To the mama who thinks she has to have another baby: You don’t.
We all have a vision of what we think we want our family to look like but sometimes the reality of it doesn’t fit us as well as we thought it would.
I always thought I would have two pregnancies. I thought two felt like a good number for me and my vision even allowed for a third child if the second pregnancy was twins—it’s the only scenario I imagined having more than two children.
So when I found out my first pregnancy was actually twins, it kind of left me feeling uneasy about what I wanted.
I am one of six children, so I know what it’s like growing up with siblings everywhere. I know what it’s like to have the security of knowing someone will always be there for me and I know how lucky that makes me.
But there are pros and cons to every family and every situation and I know the cons to a large family, as well.
I felt two was my perfect number. I have two hands. There are two parents. A family of four can fit in any size car and holidays are easier to plan. These are just some of the random reasons two children felt good to me.
So why, then, did I feel torn at the thought of never having a second pregnancy? And why did I feel bad for not wanting to give the twins more siblings?
I had my ideal life mapped out and even though I got exactly what I wanted, it wasn’t how I thought it would happen.
I was blessed. So why did I feel like a bad mother for not wanting more children?
So many thoughts ran through my head:
Was not having more children wrong?
Are they not entitled to more siblings like I had?
Am I bad for not wanting more?
Am I horrible for being terrified at the thought of more?
I felt like I had a responsibility to want more and that for some reason, I was wrong or even crazy for not wanting more.
What was wrong with me?
I waited my whole life to have my beautiful babies and I was so blessed to have them but I had a void I couldn’t quite explain to anyone or figure out myself.
After a lot of thoughts and feelings, I realized I was sad because deciding not to have more children was the end of something.
It was something that I had waited so long for and wanted so much and now after one pregnancy, it was all over.
And over by choice—this was the part I found hard to be OK with, and part of me didn’t feel it was my right to decide.
Yes, it is my body and my life and I have the right to choose, but it took me a few years to actually be OK with it. To actually be happy with this decision, to be able to own my decision.
So to any mama out there wondering if she should or shouldn’t get pregnant again: It’s OK to be proud of your choice.
It’s OK not to want more, as much as it’s OK to want a family the size of a football team.
I wish I had realized that sooner and not wasted so much time and guilt over it.
I want you to know you’re not alone in this confusion. Take your time, it’s not a decision you have to make overnight and whatever your decision, there is no right or wrong.
Follow your heart.
Motherhood is more intense and all-consuming than I could have imagined and we can get lost in it all. Lost in all its love and all its craziness.
And the only way to stay grounded and strong in the madness of motherhood and all its beauty is to be honest and true to yourself.
Listen to what you need so you can be the best mom you know how to be.
To the mom who needs to hear this: It’s OK to follow your heart. In doing so, you are being fairer to everyone and everyone will benefit—including you, the woman who carries it all.
Stay true to yourself and believe in yourself.
You’ve got this and the choice is yours.