At this moment in time, my kids are 3 1/2 and 20 months old. I haven’t had to buy formula in over eight months, the majority of the baby gear is packed away in the basement, and the end of diapers is in sight. My kids can entertain each other for longer chunks of time, both eat meals at their tiny Ikea table without much assistance, and traveling doesn’t require quite as much gear as it once did. Just when it feels like things might get a little bit easier, I dream of having another.
My kids are 11 days shy of two years apart. By the time my daughter was 20 months old, I was over halfway through my pregnancy with my son. My husband and I always imagined having three or four kids close in age, and I assumed we would have another baby with similar spacing, God willing. But right around the time my son turned 15 months old, the age my daughter was when I found out I was pregnant with my son, he suddenly became a handful. My sweet, mellow baby went from quietly crawling to excitedly running, and our lives got a lot more interesting. I put the idea of having another baby on the back burner. I wasn’t ready yet.
I now watch friends with kids of similar spacing announce third pregnancies, or have their third babies, and I briefly wonder why I’m not ready yet. I’m quickly brought back to reality as my son sneakily eats my daughter’s crayons, or runs into the street for the fifth time after hearing “no,” or attempts to jump off of the side of the couch, laughing. He needs my full attention right now. I’m still not ready.
Despite not feeling ready, I also don’t feel “done.” I don’t take for granted the fact that I have two healthy children, and I sometimes even feel guilty for feeling that our family is incomplete, when others so badly want a baby. But I’ve heard that you get a certain feeling when your family is complete, and I have yet to feel that feeling if such a thing actually exists.
Of course, after the kids are in bed, and crayons full of toddler teeth marks are all put away, I scroll through pictures of sweet moments from our day, and I think to myself, “I could have another.”
Moments later, I’m brought back to reality as I hear my son crying in his sleep. It brings me right back to the newborn days, and you know what?
I’m not quite ready.