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Another One (Bites My Bust?)

By Brooke Benton

My man and I are in the throes of deciding whether we should have another child. At three kids we’re hardly even considered a brood, but my husband is adamant that we’ve reached our emotional and physical capacity in the area of parenting.

And I’m just baby hungry.

I want to be pregnant. I want to give birth. I want to have another round head at my bosom, I want to smell that unplaceable but definite sweet baby smell, I want to wake up in the middle of the night and bond with a new little person. (Okay, not really on the waking up part. But I’ll relinquish my sleep to have more of what I remember: snuggly, warm goodness in a knitty, blankety bundle.)

My husband says it’s too hard.

And I fear that to mean he won’t help. At all. I don’t want to have a baby by myself, ladies. I want a partner in the trenches, I want him to look longingly over the side of the crib at a sleeping angel with tears in his eyes while he squeezes my hand.

(Okay, he’s never done that.)

I’m not ratting him out. He is an amazing husband and father. He just doesn’t get the under two set. Their sweet smell does nothing to sway his heart, their cheeks don’t lure his lips for nibbles, his hands don’t get itchy when he sees a baby in the next row over at church.

In other words, he’s impervious to the torture I go through.

I get his reticence. We are finally at a point of seeming equilibrium. (If equilibrium means that we can just tell our youngest to go to bed at night and in the morning, turn the t.v. on for herself.) We aren’t required much as far as the physical toils go at this point in parenting. We just sort of show up and parcel out Honey Nut Cheerios. And so on most days it just seems really easy.

Except for when it’s hard. Which it is. It always is.

“We already have three kids,” he says, “and I think we should go for quality parenting over quantity of kids.” And then: “You’re never going to feel done. You’re always going to want another one.”

I don’t think so.  But could he be right?

For now something nags at my soul. And it’s an unsettled sort of feeling that suggests I don’t know what to do next. It’s a scared feeling that finds me on my knees in tears. It’s a desire to just KNOW what to do—what our next step should be. And can it please just appear as a bright sign in pop-up bubble fashion, above my head (light bulb epiphany!) that spells it out: “BABY” or “no baby.”

I know the inspiration is personal, I know that everyone has their own reasons for being done or trying for just one more. But how did you know you were supposed to go for it?

And what think you of the logical notion: quality over quantity? Is it possible to have too many kids? Too few?

Discuss.

About Brooke Benton

(Blog Team) is attempting inner om with this writing stuff. Proud to claim four loud children, a patient husband and a fat black cat as family, she feels blessed to be their mommy-- their giver of kisses and baker of cookies. She is ever seeking a good novel and wishing for the sand between her toes, palm trees, the ocean.

60 thoughts on “Another One (Bites My Bust?)”

  1. I respect your husband's feelings on this, but I have to say that if you are really feeling "baby hungry," and feel that there's another little one to add to your family, you need to give it serious thought before you put it off.

    I have 2 kids, and about 5 years ago I really wanted another, but I thought, "oh, too hard, I just went through this, I can't go through it again, I'm too old – 40 – there's no way, etc." Then 4 years ago I really really wanted a baby. But I'm 41! I can't start doing this again!

    Well, I wish I had gone for it when I had, because now I'm 45 and I STILL want that baby!

    My advice is don't deny yourself, or it may continue to eat away at you for years until it's too late, and then you'll have major regrets!

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  2. After just reading through all the great comment's on yesturday's post I think most of the advice applies here as well. Raising a child is a two parent role, not fair to him or you to have one of those people very unwilling.
    We had our fourth by accident in the midst of severe trials. While we're grateful for her, love her so, our life is so intense that during very private times we wish we had been more careful about birth control. And no, I don't ever want her to know this.

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  3. Can I speak for us guys here? I mean, we have 5 kids and after the 5th my health kind of fizzled, and it was very trying. I had had doubts after the 4th, but I was a sucker for punishment, too.

    Is there a point to this? I think you can have too many or too few kids – and that depends on your circumstances. But whatever we do, we shouldn't do it selfishly.

    Now we have a grandson, and his mother (our daughter) was observed by us saying that she doesn't want to end up with a bunch of kids in a cramped apartment. That worried me a little. Is square footage so important (I know we were a little cramped at some point, but hey, we were happy, weren't we)?

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  4. Everyone always tells me when you are "done" you just kind of know. I thought we would have three until we had our second and it just seemed like we were complete. It doesn't sound to me like you are "done", but I think you and your husband need to do some fasting and prayer to come to an agreement about it.

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  5. This is not something you decide or he decides. You both fast and pray together and go to the temple together. Just because you want a baby doesn't mean it is the Holy Ghost telling you to have another one (even if you want one really bad), with that same line of thinking maybe the Holy Ghost is telling your husband you should not have another one. Maybe the answer is not right now. This is not something you need to talk to everyone about, just you, your husband, and the Lord. It would be unrighteous dominion for him to try to force you to have a baby when you didn't want to and it is the same thing if you try to force him.

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  6. Obvious answer: Take it to the Lord.
    Harder answer: Make the decision FIRST and THEN take it to the Lord.
    Fwiw, every family seems to struggle with this: Should we have another baby? Are we finished having kids? How many? How many? How many?
    And they are very valid questions and should be considered carefully, BUT only with the guidance of the Holy Ghost. I mean, isn't this one of the most important decisions in life? I can only think of a few other things where the decision will monumentally change our lives. Marriage? Jobs? School? Babies? They are all on the same plane. The only difference? Having a baby will affect THEIR life just as much as ours. If we choose to ignore promptings because it's "too hard", then that Baby has to go somewhere else. If we choose to ignore promptings and have a baby anyway, it could affect the entire family dynamic in many ways.
    Thus the need for vigilant Spiritual Guidance in these decisions. For some, the husband/wife decision is an easy one because of a unified decision. For others like yourself, it's harder, because you both feel differently.

    Four separate times, I was ready to have a baby and my husband was not. Four separate times, I begged him to pray about it, and four separate times he refused, knowing that my "feelings" were the right answer.

    Good luck! These decisions are hard.

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  7. Brooke, that's the best post title I've seen in a long time. BIG laughs this morning. Any woman as clever as you should have at least a dozen babies. 😉

    I'd say, for now just pray to feel less afraid. I think this situation can be another one of those cycles–wife says yes, husband says no, wife gets scared, husband feels wife's anxiety and digs in his heels even more, wife feels even more scared, rinse and repeat.

    If you focus on finding peace for yourself, it will keep your mind off of your husband's state of mind, and it will create an atmosphere more conducive for both of you to hear the Lord's voice, whatever it may say.

    I hate to sound preachy in comments like this. I know it's hard. Really, really hard to find peace when there's something you desperately want, even need, and the way seems blocked. I try to remind myself, "God hath not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

    Love to you both.

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  8. I feel you on this one. I would say though, first, that if your husband is *really* opposed, it's probably not a good idea right now. But if your husband is more, "uggh, I dunno, that seems kinda hard . . ." then I think there's some wiggle room, especially if you feel very strongly about it.

    I had three kids and really wanted a fourth. My problem was infertility (and miscarriages) and after a while I thought, "Why am I putting myself through this? I have three healthy, happy kids." For a while, we officially stopped trying. But that pull toward having another was just too strong and we decided to keep trying. Finally, after lots of years, we had number four.

    Number four is almost six years behind his next closest sibling. When he was born, I'd finally gotten my three older kids in school. And as much as he was desperately wanted and loved . . . it was tough! Suddenly getting back into diapers and feedings, and baby shoes and sleepless nights, took some getting used to. But we were (and are) so, so happy that we had him. Even when, at 19 months now, he wakes us up at 5:14 in the morning and demands juice.

    But the funny thing, for me, is that I wondered if I would ever feel done. I'd gone through so much to get #4 here, and right after having him I wondered if I should try to get pregnant again so he'd have a friend. But magically (and it really did feel like magic) . . . I knew I was done. My husband knew it, too. I feel a real sense of peace about that decision. So as much as it once seemed impossible to ever "feel done," for me, I truly do. And it is a bit of a relief. 🙂

    But that longing for a warm little head to kiss? That will probably never go away.

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  9. Such a very, very personal decision. But these are my two cents.

    First, if your husband truly feels 'no' then the answer is no. You can ask him to pray, fast, all these things, but ultimately if his answer is still no, then it is no. THIS is the relationship that you will have when the kids are gone, this is relationship that needs nurturing. And I'm always a little surprised when women are so ready and willing to discount their husbands feelings on the matter just because they don't carry the child physically (not that you are. Because if that's all that counted then I wouldn't get a vote either.

    Also, just because one is "just baby hungry". And wants to be pregnant, wants to give birth, etc. etc. doesn't mean it will or should happen. Wanting is not equal to inspiration. I know several people (myself included) WANT that, but it's just not going to happen.

    Sometimes I think the bright flashing sign comes after the fact. And you're stuck going, "uh yeah, thanks for that. But we've got it now." Good luck!

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  10. After our next to last baby my husband said he thought we were done. I agreed, until about two years later, then I kept thinking about babies. My babies. So I did what I had done at least one time before. I prayed. I told Heavenly Father that if we were supposed to have another baby he had better tell my husband. After a while (a month or so?) I finally brought it up to my husband, and he had just had two seperate experiences that gave him the impression we should have another baby. So we did.

    I say pray. Pray a lot. You should not decide this one your own.

    I knew I was willing to have another one, and I felt as if Heavenly Father agreed. But I also knew that both my husband and I had to be in agreement. I knew if he didn't come around after much prayer, I would have done my part and could let it go.

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  11. I work for the public school system. This may sound flippant, but I wish people would have fewer babies–eventually they end up in school. We're so overcrowded here! I say this in good humor. 🙂

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  12. I only have two, but my son's birth two years ago was very scary and involved a number of complications. And then PPD and a colicky baby. So we decided we were pretty much done. Then a few months ago my husband started saying that he thought we needed one more. I'm feeling a little like it, but I honestly have mini panic attacks when I think about being pregnant. And it logically doesn't seem like a good time for our family for a lot of reasons. So right now I'm thinking and deciding and starting to pray about it. But I think both people have to be on board for it to be a good decision, because it's a big one.

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  13. I agree with a lot of the comments so far…it needs to be a decision between both you and your husband. I honestly wouldn't want to have a child without my husband with me every step of the way and you don't want to damage the relationship you have with him. If you feel so strongly, I say just keep fasting and praying and pleading with the Lord. I think once we truly give our burdens to our Savior, waiting for his timing (as well as your husband's) won't be so difficult. Good luck with your decision…if it's how the Lord wants it, your husband will eventually come around.

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  14. We're in the same spot. Same answers as you on both sides. We are agreeing to disagree until we agree. Then we will know. The question is how long will that take…

    PS I am almost done with "the mother in me" and it has been an incredible journey. Thank you from the depths of my soul for the validation, encouragement, laughs, tears, and moments of poignant reflection. Well done ladies, well done.

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  15. Same spot here, too, except, the Hubs is much more (consistently) in favor of a fourth. The baby hungriness? It comes and goes, esp. dependent on how easy the 2 and 4 year old are that day.

    Loved all your images — equilibrium = telling them to go to bed and being able to turn on tv by themselves in the morning. Pouring the Honey Nut Cheerios. It's CRAZY how similar we are, and yet, I know millions of details of our circumstances, desires, etc ARE different.

    (Sometimes I think we see too many similarities, or too many differences, when we get these little online glimpses of people's lives. Makes it easy for us to think we could give advice to some one else, not knowing everything.)

    One thing — we have three girls, so I feel some pressure there to try again for a boy. (Not pressure from him so much, but pressure inside me, like I'd like that experience, and I'd like for my husband to have that experience, you know?)

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  16. This is hard for me to talk about because I desperately want another baby and we really are DONE.

    But…. we were done after four and I had two more. I knew we needed more but hubby wasn't ready(I have horrific life-threatening pregnancies and really grumpy babies not to mention how much work and money kids require) but twice God interceded for me and sent hubby some much-needed inspiration. Hang on, let the subject go, and wait for that inspiration to come to your cute hubby– 'cause I know he's a good guy and will hear it when it comes.

    I think there are two camps of women- those that know when they are done and those that never lose the longing for a newborn. Neither camp is better obviously, but I've talked to women 10-50 years older than I am and they said that feeling never truly goes away. Even grandchildren don't quite fill the void.

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  17. Sometimes I think I want another baby. (I can't have another one – uterine issues, but I WANT one.) And sometimes I think I don't really want another baby at all – I'm just longing for that time back with the children I have.

    My kids are closely spaced, and I was just really used to having a baby or a toddler around. Now my youngest is four (FOUR!). It's so strange and kind of bittersweet to think that the baby mama time in my life is over.

    When I'm holding a new baby (I got to hold Kalli's brand new tiny nubbin baby about a week ago, and there is nothing better than the feeling of a teeny tiny handful of baby lying on your chest, I swear), I want a baby. And then I realize I just want MY babies. I want them back. I don't want them to get any older.

    And even if I kept having more, and more, and more – I would still desperately want that time back. Just as I'll look back in five years and want THIS time back.

    Moms are funny, aren't they?

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  18. I guess I feel in the same boat…kindof.

    I have three kids, love them. The youngest is 4. My husband has major manic depression, and has been hospitalized once. It is under control now….but I count it a miracle that we are still together…

    So he really wants to have another baby…and I do, kindof..I love my kids, but I don't think I can because in the back of my mind…his illness is always there and I don't feel like I should push my luck!

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  19. i love reading these comments.

    it's nice to know i'm not alone in the wondering aspect. most of the feedback i get is that i will know when i'm done, so it's good to consider that i may never know, that i may always have a longing.

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  20. I haven't read others' comments b/c I'm at work and only have a minute, but I think that until I am completely postmenopausal I don't think that feeling will ever go away. I don't know if it's biologically true for all, but for me, that urge is primal–it is so deep that I can't explain it. Now, I only have 2 children, so maybe if I had 10 that feeling wouldn't be there, but I don't know if that's really true. I know that if we could have had more I definitely would have. Maybe that feeling is there (and there is a huge biological component–good brain chemical re: nursing/bonding/attaching) to encourage us to procreate.

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  21. Does it ever feel easy and comfortable to add a child? Man, mine must be spaced too closely! We've been feeling maxed out for six kids now! We used to really want to intensely parent one or two, not to do crowd management. But God had something else in mind for us, and I don't regret it. We have had to adjust our expectations and our parenting style to adapt to a large family, and we have been stretched in ways we would not have been otherwise. But we wouldn't give any of them back.

    The other day I was praying about this. I said something like "God, what are we doing? Everyone I know who has good memories of a large family talks about the happy chaos and energy, and I'm so not into those things. I always thought I'd be intimately connected to just a couple of children, and that I could give them time and space and peace, but that's not happening here." And for just a minute my mind was opened and I had this broader view of all the wonderful things in the works in this crazy big family, even though I feel out of my element in learning to parent them all.

    Even after 6 kids (which I NEVER planned to have) the thought of not having more makes me sad. I do wonder if I will ever feel really DONE. I feel really TIRED sometimes, but for me that is a different sentiment. I can be baby hungry even when I have a baby. My husband doesn't get baby hungry, so he doesn't understand. But I still am hoping for some kind of inspiration that rings true to both of us.

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  22. I started reading your post and thought "I could have written that… every word is exactly our situation." I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments. Thanks for throwing the topic out there Brooke.

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  23. For me there are two kinds of baby hungry–the desire to snuggle a new baby, which I think I'll always have, and the desire to actually CREATE a new baby, which I had for 12 years and 8 pregnancies. After my 7th birth that desire evaporated completely. It's like a light switch turned off, just like it had turned on twelve years before.

    It was a godsend, because I was starting to worry that I'd have twelve kids if I kept following my deep-seated desire to have more babies. And I didn't want twelve kids. But I couldn't ignore that desire–it was very, very strong. I thought I'd never feel done. I was so grateful when the feeling came.

    I don't think every woman gets that kind of sign, though. I know many do, but probably not all. Just like not all women get the overwhelming urge to keep having babies.

    I do sympathize with the agony of having that burning desire and not being able to follow it. My seventh pregnancy miscarried, and I was terrified I wouldn't be able to have more kids (I had other symptoms as well). I was infertile for a year and a half (and before that, I got pregnant just breathing the same air as my husband.) I can't describe the anxiety and grief I felt when I contemplated not having another baby. It took a lot of deliberate self-management and a lot of assurance from the Comforter to let go of the fear and cling to faith instead. And even so, I couldn't always feel peaceful.

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  24. Shelah wrote a great post a while back over here about this topic. It was the post that made her seem like a kindred spirit. I can't wait to meet her IRL someday. Just thought some of you might enjoy her post and the comments that follow. It's truly an issue that affects a lot of us!

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  25. I used to worry that I would always long for another child. I used to worry that I would not know when I was supposed to be "done." And when I realized after child #3 that the secondary infertility I had experienced had gotten much, much worse, I worried that if I ever managed to have another child, it would be very lonely.

    I really, really wanted that 4th child. And finally we did a round of IVF. And then, 29 weeks later, we had triplets.

    I figured that the Lord had heard my worries, and he took care of all of them. Just like that.

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  26. For me it is a kind of panic about NOT wanting any more, and then missing out or abandoning my family or something. (I think I watched too many showings of Saturday's Warrior with the kid yelling out "Jimmy! Don't forget me!") And in our family it is all through adoption, so it takes A LOT of planning. I just have faith that the family is set apart in heaven, and that if I keep my heart open Heavenly Father will either make me want another kid or yell at me to get going anyway.

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  27. YES!!!!
    I know everybody is going to crucify me for saying this, but sometimes I just had to go ahead and get pregnant without my husband's consent. I knew the time was right and I felt completely good about it, but he was always saying, "this is really bad timing", or "we can't afford it right now." Frankly, if I'd listened to him we'd still be childless.

    I just felt like I had to take matters into my own hands, like Eve eating the fruit. Sometimes it's up to us women to make the things happen in life that are really important.

    My husband is also not a big fan of babies. He loves the toddlers, though. He's a great dad and I knew for a fact that once the babies were here he'd be fine with it. And he was.

    When I tell people that I have six kids, I'm surprised how many of them say, "I always wanted a big family. I should have had more." Why were they so afraid of giving it another shot? Yes it's hard work, but only for a couple of years. It's so worth it. (Even if they can't pour their own cereal for a while.) When I got pregnant with #5 my youngest was four. I kept thinking, "This is the stupidest thing I've ever done! Everyone is potty-trained, the sippy-cups are put away. Why am I starting from scratch? But it's really different having a baby when your other kids are older. They are so much more helpful. It was really nice having a child that was old enough to hold down the fort while I ran to the store. It made all the difference in the world.

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  28. Jennie, I loved your answer and while your approach probably wouldn't be wise for everyone, I love that it worked for you and that you knew your spouse well enough to see that it would.

    And, I think it's an example of how one person's solution can be totally opposite another's and both can be viable.

    Plus, it just made me laugh. You know it's honest when it's prefaced with,

    "I know everybody is going to crucify me for saying this, but…"

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  29. I would also like another baby and it's causing me some minor grief for a few reasons.

    First of all, I have really bad pregnancies both emotionally and physically. They take a real toll on my body and, as a result, our family life suffers a little.

    Second, my husband is deployed. He'll be home next month and, for the first time in a long time, we're able to enjoy one another (physically, mentally and emotionally) sans the woes of pregnancy. This is a real treat for us both since I've only been "not pregnant" for three months of our short marriage.

    Last but not least, I'm not sure my body can take another without serious repercussions for either myself or worse, the baby. That's a little intimidating.

    I'm really not sure where this desire has come from. After all, I've got an almost 8-year-old boy and two girls age 20 months and 9 months. I have one to help with homework, one to play and discover the world with and a chubby little angel to cuddle with. Why in the world am I baby hungry?

    All I can come up with is that it's just a good desire and one that perhaps might only be more perfectly fulfilled in the hereafter. Somehow wanting another child brings me to enjoy the ones we already have. (I'm not sure if that makes sense on screen as much as it rings true in my brain.) I don't take for granted the time I have with my kids which these days is a lot (I've been flying solo for six months now), treasuring the one-on-one time and all the while looking forward to their next steps in development.

    I guess I really don't have a great answer. While always welcome and joyfully anticipated, none of my kids were "planned"…they just kind of "happened". I don't think I would have had the guts to get pregnant otherwise. But maybe that's just me.

    Hubs and I both feel that another baby would be great but that his/her arrival would alter the course the Lord has us on currently. When prayed over, He doesn't give us a yes or no, but is leaving it up to us. We'll be on the "right" path either way. So far, we're kind of curious as to what's in store for us on this one.

    For now, I'm enjoying the hunger for another, enjoying my crew of three (though some days I want to strangle them) and trying to figure out what it all means.

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  30. Oh Brooke, you are simply thinking too much lately. But since you are I will offer a quote from my biology textbook. "Nature does not generally leave advantageous behavior to chance; instead, it makes many kinds of advantageous behavior pleasurable." Read the highly romantic post "Eat, Drink and Be Married" to your husband, head to Sundance and let me have another one of your darling children in my nursery in a couple more years.

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  31. little hijack for the evening:
    just sitting here wishing the admin powers that be would alter the link color scheme of this site. without mousing over them, they're hard to see.
    k i'm done. resume!

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  32. I have a question. The answer could be what you need to share with your husband to enable him to become a willing participant.

    Why do you want another baby, really?

    Sometimes in the church we instantly assume if we want another baby it's a righteous desire therefore there is no valid argument against it. Sometimes we want another baby because our arms are empty and we don't know what to do next so let's do something we've already done before. Sometimes we want to be pregnant and have a baby because it makes us feel special, we stand out and get congratulated for bringing a precious life into this world. Sometimes we want another child because we come from a big family and/or feel social pressure. Sometimes we're lonely or struggling and remember the spiritual strength of that bright shiny new spirit in our arms and want to feel it again.

    Hopefully my comments convey that I've been there, I'm not judging. Be clear in your mind about what the reasons are and then clear in your communications with your husband.

    Like the Brother of Jared, we need to reason it out in our minds first then go to the Lord in prayer. We should take accountability for our choices by thoroughly thinking them through, so when the hard days come we don't say, "God why did you tell me to have another child?!!" Instead we can press forward knowing we made the right decision jointly with God and spouse.

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  33. We went through this exact thing for the past two years, except we were also experiencing miscarriages as well. I wanted a 4th, my husband basically wanted whatever made me happy (although he's not home enough to be a HUGE help in the home most days). So I knew it would be me that had to deal with the baby. I was frustrated and angry and an emotional wreck. I prayed for months and months and months for the affirmative to my prayers. How could the Lord not WANT us to have any more children? And then the day came. After months of praying and not getting an answer and after 2 years and 2 miscarriages I had had enough. I was unhappy and I was miserable and I was tired of my husband coming home to a bag. I was tired of not feeling as though I was getting an answer. I was a horrible wife and a mediocre mother. So I just got fed up with it all. I knelt as the tears streamed down my face and I said "Lord, enough! I just can't do it anymore. I'm tired of being this way; I'm tired of being a bag and a horrible person. I don't think I can handle any more children." Then I said the words before my brain even registered what I was saying "Father, I don't want any more children" My answer came that second like a lightening bolt. I was shocked. Shocked at myself and at my answer after years. And with the answer came the peace. I'm not sure why the Lord told us no, because I was more than willing and more than ready to have another spirit in our home. And one day, I'll probably ask Him. But for now, I know that our 3 is enough and I find myself enjoying the days and enjoying my children more than I ever though possible. So my point to this story is to not to be afraid to ask if the answer is no. I still have my moments of weakness, especially when family has a new baby, but I know the answer I received and I cannot doubt. May the Lord bless you with your own answer and I hope it fulfills the desires of your hearts.

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  34. Wow, you’ve lots of great advice here! Years ago, I too struggled with the decision to have another child or not. We assessed our energy to truly parent — not just for the next five years, but the full 20 or so it takes to launch a productive and happy individual into the world– and we decided that we might be at our limit. For us, it was a good decision. Our teenagers are thriving and I’m not burned out.
    I've seen so many parents lose their parenting stamina in their last children's teenage years. They've simply run out of energy. So at a critical point in the kids' lives, mom and dad are too tired to keep up the constant involvement, oversight, and teaching required. The results can be tragic. You can't exactly blame Mom and Dad; they've been at it for nearly 30 years and their bodies and minds are worn out. But 15 year olds require even more parenting skill than taking care of a newborn (hard as that is!). So, my advice is have another only if the 20 year commitment inspires "Bring it on!" rather than fatigue!

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  35. Brooke, I just re-read your title and got it–ha!

    I think a lot of good things have been said already. My question is, will your husband pray about it?

    I hope you really do have another baby!

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  36. jendoop: i'm not sure. i really think i'm just baby hungry.

    i think it's also because i can't fathom that my youngest will start preschool next year. what will i do then?

    i think it's because i just want more of what i have. like, "too much of a good thing is wonderful." (was that a real quote? mae west?)

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  37. kate: i have to seriously consider the 20 year commitment. it's difficult for me to fathom next week.

    (should a woman who has difficulty fathoming next week even be considering more babies?!)

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  38. sorry, "rachel" is me brooke. i'm on someone else's computer.

    and wendy, i KNOW my husband will pray about it. i'm sure he has. but i guess i should get an official answer on that.

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  39. brooke, it is good to want good things! Remember Elder Oak's counsel about good, better, best. Don't be afraid of the next step in your life, child or no. Go forward with faith in yourself, your ability to bring light to the world in addition to mothering. Best wishes for your future, whatever it contains!

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  40. Jendoop, I really, really liked your comment.

    And I have to point out, not to jendoop, but to others, that raising kids is not just the struggles of a newborn. For me, that part is the easiest and why I had my four so close together. I started to question if I really wanted more as my children got older because my kids really, really need me. So I guess, for me it's not the baby stage I worry about, but rather the school-age and everything else.

    And I'm terrified of having teenagers. I see what my parents have gone through in the last few years with my teenage and adult sisters and the thought of facing that in my future makes me shudder in horror.

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  41. As with the previous post, I've appreciated the thoughtfulness in so many of the comments in this discussion (and great post–as always–Brooke).

    I am at a different transition than you, but still afraid of "the next stage." I'm pretty sure babies are over for me (I'm now a bit closer to 50 than 40–Wow! That sounds old even as I merely type the number–and my youngest is nine) but my birds are starting to leave the nest. But friends just ahead of me assure me the next stage (I still have a few years, but the first two leaving will be a bit of a one-two punch in the gut) is something to look forward to, too.

    And I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again. Even though they are capable of breaking your heart sometimes, I LOVE teenagers. I loved my babies, but teenagers are so much fun. Even when they're not.

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  42. Hi, I'm an infrequent visitor to this blog, but this is a question I've wanted to ask y'all many times, so I'm glad it came up. Agreeing with everything said above, I just wanted to chime in one more thing: I think that perpetual baby hungriness (for those who have it) is a spiritual gift that can keep you looking forward to an eternity of mothering. Lots of mothering will be done in the millenium even before that, for the millions of pure little spirits who haven't grown up yet. Joseph Smith said that all infants who died would be resurrected as infants and be raised to maturity in the millenium. Many of those will not necessarily be returning to their own parents, who may or may not be present after the first resurrection. Maybe your other little ones (if you feel you still have them) will join your family then, when you have full resurrected stamina to deal with them. So don't give up if you're 40 or 50 and still feeling there's another one. There may very well be–and not so far away either. And if you instead feel peace/relief about being done count THAT as a special blessing too, because it keeps you satisfied and content. I firmly believe that both feelings are spiritual gifts. Best of luck to everyone!

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  43. Thank you all for these comments! My situation is exactly like this one. ChoosingJoy, I loved your comment above all. I have three and feel good about being done, but then feel guilty that I am glad to be done. Isn't that dumb? I put my whole life into my children and feel that I am a good mother, but because I "only have three," I feel like I'm wimping out. Or that because I'm not baby hungry, I'm cold-hearted. I never thought about my contentment to be done as a spiritual gift, like you said. Thank you for re-framing this for me! What a helpful online conversation.

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  44. Could it be that you know how wonderful having another baby is (would be) but you don't know what the next phase of your life will look like, so you are clinging to you comfort zone? I have 5, and serious health issues prevent another pregnancy. I think I could have 12 kids, I absolutely ADORE newborns. So we were going to adopt, and then DH decided he was done. Prayerfully, thoughtfully, bringing-home-flowers everyday-to-acknowledge-my-deep-sadness-at-not-ever falling-in-love-with-my-own-again done.

    When I had to accept this I had to figure out what to do with my next phase. Parenting elementary school kids is different than toddlers, there's no more playgroups, moms mornings out, etc. I will have to rearrange my social life.

    But now I'm focused on the fun things, the trips we can take before the oldest leaves the house that we would never want to bring a toddler on, what I want out of my next phase (it's still a couple of years away),and enjoying the end of this one.

    I still get a little twinge in my heart when I hear someone else is pregnant or adopting, but the hunger has gone. Now, it's more like I'm reminiscing my own – wanting to go back in time and experience it again from my new perspective.

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  45. I didn't read all the comments but I vote BABY. If your heart is still wanting another one, you should have another one.

    This happened to my hubby and me with our last one. I wanted one more, he didn't. I started praying that if we were supposed to have another baby, it would be his idea instead of mine. I don't know if that would work for everyone but it worked for us. I got my baby and he and I both agree our family wouldn't be complete without her.

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  46. I think it's important to acknowledge that of course it would be hard to have another, but I don't think that easy is the goal in life, is it? 🙂 But just trust that with the Lord's help, you as a couple can figure this out. I have come to believe that the process is really important. Having children is hugely important, but so is the process of sorting through these things, of working together, of coming to the Lord for guidance, etc.

    That said, do you ever stop to think about the fact that we are pretty unique in our day and age when we even can have these kinds of discussions, these kinds of choices? Most of our forebears had no option, and every time they got pregnant they knew that the chance of them or the baby dying was high. Our ability to choose is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because, for example, when there are health issues, we at least have the choice to protect our health when we feel inspired to do so. But with that ability to choose in general comes a great deal of responsibility and accountability.

    One last thing. I agree with those who have pointed out that not every woman has that 'I'm done' sense. I know I never have, and I am coming to accept that I may be done (health issues and years of not feeling good about not having more). It hurts. A lot. I took comfort in this from Sister Beck and Elder Oaks:

    Sister Beck

    I know of many couples who desire to have children and aren’t given that blessing. Their challenge is the challenge of not having children, and we need to be listening and supportive and encouraging toward them. And I also believe that the desire to have children in the single sisters and in these couples probably won’t go away if they’re righteous, because that is a God-given desire. It speaks to their very natures and the training they received in the heavens. So that longing will not go away. But the Lord will bless them.

    Elder Oaks

    And that longing will weigh in the final judgment. One of the most comforting passages in all of scripture for me is in the 137th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 9, where we’re told that the Lord will judge us according to our works and according to the desires of our hearts.

    I recall Sister Holland saying something like this in a book I read: "I always wanted eight children and had three. Some of you wanted three and got eight." I think there are MANY of us whose trials will come in opposite ways of what we planned or hoped for. I think the key is "I will follow God's plan for ME (us)." And to trust in that, hard though it may be either way.

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  47. I have six children. The first four were "no-brainers" I came from a family of four and it just seemed like you had to have at least four. (My husband came from two and we had a 3 1/2 year break between 3 and 4 while he came to agree with me)

    I felt the "presence" of #5 right after giving birth to #4, God's way of saying "you're not done yet." After #5 I wanted to be done, but when she was 2 years old I felt a push – not baby hungry, but "there's another one." After fasting, prayer and temple we decided to go for #6. Thankfully, after he came, I felt peace, and panic at having six children 13 years apart to care for.

    Now that my youngest is 16 and I'm a grandmother I know that my family is just as it should be. I wouldn't want to go through life feeling I should have another child, or overwhelmed with more that I can handle. It's an individual/couple decision made with God's input!

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  48. I am dying to find out if I am pregnant right now (one more week till I can test), so this post is pretty poignant for me. If I am, my DH says he'll almost be persuaded to believe in fate.

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  49. My mom had to do the "I'm sure there's another one for us, so please make it obvious to my husband" thing with one of my brothers.

    We're in the same questioning state–our #4 is 9 months now. We have two "sets" of kids–12 and 9, and 3 and 9mo. BIG gap in the middle due to repeated miscarriages. We're also in a 900 square foot home right now… deciding to add a baby is a lot dependent on our living arrangements over the next two years.

    We need a little more space before we add more children… or we're going to have to raise the children in cupboards.

    DH keeps bringing up one more baby, though… he's hoping for a second boy as wonderful as our current 9yo, who truly was a delightful infant and toddler–I think he saved DH's sanity when DS-9 was a baby, as he came along just before my FIL died, which was a stunning blow for DH.

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  50. An older family has its benefits, it just takes awhile to recognize it. Speaking from experience.
    But don't get me wrong, I would love nothing more than to let Gwen and Meatball experience a new little baby in our family. And I positively melt at the sight of pricey new strollers and other baby paraphernalia.
    For us, our current total of 5 keeps us teetering on the edge of sanity, no matter how good the kids are behaving. Every family has its number, but both parents oughtta be on board.

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  51. You are in the prime of your life. I know that my kids' ages are a bit different than yours, but can I just tell you from the innards of my soul that I despised having that ONE more….., but go for it! If I didn't have my Amber's bright face to smile at and to nibble on, and her endless babbling and cute, innocent eyes to look at, the Crofts' lives would be missing the last piece of our puzzle. Our puzzle is completed, glued with love and I regret those days of hoping that Amber would somehow pass away at birth. Life is short. We all love our kids and would have billions if we could. Brooke, if you feel there is one more, try. I have no regrets for adding our caboose. Good luck and include the Lord. XOXO

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  52. I used to be very baby hungry. I have three kids and I am
    due to deliver my fourth in a month or less. I prayed for this baby, I knew I wanted THIS baby. It takes a lot for me to get babies here. The thing is, I don't feel all that baby hungry anymore. I mean, I know I want my baby, but I don't go around holding everyone's newborn right now. I've held a new niece in the last year and that is all. My kids are 9, 8 and 5. I am finding that older kids are fun and I want to be present emotionally, physically and mentally for all this fun. When I am pregnant, I cannot be all those things.

    This baby will be the last for me. I feel grateful to know that. I am thrilled to meet her, snuggle her, love her and experience all those stages. I also know she will be well-loved by her siblings.

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