the best advice

Wednesday, October 12


 (Photos of these two goobs having a blast together on their scooter the other day. Their BFF-ness kills me)

It was about this time, three years ago, that we started trying to get pregnant with Isla. Everett was around two years old and I, as a surprise to myself, was baby hungry like crazy. I found out I was pregnant on Christmas Day, and the following August, she arrived. I felt like their age spacing was SO PERFECT. I solidly stand by 2 years and 10 months as a perfectly ideal length of time to space one's children out and I would recommend it to anyone. Since we all know planning pregnancy down to the month is so controllable ...

Yet here we are again. My youngest is at that two year mark and because I've always known that we would have more than two, the timing of our third child has weighed heavily on my mind. We should. We should start trying. My problem has been that when I contemplate the newborn phase, I think, I JUST DID THAT. I just had a baby, I'm pretty sure yesterday. And the memory of my pants not fitting, is somehow more vivid than the first time around? And I'm also just not baby hungry. And maybe that's the whole thing right there. Isla's baby-hood still feels so completely present. Much more so than Everett's was. He was sleeping through the night, in his own bed at nine-months-old, whereas Isla co-sleeps with us and still adores nursing. I love that this part of her hasn't grown up yet. That I can watch her expand in personality and ability and intelligence, and somehow still keep her infant-like sense of newness around for myself. The lack of hair helps.

A few weeks ago, after giving myself a solid pep talk and a lecture on timing, I decided that I would get off birth control. I plopped myself on the bathroom counter while Tyson was in the shower and said, so what do you think? Should we? Now? Maybe? Yes?
If all of this was up to him, the man would've had another baby months ago, so my tentative suggestion was met with enthusiasm, and I thought, ok! Let's do it.

Then I called my mom on her birthday and told her that we were thinking about trying for another, because that's what mom's do on their birthdays: listen to you talk about yourself. I heard myself say baby and then add a million "buts" onto the end of my sentence.

But I'm not ready to share my body. But Isla's still nursing, and we're not totally done yet. But this means I'll have to get Isla out of our bed. But then I'll have to go back to not sleeping. But OMG three kids. Everyone says three is the hardest number to hurdle. But life is so nice now that Isla's starting to really embrace some independence.

And in the same train of thought say,

But Everett will be 6 by then so it won't be that crazy. And Isla is obsessed with babies, is generous with sharing me, and would handle the change like a champ. And I should just get the child bearing days over with so they can all grow up close. And this age gap! This age gap was perfect! They're best friends, and don't I want to give that gift to the next child? And also, what if it takes longer than we think it will to get pregnant.

(Yes, it does take me an hour to fall asleep at night)

And then my mom, having listened to my buts, and being the wise sage that she is, gave me the best piece of advice that I never would've given myself. She said, "Don't should on yourself."

Don't should on yourself!

And also it's ok to give it a year. Because what's a year, really, in the scheme of things. It's nothing. A year is nothing. To get rid of the shoulds and replace them with the I wants and the I'm readys.

It may sound so terribly obvious but it was like a blazing light bulb went off in my head. Taking away my self-imposed timeline, gave me instant grace to allow a baby to come to us, but through my heart first. If that meant a month from now, six months from now, a whole dang year from now, it wouldn't matter. I could start trying to get pregnant whenever I felt ready and it all would be completely
totally
fine.

Until then, it's just me and my two little buddies up there, both of whom I am so thoroughly enjoying at the moment. Two and almost five - most stinking delightful ages in the world.

27 comments:

Laura Blanton said...

Oh does this ever hit close to home. I did this dance just last month as my second is now approaching his second birthday. My heart + mind don't feel ready to commit to being "done" having babies yet, but we also feel really content right now... but if we have a third don't want him or her to be too far removed from the other too... but also finances... and sleep. Haha!

I wrestled hard (like lost sleep, could not take my mind off of it) for about two weeks. I prayed and and prayed and prayed. And then I read a blog post the most unexpected advice just fell into my lap. I was watching an interview of someone answering how they decided as to when they were ready to have their second baby and she simply answered, "We felt like something was missing."

Now, we always new that we were going to have more than one. So the leap from one to two went over without basically a thought. But two to three? Well, not so much. I'm still not ready to close the door on babies, but all of our hearts feel really, really content right now. Nothing (or no one) is missing right now. And I'm finding a lot of peace in knowing that God will stir my heart again if something is. :)

From one mama to another, thanks for sharing! ;)

Anne-Marie Larson Earl said...

I can totally relate. My husband and I have talked and talked about trying for baby No. 2 this fall since the beginning of the year. Then I lost my job in July, and while I'm employed now, I just don't feel secure enough to go for it. It's been a major bummer, but I am having such a blast with my daughter that I am feeling better and better about this decision by the day. Family planning is hard! Good for you for recognizing that you aren't ready and taking the pressure off of yourself.

Meg Dodini said...

Such a great post! Even though I am currently pregnant with my 1st, I still needed to hear that.

-Meg

Catherine Hansen said...

That is great advice. Coming from someone who has been trying to have a child for around three years, I definitely think that adding to your family is a awesome gift. Whether or not you do it now or later, you two make some beautiful babies :)

Kristian said...

This reminds me of a line from Eat Pray Love. "Having a child is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really want to be sure." You have two adorable babies and I'm sure when the time is right and not a second before, you'll add your third.

Alyssa said...

I'm in this similar stage right now. My girl is a few months past a year and a half and I'm not ready to have another baby yet. In fact, I won't even hold a new baby. I had a really rough postpartum - really rough - and it's just something I'm not yet ready for. I remember the sleepless nights all too well, because July was the first time my girl had ever slept through the night. A whole year and a half of waking up multiple times a night trying to get her back to sleep when all I wanted was to sleep myself.

Being a mom is so hard and so is deciding on when to have another.

Our husbands might be twins, because I feel like ever since before Hazel turned one he started talking about having another baby. Maybe it's just a dad thing to want more kids close in age?

Sometimes I feel like I'm ready, like today, when we have everything put together and it's only 8:40. But then there are other days where I'm like ohhhkay I couldn't do two! I love your post, you always seem to be going through the same things I'm going through and it's nice not to feel so alone. (:

Katherine Mitchell said...

Such a great post!! My kids are all about two years apart. We just had our third and it has been the easiest so far. For me, my transition was harder going from one to two. You will just know when you are ready to add on!
N.

Stephanie said...

You have a special gift with words aand writing, and of knowing just what to say and when to say it. Thanks for being honest and real and honestly, just making my day!

Rachel said...

So much this. My first two are two years and one month apart. My second and third are three years and one month apart. And it's been so, so good. Everyone always said a third baby was so hard, but it's been such a breeze and a delight, I think, in part because of that extra year gap.

Sarah Kleiner said...

I love this... this is how I feel about going from one to two.

And I love how you said Isla adores nursing. My little lady is 17 months and although sometimes I feel oddly embarrassed to 'still' be nursing her... she adores it and so do it. It does make her still seem so small. And I think thats a huge part of not being ready for number 2 just yet.

Melissa said...

I think most feel this way with the third. One and two are easy simple decisions, three is very scary when you already have two perfect little ones to put all your love into. I even googled the crap out of this because I just wanted to know what and why others did or didn't have three or more. In the end we went with the "if it happens good, if not oh well". And it happened the first month off BC. We now have our third boy. I feel as done as I ever have. But of course it hurts to close the door on this almost decade long journey of baring and rearing little babies. The big V is set for later this month and I'm having all the feels about it. I like your moms advice. Good luck!

Pam said...

I'm practically in tears over here. I'm in the same boat as you and this is exactly the advice I needed. Thank you for sharing, Sydney.

-Pam

Anonymous said...

We had our first 2 22 months apart. It was awesome! Then I was like you we need to have another! wait I just finished this stage didn't I? The 2nd and 3rd are almost r yes apart as are the 3rd and 4th. It IS GLORUOUS!!!

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate this, especially because you're Mormon and you talk about using birth control so frankly- I didn't know that was allowed!

Mara and Jae said...

these same thoughts, in my head, ALL THE TIME lately. and my baby is only almost one. my two are 2 years 1 month apart, and i will tell you what, before i even gave birth to my second, i knew firmly that i'd need a good 3-4 years between her and the next one. turns out i don't totally love newborn stage. it's beautiful for so many reasons, but let's be honest - it is hard and sleepless and nothing fits. my baby still doesn't sleep through the night and still doesn't have any teeth, and although she doesn't nurse anymore (my milk ran dry :(), i am happy to have her be my 'baby' for awhile longer. thanks for posting. sorry for my long comment.. xo

kelly glenn said...

My older brother and I are two and a half years apart. I loved growing up with him. When I was nine, our little brother was born, and I absolutely adored him. It was so special to be older and watch him grow and develop.

Sonia said...

Here here sister! Once you have a third there's no going back! Hold on to the now as long as you need to. If you're not ready then no else in your crew is either!

Good luck and take care!

mollyluc said...

I'm not even a Mom yet and I feel like I somehow related to this post - that's how amazing, honest and perfectly put your writing always is!
My younger brother Adam and I are 1 year and 2 months apart and then our youngest brother Daniel is four years younger than I am, and I could not love having a much younger sibling more! My Mom has always said that she was so happy they (unexpectedly) gave me a buddy and best friend so quickly (Adam officially became my mini me/shadow), and that they then waited a bit to have a third child to let themselves, as well as us, enjoy that time with two. Once Daniel was born, Adam and I were in awe of him and old enough to appreciate what it meant to have another sibling and we were allllll about helping (aka loving on him and "helping" with diaper changes). Good luck with this decision, lady!! Isla and E are going to be the best older siblings ever!!

Ariella said...

Our first two are three years apart. It wasn't what I would have ever thought I'd have done but it's how it worked out, and it was perfect. When it came time for our third, things were different. We were calmer, more settled, I was done with school. So our baby is now three months old and she's two years younger than her older sister. And I'd just like to say that it makes no difference at all. Even if you calculated the exact number of months everything would be different this time- because it's a different baby and a different older sibling and you're a different mom than you were the last time you had a baby. And that's part of what makes this whole thing of having a new baby amazing each time. Watching my two year old meet her new sister wasn't perfect because of the age gap, it was perfect because of what it was. And that will be true whenever that scene takes place- if your older is two or twelve. Id also like to add that there's a lot of propaganda out there about three kids being the hardest and for anyone worrying about that just know it's not true. It's an adjustment like any other baby is but it's not gonna be a disaster so don't worry ;)

Carey King said...

Love this what a great post!! I'm almost seven months pregnant with my second & my first is just 17months and even though we said we really wanted a third the thought of ever being pregnant again makes me want to run a mile.. I mean I was pregnant last year!! So I love this because you're so right!!! And they don't all have to be 5 mins apart in age.. Haha my other but is that this is my second boy and though we want a girl I'm super nervous to end up with 3 boys which sounds scary- no miracle advice to remedy this one maybe? Hehe

Helen T said...

This post!! I just had my third five months ago but unlike you we weren't thinking we "should", in fact we're older than you and we were thinking we "shouldn't". But to heck with the "should"s AND "shouldn't"s too! Now we have three and it's completely nuts but I wouldn't trade it. AND SYDNEY! WHAT IS THIS SCOOTER? I think I need an indoor scooter like this for winter.

Jessica Hurst said...

Freak, I feel like we should just be real life friends already! Cuz...oh man, this post speaks directly to my soul! (as do most of your posts) I also have an almost 5 year old sweet lil lady and a handsome lil guy turning 2 next month (arranged marriage for our kids?) and the same thoughts have been running through my head. Gees, life I swear just barely got easier, am I ready to go through the whole newborn stage again...cuz I'm going to be honest...its ruff on me...crazy hormones and all...but I also stress myself out over the age gap because my kiddos are the best of friends and I want them to have the same relationship with their next sibling. But your're right, what's a year in the whole scheme of things? And if we feel ready before that... Even better...I just need to trust myself and know that when I'm ready, I'll know....just like I did with the other two! ( and the hub's of course...I guess he has a say about all of this too haha) P.S. I agree on the spacing!! My kids are 2 yrs 9months apart and it's the absolute best!

Kiley Wilkinson said...

Wow! So many responses on this one- glad I'm not alone!! It's been FOUR years since my last one- and up until now I couldn't even entertain the idea. I have so much on my plate, still.. And I worry about the "ifs" and "buts" and 2400 people's opinions. I worry I've waited too long, that I can't connect with babies (what do you do with those wiggly things?!) and if my older two will suffer because "the baby needs this" or the baby will suffer because the older two have so many "things" (to do). Doesn't help my husbands pretty happy with our "million dollar family" --- but I also don't want to die wishing I had seen one more magical mix up of our genes be born into this world. Yes; it also takes me an hour to fall asleep too. 😔

Agus said...

Love your post!! Also, your babies seem SO HAPPY!! And if they're happy you're happy, right?! Hence, as your mama says don't "should" yourself: your babies are happy, you're happy, your husband is likely very happy too, so just live in that happiness for a bit :)

at least... that's what i tell myself when I start "should-ing" myself about babies and going back to work and all the other things I "should" do :)

Chelsey said...

Oh how I needed to read this! I'm literally in the exact same boat as you! My 2 year old was insanely insanely clingy to just me for the last 18 months of his life and he's finally gaining independence and I am so thoroughly enjoying him and his 5 year old brother and this stage in our life. And I keep making a timeline for myself and pushing it back and feeling guilty. But I so needed to hear this. So thank you.

Rachel Liv said...

How I love your posts. I've been reading them for years and I think I never commented. But I agree so much with your mom on this one that I had to leave a note. I stopped to should myself last year, packed my things and moved to a new country. Also, just giving myself a year. I can highly recommend. Not that you want to pack your things and move, Idaho is beautiful, I've lived there for a while.. But to free yourself from the "shoulds" and follow your gut feelings on this one :)

Love your little family and always wait for your post. I even started to write some blogposts once in a while because of you. (Eventhough I think that I'm the only one visiting my page, but I just enjoy it :) )

Lauren A. said...

I felt the same way after my second. In fact, although we initially wanted three kids, my husband and I decided we loved our family of four dynamic, and I loved not having to share my body, and that we were done. I had picked out a urologist and asked my husband to make an appointment, for crying out loud. And then two days later, a positive test. It's amazing the plans we make, isn't it? And it's even more amazing when God intervenes and says, "You're not running this ship the way you think you are."

I stand by the fact that two to three is the toughest decision. One to two was a given. But two turned out so beautifully for us. Our kids have each other (and LOVE each other), and we can comfortably fit in a five-seater car, and they each have their own room. And my youngest is such a sweet mama's boy, and I don't want to lose that. And our time with diapers was dwindling! I can't offer any words of wisdom or advice over how well it worked out to have our third just three years after our second. Mainly because I'm still crying over my rapidly expanding third-child belly and all of my first trimester carbs that I can't seem to break away from. But I trust in God's plan more than my own, and I can pray that God would reveal Himself and His perfect timing to you in the family planning process.

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