I know there are lots of threads on this topic out there but I sort of need to get my own thoughts out, would appreciate any advice.
We have two gorgeous girls, 3 (almost 4) years and 15 months. I always wanted 3. DH seems to be on board for 3. But there are a lot of really good reasons for us to stop at two, and not much logic behind the choice to go for a third.
I don't really like the two-sibling dynamic myself. I am one of three with a ten-year separation between me and the youngest, and I remember feeling that our family dynamics became much much better with the addition of the third child. When it was just the two of us we tended to polarize. The addition of the third shook everything up, created a whole network of complicated shifting relationships, and resulted in a little gang/party type of feeling. I thought it was wonderful.
That said, it's (obviously) really different to be one of three children, and to be the parents of three children. I think a third child would be an unmitigated good for all the kids. But I'm not sure if I can hack it.
- DH and I are both big introverts and the loss of alone time has been hard on both of us. Starting all over again with another all-consuming infant seems like... why would we do that to ourselves when things were just getting easier again?
- I loathed being pregnant (lots of vomiting and desperate exhaustion) and the thought of having to do it again is horrifying
- I love having a little baby, but the thought of having a newborn and a toddler and a preschooler all at the same time is also horrifying
- Really, having a 2, 5, and 7 year old doesn't sound much better actually... honestly the thought of having three kids only starts to sound good when the youngest is maybe 7 or 8... otherwise I'm just picturing endless screaming and fighting over toys :( Seven years seems like a long time to put in if we won't be enjoying it
- It would make travel much harder and more expensive, which is important because we live very far away from both DH's and my parents, so it might mean sacrificing the quantity/intensity of the grandparent relationships for everyone
- The next couple of years are a critical time for my career, which I love and have put a lot of years into training for. If I seriously reduce my productivity in this time period by having another baby, it's possible I won't qualify for the professor job I want and will end up doing work I like less for good.
- If we were a few years younger I would just wait and see how we felt in a couple of years, but I am 35 and DH is 40 and I think if we didn't have another by the time we were 37/42 we would decide we were done at that point. I just can't see DH being over 60 with teenagers still in the house. (Also, DH is not willing to adopt an older child, and while I would be happy to adopt I don't think it's a good idea to pressure him on this issue.)
Reading all of the above makes it sound like we should just be happy with what we have. But I can't shake the thought that when our girls are 10 and 12, or 15 and 17, or 18 and 20, I will feel desperately that we are missing someone, and it will be too late at that point.
Thanks for listening. Thoughts appreciated.