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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Some Thoughts on Waiting

It's not a secret that the process of expanding our family hasn't gone as I would have planned.
No, we're not struggling with infertility, and no, our marriage isn't on the rocks.
So, then, why haven't we popped out baby #2 yet?!

I get the question a lot, and I've finally come to terms with some good solid reasons.
If you had asked me a few months ago why weren't trying for another baby, I might have been bitter and angry, and told you to mind your own business. My heart (and my uterus) have been ready for a long time. But, now is not the time to be making such heavy decisions based on my feelings.
This post is to bring myself some peace about decisions that have been made, and about timelines and questions left unanswered.
This post isn't meant for any inquiring mind, either, other than my own. I've finally been able to wrap my brain around some solid reasons to wait to have another baby, and I'm ready to talk......that's all.

 I've spent many mornings in the shower agonizing over our decisions, and many sleepless nights trying to find a way to make things work. I've calculated and recalculated the numbers, weighing debt and income, bills and paychecks. I've contemplated every possible scenario: giving up cable, internet, and cell phones; create a once-a-month-cooking meal plan and ditch eating out altogether; quit my job and trade in both cars for one beater car to share; win the lottery.
There's really no way around it: we don't make enough money right now to support another baby.
Trust me, I've tried to make it work!
The biggest problem is that I don't have insurance right now. Working part time gives me the option to buy insurance, but at quite the premium (in fact, the premium each month would equal more than I even bring home.....). Scott works full time, but is considered a temporary employee for the government, so again, we would be paying the entire premium for an insurance plan through his job. Scott has medical insurance through the VA and Elliott is currently on state-funded insurance. I know that it's risky for me to be without health insurance, but we really have no other options. We make too much to qualify for any other form of assistance, and yet we cannot afford insurance for ourselves! (I'm hugely grateful that the state is paying for Elliott's's a blessing, and we will be taking over the burden of her health insurance costs just as soon as we can!)

Not having medical insurance was the nail-in-the-coffin for my baby-making plans.
In my dream-world, I would have raised three or four children, each right around 2 years apart.
With this financial hiccup, it throws the whole plan off. By the time we are able to have one more child, I will be almost 30.....the thought of four children (and maybe even the thought of three) is starting to turn into just that: a dream.

My husband's incessant "later" in reply to my desperate pleadings about having another baby wasn't enough of an answer for me for a long time. I had to come to the conclusion that now isn't our time all on my own, through my own stubbornness. For the past year, I've battled with how I could make it work, and now I finally see: having a baby right now is not an option.
In fact, I'm scared to see what would happen if I did get pregnant. We really would be caught in the middle, and would somehow have to find a way to pay out of pocket for pre-natal care, childbirth, and all the other necessities that come with bringing a new life into this world. Sure, we could do without some of the luxuries we live with now, but the cost of pre-natal care and birth is astronomical and tightening our budget wouldn't get us much closer to being able to afford it, that's for sure!

So with my mind made up that we must wait until Scott has graduated and found a job, I've decided that waiting to have another child isn't all bad. This time with Ellie is precious, and I refuse to take it for granted by letting bitter thoughts consume me. I don't know about you, but making a list always helps me feel better (read: in control). So, here's my list as to why waiting more than two years between babies isn't entirely terrible:

1. We get more time with Elliott.
This, in turn, scares me because we won't have this kind of one-on-one, devoted time to give to our next child. But, we have it and we should take advantage of it. Ellie will one day be a big sister, so I want to invest all the time I have right now into shaping her into the best big sister she can be! Once our time is divided, I know that it will all work out and we will love each of our children equally. For now, though, I'm going to soak up the cuddles, play on the floor, and teach Ellie everything I know!

2. I get my body to myself.
I never really got a chance to breastfeed, but I know many moms feel as if their body is not their own when they are pregnant for nine months, breastfeed for a year or more, and then go right into another pregnancy. I've had two years of having my body to myself, and I have to say, I haven't really appreciated that as much as I should. I want to enjoy the body that I have (and to enjoy it, I would need to be about 30 pounds lighter), cherish it and keep it healthy. I want to be healthier in my next pregnancy than I was with my first, so I will take this time to take care of it and start good habits.

3. I want to be a stay at home mom.
I always have wanted this, and I always will! While my thoughts on being a stay at home mom have changed since becoming a mom myself (mostly, I would like to be a work-at-home-mom, rather than a stay-at-home-mom), I know that it is still my goal. I feel bad that the past two years, and probably the next one year at least, of Ellie's life I have spent working, but it's what I need to do! I am at home with her as much as possible, and that's what counts. I know that by waiting to have our next child, I have a greater possibility of spending more time at home with my kids. Scott will be done with school in June, and will hopefully settle into a job shortly after that. Then we can evaluate our situation, and hopefully I can create enough income through photography and etsy so that I can, in fact, be a stay work at home mom.

Those are my three biggest reasons for being okay with our decision to wait on having another child. Now don't get me wrong, if we magically had insurance tomorrow, I'd change my mind in a heartbeat and we'd be on our way to adding a fourth member to this family. But since I don't see that happening anytime soon, I can't dwell on how fun it would be to have another baby right now (because there are many, many cool reasons to have babies close together, trust me). There are great reasons to wait, and that's what I'm setting my sights on. We are taking the high road in our situation, which isn't always the easiest decision to make. I want to be selfish and say that there's never a perfect time to have a baby (which is also true).....but I know that for us, we need to be smart about this.
God is in control, but He has entrusted me with many blessings and I am doing my best to make good decisions with those blessings.



Kiara Buechler said...

I'm glad you've found peace with this for now. It is such a hard decision. I know how you feel about approaching 30, it is daunting to me that I will be 30 by the time we have our next baby, but I guess it isn't that much different than being 29 like I had planned. I pray that Scott finds an awesome job when he finishes up school, and your dream of becoming a WAHM becomes a reality.

nicole. said...

Lady, I am here to tell you that even when you think it cant... or wont happen again.. things always have a way of working out the way they are supposed to.

Its a touch decision to make. I know. My hubs and I just had the, are we done convo. My uterus hurt the whole convo {lol}

I had my first baby at 19. WOWZA Clearly I was in no financial situation to have another. So, I didnt.

Basically, I had an only child. And, I loved every single minute of her. Loved it.

13 years later. Bam, I had another. Oh, and P.S. I was 32 when I gave birth to Braeden. So, there is NOTHING wrong with having a little bit of space in between. Sure my kids wont be rolling in the dirt together but it sure has had its advantages... and they are siblings true to from.


Mandy@ a sorta fairytale said...

I'm so sorry that things didn't work out as planned, but I'm happy to hear that you have come to terms with it, and in fact, found many advantages to waiting!! I will never ever regret this baby that I'm carrying now- but sometimes I wonder if waiting a little longer would have been a smart idea. Too late now, huh? ha ha.
Anyway, I know that the time will come that you will have your 2nd child, and it will be right for you and your family. You can take peace in knowing that. Thank you for sharing such personal feelings!

Melissa @ knit purl baby said...

because of our marital situation (haha that sounds bad) we are waiting to try to conceive until after we get married in may. if we were married already, we probably would have started trying months ago. but i am so so happy to have this time with jc for just him and me. and i know i'll still have at least a year and a half before another baby is welcomed into this family. so jc will be at least 3 before he's a big brother. i really hope you can reach your goal of being a work at home mom!

Wendy said...

I love your honesty in this post. And I really admire that your family has made the decision to wait. One day you will look back on this post and realize that God had a bigger plan, and was blessing you in the long run.


Raegan is my world said...

I love your list and think you are being very smart about your decision. I totally get the having your body to yourself because I am still waiting for that day since raegan is still nursing. I said I would stop when she is 2 and that is in 4 days. It's goin to be very hard for her to adjust.

Anonymous said...

Whatever spacing you end up with will be perfect for YOU! I know when Michael was this little I couldn't even fathom adding another baby to the mix. Our boys are 3 years apart and it was rough at first. With Michael being 5 now, I almost wish he could have another go at being a big brother (not happenin...) because it would be a really special experience for him at this age. Anyway - good for you for knowing what you can handle, having goals and working to reach them! Like I said, how ever you end up spacing your kids will be just perfect :)