My husband is the only man I know who is hassling for a vasectomy. That’s right, he wants to have his scrotum cut and the tubes in his groin severed and seared closed. OK, a little dramatic, but that’s the process, my friends.
It is not actually the procedure he is hankering for, rather the decision. You see, I am still in limbo-land about how many children we will have. You may have read a blog
I wrote a year ago about not having that “finished” feeling. I was hoping it would creep up in time, when the newborn bub became a screaming toddler. Well, he’s here - in his climbing, hitting, yelling and non-sleeping glory - but the feeling is not.
I was expecting that overwhelming finality that comes with having your last child when number three was here. I see mothers who have it: the “glad-it’s-you-not-me” women who look at other pregnant women and breathe a lung of relief. Women who could instantly vomit at the thought of having another baby.
Despite his insistence on a vasectomy, my husband and I are still in discussions about number four. Originally, it was my husband steering the boat on four, but when I was so adamant three was it, he conceded and was content with the idea. It is me who has failed the contentment test.
Before starting our family, I was whole-heartedly against the idea of four children. I am one of four, and so is the husband. Two seemed too small a family for me when I am from a larger bunch. Four seemed too many to handle. Three children was always going to be my limit. They fit in the back seat of a car for starters.
The idea of four seems ludicrous. The practicalities: cost, time, headspace, patience, commitment, healthcare, freedom. Who will volunteer to babysit four kids? How will I help four kids with their homework? Will my life be spent in a car taxiing them to sports, activities and mate’s places? How will I feed four teenage boys (let’s face it, we only breed boys in this house so there would be no doubt the 4th would be a blue one!)? Will we ever get our lives back?
It may only be one more than I have already but I’ve really noticed the additional washing and time strain with the third. How would I cope with another one? Conversely, we have well and truly passed man-on-man parenting and moved into zone defence, so would one more in the mix just slot right in?
Despite my daily self-questioning about the viability of having another child, I had never considered the thought that a fourth child was just plain greedy. This concept was introduced to me by a friend who is yet to have a family.
At first, I agreed. I have three healthy children, who was I to yearn for more? Was I pushing my luck trying for another? Would I be burdening my current children with an additional sibling to steal yet more time and resources away from them? Was it selfish to continue to expand the family I already had? What about the bigger picture – our impact on the environment in an overpopulated world?
I am still young enough to feasibly have another without causing too many complications on my body or the baby. We could manage an extra one, sure it would strain the finances but that’s not forever. Is it greedy to want another? Indicative of society’s desperate push to have more more more? Perhaps it is time to accept my gorgeous little family and close the book on the baby phase.
If only that damn maternal ache would get a day job and get off my ovaries.
I realise it is a luxury to wallow in such indecision. Many families have no choice about the number of children they will have for reasons ranging from health to infertility to finances to loss of partner. I know once the decision is made, we will cope and live with it and be very happy with our lives.
My husband is not one to linger in indecision so he suggested a deadline of Christmas Day to determine which way we would go. I just felt stressed out and teary. A trip away with the three children was going to be the clincher. I thought I’d be ringing mid-holiday to book the vasectomy for my husband. No suck luck. Holiday was great and the kids were relatively well-behaved.
So, here I am, well into January, past my deadline and no decision has been made. I still question whether it is greedy to want more. Whether we are hovering in dangerous territory; asking for trouble. Or will closing the book be a decision I regret in 20 years when I always feel like someone was missing from our family?
The greatest concern is, what if I have a fourth and don’t give birth to the done feeling? What then? A puppy? A lobotomy?Is it greedy to want a large family? Are you from a large family? Do you have a large family and is your head still connected to your body?! Can someone make my decision for me?!