July 30, 2008

Q&A: The Sixth Baby Issue

I liked all your questions on yesterday's post about possible sixth babies. And I loved all the "I'm a sixth child!"-type comments, even though those get me thinking, "Who WON'T BE BORN if we stop at five?," which goes so quickly to "Who won't be born if we stop at ten?" and "Who won't be born if we wait another month / start a month early?" and all those "trying to think about infinity" brain twists. Ack.


Elizabeth asked: "Did you always know you wanted a lot of kids?" As a child, I had in mind two kids, which is what we had in my family growing up. Then I went through a time of thinking I didn't want any children at all; not coincidentally, this was during my babysitting/nannying years. (People can SAY "It's different when it's your own," but man, it's hard to see how.) Then much later, when Paul and I discussed our future, our decision was to take it one kid at a time and see how it went---but that we'd have four kids unless our experience with one or two or three changed our minds. I don't know why we felt like there was no such situation as "more than four," but that's how we thought of it: as if the options were 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4, and we wanted the maximum allowed.


Erin said, "If I end up with a dozen kids, I will still wonder if maybe thirteen would be nice? Just one more... Just one more..." Oh, Erin, I'm afraid of this! The way I keep wanting more, even when anyone would agree I'd had more than my share! The way I'm not getting tired of this! The way I keep thinking, "What's one more?"


May asked, "What do your parents say about numero seis? Do they know you're thinking about it?" My mom and I have talked about it. I get my "Must...have...more...children!" gene directly from her, so she's all for the idea.


Michelle asked, "Knowing your doctor is that sane, don't you feel better and trust him more with other things, too?" It really did have that effect! And he was so sensible about the whole thing, too: not sugar-coating the risks, and not talking down to me, just telling me what was known at this point about how the risks would apply in my situation. This is one of the OBs in a practice, and this appointment made me think I'd try to see him more often. Especially if.


Astarte asked, "Do you REALLY think you'll stop at 6? Or will #6 breed desire for #7?" My GUESS is that it's going to be a good thing that this whole child-bearing option is a limited time offer. That's my guess.


Moo asks, "What's your motivation? Do you feel you aren't done? Do you just love being pregnant? Do you think your family isn't complete? Do you just love that newborn smell? Can you afford a sixth child? Does it even matter at this point? Will 6 be enough? Do you have the room for another one?" I've thought a lot about WHY I want more, especially since it's not like I'm one of those moms who just lovvvvves playing on the floor with the kids. I've tried on each possible explanation, and the only one that fits is "I just DO." It is such a huge kick to see what kind of person we get each time.

The affording---I'm not sure how to figure that out when there's no visible price tag. The biggest expense for us of going from five children to six would be having to get a bigger vehicle: our minivan seats seven. We do have room in the house for another child: there are three kid bedrooms, and any of them has room vertically for another bed over an existing bed. Bunks = awesome.


Misty asks, "So, what does Paul say about all this?" and Jennifer Playgroupie asks, "Where does Paul have this nugget of information tucked?" Yes, well. Paul. As I said to the OB brightly after the OB and I had discussed everything and decided the way was clear: "Now I just have to talk to my husband!"

It makes me feel weird to say I seriously don't know what he thinks, but I seriously don't. I know he thinks five children is plenty. I also know he's been pleasantly surprised at how well five has been working out (differentness than four = not much). And it isn't as if he wanted to stop at one baby and I pressured him to have more: he's always wanted a bunch of babies. He likes kids. He IS the "enjoys playing on the floor" type.

I've wondered, too, if I would be so set on having another if I didn't feel like I was in "convince Paul" mode. Like, if he were nagging for another baby, would I be saying, "Well, now, hold on a minute here, let's think this through sensibly"?


Slice of Paradise points out, "Honestly, you have 5 ~ would one more really break you?" and Erica asks, "After the forth one, isn't it really a moot point? I mean, what's one more?" That is EXACTLY what I say to Paul! Between five and six, what is the real difference here? Srsly!




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32 comments:

Akimbo said...

"I just DO."

That is good enough. I hope you and Paul can amicably agree that you both "just DO."

Nowheymama said...

I don't know WHY I love it so much when you talk about your babies and the possibility of another one. I just DO.

Kristin.... said...

I still say wow. My 4 is PLENTY for me. Everyone has been blogging about having or not having babies lately. I think it's an epidemic.

I am pretty sure I would lose what is left of my mind if I were to have another one (which luckily cannot happen!)

Jodi said...

I have 7 kids, 4 bio and 3 adopted. When I was pregnant with my 4th I KNEW I was done. Not because the pregnancy was bad, I just felt like this was enough.

I firmly believe when you are done you will know it...in your heart.

Jess said...

This is all so FASCINATING. I am of the "I'm going to have two kids ONLY" mindset and it's amazing to me to think that eventually I could end up in a place where I want SIX. But it could happen!

nonsoccermom said...

I always said I just wanted two kids, and with the birth of our little one 7 months ago we are "officially done". However, there is that tiny little voice in the back of my mind that is trying to talk me into another...I don't know whether to listen and open negotiations with my hubby or not...

moo said...

If you "just do" then you just do ... I've always said that you regret the things you don't do more than the things you did.

(translated: you'll always regret not getting pregnant again, but you'll NEVER regret having that 6th baby)

Here's hoping Paul comes aboard the baby train!

the new girl said...

I always wonder if I had started out earlier...

I, too, get a huge kick seeing the kind of person that one particular egg/sperm combo made. To have more and to watch the various traits express themselves is something that would greatly interest me too.

I wonder who my child would've been if we'd conceived a month earlier or later.

Megan said...

I've always thought that two is exponentially harder than one, three harder than two, four harder than three. BUT, I've always thought that, possibly, 5 isn'tthat much harder than 4. That's why families with 17 children actually make sense to me. But hey, what do I know. I'm still struggling with the decision to have #2.

Alice said...

i've heard that going from 2 to 3 is srsly hard, because all of a sudden the kids outnumber the parents. and the number of arms you have to carry babies / hold toddler hands. BUT, as you've said before, once you're past three, the OTHER KIDS can provide hands to hold and arms to carry...

Swistle said...

Megan & Alice- YES! I skipped the "three kids" stage, but I found that four wasn't much harder than two---even though going from one to two was really, really hard. And five isn't harder than four. Well, it has its moments! But overall, I found adding the fifth child way easier than adding the first or second---and adding the TWINS was easier than adding the second baby.

maggie said...

I'm the oldest of five (born in exactly 5 years.) I used to have dreams about a sixth- a little boy. I told my mom about those dreams a few years ago and she said my dad used to have the same dreams. It made me think who that sixth baby might have been!

I'm working on the second right now and definitely want a break after this one, but I'm afraid I'm going to be one of those "just one more!" people too...

Annika said...

And here I am, agonizing over #2. (We know we want another one, at least, but WHEN?) Part of me has always wanted four but my husband thinks I am crazy. So I just won't tell him that six sounds EVEN BETTER.

Maeve's mom said...

I love your answer of "I just do". I have two and want a third. Everyone says "you have one boy, on girl, perfect, time to stop". But, I want a third child. And I just do. It's not about being pregnant, or loving babies, or wanting to nurse one, or feeling that my family is incomplete. It's just that I "just do". I'm so glad someone else feels that way.

Misty said...

Before I was pregnant with Jelly Bean, I wanted 3, but Honey did not want 3. He only wanted one, but since I came with one already, we both readily agreed that we wanted another because Honey had not been able to experience the baby years. (Brother was 3 when we got together.) When I was pregnant with Jelly Bean, I never ever wanted to be pregnant ever again, it was so much more physically straining than the first time. But after he was born, I wanted that third baby again. Honey was reluctant at first, but now he Oooos over little baby clothes and sweet newborns in the cereal aisles just as much as I do.

I actually see #4 as the one that would change our lives the most. New car, maybe new house? Yeeps.

nicole said...

Okay, 4 to 5 was a big change for me. Maybe it is the personality of baby #5. She has been a little harder to figure out and get used to, in some ways. I've had 4 c-sections too and I definitely have fears about more, if I was to get pregnant again. However, we both feel that 5 is good right now.

I agree with your reason for wanting more though. "I just do" is exactly what I would say, if that feeling ever comes up.

Linda said...

I love the idea of big, uneven, messy families rather than a perfectly symmetrical 2 kids/2 parent family. I find it appealing to thumb my nose at the status quo.

However, I am done at 3 - just like you're all "I just do," I am all "I just am. All done." I think you'll know when you're done and you're much more likely to regret not having another child than having another one.

Little-Bit said...

You know, I have 4 kids, and after each of the first three, I felt a little nag. But the minute I found out I was having the 4th, I knew I was done. I knew he would be the last. And I haven't regretted my decision once. I say go with the nag! Then there will be no "what-if"s.

Mommy Writes said...

My grandmother (who had 4, but was one of something like 12) used to say: "One takes all your time. So, more can't take any more of it."

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Fantastic answers!

I want a massive family. MASSIVE.

My boyfriend is on board for 4-ish. So I'm a lucky ducky to have him! He's so caring with his 11-year-old sister, I know he's going to make an amazing father one day, so I'm so glad he's all mine.

So we've agreed on the 4 in our pre-marriage chats about children. Let's see how high I can actually get that number. ;-)

That's why I'm looking forward to teaching primary grades too -- even if I don't have that many children of my own in the end, I'll always have LOTS of students to spend my day with, and laugh and learn with. I think kids are important; they teach us how to be less selfish, and remind us how to be creative and how to love life.

houndrat said...

I am still just so impressed. Are you sure you aren't really one of those ultra-organized moms in disguise? Because one problem I would have with birthing lots of babies would be actually finding them in our mess of a home!

But I will say, it does make the options for hide and seek virtually unlimited. Unfortunately, it usually involves me seeking where hubby "hid" my car keys, or the baby wipes, etc, etc, etc....

desperate housewife said...

I am amazed you have the energy to constantly be fielding the "Don't you know there's a pill for that?" and " Are those ALL yours?" comments. I get wide-eyed looks when I talk about wanting a third!
Also, people always feel compelled to say to me, "Oh, but you seem to have such awful pregnancies, how could you want another baby?" And I always privately think that's kind of like saying, "Oh, but the nine-hour flight is such a DRAG, how could you ever want to visit England again?"

MaryB said...

My mom told me once that before she had my youngest brother she would behappily siting at the famil dinner table, but she just KNEW someone was missing. she said the feeling went away and never came back after he was born. She is a big , huge beleiver inthe "you just do' or "you just know" philosophy.

We always wanted 4, but it just didnt work out. sometimes my heart aches a wee bit, but i just know that this is right for us and that things happened the way the did for some reason or another...fate, God, the universe, whatever...

Ellen said...

I'm the oldest of five. My husband is the youngest of six (though he was so much younger - fourteen years - that he was raised as an only child). We both like big families and want one... so our stand has been, "Let's start with four and then go from there." We have our first (six months) and nothing has deterred us from this plan thus far.

Part of me is an "I told you so" sort of thing. I had a delightful childhood, despite all the nosy grocery-store critics who said there were too many of us. So there is a corner of me which feels that having a truckload of children I adore constitutes just the right amount of nose-thumbing at a social mindset I find ridiculous. (If you only want two, fine, but don't impose that as a rule on others!).

All that to say... after K's birth in January I told my husband maybe I actually wanted ten. So perhaps I will fall into the "just one more" category. :-)

My apologies for the long-windedness of this ramble.

Maggie said...

I just LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing all of the comments about why people do and don't want more children. It's fascinating! I think that it is one of the most interesting topics around...maybe because the 'right' answer is different for everyone.

skiplovey said...

If you and Paul want six, I say go ahead. Big families are awesome! Plus you're helping to make up for all the only children in the world (no offense only children). Only children can be great but I always feel sorry for them that they never had the sibling experience.

Bebe said...

Like many of your other commenters, I am also one of six children. I was 18 when my parents had their sixth and final baby. I'll admit I wasn't too happy about their surprise pregnancy announcement. However, I can remember vividly sitting in the delivery room with all of my siblings and my parents while mom was in early labor. I had to count everyone in the room, because it sure felt like there was someone missing. It hit me like a brick in the gut when I realized that there WAS someone missing, but he would be here shortly. Now, I can't imagine our family without that little tag-along.

I think moms just know. And just DO.

CARRIE said...

When my hubby and I married we wanted zero or 1. Then we had 1 and when she was 3 weeks old, I just thought to myself, "I want 3." So now I have 2, and still want 3. Hubby will have to be bribed, but if that is what it takes, ok.

Erin said...

Oh Swistle. I only have TWO yet I am SO THERE WITH YOU. I think about it every day. No, every HOUR. I want more, that is not the question. It's the question of should/ should not. Which is way more intangible.

Michelle said...

Very interesting insights from you. Along with others, I think the "I just DO" comment is the most powerful. Just like everything else in life, you have to do what feels right for you and your family. Can't wait to hear the resolution of this!

Fern said...

If you are tweeting that you are so happy and excited right now because you just got a +, I am going to be SO. JEALOUS.

Sally Elkerdi said...

Omggg I'm in the same boat I have 5 and and want one more!!! Ages are 8,7,6 21 months and 6 months!! I don't like big gaps and like to work hard raising then all togehther. I'm only 28 so my aim is by the time I'm 35 all my kids will be in school god willing :) plus I do want to eventually work or start a business and I don't want to have one later on because I regretted having the 6th now. Now it's their time and later will be my time... I love big family's and I do it for them so when they older yet would have so much fun on holidays and gatherings..... Really the only downside is people's negative comments and people looking at u like your a freak show!!