Decisions, Decisions

Parenting / Thursday, December 7th, 2017

“Aw, your girls are so beautiful!”

“Thank you.” *Genuine smile as I remember just how blessed I am by my two girls.*

“Gotta try for a boy, right?”

*Smile fades as I mumble something and make a hasty exit.*

Isn’t it a bit archaic to think that families of all girls are not complete unless they have a boy? That dads do not take as much joy in their family unless they have a “strong lad” to carry on the family name? Or that moms of all boys are less fulfilled because they don’t have a daughter to dress in bows? Or even that a family who has a child of each gender is “good” and can stop having children now?

Whatever the case may be, flippant remarks hurt. It can make that Momma feel like she failed because she didn’t provide her husband with an heir…or that Daddy to feel weaker in his manliness because he did not “make” a son. Or that Mom of all boys to question her contentedness with her tribe because, without a girl in the house, everyone insists she must be missing out. Or that husband and wife to wonder about stopping at two children, when they dreamed of at least four, simply because they have “one of each” and everyone around them thinks that’s enough.

There are so many things to consider as you “plan” out your family. And guess what? A previous conclusion can easily change as the unpredictability of life and children force us to be flexible with those “plans.” For instance, when John and I got married we agreed on two or three children. Despite an extremely difficult pregnancy and birth, after I had Meliana I immediately thought, “definitely three” as I snuggled her close and relished in the glow of being a new mom. But then I found myself on the crazy roller coaster ride of toddler-hood and self-discovery and realized mothering didn’t get easier as they got older…it just shifted from one kind of hard to another! Not to mention my then, 18 month old, was developing quite the personality and it was exactly like mine! Surprisingly, we got pregnant with Adelyse (I’ll have to share that story later) and once we got over the shock, I found myself having the healthiest, easiest pregnancy ever. I had the most amazing birth experience and bounced back quickly during post partum. However, once again I found myself rethinking how many children we wanted… In fact, almost every day I ask myself these three questions:

  1. How do I feel as a mommy? Complete honesty here: when I first had Adelyse, I struggled with being a new mommy of two. They cried. I cried. We all cried…a lot. No matter what I did, I felt like it wasn’t enough and I was letting someone down. Meliana and I had to redefine our relationship and quality time. Adelyse and I had to bond and build a brand new relationship. It took almost four months to get a decent routine and to establish how our new family looks. Even now, with Adelyse a few months shy of a year old and Meliana at almost three, our days have so many highs and lows, I can honestly say I’m not sure I would be a good mommy to three children right now. I’m not completely ruling it out, but I know I’m setting it aside to consider a year or two from now.
  2. How do I feel as a wife? With so many plates in the air and young children under our feet, it’s easy to make everything EXCEPT your spouse a priority. Why? Because they are not the squeakiest wheel.  And if you’re anything like me, if they squeak, you bite their heads off because they have NO IDEA what you go through all day everyday. Is that fair? Absolutely not. Even with a firm foundation of faith and about six years of wedded bliss before adding kids into the mix, John and I find ourselves pulled by the busyness of life and family. Don’t worry, our marriage is not in danger by any means. But I do know our relationship gets the short end of the stick. Until we can better organize our priorities and guarantee our daughters’ safety and security in our strong marriage, adding another child could strain an already delicate balance.
  3. How do I feel as a family? Content. Now, that wasn’t the case when it was just the three of us. We felt unfinished without giving our oldest daughter a sibling to love on and play with. There was a void with only one car seat in the car and a spare bedroom that had a desk in it. But the minute my midwife placed Adelyse on my chest and I felt the heaviness of her body on mine, I felt this sigh of relief. I was content. As the girls are getting older and growing together, I feel complete. John and I can still tag team or divide and conquer. I have a hand for each daughter as we cross the street. All bedrooms are full…I am aware that this may change down the road. However, I’m not rushing this feeling away. I’m basking in the glow of God’s plan and where He has us right now.

For some of you, you have that feeling of contentedness with your one child. Others, you’re reading this blog thinking “I’m SO not ready to have kids.” Still others are wondering, “if we want a large family, maybe we should start adding more…”

Whatever the case may be for you and your family, I can pretty much guarantee it has NOTHING to do with gender. Right? Because what if you try one more time for a boy and you get a girl…Or if you add another child to your family because you were pressured to have more?

Ask a mom of boys how much fun they have in a day. Or a dad of girls how much he adores them and they him. If you ask my husband, he will not only tell you how happy he is with his daughters, but at this point, how it’s actually easier than adding in a boy because it’s all he knows!

At the end of the day, we have let those types of comments roll off our shoulders and move on…because we know the decision is between us, our spouses, and God. But for the rest of you out there, please think before you speak and let us be happy with the cards life has dealt us.

Lord, bless this busyness ~ Jenn

PS Stay tuned in the coming weeks for my journey with Gestational Diabetes!