Before I had my first child, I knew I was going to have three. I was destined for three. Three kids would round our family out, and everyone would have someone to play with. I grew up in a big family, so it seemed natural to want one for myself.
My commitment to that idea went out the window the moment I pushed my first born out. I wasn’t even sure I’d ever want a second. The fantasy and the reality of motherhood were so far from each other, I’ve been spitting the truths of parenting ever since.
How come no one had told me the shit that goes on in parenthood? Yes, the amount of literal shit is insane, but the emotional shit and physical shit is just as daunting. Feeling the shock of motherhood put me on a path to keep other first time parents informed and in touch with reality.
Once my oldest, a boy, turned 3, I felt ready to embark on the journey one more time. I was confident it would be the last if my baby was a girl. If not, I left the idea of having a third run free in my head.
I had another boy, and it was just as hard as I remembered the first time. The only difference was there were two of them to take care of. At one point, early on, I actually thought caring for a toddler and a newborn might actually be the death of me. I truly wasn’t sure I’d survive it. I couldn’t imagine doing it again. But what about that third? That destined third child that could potentially be a girl, what about her?
Her name would be Elodie Lois. She would have light brown hair with hazel eyes since my boys have brown eyes like their daddy. Mine are blue, I just knew Elodie’s would be unique and different. She would have golden skin like her brothers and her smile would light up our world, along with her daddy’s heart. She would have full cheeks, sweet, smaller lips like me, and long eyelashes like me too. My heart is literally aching as I’m writing this, because I’m fantasizing, again. It will never stop, even though she will never exist.
After my last boy, I had to make a very difficult decision on whether to try for a third due to my need for the 2 youngest to be closer in age, or shut down the baby making factory and give my husband the green light to get snipped. I wracked my brain and stewed over the idea for months. The decision was mine, which you’d think would be a no brainer and a green light for baby #3, but it wasn’t. It couldn’t be.
The fantasy of mothering my other two children was a far from reality. It wasn’t just hard, it was life altering, gut wrenching, and often times a cluster fuck of epic proportions. I knew I was a decent mother to two, but I also knew deep down, I would only be mediocre to three.
When we know ourselves and acknowledge how well we know ourselves, we allow ourselves to be painfully honest about who we are and the shortcomings that are built in. My patience is paper thin with two active boys. My personal and professional aspirations are a high priority due to focusing so much of the recent years on having kids. And I knew I would lose my mind if I added even more to my overflowing plate. My neurosis and anxiety would push me over the edge, and I wanted to save myself more than I wanted another baby. I’m not sure if that sounds selfish, but it’s brutally fucking honest.
I shared this with my husband, and he walked me through the grief. And surprisingly, he shared it with me. He fantasized about having a daughter, and watching our boys with their little sister. More than anything, we grappled with the fact that we’d never regret her if we had her, but we may not ever get her even if we tried. We may get another active, beautiful, loving little boy who we’d never regret, but we knew we weren’t prepared. We knew we had everything we could ever want and more. We knew our hearts were full. We knew our boys were enough. And so my husband got a vasectomy.
And while we’ve made a permanent decision not to have more babies, it sure doesn’t stop me from fantasizing about it. I don’t think that ever really goes away, especially for women. I’ll always wonder, I’ll always toy with the idea in my head, but I know the choice we made was the right one. And while some days it hurts to think I won’t have a third, on most days I’m relieved and confident in our decision.
But I’ll always wonder. I’ll always fantasize. And I’m ok with that.