Q: Perhaps this wanting another baby is hormonal? How do you know that this feeling won't pass over time?
A: Babies are my THING, and always have been my thing since I was first old enough to hold one independently (at around age 5 or 6). I was the oldest of four children, and I was very hands-on with both Seester and Kiner, who are 5 and 7 years younger than me. In fact I remember an older girl in our neighborhood named Trish that also loved babies and drove me to near insanity doting on and carrying around MY sister, MY BABY.
Ah, the good ol' days of wandering the neighborhood with my baby sister or brother on my hip!
(I should have cut that bitch.)
Anyway, from a very young age, if a baby was around, I was hovering over it. I'm sure this was annoying at times, but I think my mom's friends and our relatives were mostly LUCKY to have me- a willing set of arms to hold, change, sing to, feed, and dote on their baby.
I never had any questions about wanting to be a mother. In fact, after meeting and marrying David it was physically painful to wait as long as we did before starting our family. Those were a long 18 months, boy.
I'm passionate about breastfeeding and gentle parenting. When my twins were a year old I got a job teaching childbirth classes, and shortly after became a doula to empower other new mamas. I am STILL drawn to babies and get a "mouth-watering" sensation when I see them, aching to hold their warm little bods or smell their sweet heads.
Also, I've never- not for a moment- thought of Marin as my last baby. Not when I was pregnant with her, not the day she was born, not ever. She's going to be four years old this month, so that would be a long time for it to be a hormonal craving. In fact, I'm quite sure that the longer I go without my "last baby", and the farther I get from my viable childbearing years, the more intense the longing will become.
Q: What makes you so sure you'd be willing to stop at four children? What if you want to keep having baby after baby after baby, ala Dugger-style?
A: Well, this is an excellent point, because I'm quite positive that I WILL always want "just one more baby". I don't think I'll ever stop wanting and craving babies. As I said, babies are my thang.
However, I've always said/thought/believed that 4 children was my absolute upper limit. I'm not exactly sure how I came to this number- perhaps my own upbringing of a family of four children has something to do with it?- but it is the number that feels like "enough" for me. More than four seems... like it would be more than I can handle. If we proceeded with another child, it would be our last child. I'm not saying that I wouldn't WANT more, but we would stop after one more. We just... would.
As far as comparing wanting a fourth child to bearing children into infinity like the Duggars? Friends, I have only had two (Tee Doubleyou Oh) (2!!!!) pregnancies and three children. I am miles (and miles and MILES) from being Michelle Dugger. I appreciate what Swistle said too; basically that the mindset of "if we don't draw a line here, we won't evah EVAH be able to draw a line in the future" is such faulty thinking. SO TRUE. So faulty!
And the whole two pregnancies/three kids thing? Babies are my thing, but so is pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, etc. I simply love all of these things. I feel most at home- most right in the world- when I have a small human in my arms, on my hip, or in a sling on my chest. Nursing a child or carrying a baby in my arms seems exactly like what I'm supposed to be doing. And I've only done those things twice. I realize this makes it seem like I have some uneducated "breeder" mentality, but I assure you, I DO have other ambitions in life. I'm just not done with THIS phase yet.
My first pregnancy was high-jacked when I found out I was having twins. From that point on, it was very stressful (would I have preemies? incubators? breathing problems? go home from the hospital without my children?).
Also, I had a very clear image of the kind of mother I was going to be. When I found out I was having TWO babies (remember, that was 5 months into my pregnancy... five months is a long time to fantasize about how lovely my first baby- SINGULAR- experience was going to go), my vision of mothering was gone. I went from picturing myself and my cute baby having leisurely mornings at Target to OH MY GOD I'M NEVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE WITH TWO BABIES.
And ah, that much was true. I WASN'T able to leave the house much with two babies.
So, anyway, my first pregnancy was stressful. My first birth experience was awful. I was forced into a C-section I didn't want, and I was very angry about it for years. My first "newbornhood" was a blurry, numb season that lasted about 2 years. I had a hard time enjoying my daughters because I was so stressed out and so concerned about not favoring one over the other. I was also suffering from some pretty intense anxiety, but I didn't realize it until years later.
My second pregnancy was hard too, simply because I kept having preterm labor signs and was never sure if it WAS preterm labor or if it was just my "irritable uterus" (<<--actual diagnoses, swear to GAWD), and what if my "irritable uterus" suddenly gave way to ACTUAL PRETERM LABOR... how would I know? My 2nd birth experience took a turn for the douche when I hemorrhaged and suffered some pretty annoying side effects that led me to have surgery 4 (!!) more times after Marin was born.
Marin was a wonderful newborn and baby, and I really enjoyed her babyhood. BUT. It was spotted with surgery after surgery after mothereffing SURGERY, and damn if I didn't just want to skip all the health-problems bullshit and just be a mama to my three girlies.
Also, I should point out that having twins has always made me feel robbed of a pregnancy/newbornhood. Since I LOVE pregnancy and babies, I would have loved spread out those twins of mine over a couple of years, so that I could have cherished each one, instead of having them come together in one stressful, chaotic lump. Again, I've only had 2 pregnancies. I'm 100% positive that if we had only two children right now (instead of 2 pregnancies, 3 children) that David would easily- happily!- agree to one more. Neither of us ever imagined stopping at 2 children.
In truth, there's part of my brain that doesn't want FOUR children, either. I mean, I like how our little family still fits around our small kitchen table. I like how people will still invite us for dinner because we don't seem like this HUGE family; I feel like another child would scoot us into "huge family" territory. I like my freedoms now that Marin is older. I've really enjoyed having more time to explore things I love (like photography). I look forward to working again, or going back to school, to doing things that are good for just ME.
And yet? That thirst? That longing that transcends all logic? It wins, folks. It simply does. Despite all of these really excellent reasons, I still physically yearn for another baby. I do.
But David doesn't, so. There's that.