Dear Fellow Mothers and Fathers or Friends (with good advice and wisdom),
I have a few questions I need help answering and think maybe you can help. I'll give you more background information than you'd ever care to know, but might help you better understand my dilemma.
While we were dating, Josh and I often talked about the number of children we'd like to have. Each of us came from large families (7 kids in his family and 5 in mine)so our plan always included having a big crew of our own. We felt settled with the idea of 5.
Life didn't go as we had planned. Shortly after we were married, we realized that we had little control over our own fertility. (To this day, we still don't know why becoming pregnant takes so long for us...) It took a couple of years, fertility treatments and countless doctor appointments to finally conceive Jacob. Likewise, Kaylee was a product of medical intervention and heartfelt prayers. For those of you who struggle with infertility you can appreciate the absolute discouragement and deflation that comes with each failed pregnancy test. It is an emotional journey to say the least. One full of questions, few answers, countless needle pokes, tests, charts, doctors visits and tears. On the flip side of that, with each positive pregnancy test comes an indescribable joy and true understanding of the word "miracle".
Following the births of Jacob and Kaylee, the next two pregnancies seemed like literal miracles to me. I was just starting to get that inkling that it was time to begin the pregnancy "process" when I discovered that I was already expecting. It was a welcome relief from all of the anxiety-filled months and/or years of "trying" that I had become accustomed to in the previous pregnancies. Nevertheless, the years of trying and waiting and disappointment meant a longer child bearing phase than we had anticipated.
So here we are, prepping to become parents to our 4th and possibly final child. I have mixed emotions and feel conflicted. So, what is it exactly that I'm conflicted about? I have felt the last year or two that maybe 4 children (not 5 as previously mentioned) was the magic "Carver Crew" number. I was feeling pretty settled in that feeling until I learned that baby #4 was a boy. (FYI, I love boys...and girls!) For some reason, however, I always imagined having 2 little girls in my family. I was sure that this last baby would be a girl, and I could then move forward confidently in the decision that we were DONE. I could clear out all the extra baby stuff and finally have some space in my garage. I could focus a little more on me and truly getting back in good shape. I would be able to designate more permanent living arrangements for my children, knowing our family was all here. I could commit more time to helping in my children's classrooms, encouraging them in their talent development. I could start to prepare for the future that happens after the child bearing stage. So many reasons for wanting that DONE feeling. None of which are really that important when considering the grand scheme of things, I know.
If I'm honest, part of me wants that DONE feeling because I doubt my own abilities to be a good mother to more than 4. I already feel inadequate and am not sure that with all of my shortcomings I would be able to provide the loving, peaceful, positive atmosphere a 5th child would need. I wonder if the stress of 5 would do me in. (I personally don't want to occupy a bed at the local mental asylum, but think that could very well be my fate.)
I know baby #4 is not even here yet which makes this conversation so premature, but when you are trying to decide whether to make an "investment" in a new stroller system and crib and which things to save or to get rid of, the question of more children weighs heavily on one's mind. Every time I get the urge to go get rid of the baby girl clothes and accessories, I stop myself. The thought of selling them or giving them away makes me sad. However, the idea of a possible 5th child freaks me out. It's something Josh and I have talked about often lately. I'm making it a matter of prayer. I just wish I knew...
My question to all of you out there is this...How did you know? And when did the DONE feeling come? How did you know that it was Heavenly Father's will and not just your own desires or fears?
Conflicted in WA
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Posted by Jen at 9:14 PM