Raising babies is tough work, y'all.
(I've been watching a lot of True Blood. I find myself talking like Britney Spears's redneck sister-cousin more and more these days. Don't judge me. The show is fangtastic.)
The "being mummy" thing has come easily in so many ways and then not so much in others. The work/life/mummy balance thing is always a struggle. I'll admit there are days I don't much care for being a mother, days I wonder if I'm really cut out for this and then others (and they outnumber the bad) that I'm on top of the world, am pretty sure I have it ALL figured out and believe I could handle a house full of the little suckers and each and everyone of them would turn out to be productive members of society.
When I get my head out of La-la Land I'm faced with the reality that, frankly, we're not about to have a house-full...but are we going to have more? Another one? Chou Two? Sea Monkey, the Sequel?
It's a bigger deal this time around, I think, and Mr. Wumpus agrees.
The first time out of the gate, it's all love and round bellies and the promise of cherub cheeks and baby shower gifts. The second time it's about facing going on the peanuts that is mat leave again, staying home with OHMYGOD two babies and staying sane, about my own personal and professional goals, about howdoweaffordtwoballetclassespluschildcare and
Yes, the mind wobbles.
But then, there's me and Chou in the back yard playing on the Weee (the slide), and she looks at me and calls me boring with her eyes and I think, Dear lord, child you need a brother or a sister.
Except that it also means that I'd have another daughter or a son. And the enormity that is that responsibility surrounds me and consumes me and I think, "I don't know".
Here's how it plays out. A) I can't imagine my life without my siblings. Being an only child seems like a sad and lonely childhood and, yes, even adulthood. So Chou should have one. B) I loved my pregnancy and would do it again in a heartbeat some days, also: B i) I want to experience a natural birth...and while there are no guarantees that my next birth will be anything different from my first, I do really want to know what it's like to just go into labour, to feel my contractions build and change, to soak in a labour tub and, yes, even experience crowning. I'm not a masochist, I don't want to go through pain, I want to fully experience a natural labour. There's a difference.
(As an aside, I consider Chou's birth a positive birth experience, but not necessarily the most satisfying. There's a large part of me that feels like I missed out on something huge and I want to be a part of that, especially considering that I'm working on becoming a doula and possibly a midwife. Sure, it's not necessary, it's just a feeling.)
Balanced against points A, B, and B-i, are a few things, most of which are selfish, but let's all be honest here - we're all a little selfish. First, Mr. Wumpus and I have two incomes for the first time in a long, long time. There are things we'd like to get ahead on, things we'd like to buy, projects we'd like to do, trips we'd like to take. Mat leave means no money, but it's not just the year of leave, it's the fall out after...how do you afford all these things with FOUR plane tickets to pay for and on a reduced income (because let's face it, going back to work full time with two kids? not going to happen).
But more than the income question is the timing question. I have things I want to pursue. Classes I want to take. New career options I want to explore. Having another child means putting all that off (and for how long?). I'm not the most patient person, and I even start to imagine going back to school with a 4 and 2 year old and I cringe.
Which brings us back to do we or don't we? And then when?
Because when I write it all out like this, the part of me that recognizes this isn't a logic-only question, knows that we don't know what forever brings. A few years in a lifetime is really nothing. And having a new life and a new soul as part of our family is a lifetime of joy.
Now if only you could use joy to pay your mortgage.
All Caddywumpus comments generator: How did you decide to have more kids and when to stop? How do you know when your family is complete? How do you balance life/love/work/family/goals?