I picked up a pamphlet at the health department several months ago. It was created to help mothers determine the answer to that tough question, "Am I ready for another baby?"
The pamphlet asks these thought-provoking questions:
1. Is your partner ready?
2. Do you feel you can afford another child right now?
3. Can your partner handle it emotionally?
4. Do you already feel overwhelmed at the end of the day?
5. Can you give a new baby the attention it deserves?
6. (if you recently had a miscarriage) Have you taken the necessary time you need to grieve?
7. Is your body ready for another pregnancy? (physically capable)
8. How will your children react to another sibling at this time?
9. Will getting pregnant take energy away from being the great mom you want to be right now?
10. Do you feel you have space in your home for another child?
I found this pamphlet to be timely, as I've been thinking about this a lot. After recently birthing our third baby, I found myself asking over and again, "How do people determine how many kids they want?" "When will we know if we are ready for another child?" "Is three going to be it for us?"
It seems families come in all sorts of happy sizes, so how do people know when to stop, or how do they determine it's time to stop? I thought of my own mother who says she tried and tried, but her body quit producing at five kiddos. Would that be me? Would we keep trying and trying until our bodies naturally check out of the cycle?
Then I thought of our friends who don't believe in using birth control, ending up in 7, 8, or 9+ kids. They must have decided ahead of time that they can do this! I also thought of our friends who have decided that 1 or 2 is the right fit for them. They have also found that they are happy with what they have!
So how do we determine what size we want our family to be? How do we determine when we're ready for another one? Are these pamphlet questions really relevant to anyone?
After I looked over these questions from the health department I thought, "Surely we answered NO to some of these before we got pregnant with Jonah, and that didn't stop us." I can't imagine life without our precious Jonah, weather we had money, space, or emotional capability at the time. Getting pregnant with Jonah just felt right. I remember reading this inspirational book about this homeschooling Mama who had 10 kids, and with each one she wasn't sure if she wanted more. But, in the end she determined that sometimes you just have to do what feels right and let God take care of the rest. I feel like that was our case with Jonah. It was horrible timing, and it was really hard, but it all worked out. And now we have a Jonah.
Maybe the best question to ask is, "Do you want another baby?" When I answer that question I can't help but say "YES! Of course I want another baby!"
When I think about becoming pregnant again I feel overwhelmed, stressed, and totally freaked out. However, when I think of not having any more babies, I feel empty, sad, and unfulfilled.
I'm guessing time will tell on this one.
How do you determine how many kids you'll have? Or is this way too personal a question.....