So I’m pregnant and having a third kid. I’ve already got a daughter and son. Why in the world would I want another kid? Here’s my journey to how I got here.
I’m the oldest of 6 kids. I grew up in a community where most families had at least 2 children, and families of 4 or more were fairly common. I always assumed I’d have my own kids one day because, well, it’s all I really knew. However, though I liked the idea of my kids having lots of siblings like I did, I also knew how much work kids were and I didn’t want to do the work of raising a bunch of kids myself, lol, so I figured my own family one day would be a bit smaller.
Fast forward many years to KP and I seriously dating. For some reason, I distinctly remember the moment we first discussed the number of kids we wanted. We’d just parked at the same local mall parking garage we still frequent today and were walking, hand in hand, toward the mall entrance.
“I don’t know, I think I could see myself with 3 kids? Maybe 4 tops?” I threw it out there, hoping I was wasn’t reaching too high. “Or maybe just 1 or 2 would be ok too?”, I ventured after a pause. “I mean, I guess it depends on how life works out.” After all, I didn’t want to sound like I had my life too scripted out yet and freak him out.
His brief hesitation was probably much shorter than I felt it was before he answered, “Yeah, I think I could do 3. Maaaybe 4? But definitely not just 1.”
“Ok” I said, secretly smiling on the inside knowing I could cross that off my mental compatibility checklist. “2 to 4 kids. Sounds good to me too.”
I happily squeezed his hand even tighter as we walked into the mall together. Happy and in love with our entire wide-open promising future ahead of us.
I like to think back to that moment because here I am now, a dozen years later, mentally preparing to welcome our 3rd -and likely last- child into the world the next few months. And so I find myself (as I’m often known to do here in this blog, ha ha) reflecting back on this whole entire reproductive stage of my life.
The journey to growing our family was not as easy or smooth or anything like how I once naively just assumed it would all happen. But it happened the way it did and though I don’t often go into all of it publicly (someday I’ll have the guts to blog it all out, but today’s not that day), my life has been profoundly impacted by a now decade-long contemplative perspective on the beauty of our human reproductive capabilities.
But I digress.
My first full-term pregnancy came after a period of waiting and frustration that it wasn’t happening on the timeline I thought it was supposed to. There’d been a couple years of stress and unknowns, doctor appointments, conflicting professional opinions, personal research and advocacy. So when I finally found myself pregnant, I spent much of the pregnancy in a sort of shock, afraid to be joyous about it in fear of forgetting and betraying our previous struggle to get there.
My second full-term pregnancy came at a really rough time in life. Mine and KP’s marriage was struggling. Finances were bad. I had to argue with nurses to decline prenatal tests I knew we couldn’t afford and our high-deductible insurance wouldn’t yet cover. I cried in the midwife’s office apologizing that we couldn’t make payments but were trying to work something out. I remember trying to settle debts on the phone with credit card companies, having to explain our expanding family size, and feeling so irresponsible being pregnant and knowing they were likely judging me for it. I pinned websites about moving and traveling cross-country with a newborn because I knew there was a good chance that we’d have no choice but to pack up our life and dreams in L.A. and move back home soon after the birth. I’ve never told KP this, but I often silently apologized to my unborn son that we were bringing him into our world at such tumultuous time and I hoped he would one day end up knowing something different, and better, than our current existence.
For those of you’ve been around from the beginning of this blog, you maybe could read between the lines of those early posts. If you couldn’t, I tried to hide things well back then, so I must have apparently succeeded.
For this third (hopefully full term) pregnancy, KP and I had been going back and forth about the idea of a 3rd kid for awhile. But somehow, something/someone felt missing from our family, so we decided to be open to another child. However, when I saw those two pink lines last January, I admit that I wasn’t exactly excited about it. If anything, I was nervous, overwhelmed. We don’t live in the kind of community I grew up in; most people here don’t have more than two children…especially if you already have one of each sex.
And then I miscarried.
And it hit me much harder than I expected it would.
As the months passed afterward, KP and I reconsidered our desire to have a 3rd kid. Maybe we’d lucked out with the two we had. Should we take the chance with another? But I wasn’t getting any younger and, with the ‘dreaded’ AMA/advanced maternal age on the horizon, time wasn’t on my side to wait forever to decide either. Then, once S potty trained and began becoming more independent, and with each month coming and going without that second pink line, I began coming to terms with our family size as is. Maybe this was our nice little perfectly balanced family: Mom, Dad, Daughter. Son.
On Sept. 8, 2016, I took my kids to the L.A. County Fair. Quickly trying to get a few pictures in the hustle and bustle without losing a 4.5- and 2-yr old, I managed to corral them both into one of those face cutout boards and snapped a pic for Instagram (because you know, all the modern bloggers just HAVE to photo document their daily lives, lol 🙂 ).
Here’s the picture I took. Anything stand out to you?
I didn’t notice it when I first snapped the pic, only when viewing the image after.
Kid 1. Kid 2. A Void.
For some reason, the image immediately struck me. I have TWO kids. Not three. Maybe that “void” was my lingering feeling of attachment to the almost-baby miscarried months before?
Oddly, instead of making me feel like I was missing a child – it brought me a strange peace. Those two kids pictured were my kids. This was my family. Despite whatever I once thought my family might look like one day, this is what it DID look like. Life doesn’t always work out to fill the holes you set out for it to. Isn’t this the very lesson I’ve been learning over and over and over again in all our Hollywood dream chasings?
I decided right then and there that -barring an unsuspected surprise with my about-to-end current cycle- that as soon as my next cycle came, that I was going to be done. That our family was going to be done. That I was ready to move on and accept what we had and appreciate growing out of the baby/toddler stage and into the next.
I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Four days after the above picture was taken, I got that second pink line. Baby #3 is on its way. I’m now 20 weeks* along.
*For anyone reading who might now be fluent in understanding the weeks vs months thing in pregnancy dating, this means I’m approx. 5 months pregnant (out of 10 -not 9- months of pregnancy). Or you could say I’m half-way through. Or that I’ve know I was pregnant for about 4 months at this point.
And it’s taken me about this much time time to believe that I actually *am* pregnant, and that we actually *will* have more children than adults in the Peck household here soon…especially after I’d just come to terms with the idea of our family moving on with only two. I’m still a bit overwhelmed by the idea, but I’m also excited at the prospect of one more baby to love and snuggle and get to know as they develop into their own little person.
I guess it further goes to show that life doesn’t always work out the way you think it will, but it still works out the way it does.