Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Midlife Crisis

It all started on my birthday, as I was driving home from my day-long shopping trip. Well, that's not completely true. I have been pondering this quandary since before I was married: how many kids will I have? After we had Saylor I considered being done, not only because she woke up every 15 minutes at night, causing my body to spiral quickly into deteriorated health, but because all efforts to have another child seemed ineffective. After years of trying, I finally gave up hope of future children, cleaned out my basement, and gave away all baby paraphernalia to a local charity. Two days later I found out I was pregnant. We were thrilled for about three days. Then the reality hit in the form of debilitating nausea, sending me for rounds of fluids via IV. My first pregnancy had been bad, but this one was off the charts. I was still fighting the gag reflex on the delivery table, and my doctor "suggested" I consider being done, which he assured me would be simple enough, as it would be practically impossible to conceive again. Great! That solved the issue for me, and I got rid of all newly-acquired baby furnishings, and then surprise! 12 months later I suddenly can't watch Pizza Hut commercials without feeling sick, and my jeans fit a little different. You guessed it: pregnant. Third time's a charm, or so they say, and I was only sick for three months, and never enough to require an emergency visit to the hospital, so we rejoiced. Now we're 99.8% sure we are finished having babies, as we have officially had one more than we thought possible, and don't want to "push our luck." Again, I cleanse our house of all pregnancy/baby affiliation. But the doctor seems optimistic, and "suggests" that since it went so smooth, maybe all hope is not lost. Maybe that's when the seed of doubt was planted, but until last Saturday I didn't realize that the seed has sprouted into a blossoming tree of uncertainty. Long ago I somehow got it in my head that I wanted to be done having children by the time I am 30, so maybe the sudden time crunch kicked me in gear, leaving me panic-stricken about making a decision of this magnitude in such a short window of time. Or maybe it's that my two pregnancy buddies, with whom I have shared almost every complaint of my last two pregnancies, are pregnant without me. I know - I'm pretty pathetic for being so easily swayed. Whatever the reason, I am having a serious crisis of the mind here! How do you KNOW you're done? And don't tell me you, "just know," because I'm sick to death of that insipid reply. Would someone please just make this decision for me? I am thoroughly tired of thinking about it, worrying over it, and discussing it. Anyone? Oh, and in case you happen to be wondering where Ty stands on the subject: He does not care. He would welcome ten children into our family if that's what I wanted to do. He thinks it's my decision because I'm the one who has to be pregnant and deal with the children on the most regular basis. So, while this is all so supportive, it doesn't help me in the least. Now, do you still want to tackle this issue in the form of a comment? Please help!

9 comments:

sharlee said...

It's funny that you posted about this subject. I've been saying (and knowing) that we're done since Jonah was born and feeling quite satisfied with that decision. Last night as I was lying in bed, nursing a migraine and the nausea that accompanied it, I had flashbacks of the months I spent in bed wishing someone would just put me out of my misery. And then out of nowhere I also had sweet memories of the feeling of a baby growing inside me and how glorious it was to hold a baby and love a sweet, round, soft little bundle of heaven. It made me cry to think that I may never experience that again and to think that our family is complete as it is. Who knows. You just pray and pray I guess. Do what feels right. Time may change those feelings and that's o.k.

Crowther Clan said...

Hey. I guess you just have to go with your feelings... make a decision and see how you feel... confused and frustrated or content and at peace. Good luck. I think about it all the time too. Im not at that phase yet, but I know I will be in a few years. Growing up and making decisions is hard huh!

Rindee said...

I am very interested in this topic as I, too am approaching 30 (only about a week left!) I have leaned this way and that, but still haven't come to a decision. I can hardly grasp the concept of moving on from the child-bearing stage knowing my family is complete the way it is (it's so exciting to me), but at the same time, I get so sad when I think I won't ever get to experience all the sweetness of a new baby again (like Sharlee said).

Sometimes I'm afraid to pray about it for fear the answer will be "you're not done". and I just don't know if I can handle another pregnancy (this last one was so hard with complications and my most difficult birth). I fear I'm getting older and it might only get harder from here.

BUT I'm not pulling my hair out as a mother, and it really would be nice for poor Ian to have a brother...

Whenever you find the hat that holds the numbers to tell us how many kids to have, you just pass it my way.

Marianne said...

Well, if it were up to me I would say "Yes! You should have one more!" But that's purely selfish because I don't want to be the last one in the family having kids, making our future child/children without cousins their age. I don't envy your decision. It's one I'm not looking forward to. I think I agree with Amy. Just make a decision and see how you feel. Good luck!

Amber said...

Ah, with my husband's vasectomy fresh on my mind, I feel I can bring a different perspective to this debate (not that choosing whether to bring a child into this world is a debate, but for arguments sake...). I didn't just know. For one, my body told me. I, like you, spent a good portion of my pregnancies hooked up to an IV, vomiting into my 3rd trimester (big, fat What To Expect liars!!!!). Then came the complications: too much amniotic fluid, broken ribs, seizures in the womb, early labor at 23 weeks, etc., etc. And to top it off, my body does not go into labor no matter what. 15 hours of full blown Pitocin and 7 attempts to break my water and I was still dilated to a 0!! 2 c-sections later I just don't know if my body can handle being pregnant again. Plus, I have moved past the loving everything newborn phase. I actually feel liberated thinking in perhaps a few months there will be no more diapers in our house. NONE! Plus we are taking down the crib tomorrow because Claire started sleeping in her "big girl" bed and I am already planning a slew of vacations that could not have been attempted with babies. I can't say you will just know, because I don't believe that. I just had to weigh the pros and cons and then, like it has been mentioned above, make a decision and wait for that decision to be backed my gut feeling. In our case, I have no regrets. Oh and no watching Saturday's Warriors while attempting to make this decision. Way to persuasive. I think too many Emily's have been brought in to this would after the guilt of that show has taken over!!!

Amber said...

Sadly, I have a can of Aqua Net for just such occasions (that is when you know it happens too often!). But it didn't work this time. I also tried the Magic Eraser and that did nothing too. I seriously was terrified I would have to live with a huge black marker design to display my bad parenting for all to see!

Christyeve said...

wow! I am not really sure how to respond...I have those same exact feelings, I have wondered that many times although I still want one more baby before I decide if we are going to just have three or maybe one more, because I like you, get extrememly sick. I have been hospitalized with IV's and I throw up 300+ times with each one,and have a liver disease-only when I am pregnant, that makes me itch all over, so I know how you feel, but like all your other blogging friends have said, pray and make a decision based on your feelings... I am not looking forward to that decision! Luckily I have a few more years! good luck!

Emily said...

Turning 29 made me panic a little too, because although I don't really want another baby NOW, or even in nine months, it would be nice to be done by 30. But it's really not an option for us right now, with the husband in school (again) and me working at a great job that I love & barely working out daycare for the 3 I already have. We just took apart our crib & gave away almost all of our baby clothes and equipment too. & here's another thing - There are no diapers in my house right now! We're just taking it one year or month or day at a time & although we feel like we're done & complete now, maybe our circumstances and our feelings will change in the future. I kinda hope we're done though, because although pregnancy is easy for me, the newborn stage is not & I am loving being the mom of bigger & bigger girls. I get a little giddy thinking that we're moving into the next stage of parenting. So, no actual advice, just, I can relate!

Matheson's said...

Oh Andrea- I'm not one for advice because I'm not done. I'd be happy with 4 more. Which would put me inching 40 by then- yikes! You have the cutest kids and one more would just be so cute too! I think 30 is really young still. I know someone who just told everyone they are done and then had to retract because after 4 yrs. on the pill is pregnant. Heavenly Father has a plan and even if you try to prevent it- it may happen anyway unless extreme measures are taken- sorry TY. :) But then again this is coming from someone who has great pregnancies so don't listen to me. Maybe as time goes by it just gets easier to accept it rather than really knowing for sure. Good luck!