Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pros & Cons

It's totally dumb, I know, but I want a 4th child. I wanted 1 more even while I was pregnant with our 3rd. And now he's the age that I thought would be a good time to have one more, a compromise based on how old I'm getting and wanting him to be able to nurse for at least 2 years. He'll be 2 years old in 1 1/2 months.

I decided maybe if I put down all my reasons, I can convince myself that having another one is just a bad idea.

The cons are easy. I'm a bad parent while I'm pregnant and I invest a lot of time & energy into my newborns. Maybe too much time & energy. I already feel like I'm failing at homeschooling my kids, how much less would I be able to give them for another year & a half or so?

I've had one cesarean and 2 home births. I'd have to go back on the roller coaster of hope of avoiding and terror of another major surgery. I have 3 basically healthy kids, but I'm over 35 now, could we handle a child who wasn't healthy? I know it's rare, but it still happens.

Even if we didn't have to worry about a child with health problems, could we handle a FOURTH boy? I adore my youngest, but I've still never quite gotten over the fact he wasn't our longed for daughter. If we could guarantee a healthy girl, it'd be a much easier decision.

My husband, S, worries that after this I'll want "just one more" again and again. The fact is, I'm aware that I'm nearly at my parenting limit here. When my 5 year old has a bad day, I'm WAY past that limit. I think S is past his on most days. He was an only child and just can't seem to handle the noise and energy. If we had one more, that would definitely be it. I'm also thinking about 3 teenage boys eating us out of house and home. Or 4 teenage boys.

We'd need a bigger place if we had another child. We almost need a bigger place now. S complains daily about the noise and the inability to get away from the kids. They are incessant. It's after midnight as I type this, and they are showing no signs of staying in bed, much less sleeping.

We're getting older. I know lots of people have babies much older than we are, but I still feel like I'm pushing it. My birth father died of throat cancer when he was in his late 40's. My adoptive father died of stomach cancer in his early 50's. S nearly died last near from acute pancreatitis and still isn't fully recovered. Having another baby feels like a big risk; would we both be here for him/her? I was nearly a single mother of 3 last year. How bad is it to still be thinking that another baby is a good idea. On the other hand, even a young parent has no guarantee they'll still be here long enough for their child to grow up. Making such a major decision on the possibility of dying young means I probably shouldn't have had my other children either.

It's strange, I thought the cons would be easier to come up with. Maybe because they loom so large in my head.

So, reasons to have a fourth baby. They all seem less solid than the cons, but somehow, they seem to be weighing more heavily in my mind. Obviously the main one is simply that I want another baby. Completely illogical and emotional. I would hope said baby would be a girl, but I'd be happy with another boy, too. I just feel like someone is missing. Only 1 someone, despite my husband's belief that I would just keep wanting kids.

My birth aunt died of breast cancer. My birth mother has had it but it was caught early. Another baby means more nursing and less periods, both of which reduce my risks (and, you know, less periods, which I'm always happy about). Is that a good reason? I really don't know.

I'm not ready to be done. How's that for a reason? Seems pretty stupid I guess. The thought of never nursing another baby, never snuggling another newborn to sleep in a wrap makes me feel sad and weepy.

It's a hard choice. And bed time always makes it harder because I feel like if I can't get them to go to bed and stay there without yelling and threats, what right do I have to even think of having another child? Then one of them cuddles me, or misguidedly says we're the best parents in the world, and I think how can I not think of wanting just one more?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pushing What?

It seems like everywhere I go, I hear about women "pushing" breastfeeding, trying to force some poor woman to continue when she doesn't want to or feels it's wrong for her. I guess I must be reading the wrong things, because I've seen none of it. I'm sure someone will tell me I'm just not seeing it because I'm biased. I suppose that's possible. Or it could be that people see "pushing" in anything from supportive encouragement to suggestions for how to make it work better. Maybe this supposed pushing is largely from the same mind-set that sees facts as "trying to make people feel bad"?

All I know is, I've never seen lactivists trying to push or force anyone into continuing to breastfeed. On the other hand, I have seen so many posts lately from formula feeders, pushing women to stop breastfeeding. No one says it outright, but the tone of all these posts is "Don't be a martyr, formula is just as good, don't let those mean old lactivists convince you to keep going if your tired or frustrated or sore or just plain can't be bothered."