Discerning whether to have another child


#1

I realize an online forum is not the best place to talk about something like this, but it is weighing on me greatly, and I don’t readily have anyone else to talk to about it, and I desperately need to talk to someone about it. So, please, be compassionate in your responses.

I’ve been married for six years, and we have 2 kids. I’ve always wanted 3 kids, and that number has always sort of been in the back of my mind. My other 2 are three years apart. We liked that spacing and, as is a benefit of using NFP, we were able to time our pregnancies pretty much exactly the way we wanted. The younger child is now 2 and two months, and so it’s coming upon the time to “try” again if we were to do the same three year spacing. I really want another baby. I feel like there is something missing in our family, a void that needs to be filled. But I’m also very conflicted. I come from a family of people who are all mentally ill, as in virtually everyone closely related to me — mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncle, first cousins — with the exception of two or three of them, all of them have some sort of mental illness ranging from mild to severe. One is on the autism spectrum. I am somewhere in between mild and severe on the mental illness scale. I am often depressed and anxious. I am on medication and have had three different psychologists, and nothing has helped.

I struggle to raise the two kids I already have. I know I wound them with my words and raised voice. I let them play with too much technology because I do not have the energy to do activities with them. I yell at them over small things and parent in anger. I apologize to them when this happens. But I often feel like my kids bring out the worst in me.

I have asked my husband many times whether or not he wants another child. He has put the ball in my court. He says he is fine with two kids and is also fine with three kids. So it’s all on me to decide.

I really want another child. I just don’t feel like I can go through pregnancy, childbirth, a year or more of sleep deprivation, etc. all over again, all while caring for the two I already have. My husband works long hours and travels for his business, so I don’t think he will be of much help. I don’t trust my mentally ill mother enough to have her in my home to help me. I am just so tired and worn out, mostly mentally but also physically. But this desire for another child won’t go away. I feel like I will be miserable if we don’t have another and I will also be miserable if we do. There is no win.

I just want opinions. I know no one can give a black and white answer, as it is for me and my husband to ultimately discern. I’m just feeling very distraught and need to get it out in the open.


#2

Maybe the answer is not “no,” but just, “not right now.”

You don’t have to maintain the current spacing. It may be a lot easier on you when your children are a bit older and can do more of their own self-care, and help you out around the house. When they’re ALL little, that’s the hardest!


#3

Thank you for your kind response. I have thought about this. I realize the current spacing is not the be all end all, but I also feel like I would be just postponing it by waiting longer. In other words, things tend to get easier when the child reaches age 2. So I see it as an investment of two years (the sleep deprivation and generally being on the go 24/7/365). I see it as just making it a longer time to get to that point of age 2.

But yes, you are right, a longer spacing may be the answer.


#4

I get that. But I do think back-to-back-to-back is really, really hard on the mom physically and mentally. Having some breathing room can help with that. The other thing to consider is your years of fertility that you likely have left. It might not be the best approach to think “well, I can get this over with,” if you’re likely to have a sufficient number of years to have a fourth child.


#5

That has to be a very personal decision between you, your spouse and God. NO ONE here can give you the answer.


#6

We always did the opposite, discern if we were going to avoid this cycle. Take it a cycle at a time. Remember, your kids are not going to stay this age forever, they will become more independent.

If my math is okay, your youngest will be in school by the time #3 arrives. Your baby will be potty training/trained, will be feeding his/herself, will be a little helper.

It is really okay to hire some help to come in, even once a week to do the heavy house cleaning if nothing else. You should not be expected to do this alone!!

Give yourself some slack! It is only in very recent years the idea that mommy must be activities director AND playmate has become the thing.


#7

Not speaking from personal experience but I’ve heard many moms note that the first two or three are always the hardest since you are basically doing all the work. However, once they get a little bigger they can help around the house which decreases the stress levels when you are taking care of the younger kiddos.


#8

If you haven’t already, I’d suggest discussing this with your doctors. Find out exactly what they expect the effects of pregnancy and childbirth to be on your anxiety and depression (I know you’ve already been through it twice, but things change). It’s especially important for them to know everything you said in your 3rd paragraph.
Also, don’t put pressure on yourself to decide right now. You don’t need that additional anxiety. You’re tired and worried, and you need to be nice to yourself.


#9

I have not much time now but from your OP you seem to be a very reasonable person.

My thought on this would be if you desire another child, which you are, then go for it.

Surrender everything to God, allow Him to minister and provide for you an your family.

Remember that life is a gift from God. We are to accept this gift with gratefulness and holiness. We also should believe that God will care for us and therefore He has to be brought into our lives and our families.

Mental illness unfortunately can be hereditary but it is not incurable. In other word it can be treated. If you have the will and see the greater good, surely God will be with you to give you the strength to raise your family.

God bless.


#10

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