I’m done having kids, but at the same time, I often think about what it would be like to have a third baby.
When I got pregnant the first time, it was a surprise as I didn’t think I could have kids. I was terrified and had no idea what I was doing, but I made it work. Then, when she was 2, we decided to try for a second kid, and nine months later my son made his debut. Once he turned 2 I started thinking whether or not we should try for a third.
My husband was adamant that two babies were his limit.
He was looking forward to being done with diapers, naps, and all those baby things. And while I totally agreed with him on that, there was still part of me who missed the sweet newborn snuggles; the only time in their lives when they are 100% dependent on you and all they can do is snuggle and be held (and of course, eat and poop and cry). Through the sleep deprivation and the stress about trying to breastfeed (and being unsuccessful, in my case), there’s just something magical about holding a freshly baked baby in your arms.
Then there are the practicalities. Paying for daycare has been a struggle since we had baby 2, and if we had a third, I would likely have to give up work. And there’s the thought of navigating the U.S. healthcare system again, paying thousands of dollars for the privilege of birthing a baby, only being offered 12 weeks max (mostly unpaid) leave from work, and zero postpartum care offered or covered. Yeah, that’s a big nope from me.
The sad part is that I do think I would like a third baby, if I was just a little younger or if we just lived in a country that offered affordable childcare, acceptable maternal care, and universal healthcare (side note: my friends in Europe were shocked when they heard that I had to pay out of pocket to give birth because there it’s completely free). People wonder why the birth rate is on the decline, and it’s probably largely because people like me who would like to have more kids choose not to because of all of these issues (that are totally fixable, by the way).
I hope that when my kids are older and thinking about having babies of their own, they have better support so that they can have the family they want rather than the family they can afford. No matter what you believe or how you vote, can’t we all agree that we can do better for our families in this country?