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On the fence with TTC #3 or not...

  1. Mamatimes3

    apricot / 264 posts

    My 3 are approximately 2 years apart each. I’m not gonna lie - it can be hard. Kids want their mom and most days I feel pulled in so many directions. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My heart longed for a 3rd and I am now complete. I’ve always heard you regret not having another child.

  2. Silva

    cantaloupe / 6017 posts

    I have a 6.5 year old, a 3 year old, and a 9 month old.

    The transition to three kicked my ass. It humbled me and challenged me in ways I couldn't have imagined. Some of that was situation specific- I had all three kids home (we were part time homeschooling the oldest for her kindergarten year), and I SAH. We live in Vermont, where winters are long. In addition to have all three home we were navigating a part time school schedule (which meant mid day drop offs 2-3 days a week), plus yoga class and swim class and we live 30 minutes from everything.....it was a lot.
    I developed post partum anxiety, but was able to effectively manage it with medications- but didn't start that until the baby was about 3 months old.
    I HATE being pregnant and am miserable, its hard for my whole family. I spent the first two weeks of my baby's life thinking "I can't wait until I don't regret this" and sobbing because I felt like I had ruined everyone's life because I wanted another baby. I spent the next three months telling my husband that he was, under no circumstances, to agree to a fourth baby.
    Its hard to go places. Three is somehow exponentially harder than 2. I wen to the grocery store for the first time with all 3 when she was 8 months old. I have signed up to be in the baby world for another 4 years- which is what I wanted, but sometimes I see friends moving on to new stages in life and I feel left behind. We already had the minivan but I can't imagine going anywhere without it- we just went for a week to a house in maine and it was FULL. Going near water with all 3 by myself feels impossible and I haven't done it, I always figure out how to have another grown up.

    Thats the bad. The good? Third babies are such a gift. I could enjoy her and relish in her in ways I never could before. I'm so relaxed about everything, its like I can just focus on loving her and being with her rather than stressing about development or sleep or food- I just accept it as it is (this was true before I started medication, too, btw- my anxiety manifested as stress/irritability/overwhelm more with my older kids and general life). I had my first truly positive labor and delivery experience, and its was incredible. I could just hold her and stare at her for hours (when I had the time!). She is pure delight, happy, easy going, still not a magical sleeper but definitely better than the first two. She spends a lot of time on the floor and has been hurt by grumpy older siblings, but she fits right in. I can't wait to get to know her as she grows. I am so excited to see my kids develop relationships with her, they are best friends right now and its exciting to think about them getting another built in buddy.
    And we went out for our anniversary in June and my husband had one cocktail and said "so I've been thinking, four kids is probably better than three."

    So I don't regret it at all- and that heavy, awful feeling of regret went away after 2-3 weeks. If I could do my life over, I'd probably have a bigger age gap between 2 and 3 (more like 3 years), but we wanted to be sure to leave the door open for a fourth and my age will start to become an issue. I think having my oldest in school full time, and my second in some kind of preschool would have made the transition significantly less...awful. In the fall I will have 2 days a week with just the baby and I'm really looking forward to it. Three is relentless- someone always needs something, and sometimes everyone needs something. But I thrive on the chaos, and being a mom is the best thing I've ever done- it fulfills me and makes me feel whole. I also know this experience isn't true for everyone, and I don't mean to sound like I"m some maternal goddess- I just mean that I have friends who really want to move on with their lives, be able to travel and focus on career or learn new hobbies- and I still feel like I'm happy to just hang out in early childhood land (and in fact, sometimes I feel like there is something wrong with me for not wanting more!)

    I've written a novel. I am always on team more babies, but there is definitely a lot to consider about your life, your identity, etc. Three is a new game.

    I have to be honest that there is a part of me that wants to keep having babies because of my own fears about mortality- by which I mean, someone it seems like if I never leave this stage we can all just stay here forever and never get old and die. Obviously thats not true, but I know there is a real anxiety in me about leaving this stage of life, and its hard to admit but some of my desire for more kids is avoidance of that fear.

  3. LCTBQE

    nectarine / 2461 posts

    @Silva: you are totally a maternal goddess three sounds so hard but what you wrote about the baby is beautiful.

  4. Silva

    cantaloupe / 6017 posts

    @LCTBQE: ❤

  5. Mrs. Champagne

    coconut / 8482 posts

    @Silva: your description of three sounds like our situation, I just didn’t say it as good as you! I’m in Canada and stay home too, so lots of me and kids alone time.

    I also developed PPA for the first time. Baby is now 1 and I’ve felt good for a while, but it threw me for a loop for sure.

    We are definitely done at three, DH got snipped. Third babes are definitely special little things, I totally agree!

  6. HappyBaker

    nectarine / 2232 posts

    When my second was born I said I was absolutely DONE, so much so that we got rid of all the baby stuff as he grew. When he was 2.5 I totally changed my mind, and we decided to try for 6 months for #3 and if it didn’t happen we’d be fine just deciding to be done with 2 kids. Well it happened, and we totally freaked out, but our third has been everything our family needed. He was a super chill easy angel baby, and his bond with my older two who were 3 and 5 when he was born is just amazing. It’s harder yes but it’s also pushed my husband and I into being actual 50/50 partners in parenting, because I literally can not do it all anymore. (We both work full time and don’t have family nearby). I didn’t want another BABY I wanted another child and person in our family. When I pictured being at my grown children’s weddings I felt like someone was missing with just the two. And now that the third is here I can say with certainty that picture in my head is complete! I felt like we waffled about trying for a third for months, so timeboxing it really helped me feel like we weren’t just going to have that conversation forever! #3 is 16 months now and I honestly prefer going places with them solo because for some reason they are much better behaved when I have all 3 together, and my older two are great helpers.

  7. paigeface

    kiwi / 529 posts

    @skinnycow: Exact same situation over here. All these responses were so helpful because sometimes I get sad thinking our DD who is 3 months will be our last. I am sure I will look back and regret it but I am so relaxed with my DD that it just completed everything for me. It also helped that I have a boy & girl so if DD wasn't a girl I probably would have wanted a 3rd badly since I have always wanted a girl. For me personally going from 1-2 was SO hard and sometimes still is on certain days. Financially it would be such a struggle to have 3 so right now I am happy with our decision to be done for good. DH said he didn't care if we had a million dollars he still wouldn't do 3 lol so there's that. Good luck with whatever you decide!!!

  8. LindsayInNY

    bananas / 9229 posts

    @Silva: Thank you x 1,000 for your comment. 1 and 2 are 3.5 years apart which is nice now but I know won't be an option if we want a 3rd. I feel like there's so much to consider (and yet maybe I'm just overthinking it all...).

  9. Silva

    cantaloupe / 6017 posts

    @LindsayInNY: I think in the absence of financial constraints or a spouses's strong opinion, there isn't really a way to logic yourself through this decision. Some people have three kids and travel or go to the beach. I just can't. We are pretty low key people, and happy to be home though. I do worry about what it will be like when they are older and all in activities, but again, we really limit that stuff- nothing before age 5, and then only one activity/ week.
    I just always pictured a bigger family than my family of origin (I have one brother), especially when thinking about down the road. And I just knew I wasn't done with early childhood yet.
    I do not have a sense of completion about my family, but I have come to accept that I may just never have that. Like I could have a fourth bio kid and I might still wonder. We'd be tapped out in every way possible with four so we'd be constrained by that. But I have friends who say their family feels complete with 3 and I still wonder. Maybe thats because we went into it open to 4? I don't know.

  10. agold

    grapefruit / 4033 posts

    @Silva: Now you are making me lean towards a third!

  11. Silva

    cantaloupe / 6017 posts

    @agold: team more babies!!

  12. Ajsmommy

    pomegranate / 3355 posts

    I'm pretty positive the only way I could ever manage 3 is if I did not work. I struggle so hard now with just 2 that I can't even fathom adding another. Kinda makes me sad bc it'd be nice to have as many babies as I could... but the transition from 1-2 was mad hard for me. With one it was easy peasy. My first born was also a super easy baby. I could do anything I wanted with her and I didn't feel rushed, I was rested bc she slept well and basically everything worked smoothly.. we added #2 and I'm rushed all the time bc I am so so tired. #2 took my sleep and I've just now started to get it back at 2.5 yrs in.

    I hate feeling rushed and it makes me grouchy and irritable and ragey. I was not rushed with 1

  13. pachamama

    nectarine / 2418 posts

    @Ajsmommy: same about being rushed. With 2 kid, I had BREAKS. I could still exist as my former self pretty easily. 2 kids? Gone. I have not one second to myself ever (unless I send them to sitters/ family/Y camp, which I do a lot bc I'm a shitty full-time mom).
    Mentally I could not handle another TTC / pregnancy. Just looking at ultrasounds gives me PTSD. I was always waiting for something horrible to happen and can't believe I came out so unscathed. I feel like I dodged a bullet with what can happen to moms and babies, my kids seemingly healthy and no pregnancy issues or scares. I know that's morbid but that's how my mind works.

  14. LadyDi

    persimmon / 1322 posts

    @pachamama: I feel you. I’m a full time mom and I spend a lot of my time sending my kids to family or camp. I’m kind of counting down the days to when my oldest starts kindergarten in a year.

  15. maggierose

    olive / 60 posts

    I am on the fence but leaning strongly towards a 3rd. My husband was originally a hard no on a third for the usual reasons: the additional strain on finances and time/attention. But he’s come around recently and said he’s willing to try for a bit bc he loves me and sees how much I want it. I’m 36 though and it’s never been super easy for me to get pregnant so it might not even happen.

    I just don’t feel our family is complete even though I have a son and daughter (4 and 2). When I look at them I envision them playing with one more, when I see our family pics I see one more there. I haven’t been able to part with baby stuff yet but I think I would be ready after one more.

    Of course I’ll be happy if it stays us 4 but I just want to try and put to rest the what if’s. Of course I have concerns though.. I had two ways pregnancies and births but there is no guarantee this will be the same. The finance and time issue is real. There’s a good chance I would have to stop working with 3, which I actually want. I’m sad I had to work FT when both my kids were babies. Financially we’d be more pinched and maybe we wouldn’t take huge vacations every year but I’m honestly ok with that.

    It’s a big decision and will change our family dynamic. My first was an easy baby and my second was a terrible sleeper and still is a difficult temper prone toddler. None the less I feel like no one regrets a 3rd but many regret not having it so that’s where I am at!

  16. caitcat

    apricot / 382 posts

    I have loved reading these responses. We have two girls, ages 2.5 and 4.5. After my second was born, in the delivery room, I remember turning to my husband and saying, "I am so glad I never have to do ANY of this again!" My doctor laughed and said I'd be surprised how many women say that and end up wanting/having a third. I scoffed at the time, because we were firmly in the "two and done" camp.

    As my youngest grew out of clothes and toys, we've gotten rid of things and I felt good about it. But over the last six months, we've started really thinking about a third. I see how much they love each other and how much they have thrived with each other, and I can picture growing our family.

    As I think about it more practically though, my gut feel is that we're done at two. My pregnancies were difficult on me physically (morning sickness basically the whole time, pelvic pain that made it hard to move around, and false labor for a few hours each day for the last month or so...) and I worry about that on top of taking care of two kids. It was a lot harder the second time around, and I worry a third pregnancy would be that much worse. Even so, I know that's a short lived period of time and with the right help in place, we'd get through.

    Also practically, adding a third would mean changing up my work situation and I feel like I'm finally approaching a good place with it. I work part-time from home, but it's without official child care. I work for a couple hours a day in early, early mornings before kids are up and when I can get help from grandparents when my older one is in preschool. Once both kids are in some sort of school setting, I think I'll feel so much more balanced with work time during the day and that is SO appealing.

    My older daughter is also a very high-needs kid. Just temperament-wise, and time-wise with various OT/speech appointments through the week. My younger one is super easy going, and if a third were more like her in temperament, I feel like we'd be golden and it'd be a pretty smooth transition. But obviously, no guarantees there!

    My husband has basically said he's on board with being done at two, or trying for a third - that it's up to me. I kind of wish he had a stronger opinion one way or another. I'm okay sitting in limbo thinking about it for a while, but I'm also a planner - and I know at some point soon, I'll want to either go ahead and try, or put the idea to rest.

    I do wonder if some of my hesitation is that it's strange to think I'm done with the "having babies" stage of life. That feels like a big milestone stage to leave, and I'm wrestling with how I feel about it. But then I look at how my two girls are thriving together, and those inklings of wanting a third creep in.

  17. skinnycow

    pear / 1728 posts

    In a weird turn of events my husband told me last night that he might want a third (I’ve always wanted one). He caveated that he’d like to start trying when DD is 8-9 months old (!!!) so we can get out of the baby phase earlier.

    So, if you decide to go for it let me know how it goes 😂 Our first two are about 3.5 years apart so we’d be in pretty much the same situation as you.

  18. LindsayInNY

    bananas / 9229 posts

    @skinnycow: OMG the same. Except DD2 is 8 months now!

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