As our son inches towards his second birthday this summer, my husband and I have begun having the "talk." Yep, the talk about having another baby. We're currently in third kid limbo. Or I should say, I'm in third kid limbo; my husband is all for it. I know it's a big decision for any family when they begin thinking about bringing a new baby home. And for us, it's not just simply: "Do we have enough room in our house and our hearts?" Or even "Can we handle a third kid?" We (okay, I) have a lot more than that to contemplate, and for our family it really is a big deal.
Why, you may ask? Many reasons.
For one, I am a fetal surgery Mama so any pregnancies I have are high risk and can be very dangerous for me and the baby. When I was pregnant with our second kiddo, I had to have ultrasounds once a week starting at 27 weeks and twice a week starting at 30 weeks. I had to have a scheduled C-section between 34-36 weeks (Will was born at 36 weeks.). The reason for so many ultrasounds is because of fear of uterine rupture; they like to keep a close eye on my fetal surgery and C-section incisions on my uterus. I have a few fetal surgery Mama friends who have tragically lost their babies and almost died themselves when their uterus ruptured. It's a real fear and honestly one of my biggest drawbacks in even thinking about having another baby.
Our daughter, Livy, has a physical disability as well as speech/language and developmental delays. Because of that she has various therapies three times a week and several specialists appointments every few months. Livy uses a walker and wheelchair to get around. That can sometimes make things challenging. It's not a deal breaker though. Thankfully soon after I had her baby brother, I found Babywearers of Memphis & the Midsouth. Babywearing was a lifesaver! But, would having a third baby take away from the time needed to help her? Would a third baby make it harder to give Will the time he needs?
If I'm going to be honest with myself, it truly takes a village to help with my kids now. My mom, mother-in-law, Aunts on both sides, and both of our sisters pitch in to help whenever we need it. Would having a third child be too much on everyone? Would anyone be willing to babysit three kids for us to get away even for the night?
When I was pregnant with Will, I got so many judgmental stares it wasn't even funny. The amount of people who feel like if you have a child with a disability, you shouldn't be having any more kids is unreal. Maybe that's shocking to you, but honestly ask any parent of a child with a disability and they'll probably tell you they've experienced something similar. Thankfully with Will (my 2nd kid), my usual laidback personality was taken over by testosterone filled angry pregnant lady (pregnant boy Mom props), and I got a little testy with the snarky stares. I started telling Livy to wave at people staring. Once she waved, they either smiled and waved back, or they stopped staring. Snarky people taken care of in one wave (Bam!)!
And lastly, the big question most people were probably subconsciously thinking- what if our next child has a disability too? This question I can honestly answer. Another child with a disability would be warmly welcomed in our family. Having a child with a disability is the norm for us. Livy's our oldest, so the disability world was all we knew before Will came along. Raising a child who doesn't have a disability often seems strange to us, and, as he gets older, we find ourselves adjusting.
So many questions that can't be answered! It can be overwhelming at 3am.
At this point, you're probably thinking, "Erin! Why are you even thinking about another kid?!"
Well, because of my personality, I feel the need to make lists. So, here are the highlights:
- We've always talked about having three kids.
- As we plan for the future (especially Livy's future), we want to make sure she is always taken care of. Having two siblings vs. just one would mean that Livy's future care would not be on the shoulders of just one sibling. We have a Special Needs Will set up for her and she will be provided for, but honestly if something happens to us, we don't want one sibling to feel the need to take on all her care. Family is everything to us.
- Having another sibling closer in age for Will would be great. Currently our kids are almost exactly 4 years apart.
- Who doesn't love kids?
At the end of the day, maybe it's not up to massive numbers of lists or other people's opinions. All we can do is continue the conversation and pray about it. Does anyone really ever have an answer?