horrible morning sickness and the only thing I could stand to eat at that point was soup, which Newks has in abundance. When we told them, they both started bouncing up and down on the cushiony bench and asking a hundred questions. It was the best. 

Around twenty weeks, we took them out of school early so they could be at the gender-revealing ultrasound. We had intended to let it be a surprise but we were weak - oh so very weak! We decided it would be beneficial for the kids not to get their heart set on one gender and to give them time to prepare before the birth. I was totally convinced the baby was a boy. When the ultrasound tech announced it was a girl, I very loudly said, "WHAT?!?!" Haha. 

Annabeth walked on air for the next 24 hours and Jackson sulked. Bless his heart. Even so, I promise you he wouldn't trade that baby sister for anything in the world. On Monday, Willa Rose had her six month doctor visit and got some shots. That evening she was pretty weepy and my sweet boy said, "Willa, I'm so sorry about your shots. I wish I could've tooken them for you." I died. 

I thought by the time the baby was 6 months old, the honeymoon would be over for the big kids and their enthusiasm toward her might lessen. That has not been the case at all. The more interactive she's gotten, the more eager they are for her to wake up in the morning and the happier they are to come home and play with her. Annabeth walked in the door yesterday, didn't even say hi to her dad and me, and whisked the baby right out of Curt's arms. I know that Jackson and AB will have plenty of days when they get annoyed by their pesky little sister, but their relationships with her are so dear. I think Willa's a very lucky girl to have them. 

Having a big gap between your kids is not super common, but there are some really special things about it. For example, Annabeth came to my baby shower and helped me open the presents. I bought her a corsage and made a big deal about it with her. I love that she will be able to remember it. 

Also, my time alone with Willa during the day reminds me so much of the best parts of having your first kid. If we want to snuggle on the couch the entire day, we can. I don't have to jump up to help someone go to the bathroom or get a cup of juice. Now our early mornings and evenings are crazy -  getting the kids ready for school and doing their various activities - but I figure it all balances out. 

I want to say something to any young mamas reading this post who are overwhelmed with little ones right now. They are going to grow out of some of the things that drive you crazy. They will be potty trained. They will let you sleep late-ish on Saturday mornings. They will be able to fix their own cereal. They will get old enough to go almost anywhere with you without giving you a panic attack. When that happens and you're able to get some rest, you might have the desire and the bandwidth for another kid. When Jackson went to Kindergarten I enjoyed him immensely. The elementary years are so fun. No one told me! That's when I first started thinking that we should've had more kids. Before that I was too tired and overwhelmed to imagine it. Consider this before you take steps to make your family size permanent. 

To any mama who might come across this post after asking Google if she should have a third kid, I can't show you the way or make the decision for you. And this post is not amazing. But I can tell you our family has treasured every single day with Willa. We know the hard parts aren't forever, so we don't dwell on them. We feel extremely graced to have her with us. May God give you wisdom as you decide and bless your family in every way.