How Many Heathens is Enough?


There was a point in my life where I had no idea I’d be raising heathens. However, I always knew that if I had one, I wanted at least two, because I didn’t want an only child. After we had Dash, I had hubby on the clock for creating a second bundle of joy. I had it in my mind that the perfect age gap between children is two years, so when Dash turned one, I went a little crazy with timing out when we should be “active.” I had an app on my phone that told me the exact days we had to get it on, and I was cracking the whip* and making it happen, whether we were feeling very amorous or not. We had to do it every single day during the peak time, and after the first couple of non-successful months, I even demanded specific positions so that I’d be more likely to conceive. When Bear said he was beginning to feel like sex was becoming a chore and losing its draw, I was sensitive to his plight. I put on a whiny voice and said, “My wife is so mean. She makes me get laid like every day recently. Wah, wah, wah.” Looking back, I’m not especially proud of shooting him down when he shared his feelings; I realize that being a bitch to get laid may not be a recipe for marital harmony. But it worked, right? So… No, no, no. My official stance is that it was bad to be a jerk. And at least I can admit I was being a jerk. Lucky for Bear, the third month was a success, and I stopped being awful and demanding about scheduled nookie.

Anyway, the one thing I didn’t try to plan with during that time was all of the crazy advice for how to predict the gender you’d create. It isn’t that I didn’t care; I really, really wanted a girl. In fact, I’d never wanted a boy. When I was younger I used to joke that if I ever had a baby and it came out a boy, I’d just return it. Toss it back. Give a polite, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Then along came Dash, and he was amazing and looked (greyish, wrinkly, cone-headed, like a furious old man) perfect. I was so in love with this wonderful kid that the fact that I wanted a girl wasn’t even an issue. Plus, I knew we’d have another go at some point, and surely we’d have a girl later.

Early into my second pregnancy when we didn’t yet know the gender, I was convinced that if this baby wasn’t a girl, then we’d just have to bite the bullet and try for a third. Even though I hated pregnancy, I’d have to do it. The only good thing about it is that it’s temporary. I was one of those exhausted, sore, crampy, bloated preggos. I didn’t get to “glow” when it was hot, I just felt sweaty and gross. The miracle and the magic passed me by, so the idea of another pregnancy was nothing to look forward to.

But as much as I didn’t want another pregnancy, Bear really didn’t. He agreed to have a second because it had been discussed prior to any babies even being a twinkle in our eyes, and it was just a package deal. However, the idea of three kids was basically terrifying to him. His siblings are all much older, and he only ever lived with one other in the house. I grew up with six kids in our house, so three seemed like a reasonable number to me. Bear was already begging me to agree to him getting fixed before we even had two in front of us.

In fact, looking back at a journal entry from one I kept at the time, I had this to say:

“I’m ready to not have any more babies after this one. But I really want a girl. Bear seems to think that if we refer to the baby as a female, she will magically come on demand. Bear isn’t a weirdo follower of ‘the secret’ who thinks we’re going to get a miracle gender change, so I’m not fully getting why we can’t refer to the baby as “he or she,” but he’s adamant that we not “give up yet.””

Well, as I’m sure you’ve figured out, it was a boy. And again, Ozzie’s amazing and wonderful and I’d never in a million years go back and not have either of my boys. That’s the thing about wanting a boy or girl: if you don’t get what you want, you end up changing your mind about that individual kid because of how much you love them. But.I still wanted a girl in a way. I still wanted to be able to play princess and buy big swishy skirts and all of that nonsense. Did I want it enough to go through another pregnancy though?

Before I had Ozzie, I was convinced we would try again if we didn’t get a girl. Then I had a baby along with a toddler, 23 months apart, and saw what I was really considering getting myself into. It wasn’t the pregnancy that was going to be the hardest part.

People constantly told me how easy my babies were, how sweet tempered and well behaved and how amazing it was that they never cried. But neither was a good sleeper, and although I’m grateful for their sweet behavior, I don’t know if I am up for ever doing a third round of months-long sleep deprivation. It was also exponentially harder to do anything for one child with the other there needing me at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s doable. They both got what they needed and I kept them not only alive but (I think) happy and healthy. It’s just that in order to do all of that, I felt like I was losing my mind half the time, and there were days that I just wanted to hide under the covers and cry because I felt so stressed and inadequate. And that’s with “easy” babies! What if the next baby wasn’t so easy, even if we did get a girl? What if I was up all night with not just a wide-awake pair of baby blues peering into my sleepy face, but a set of shrieking lungs carving out the last little bit of my patience?

Add in the fact that it’s a 50-50 shot at best that another baby would even be a girl, and the odds were much too high for us to start planning out our next round of baby-making anytime soon. I know there are others out there who love everything about pregnancy and those first few months of life, but the first year of a new baby is just too much for us.

Would I still want another kid later, even if it’s too much now? Only if I had enough money to pay a nanny to take the night shift. I told Bear that if we hit the lotto, he better get ready to put out.

*The whip is figurative. That isn’t one of our particular kinks 😉

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