The post is brought to you by my wife, Heather. Please be nice to her :)
It was time for Dane and I to have a discussion — the, “our baby is approaching 15 months old, do we want to have another one?” discussion. We currently have three wonderful, healthy children. At one point in this discussion I told my husband that I would probably feel guilty for not having more. He was surprised and asked why I should feel guilty. So I told him and the answer surprised him even more. Actually, this is why I am writing this. He wanted me to share this experience.
As a disclaimer, I was not raised to believe that women are baby machines. In fact, I was taught that having a family and kids was a good thing, but the number of children was up to us. My siblings and I all decided that if/when we had kids we would try for at least two. I learned all about the quotes that say, basically, “How many kids you have is between you, your spouse and the Lord.” So in no way can I ever remember being told that I should have a certain number of kids.
But, if I don’t have more, unless I am really, really sure about it, I will probably feel guilty for not having more. I feel that there is this expectation among the sisters, despite what has been said, to have at least 4 children unless there is some reason to stop before that number is reached. Socially acceptable reasons to stop include:
- age (usually mid thirties)
- fertility problems
- multiple c-sections
- pregnancy complications
- labor complications
- a handicapped child
- doctor’s orders (I’m not referring to the personal beliefs of the doctor, but the ones who tell them to stop for a medical reason)
- a priesthood blessing
- husband in the military
There are probably a few I have left out but you get the idea
So where does it leave those of us who are a few years shy of 30, who just feel like we’re done having kids? We have none of the above “excuses”. Now, probably no one is going to comment on it, no one is going to tell me I should have more kids, but the feeling that I’m coming up short is still there. I realize we don’t need “excuses”, that if someone were to ask me why I didn’t have a plethora the best answer is that it is none of their business, but I still feel like I need an excuse so when I am talking with the other ladies and pregnancies stories come up (you know they do ladies) I can say something and everyone says, “Oh, that’s why…”
We have our reasons, and they are perfectly good, but they can sound so worldly, or like I am a wimp, and those things I am not enjoying about motherhood, well guess what; I don’t know anyone who does.
My husband asked me to write about this to find out if anyone else feels this same way. Do/Did you and/or your spouse feel this same pressure?