Could it be that we’re destined to be a family of 3?

Could it be that we’re destined to be a family of 3?

Could it be that we’re destined to be a family of 3?

Writing about this is some kind of therapy for me, because I don’t feel like I can talk about this to many people…if anyone. I’ve got friends with kids and I’ve got friends who don’t have kids. The latter party certainly can’t understand but of all of my friends with kids, very few my age have just 1 child. If they do, they talk about adding to their families sooner rather than later. Can I be honest? I don’t know if I want more children. This is a scary declaration to make because I don’t want my daughter to be the only child. I have visions of her growing up and enjoying life and experiences with her sibling(s). Part of me doesn’t feel like we are done growing this family but then there’s another part of me that is terrified about having another child.

The reasons may seem trivial, selfish even. While many mothers see more children as added little blessings that bring light into their lives, my first thought of adding another child to our family is “Sheesh…how can we afford it?” Following that is a slew of fears like not being able to sleep again, potentially going through another painful pregnancy, fighting to lose weight and then finding time to work out and then wondering how my passions will be affected by another little being. I don’t want to feel this way. I want to be the mom that can drop everything to raise her kids. But I’ve tried that and I’m not that mom. I am me first and then a mother. Motherhood does not define me and I’ve worked hard to feel comfortable about being a working mom and a hands-on mom. It took 2 years but I’m in a rhythm and a groove and I feel good. Yet, I feel this pressure. If we do add more children, I never wanted the age gap to be too close nor did I want to stretch it out to 5+ years. But here I am with a 2-year old and no desire for another baby. I’ve held newborns and felt no pangs of envy or lust. How is this even possible? I don’t miss the newborn stage. My husband feels the same way.

Could it be that we’re destined to be a family of 3? Will I feel sad about this down the line? These questions swarm my head space more than I’d like it too and really they’re rhetorical questions but I’m wondering if other parents go through these thoughts. Am I seriously too selfish to once again give up my body, time and passions for raising another child?

43 Responses to Could it be that we’re destined to be a family of 3?

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) February 17, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    I always knew that I never wanted my son to be an only child, so I had 2. They are best friends and I definitely made the right decision for us.

  2. barnickelamy February 17, 2015 at 7:50 am #

    It’s OK, Brittany. In so many ways, we are soul sisters. We’ve shared some of this in the past, but I was one who never had a desire to have children in the first place. It wasn’t that I was against it per se, but if I had been on my own rather than getting married to a husband who claimed at the time to want kids, I probably wouldn’t have had any! I never regret having my two wonderful girls–they bring so many challenges to my life in good and difficult ways; they give me joy and pain; they make me better and bring out my worst; we’re in this together but sometimes feel so very alone since their dad left when they were 6 and 4. Since he passed away last September, the “I’m in this alone” feeling has gotten worse for me, even though he wasn’t involved with them at all. It’s “strange” in our culture to be a woman first and mother second, but some of us are wired that way. It’s not selfish–in fact, it’s better to be insightful about yourself in terms of your frame of mind, skills, or limits than it is to bring another baby into the world and have regrets. There are plenty of “only children” in the world, and they do just as fine as those kids who have multiple siblings. Give yourself a break and feel blessed, whatever decision you ultimately make! Big hugs to you, friend.

    • Brittany February 18, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      Oh, how I adore you. It’s funny how you have these visions of what you “thought” life would be like and what it ends up being. Like you, I didn’t HAVE to have kids. And even now, I still fight to uncover me in the blanket of motherhood. It’s craziness, I tell you and I know I’ll figure it out. So grateful to you!

  3. Elizabeth February 17, 2015 at 9:01 am #

    Brittany – your post resonates with me. I am an only and always thought I’d have an only – but had twins instead. You are not selfish – you are honest. Bringing another person into the world is a huge decision and you are giving it the serious consideration it deserves. From the perspective of an only of older parents — there are cons but there are many pros that people often overlook. Both pro and con – I had all my parents attention – lol. I did lots of things with my parents that I wouldn’t have done if there had been a sibling (it’s cheaper to get an extra ticket to a play or sporting event than a sitter for one). Financially my parents were able to do things for me that they couldn’t have done with more children. I had a large extended family of aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins to whom I am still close. Yes, there are times I wish I had a sibling. But let’s be real – some of my friends are quite close to their siblings but we all know friends who are not. In fact, I have lots of friends who have zero in common with their sibling. When my parents were older and not well – I will admit it was hard to be an only. But, as a friend pointed out, I was able to do things and make health care decisions without an argument from anyone. I guess what I am saying is that I had a marvelous childhood and an amazing relationship with my parents — so don’t feel guilty if you and your husband choose to have one child.

    • Brittany February 18, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

      YES!!! Seeee…there are SO many pros to raising just one child. I mean, my goodness…3 plane tickets? Done! 1 car seat. 1 college tuition to worry about? Wow…I mean, it’s financially sound for our family. And you’re right. I am the oldest of 4 girls through a blended family and we’re just not that close. I mean, we love each other and we played together while growing up but hello, I had friends, too. I don’t buy that “but they can be friends” thing b/c socialization can happen outside of the immediate family, ya know? *le sigh* We’ll see what the cards read. Thanks so much for your input!

      • Lauren February 25, 2015 at 9:27 am #

        I’m with you 100%! We went into having a child planning for one. Plans can change but right now we’re so happy with our little girl and look forward to giving her so much. I’m an only child and I don’t feel that I missed out by not having a brother or sister. Whatever decision you make will be right for your family, don’t feel pressured either way.

    • Jaclyn Kent February 27, 2015 at 11:02 am #

      It’s nice to hear the pros from an only child. I think there are so many ways that I will love having just one child! Many of the things you listed, too.

  4. casademurphy
    casademurphy February 17, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    Thanks for sharing this, Brittany! You definitely spoke the words that have been on my heart lately, too! My hubby & I share all of your sentiments, so no, you are not alone. *hugs!*

    • Brittany February 18, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

      Woohoo! So glad to know I’m not the only one going through this. It seems like such a small and unspoken little community of parents.

  5. NutriFitMama February 17, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with only having 1 child. I have 3, but I KNEW when my third was born I didn’t want any more. I think you just know. I don’t feel that feeling that so many others feel when holding a newborn. Don’t get me wrong- I love OTHER people’s babies, I just don’t want any more myself 😉

  6. Miss Lindsie February 17, 2015 at 11:05 am #

    You know I feel the same way. We only have one, and I’m scared to have another. I feel like it would be taking the focus away from our boy already and with our crazy busy schedules, I dont feel like he deserves any less attention. Another baby would just pull me further away from him and thats not what I want.

  7. shaunatorres February 17, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    I think everyone has their own feelings and knows what is best for themselves 🙂 I know many families of 3 and families of 6 or 8 and everyone does what is best for their family! You know what is best and that is your choice 🙂 Hugs to you for sharing.

  8. lisa February 17, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    I had decided that 1 was enough for me, but here we are 10 years later and we have 3 total! You do what’s best for you and your family, and that’s how it is supposed to be!

  9. kelly logan gould February 17, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    I struggle with the exact same things except I have no children. We tried, it didn’t happen and now I’m older. I feel your pain about a groove and loves and time and selfish reasons. And money. I don’t regret not having them and I don’t ever feel pangs of jealousy when I’m with friends with kids. But every now and then, the sadness creeps in and I feel like I’m missing something. You do you, and what’s best for your family. There is never a right time to have a child, or a second. Or none at all. It’s up to you. Don’t let other norms define you.

    • Brittany February 18, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

      Oh my love. I had no idea. *hugs* You get that sadness and you know what I get? Pangs of sadness from my lost pre-mommyhood days. I feel guilty feeling that way but I yearn for the days of when I’d come home from work, not have to worry about dinner and binge watch Netflix on the sofa for hours. I got to do quick trips out of town with very little planning and my husband and I had this fun and expensive dates. Motherhood kinda took all of that and ugh, I miss it. So we have different kinds of sadness’es (haha, is that a word?) but I kinda understand. Love you!

  10. maria @ close to home February 17, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    I am sure this is a struggle and glad you can get therapy thru your writing. WE did not have fertility issues but do believe God does things for a reason. Still trying to figure some of these out…

  11. becca112971 February 17, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    Aw honey there is nothing wrong with only having one child. We are a family of 3 and find it to be magically. you have to do what feels right for you and your family. I am giving you a link to a blog post written by an amazing woman that I think will be a comfort to you. I hope you enjoy it and that you are able to find peace in whatever decision you make http://thelilmamas.com/guest-blogger-scarlett-three-its-a-magic-number/

    • Brittany February 18, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

      Thank you so much for sharing this. I feel like I wrote it!

  12. Debbie Denny February 17, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    If you are happy with the things as they are for now, go with it. There may be a time when it does feel right. You will know.

  13. Liz Mays February 17, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    Many parents are happy with one, two or more than two kids! I don’t think there is a right amount. It’s up to you!

  14. Rose February 17, 2015 at 8:58 pm #

    To each their own! I don’t think anyone should ever feel pressured to have a certain number of kids, or even kids in general. It’s not for everyone! The only right number is whatever is right in your hearts!

  15. Jess Weaver February 17, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    I am pregnant with my fourth! I would say, whatever works for you.

  16. Courtney February 17, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

    Your feelings are totally normal! Everyone is different. Whatever “number” you choose is fine.

  17. Wendy @ ABCs and Garden Peas February 18, 2015 at 11:33 am #

    I thought for a long time that we’d be a family of 3, but we did end up with another baby just before I gave up. I would have been ok either way, I think. I was an only child for 10 years before my brother was born, and I think it definitely has its perks!

  18. Mama to 5 BLessings February 18, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    I think every woman is different and that is your preference. We have 5 kids and I would love to have a 6th. There are times were I do miss only having the one which is my oldest but I wouldn’t trade it in for the world. I love being a mom with lots of blessings.

  19. Rosey February 18, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    It’s a personal choice. I grew up as an only child. I had a half brother but he didn’t live with us. I have very fond, happy childhood memories. 🙂

  20. rane25 February 18, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    I would definitely say it’s all about what you want. Some people are perfectly happy with one child .. while other a perfectly happy with multiples. Enjoy your blessing and give her the best life possible

  21. Heather February 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

    Beautiful, friend! Definitely nothing wrong with a family of three…Your post and feelings resonate so much with where my husband and I were about six years ago. We are a family of four now, but for six years we were happy, very happy, with our family of three. That’s why my children are six years apart. And that’s okay too…Bottom line? It’s your family. Your decision. Family is family. It doesn’t matter how larger or small:-)

  22. Our Family World February 18, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    There is nothing wrong with feeling that way. You are being honest with yourself.

  23. censie February 18, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

    Do you!!! A family of 3 is a family full of love. It is your family and do what you think is best for all three of you.

  24. diana bjorkman wade February 18, 2015 at 11:10 pm #

    One-and-done strong!!

  25. Elizabeth Towns February 19, 2015 at 12:40 am #

    I thought I only wanted to birth one child. It was my plan.I’m definitely not encouraging you to go against your desire – you know what you want and can handle. When my daughter was 6 years old during a family trip to Canada, my stepson and I were hugging looking out over the Niagara Falls, and he told me I was going to have a baby. I thought he was cray cray. About a month later, I thought I had the flu. I went to the ER because I was light headed and nauseous, couldn’t keep anything down. Imagine my surprise when the Doctor informed me I was fortunately flu-free, but 6 weeks pregnant! I was scared, anxious, nervous – I had so many feelings. On top of that I was incredibly ill for the first two trimesters of the pregnancy. It wasn’t my plan – it was definitely God’s plan. My then-husband and I didn’t plan it. I was on birth control – the kind that was implanted. I don’t regret my son one bit now that he is an integral part of this family.

    • Jaclyn Kent February 27, 2015 at 11:05 am #

      I love hearing these stories! While we plan for only 1, I always say “But we aren’t the only ones with a plan!” and “There’s always time for that plan to change!”

  26. Emily February 21, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    I feel exactly the same way!!! My only is just 2 and financially we are just getting back on our feet. We both are working our dream jobs and honestly work is crazy fulfilling for me right now. I see exciting possibilities for advancement on the horizon and having another baby would possibly derail all of that. We are in each a great groove with our sweet little guy and I’m nervous about another kid disrupting the beautiful balance we have. I am really close to my own siblings, so I do desire that for my son, but pregnancy sounds awful right now. I really don’t know what to do and time is not exactly in my side. I’m in my mid thirties and had difficulty conceiving my son. We still haven’t made up our minds about a second but I appreciate the helpful comments from everyone.

  27. holly dettling February 25, 2015 at 9:34 am #

    I feel like you wrote this post about me. I have struggled with whether or not to have another child basically since my daughter was born. Newborn stage was such a struggle for me. It was infinitely harder than I ever thought it would be. The first year was a real test of my relationship with my fiance. By the time my daughter was 2, things had finally settled into a routine and my fiance and I were finally getting back to a good place. I had no desire to shake that up again. NONE. Friends kept telling me that I would start to want another the older my daughter got. I didn’t believe them. I felt I did not want another but was scared to make that decision final. What if I regretted it later on and wanted another? We weren’t getting any younger and I was scared of not being able to conceive when I’d finally want another. A friend said to me, “you may regret not having another, but if you did, do you think you would actually regret having a second child once they were here?” Her words made me think harder for sure, but I still wasn’t convinced. By the time my daughter turned 3, I was so happy with our little family of 3. But then my daughter started talking about babies. Then my fiance came clean and said he was ready for a second one. These things made me start to consider it, but I still was afraid. Afraid of changing This wonderful life we had. Afraid of having a second one who was harder than the first. Or even having health issues to struggle with. Then one of my best friends had her first child. Being a support for her reminded me of the things I did love about having a baby in the house. Finally, the straw that broke the camels back: my daughter met my friends daughter for the first time. My daughter was absolutely enamored. When she held the baby, my heart nearly burst into a thousand pieces. Watching her gently hold the baby’s hand, stroke her head and give her a kiss on the cheek brought tears to my eyes and still does today. At one point I was holding the baby in my lap and my daughter snuggled up to is both and held her hand and it just felt right. When my daughter looked up at me with her big eyes and said, “mommy I love her,” I knew that another child was what I wanted. I have no doubts about it now. Yes, I’m still afraid. Afraid of how hard it will be to have a newborn and a 4 year old. Afraid of an unknown child who very well may be harder to handle than my first. But the love that this child will bring not only to me and my fiance, but to my daughter as well, helps to ease those fears. Every family is different and there is nothing wrong with a family of 3. Being afraid is normal. Listen to yourself and do what is right for you.

  28. Kristin M February 25, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    I just spent a week at Disney with my husband and our only child….she saw all the fighting siblings, all the parents yelling at their kids to get along, all the kids screaming at each other in the pool.. She thanked us for ‘letting’ her be an only. It works for us–I wouldn’t presume to tell anyone how many kids they should have…but I’m really, really, really happy to have one (and I’m the only child of an only child.) You can’t miss what you don’t have!

  29. Caryn Hogan February 25, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    We tried for number 2 but that ended tragically and we have since decided to consider our one daughter a blessing and miracle! I also have struggled with the idea of her being alone but she won’t be as we make sure to socialize her and keep her close with her cousins. With time we have come to be excited about the idea of being able to offer her everything including every ounce of our attention. I think it’s great to have a decision and be sure about it! Stick with what you think works for you.. And if you do you won’t regret it! There are positives and negatives about every dynamic and scenario and you have to do what’s best for you and not feel bad about it!

  30. Grace February 25, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

    I have one 18 month old, and feel every single thing you wrote. Amen.

  31. thisisroxanne February 26, 2015 at 8:11 am #

    Yes. This. My LO is 10 months old and it feels like this whole time people have asked if we’ll want another one. We just got this one! I worry about more lack of sleep, and honestly my ability to give 2 kids the attention they each deserve. It’s very hard to explain this to people who have more than one child.

  32. Megan February 26, 2015 at 11:24 am #

    Thank you for this! My only is four, and while at one time we thought we’d have another, it just wasn’t happening for us. Then we hit a point with him where he became enough. There are days when I think it’d be nice for him to have a sibling, but I honestly think I’d go crazy if we had another child.

  33. Emily "Powell" February 26, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

    Being true to yourself is more important than anyone else’s opinions. Sadly I know mom’s like this with multiple kids, those kids don’t get the attention they deserve. Not to say you wouldn’t be a great mom to multiple kids but you just have to follow your heart!

  34. Jaclyn Kent February 27, 2015 at 11:00 am #

    Brittany, I loved this post and I completely relate. My husband and I ARE destined to be a family of 3. We chose it, we decided on it, we love it, and we feel it is truly what we were meant for. You will never escape the comments. If you have a second and it turns out to be another girl, there will be comments about “trying for a boy.” It is never-ending! No one else has to deal with the stress, choices, and finances of welcoming that second child of yours. YOU, and only you, will have to deal with it, so it should be your choice alone without any outside influence. You rock this only-child life and you show them that only-child mamas can be just as happy. :*

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