It seemed like we were barely done walking down the aisle at our wedding and people were asking us if, when and how many kids were going to have. Uhm…can I be married for five minutes before answering such enormous questions please? And secondly, pregnancy is never a guarantee with anyone so why bring up a topic that should really just be between the two people that it affects? And now, two step-kids and three rug rats later I hear this question being asked of those who are a few paces behind me.
Once a person has a child the question then becomes, “Are you having more?” or “When are you going to have your next one?” I cannot speak from a man’s perspective but I can absolutely appreciate why a woman is reluctant to journey down the pregnancy path while holding a toddler on her hip. Her hair up in a greasy ponytail with snot wiped on her shirt. She is wearing yoga pants because those are the only things that fit even though she is a few years post partum. Yes, I can certainly appreciate her hesitation indeed. Let me list a few reasons that pop into my mind in regards to a woman having more kids:
1.) Sleep deprivation is probably still fresh on the brain. The military says a soldier can be combat ready with four hours of sleep. If the military wanted soldiers of steel then part of boot camp should be newborn night duty for the duration of their training. I can’t tell you how many of my friends told me that their significant other rarely did a night feeding even if the child was bottle fed. Again, sleep deprivation sucks and signing up for round two or three is not always at the top of one’s to-do list. Especially if she flew solo on that gig.
2.) If a woman is breastfeeding, she almost constantly has a little human being attached to her…literally. While breastfeeding can be an awesome bonding experience with other benefits, let me say again that a woman constantly has another human being attached to her. When we have no time alone for ourselves it makes it really freaking hard to even want to give a little one on one time to our significant other let alone adding another bambino to the mix. You go from having one hanging from your boob to one hanging from your boob and your leg.
3.) Choosing to become pregnant was choosing to put my life on hold, in certain ways, for at least a year and maybe two or more depending upon if, and how long, one may breastfeed. I can tell you that I don’t drink a lot of alcohol but by the end of my pregnancy gig I was jonesing for a glass of wine. I was looking forward to going to family functions or activities without constantly watching where my little one was and what she was doing. It’s not that I was irritated by the new responsibilities of parenting a newborn or growing baby but I just missed being able to sit and converse with people.
4.) I also had to watch my body morph into something that I wasn’t prepared for. Seems weird doesn’t it? I knew what happened when one became pregnant but I had absolutely no idea how I would feel when I saw my body change while realizing that it was probably never going to be exactly the way it was before. That one was tough. So think about how hard it is to consider another pregnancy when she is not happy with the current state of affairs with her post partum body.
5.) Moms experience a shit-ton of guilt whether self imposed or otherwise. They are constantly having to make choices between work and family, time with husbands or time with the kids, time with friends or time alone. And frankly, there simply isn’t enough time. So mix that good old guilt with the not-enough-time factor and a woman may be thinking that it simply wouldn’t be fair to herself, her husband or her children to bring another kiddo into the mix.
So there you have it. Five of my reasons why someone may not want to pop out another kid. When I hear a couple talking about having more and the husband is on Team ‘I Definitely Want More Kids’ and the wife is on Team ‘If You Touch Me I Will Kill You’…I think I might get one or two of her reasons. Some might say those are selfish reasons and others may find them totally relatable. Take my word for it though…having more kids is not a flippant conversation.