Should You Have More Kids?

Should I have more kids?

Our family reached a smooth patch when my first child was 18 months old. She was sleeping all night, became more verbal and independent, and the emotional meltdowns haven’t started yet in full swing. This was when my husband and I sat down for the first time to discuss the possibility of having another child.
We both have siblings, so we fondly remembered the highlight reel of our childhood – playing together, sharing a room, giggling late past bedtime, sharing clothes, and having a constant companion.
I recall holding back and thinking again about pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding, which were fear-infused areas for me. Sleepless nights, helplessness, pain, doubt and the piled-up collection of “what if’s” balanced the decision scale.
At that point, we agreed to start by stopping the pill, allow my body to rest and recover, wait a couple of months and bring back the conversation. 5 minutes later, I was pregnant. With twins.
What followed was a roller coaster I couldn’t have predicted or imagined. I visited and set camp into unexplored territories of resilience, pain, and overwhelm.

But what emerged from that was what every mother of more than one child believes: “It was damn hard, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

I want to touch on of a couple of topics that we don’t typically discuss when thinking about having more children.

  1. The decision
    If there is a desire inside of you to expand your family, that is the only decision you need to make. Release the illusion of control in regards to when will it happen, how many more kids you will have, their possible appearance, gender, star sign or personality and how easy or hard it will be.
    If you are sure that your family is complete and happy precisely as you are, then you are done deciding.
  2. Current child
    Don’t do it because you don’t want your existing child to be alone. Having children is a grown-up affair. You are a responsible, evolved human who can decide to continue the perpetuation of the species. Do it because you want to care for a small baby again. Or do it because you want to have yet another shot at doing things (parenting) right. But don’t say you want to do it for your child. They didn’t ask for this to happen and even if they are asking, they are unaware of what that means. They are blissfully living their life. They are not the ones who should directly or indirectly make this decision. Don’t burden their existence with this.
  3. Stuff
    You kept the baby stuff and you don’t want it to go unused. Our inability to part with clutter, no matter how expensive it was and how little has been used shouldn’t be a reason to have more kids. It can certainly be used as an excuse, but deep inside your awareness, embrace creating a new life because that’s what you want, not because the first visible thing in the storage is a top of the line stroller.
  4. The realities of expectations
    It gets worse before it gets better. When you’re in the middle of it, it is the hardest thing. Just like every other opportunity of change and higher level soul unfolding, readjustment of expectations, schedules, roles, and responsibilities, adding to your family (regardless whether it is from 3 to 4, 4 to 5 or another combination) will trigger change. And the more we try to exert control, and the more we resist this change, the harder it will be.

Expect chaos and be willing to stay true to compassion – for yourself, your partner and existing children.

Now, I want to share with you couple of more reasons why my experience of becoming a mom of three has been the most significant catalyst for personal growth and joy:

The illusion of perfection

Whatever desire I had in my soul to attempt perfection, was scattered by the overwhelm of taking care of so many little humans. I adjusted the “perfect” to “good enough, ” and I had to learn to accept and thrive this way. It made me more flexible, less stressed and more fun to be around.

The illusion of control

My tendency to control is exerted when I feel helpless. The more people in my house, the more helpless I feel and the more I want to control. But this time, there were more plates in the air than I could keep my eyes on, so slowly, I had to either try to keep them all up but knowing that they will all eventually fall and I will collapse on top of them, or choose only one to keep up and focus on that. That one that I decided to keep was my sanity.

Celebrate the diversity and complexity of human nature

With each one of my child, I realized just how different we all are. And most of our character is dictated by nature. Many of our tendencies are pre-programmed, and there is little we can do to fundamentally change our preferences. Instead, we can learn to pay more attention, learn how to work with them and flourish.

Trust

This was a very important lesson for me. Looking at my older daughter having to negotiate the very difficult time of letting go of being the sole occupier of her parents’ attention to sharing the place and space with siblings, seeing her suffering and observing how she had to find a way to cope with it made me trust the process of struggle. Surely, this experiences increased her resilience and capacity to adapt to change.

Acknowledge and celebrate the different aspects of my partner and my self

Each child will carry their unique set of characteristics in their personality or appearance. Some of these will be inherited from parents and recognizable. Which is both funny and tragic, depending on how settled we are with our own.

It is never dull

I haven’t felt boredom in the past five years. I believe this doesn’t require further explanation. Only my favorite emoji 🙄

It is never silent

My early morning practice was born out of the necessity to hear my own thoughts and the inability to do so when my kids were awake. The house will never again be silent, as long as they are awake and living there.

My productivity increased

Humans are exquisitely flexible. Mothers, even more so. If you want to learn productivity, observe how a mom of multiple kids gets things done. Outside noise removed, issues stripped to pure essentials, laser focus on the task at hand, all while whispering sweet words to her children. Wonder Woman, Ninja and Jedi in yoga pants and a pineapple top-knot. That’s us, baby!

A new chance to do things right and heal

With my first child, I did many things that I realized afterward were not beneficial. I was her constant companion, on the play mat as soon as she was awake. She never knew how to entertain herself because I was always there. I ran myself thin and depleted all of my resources of patience and self-care, and so I started taking all her cries as a personal criticism. The second time around, I let go of my insecurities around motherhood. I am a good mom, and I don’t need to prove it by continuously handing toys to my baby or pointing colors, shapes or numbers everywhere we go. I now know that their emotions belong to them and my job is to witness them with kindness and compassion rather than rushing to fix any and every source of discomfort and unpleasantness. I only learned that when I had the chance to redo it again.

Simplify

We are all handed 24 hours in a day. How and on what we spend this non-renewable currency is a personal choice. I found that I was less and less willing to use my time tidying, cleaning, folding or organizing. So I simplified our lives to the point where it takes a ridiculously short amount of time to do it. We don’t have too many toys, clothes or stuff. Cooking is simple, planned and pre-prepared. Decisions are made in advance when I have the head space to do it. I didn’t know of these tricks before; thus I was so overwhelmed I had to find a way to simplify.

Having more kids is an extensive topic that can be difficult to navigate. It’s deeply personal, and no blog, article, or stranger on the internet can ever tell you if you should or shouldn’t have more children.
So get still and ask yourself what do YOU really want?

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