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. 



26 comments:

The Andlers said...

My third baby is 3.5 and I can't believe that we are already out of the baby phase. You are right, the hard parts aren't forever. We are halfway through the foster care process, so I know more hard times are coming, but I also know it goes quickly. Thanks for sharing!

Tina Miles said...

There is a 4 & 6 year gap between my older 2 and my 3rd one. And then we had a 4th, because I felt the younger guy needed a buddy. The best, best, BEST part was seeing how those big boys LOVED on their little brothers. And now that they're all older (my baby is 5!!!) its still so sweet to see them together. I seriously agree that sometimes, the spacing out is so nice. I also enjoyed the baby age so much more the 2nd time around. So I totally get you! :)

Alison said...

I loved reading this and you wrote with such kindness to all moms (both still adding to their family and those who are done). I sometimes flirt with the idea of a third, but mostly because I think how chill I would be! Willa is a doll and I'm so glad you have her.

Lisa said...

This so resonates with me! We had our third when our second was 6 and our oldest was 8, and for about half a second, I panicked about starting over. We, too, had that moment when we looked at each other one day and asked, "What if...?" Within weeks, we were expecting. That little guy is now the same age his brother was when he was born, and his brother and sister still adore him as much as (if not more than) they did when he was born. There is a wonderful dynamic among my kids that I just relish watching and observing. I also feel like I was a much more relaxed mom by the time he came along (my poor older kids). I savored every bit of those times with him while his sibs were in school and it was just the two of us. I would do it a million times over again, even though I'm now 43 with a kid going into first grade! He keeps me young, he keeps us all laughing, and he keeps life wonderfully unpredictable.

Durf said...

Thanks for writing this. I didn't understand it when you were pursuing adoption. I thought, why doesn't she just have another one? I'm so happy for you. My parents had their last child when their youngest was 10! The other ages were 16, 15, and 12. We older kids were so happy and in love with this little boy. I'm still super close to him, despite our 15-year age gap. He was like my first practice baby. We fought over who would feed him, change him, take him for walks, after school So much fun.

Barb said...

Love this post! Our boys are eighteen months apart (Jack is almost 8 and Luke is 6) and Sadie Kay came along 4+ years later. It has been just perfect for our family and, like your kids, our boys still dote on SK two-and-a-half years later. She is rotten! Seeing them interact with her has been such a fun thing. :) I think that since she's our last I can easily appreciate each stage since I'm acutely aware of how fast they pass by. Thank you for sharing and I'm glad you're back to blogging!

Brittany said...

Thank you! This is super helpful and encouraging for me. We've always wanted a 3rd but it never happens for so many reasons. We're looking at adopting in the next few years. While my gap will be larger between my youngest and the middle child (10 ish years) it still gives me a good idea that this could work. I've always felt that you could never regret a baby.

Jennifer said...

ahhh... this hits to the heart! Mine are 12, 9, and almost 6. And my heart longs for another little one. We are actually wrestling with the "are we done" right now... and I'll be 36 next month. So glad you are blogging again!

Marissa Burt said...

I love this! Can so relate to the whole over-thinking ahead of time (including Advanced Maternal Age, i.e. "elderly" pregnancies - come on, OB's we need some better terminology!) and the gap (our others are 9,7, and 6.

We took the leap and number four arrived in January, and it has been nothing but the biggest joy in the world. Seeing her older brothers dote on her, soaking up every smile and coo, even enduring the night-time feedings - all of it is so precious this time around.

Happy for you all too!

Ashley said...

I say amen to all of this. We have nearly nine years between our oldest daughter (18) and our three little kids (6,7, and 9). It was hard for a few years but so worth it. Now I cry because my oldest will go to college this fall and my youngest is graduating from half-day kindergarten. No more shopping buddy. Yes, the little years are sweet and challenging but there's more fun (and challenge) to look forward to as they get older. You have a beautiful family, Amanda.

Molly Bierens said...

Our 4th child is 12 years younger than our oldest and 7.5 years younger than our twins. He is now 4 and still the apple of his sisters eyes, they still can't wait to see him.

SunshineBB said...

I am reading this crying hot tears. I am never awake this late. Ever. I even plugged my phone in to go to sleep but couldn't and then got it back off the charger. I rarely get on Twitter these days. But tonight...at 12:15 am...I did. And I read this post. And it was not by mistake. My heart's desire has always been for lots of kids. But marrying at 30 already sets the clock ticking....add in miscarriage and here I sit at 41...wanting another....but should I? Question looms over my thoughts. 2 boys...1 six...1 seven....they are healthy and we are blessed. But I can't seem to escape the ache. Thank you for this. Xoxo

Angie said...

Such a sweet post!! My girls are 5 years apart (they are now 27 (& just married) & 22 (& just engaged). I LOVED having as much just me and Anna (youngest) time as I had had with Erin (oldest). Anna was 7 months old when Erin started Kindergarten, and Erin had gone to preschool a couple days a week the year before Kindergarten. It was a sweet time for our family. So, I guess I'm writing this to say, don't let the age difference hinder you from having God bless you with another child, if that is what He wants for you and your family. :)

*And Willa looks to be a good mix of her big brother and sister. :)

Ashley Byrd said...

Amanda,

Thank you for blogging again. Your words have helped me more than you will ever know. I also had a baby girl 6 months ago (11-11-15...your due date!) - she joined a 7 and 1/2 years old big brother.

xoxo,
Ashley
Winter Haven, FL

Sarah said...

Awesome post- thank you for sharing. So glad Willa had her big sibs!

Unknown said...

I love reading this so much! I am so so happy for your family and I love seeing how happy her big bro and sis are! Shes PRECIOUS!
xo kristy :)

Haddixfamily said...

Thankful for the blessing of children! We have 5 and also homeschool. I'm so thankful that I have them all with me. Sending them off to school at 5 would have been so hard. They are tiny then and so much still for them to learn. My daughter is almost 13 so we are closer to her being grown now than a little and I have a glimpse of how fast time goes! So thankful The Lord has blessed us with this time together.

Dionna Sanchez said...

You write so beautifully, Amanda. I can feel your heart and love in the words. I can't tell you how happy I am for you and for your family. I felt your heartbreak over the failed adoption (s), and I just believe God has something special in store for precious little Willa. And your other two -- getting so big! Soak it all in. My "baby" turned 17 yesterday. And it does fly by.

Suzie Jackson said...

What an awesome story. That brought me joy to read. I had both my kids very young. Like at 19! My son is 21. Me & my husband 10 years ago tried to have another baby. It took 8 years but finally I got pregnant with my Asher. I lost him. You talk about age gaps my oldest son would of been same age I was a parent to him when Asher was born. I know I will see my baby again. Now it is to late for me to try again because I am high risk for female cancers I had to have a hysto. I understand the sadness of seeing the other moms with their babies. YET now I try to rejoice and be happy for them :-) truly! And I try to mother those no matter the age who has lost a mom or needs the hug of a mom or advice of a mom. NOW I am a mother of many whom ever God brings in my path. My mothering days are not over they just look different now. :-)

Missy said...

I love this so much, Amanda! I was 6 years old when my little brother was born (my older sister was 10), and we loved him like no other! Because of joy we had helping my mom with my brother as a baby, I have always wanted to have a little space between my children! (Still trying to convince my hubby - we just had our first last July.) All I know is that having one baby made me want MORE, however the Lord chooses to give them to us. But, I appreciate so much your perspective on not wishing the various seasons way. Thank you!

P.S. I really do believe that being a little older when my brother was born helped me transition into motherhood, so I am sure Annabeth will be such a natural when her time comes!

Louisiana Bride said...

Love this! And it's so much more common than you'd think, a ton of my students have siblings nearly my age or in high school (I teach 5th).

This Is The Day said...

Love this! Such sweet pictures. This is exactly how we are feeling about our 4th. She'll be 4 months on Friday and her daddy and I and her three big sisters just can't get enough of her. I keep asking people if they just "knew" they were done. Why is it so hard to figure out?!? I even took a quiz to see how many kids I should have. It said 2. Whoops! Lol! We have been wrestling over the decision to have a 5th. With 4 girls my husband sure would like to have a boy, but because of some complications I will have to have surgery first if we want to try again which makes me wonder if God is saying we're done. At the same time I still have that desire to have more children. Wrestling is apt description...I feel like I go back and forth several times a day...

Angel said...

I have a six and seven year old and we're expecting a baby in September. This post couldn't have been more relatable. I too googled whether or not we should have another baby and thought I might be the only woman alive to have done so.

Good to hear how your older ones are enjoying her! That has been a big fear of mine. Come on September:)

Just Amanda... said...

Goodness, I am so glad I went back thru the blogs I have been following for years and saw you had posted again. I am so happy for you and your precious family. Congrats on Sweet Willa. It makes my heart melt and my womb throb, but we have a total of 4 kids so we shut my baby factory down when I had my baby girl who is now 15. Thank you for sharing your precious family stories with us. And for blogging again. You were missed..
Amanda
Texas

Wendy McSwain said...

Thanks for sharing your journey. Unless we feel called to adopt, we will only have two (my Beth is almost the same age as yours). It's wonderful to see God working in your life and so sweet to see a new baby. Our next door neighbors have a third that is seven years behind the other two. We all enjoy him so much!!

Linda Neely said...

Amanda,
Congratulations to you, Curtis, Jackson, & Annabeth on your newest addition - sweet Willa Rose. So happy for you all.
It was such a nice treat to stumble across your post & see that you are writing once again. You have a gift for sharing your heart in a tasteful, honest, tender, & humorous way. I'm more in the age-range of your mom than with you, but I've always enjoyed your posts as they allowed me a bit of a time-travel experience back to my years as a new wife & mom. My two sons, now grown, are 7 1/2 years apart (not intentional as I had two miscarriages between them). It was an unexpected gift & great joy to have had time one-on-one with each of them while they were young. I was a "mature" woman of 34 when our youngest was born so that was it for us, though I would have loved having more children.
Also want to say that I had the privilege of visiting your church last January (while visiting a friend in Houston) & hearing Curtis preach. He definitely has a special anointing for sharing God's word. Everyone we met was so friendly & welcoming, and we enjoyed the warm coffee on the cool Jan. morning. My friend & her family were looking for a church after moving from VA to Houston a few months earlier (which prompted our visit to BCF), but ended up moving to Dallas within a few weeks after my visit so had to start a new search. Anyway, just wanted to thank everyone who made our visit so enjoyable.
Blessings & prayers to all,
Linda