One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, More Fish?

How do you know when your family is complete?  I’ve seen a couple of bloggers wrestle with the guilt of only having one child and the second-guessing that brings.  I remember telling them that if they’re happy with their family, then that’s all that matters.

But it’s not that easy.  At least not for me.

Whenever I talk to other mothers, they always, giddily, insist that they want more children.  Lots more.  And I feel a little pang because…why don’t I feel the same way?

Sometimes, I really want Donut to have a sibling.  I want her to have a bond, a shared history with a sibling.  Someone with whom she can complain about mom and dad.

Plus, we don’t have much extended family.  We have my parents, an uncle and an aunt.  {At least those are the few who choose to be involved.  But that’s a different story.}  We have friends who are like family, but I want her to have a kinship, a lineage with someone else.

Sometimes the thought of having another child makes me panic and I don’t even want to discuss it.  It scares me to think about having another little one, starting over with the newborn days.  I feel like it’s so hard and I wonder if I make mothering harder than it is, harder than it ought to be.  Am I robbing myself of joy because I focus on the hard stuff?  Am I such a pessimist that I can only see the cloud on the silver lining?

What is wrong with me?  is the question that plagues my heart.  Can I not handle this?  Or am I too selfish?  I feel selfish for wanting a break, for wanting some ME time, for wanting to be left alone for an hour or two.

A friend told me that what gets her through is the mindset that this is supposed to be hard.  Being a mom isn’t a walk in the park and we can’t expect our kids to be perfect little angels from birth.  My mind gets that.  My heart sometimes fights it.  I don’t like how hard this is.

And that is what makes me feel so guilty.  I always wanted to be a mom.  I saw myself with loads of kids.  And I’ve already done so much with my life that it’s not like I need an adventure all to myself.  I’ve traveled, done the career thing, lived the carefree single life in the big city.  By far being a mom is the best thing ever.

And the hardest thing too.

So what to do?  I’m not getting any younger.  The clock is ticking for me.  And I’m scared.  Worried I can’t handle another.  Worried about depression, sleep deprivation, about being enough for everyone.  But desperately wanting a bigger family.  And feeling guilt for having everything I ever wanted and still feeling like I’m swimming against the tide.

I love being a mom, don’t get me wrong.  That child is precious beyond riches.  But can I do this again?  Will I be a good enough mom for 2 or 3?  A good enough wife, homemaker, friend?  I’m bound by fear and what-ifs.  Are there any easy answers?

Linking with Shell

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  1. As far as being good enough for more children, I think you would be just as amazing of a mom to two or more children as you are to Donut. It’s harder, Im not going to lie, but it is amazing. I love the bond my boys have. BUT.

    A complete family is not a family that has multiple kids. Your family can be complete with one darling little girl. If you dont feel its right for you personally, then its not right for you. If you are satisfied having one baby, then you deserve to enjoy her every step of the way without idiots making rude comments. Keep your chin up Mama.
    Jessica recently posted..Roller Coaster Ride

  2. I am convinced that raising kids? Impossible. Absolutely completely impossible. Before I had Cameron, I had no idea how I could do it. And now? A week in with two and with my husband home for a few weeks? I have no idea how I will do this.

    But despite how impossible it is – despite how impossible it seems in our minds, women are incredible creatures. And so we do it. We do the impossible. You’ve already done the impossible with Donut and I’ve already done the impossible with Cameron. And so, even though I know adding another will be impossibly hard, I am confident that someway, somehow, I will be able to do it. And you can to. Only if you want.

    But please? I’d like to know NOW how I’ll do this. Cuz’ right now, I have NO idea. (I’m super helpful, aren’t I?)
    Laura recently posted..Mama Home

    • I think the more we think about it, the more daunting it is. But when you throw yourself into it, you do what you have to do. Mothers are incredible, you’re so right. I don’t know how we do what we do. You’re going to do great with your 2.

  3. When I had my first son, I felt like I loved him so much that maybe I wouldn’t have the same attachment to another child. It was four years before we were able to have another baby. When she came, and later our youngest the love came with them. I couldn’t imagine life without any of my children. That being said, I don’t think that there’s any perfect size for a family. My adult nephew by marriage is the nicest guy you’d ever meet, and he is an only child. His parents just did a great job making him feel a part of an extended circle of family and friends.
    Patricia P recently posted..Little Girl Growing Up

    • I know my heart has enough love, it’s the juggling act that scares me. But I think we’ll be ok either way–it’s the decision making that’s so tough.

  4. I have moments where I can’t imagine how I will handle two but I also can’t imagine having just one. I hope that I’ll just adjust. Like I did when Jellybean got here and everything was turned upside down. I have too much love to stop right now though!
    Diana recently posted..PYHO – Take Me Back to Another Place in Time

    • I think we do always find a way to adjust, you’re right. But I guess my struggle is with feeling selfish as well. Afraid of how much more I have to give of myself. But then I remember it’s only for a short time (even though it feels long!).

  5. I <3 you. You have to listen to your gut. Which is of course easier said than done. But there's no wrong answer.
    story recently posted..Time out

  6. Before I had kids, I wanted 4. Then I had my daughter and struggled a lot during the first year and a little after that. I knew then that one child was it for me. I struggled of course with everyone else’s opinions around me, including my husband. Everyone told me I would ruin my daughter’s life if I only had the one. It was horrible. I’m an only and I had an amazing childhood. I couldn’t understand how anyone could say I would ruin my daughter’s life. My own husband was adamant that we have another. It was horrible.
    There is no right answer to how many kids a family should have. Both partners have to agree on what works for BOTH of them. A family is not defined by # of kids at all.
    I ended up having another, yes I caved to my husband’s demands. And while I absolutely love my son, of course, things have been difficult. But I won’t go into it here.
    Just do what your heart feels best. And there’s no need to decide right now. I waited 5 years before I had my son. Settle into your life with Donut and see how both of you feel later on. There’s no rush.
    Cinamongirl17 recently posted..Fantasy & Reality

  7. There are definitely no easy answers! If you feel like you are done, then be done and be okay with it!

    If you do have another, it will most likely be easier. It was with me. I didn’t freak out over every little thing because my first gave me experience- and taught me that the newborn stage doesn’t last forever.
    Shell recently posted..Pour Your Heart Out: This Is My Home

  8. First, you’re a great mom – better than good enough. You care so much. Second, I’ll tell you something I’ve found as a mom of more than one – a lot of things were so much easier with the second. There weren’t as many fears of not knowing what to do because I’d already been through it. And the second was a playmate for the first! So it actually freed up a lot of time for me. At the same time, if you feel like your family is complete now, then it is. And there’s nothing wrong with that – even if it’s not what you always thought it would be. If you feel that way now, then that’s what matters. But know that you can overcome your fears if fear is what’s holding you back. I don’t know if I’ve made any sense 🙂
    Katie E recently posted..Reagan’s Nightmare #iPPP

  9. I don’t have answers to your questions… but I do know that you should not do anything because you feel pressured into doing so. The choice to have a second child must be that: a choice. You’ve gotta be ready. And if you’re not ready, nobody has the right to force or judge you.
    BarefootMedStudent recently posted..Pouring My Heart Out About Birthing Plans

  10. Simple answer: “Yes, you will be a good enough mom for 2 or 3 because you’re good enough for Donut.” However, adding to the family is no easy choice. There is good and bad about every scenario when it comes to adding kids. I just hope you figure out what works best for the three of you.
    Ali recently posted..It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Sticks Their Butt in Your Face

  11. Sarah (Smldada) says:

    Both dh and I are the oldest of three kids. I grew up surrounded by siblings, cousins, and extended family. My mom is one of four with eleven kids between them, (9 living, but that’s another story). Even though I moved 300 miles away, I want that for my kids. I want them surrounded by love and laughter and I need to know that they have that to fall back on when I am one.

    Our girls are 3 years, 9 months apart. I promised dh that I would do my best not o bring it up, not to pressure him, but it’s hard. He was fine with one kid. Is done at two. Me, not so much. I know the four kids I dreamed of aren’t in the cards, but I don’t feel done at two.

    Yes, it is hard. My husband said to me the other day, “they can’t all be bad days” and he’s right. I am working hard to reframe and focus on the successes. PPD is hard. I spent a substantial part of C’s first year in survival mode, but that doesn’t define me. I aore my girls and I melt every ingle time T tells me that C is her favorite part of the day.

  12. Having a second or more kids is no where near as difficult as that first one. With the first one everything is new, and not only are you learning how to do new things, you are learning how to be a new person. With the next kids, you have become a new person (a mom) and now you can learn to thrive in that new roll.
    Jessica recently posted..An Open Letter to the Kid Haters of the World

  13. Only you and your hubby can make the decision, but I will say that the second baby is actually much easier. I was pretty scared when I found out I was pregnant again – it happened much faster than I thought it would! – but it ended up being a super easy pregnancy and then we had a GIRL! The baby part was so much easier the 2nd time. You know so much more and don’t worry about every little thing like you do the first time. Experience makes a big difference! You’ll make the right decision for YOUR family either way!
    Meagan recently posted..Feeding the Baby

  14. I was an only child. I hated it. Yeah, I had all the attention & everything was MINE, but I wish now at almost 30 that I had a sibling. It’s your choice. When deciding how many kids I wanted, I originally said 10, just so when they were older they had a sibling. I have four. Its hard to balance, but so rewarding. Now that I have just my mother, who’s health is bad, I wish I had a brother or sister that was able to go through this with me.. going alone, it’s the HARDEST thing I have ever had to endure. Good luck & best wishes.

  15. Life As Wife says:

    Take the time to enjoy Donut and heal yourself. You can always make that decision later!
    Life As Wife recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Wedding Shower Bliss

  16. I wish I could parent like a cat. A cat never worries about birth order or school or what kind of parent to be. A cat just licks her kittens and naps with them and is blissfully unaware of things.

    It’s doubly hard to think about having another/not having another when you’ve waited until you’re older to have the first. That stupid clock ticks louder and louder every day.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
    Julie recently posted..Red Dragon, Lunchmeat and why there won’t be a Monday Meals Post

  17. It’s a hard decision to grow a family but do what you feel is right in your heart.
    Jessica recently posted..A Failed Attempt

  18. I think that you just know when your family is complete . . . or at least I did. If you feel that your family is complete with your sweet Donut that is wonderful and don’t let the opinions of others make you questions your feelings.

    You are an amazing mom to Donut and you will be an amazing mom to any other kidlets that are blessed with you!
    Jenn@Fox in the City recently posted..The Pros and Cons of Co-Sleeping

  19. Lindsay says:

    There’s never an easy answer, which only makes it harder.

    I’m with you. I know I’m going to have another(God willing), so I’m trying not to focus on the hard.

    Plus, you never know how the “next time” will play out. If you do it, you won’t regret it, no matter how hard it may be. I think you know that. You just may need a hand to hold to get you there.

  20. One thing that I didn’t consider when I only had one was that #2 would grow up and help keep #1 occupied leaving me with some one on one time between me and my morning coffee. It is hard to be a mom no matter how many kids you have calling your name a hundred times a day. The reason I decided on a larger family was because when I am old and gray, I love imagining being surrounded my my children and grandchildren. Try to picture what you want your life to look like in 20 years and then create it.
    Maria recently posted..Stuck

  21. Definitely no easy answers! And you have lots of time to think it through – mine are 5 1/2 years apart – and that much space was planned. I had lots and lots of time to think about it. And if you decide on “one and done” that’s ok too! Other people don’t matter – your family does.
    Missy | Literal Mom recently posted..No Guarantee

  22. I am in the same boat as you friend.
    I don’t have any wise words.
    My BFF just had her second the other day and my heart leapt and said “It’s time”…but my head said “Eff that”…
    I know that what I have now in this moment? Is all I’ll ever need in life if I; we choose to stop.
    It’s hard. So hard.
    Kimberly recently posted..Beautiful Changes

  23. It may not feel like the right time now for another, and that’s okay. The day will come when you know for certain if one or two (or more) is right for your family. Enjoy Donut now. Hugs xo
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..A Voice

  24. I think, this dilemma is different for every woman. I have always wanted to have lots of kids… and now have three. I just take each day as it comes and try not too worry about every little detail. That doesn’t mean I never worry. I do. And there are sacrifices involved with having more than one. In the end you have to do what feels right. I think, you end up worrying more before hand than after. Go with what feels right in both mind and heart. Donut will love you no matter what.
    Susi recently posted..I’m Baking… Thursdays #2 {Vanilla Cupcakes}

  25. Thank you for your comment on Natalie’s blog today! Yes, I have a great boss!

    I know just how you feel. Our LO is only 13 months old and everyone is bugging me to have another (except my husband who is really the one other person who gets a say) and they think I’m crazy when I say that maybe I only want one. I’m like you, I want a bigger family but the memories of having PPD/A and how miserable the newborn stage was, are still far too fresh. I say when my family no longer feels complete with the three of us we can start thinking about another.
    Sarah @ It’s a Vol recently posted..Guest Posting!

  26. No easy answers. Everything you have described from your feelings to your worries, I have experienced myself. The what ifs and the feelings of selfishness. I have 3 and yes, it was hard having Little B and Little H so close together. Now, that things are easier so-to-speak, I am so grateful I did. They are the best of friends. Teen B, who is from my first marriage has never had a sibling close to her age and I see the difference in her in comparison to my other two. I feel guilty I didn’t give her a sibling closer to her age. Putting guilt aside, you must do what’s in your heart. Your friend is right. Motherhood is hard and expecting otherwise is silly. I am SO glad I had my 3rd. I survived. You will too.

    Just remember, only you know what’s right for you.
    Don’t ever think you are any different from any other mother. Some might make it look easy but we all know they’re faking it. LOL
    Bruna recently posted..six, sassy and sensational

  27. There’s no perfect size family..if one is enough for you, then your family of three is perfect! Besides, one kid is so portable, and sometimes I think how much more we’d be able to do with our kids if we didn’t have so many of them…don’t feel pressure or guilt into giving Donut a sibling…
    But I’ll be honest and say I love the fact that I don’t have to entertain a single child, there’s always someone to play with…but that’s my style, I’m not really a get on the floor and play gal….
    Not a Perfect Mom recently posted..I’m So Pretty Thanks to Sibu Beauty!

  28. You could totally do another one. But if Donut is it, your little family is still a perfect little family! That’s the beauty of getting to choose the size of your family! You do what works for you… I will say, though, that I found out about number two when I was already halfway through the pregnancy. That meant that my first was only 3 months when I got pregnant! I was terrified about having two so close together when I wasn’t mentally prepared for it. We brought our son home from the hospital on our daughter’s first birthday, and it’s worked for us! Not simple, but it’s totally possible!!
    mollie @ momconformist recently posted..The one in which Kate needs a volume control

  29. I struggle with this all the time. I very much want Baguette to have a little brother or sister, but when I think about doing the last two years again–but with a toddler as well–I find it overwhelming. Even though I know that it wouldn’t be an exact repeat, and might be very different. Yet I love the idea of having two as they grow up.

    Add to that the fact that while getting pregnant is apparently quite easy for me, so is miscarrying. I’ve been pregnant five times in four years, and that includes the full-term pregnancy for Baguette. So Mr. Sandwich and I feel very strongly that the three of us are a wonderful family, and that we are extraordinarily even if we do not have another child.
    Tragic Sandwich recently posted..On Pain Meds During Labor

  30. Robin | Farewell Stranger says:

    Rach, you and I are so much alike. I wrestled with this a lot, for the same reasons. I knew I wanted more than 1 child, but I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to do all this again. I want a family. I just don’t necessarily want babies. (Although a part of me is looking forward to some of the newborn stuff again.)

    It really is so hard, and I’ve never quite come to terms with that either. But we’re doing it again and I have faith it won’t be quite as hard the second time because I know more about what to expect.
    Robin | Farewell Stranger recently posted..Exhibit A