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Going for the three-peat?
Switching from man-to man to zone defense
Today we tackle the topic of when your body/society tells you to keep replicating when all rational signs point to stop:
Q: Looking forward to a someday segment on obsessing about a possible third child, AKA all I currently think or talk about, to the boredom of everyone around me including myself!!
Q: I think I might want to have another baby? It is a stupid idea and we definitely don't have the room literally or figuratively for a another kid, but it is on my mind so often lately. I thought for sure I did not want any more kids. Maybe this is just me wanting what I can't have?
I got some thoughts from witches who had three or more, and also some who decided to shut down the factory:
I had twins first and wanted to have a third for a lot of reasons. She was only my second pregnancy and it was so awful and then she had this crazy long hospitalization when she was born. LOL @ my fantasies of an "easy" full-term singleton - my slight-preemie twins were in the NICU for a week when they were born. My third was full-term and hospitalized for two and a half months. I am SO SO SO SO SO SO done now. There's no way I'd ever have more. But I don't think I would have ever felt that certainty without having her. I don't regret my ridiculous, challenging third kid, and she's delightful and I'm glad for her and for her siblings. But WHOA would my life be easier if I'd just stuck with the two I started with. Also you realize that so many things are designed for a "family of four." Dinner tables, vacation packages, lots of odd things. I kind of love the barely-controlled chaos of three kids. But if you like your life organized and under tight control? IDK, it may not be for you. Parenting three kids requires a balance of being pretty organized but also flexible.
On the one hand I am 100% confident we were right to end at 2. However whenever I hear about someone having a third I feel this sense of sadness that I cannot explain, like we got off the train early. I think it has to be biology and yet again I'm like ‘Brain, it's time for you to step up.’ This is a big part of why I wanted my husband to get a vasectomy. The decision is done.
We were 100% sure we wanted our third—and I am still about 97% sure that is true (he is newly 4)—but three kids is NO JOKE. My husband and I are outnumbered and so.fucking.tired. It is getting easier as they get older. But there are still so many needs. So, so, so, so many needs....and Mom is always at the bottom of the totem pole. So that is brutal.
I don't know where we'd put a third child or how we'd afford it, especially if it ended up having some of the needs my kids or others in our family have. And we'd need to use science to have it. We always assumed we'd have another, and suddenly here we are and we didn't, and my boys boys are SO easy to travel with and fun that introducing another restrictive element into that... but, it's also tempting, because they'd make the best big brothers.
I had a debilitating complication with both my pregnancies (that is nearly guaranteed to happen every time if it happens once), and pregnancy was the worst experience of my life. I can barely believe I put myself through it a second time. I don't want a third for a lot of reasons but this is way up there. I get mad just thinking about it.
I have no regrets about having three. Yes, there are squabbles, but I find them reminiscent of the squabbles I had with my siblings growing up (some of which have become inside family jokes and quotes over the years) so I don’t totally mind them. They end quickly anyway. We do feel like siblings are the best gift we have given our kids, and they really do love each other. Watching them play together is an indescribable joy (plus, then I don’t have to spend hours pretending that I am a brachiosaurus firefighter living on a volcano). Yes, it is harder than having one child. But, IMO, 100% worth it. (Says the lady who had very easy conceptions and pregnancies so YMMV). Also, going from 1-2 was absolutely the hardest thing for the first month. Everything is terrible: your first kid is sad and feels displaced, everything has to be reshuffled, and you are exhausted and being pulled in different directions. Parenting itself is easier because you have done it before, but you are so tired and there are so many emotions to manage (not just your own this time). It gets better after that, and going from 2-3 has been a total breeze because my older kids are already used to being siblings and they know their places in our family.
Watching my kids fall in sibling love with each other has been incredible. Going from 0-1 was way harder than 1-2 for me. But, if you asked my husband he would say 1-2 was harder because he had to do more the second time around to help with the older one. He also says it strengthened his relationship with our daughter because he had to do more and realized he could do it. One thing I’ve noticed now that we have our third baby is how much easier it is having another baby when the older ones are in school/out of the house consistently doing activities that I don’t have to guide them through or even attend sometimes. My first two daughters are 26 months apart so they both needed me a lot for life all day, now I can enjoy time with just one baby or just two out of three. They play with each other and learn from each other, and with three girls I hope that increases my odds of having at least one kid who grows up and still likes me! That said, three is very much more than two. I have never been busier in my life.
I really wanted a third, because I am crazy. Adding him in as a baby was super easy, especially since the other two were older, and the oldest could babysit. Our marriage didn’t suffer from it at all because we really knew what we were doing. He was an easy baby and the first year of his life was great. Everything after that has been exhausting. He has a ton of energy and is relentless. I don’t have enough mental space to effectively deal with the emotional and functional needs of three kids and a full time job. I am so tired all the time. I was a really great parent to my oldest. I was a pretty good parent for the middle. I am just phoning it in with number three.
The only regret that I have about having our third kid is that in the wee hours of the morning I was so mean to our middle guy, who was only 2 at the time. It makes me so sad to think about, but he’s one of those whiney kids who needs lots of attention and I couldn’t handle that shit when I was completely sleep deprived. It’s three years later and I still think about it. Otherwise, I totally love having three (except of course when they’re being little shits) and think, like many have said, 0-1 is much harder than 1-2. I did have to get a minivan, but, well, I’ve gotten over that.
Definitely agree that 0->1 is the hardest. And no regrets about three. I love how each of my three is so different and how they challenge and pester and love on each other. I do find the financial question to be a reasonable one. Money will be so tight for us for so long. Of course every family is different and depending on whether you decide to stay in the city and pay private tuition or try public city schools, or move to the burbs, etc. There are a lot of things to consider and you will have a beautiful life no matter what!
One thing that gave me perspective was when I was thinking seriously about a third and my husband said, “Do you want another baby or do you want our kids as babies again?” And it was true, what I was really missing or feeling the lack of was that time with them as babies. (Despite the fact that neither of them slept!)
I’m a fan of 3! But there was a study that said parents of 3 are the unhappiest. But middle children are a dying breed these days! Think of the greater good! I have to say, four is HARD. Or I’m just really bad at it? I would probably feel really differently if I lived around family and a support system. There are too many needs to be met and I expect them to increase over the next decade, while still recovering from the last decade. I would probably have been super pissed if I didn’t get to have #4, and she may rule the whole world someday with the iron will and determination she has, but four kids is borderline too many these days. I will tell my children to have three.
Going from one to two was incredibly stressful and infinitely harder than I thought it would be, for me. I have no regrets, though I do find that it's still very stressful because they tend to squabble and fight and nothing gets my goat worse than that. I love my second to pieces, plus I get to have a boy and a girl. I'm glad that I get to stretch out parenting a bit longer because the years have really flown and before I know it they will be packing off to college and then it'll be just me and my husband (guess I'll have to get a dog or something). I'm glad they will have each other now, and when they are older—I talk to my sister all the time about our parents and I'm glad I'm able to do that, as nobody else would understand in the same way. I think there is a bit of mourning that you have to do when you decide you are done. I was feeling similar things, not that I *wanted* to have another baby but just, "Oh, why is this going by so fast? How can my daughter already be EIGHT?" Then I had a pregnancy scare (at 42!) and I was SICK WITH DREAD and realized it was really, really over. It's bittersweet.
It was either my OBGYN or my therapist who told me “The decision to have more kids (or kids at all) is not always a rational one and that’s ok.” I think this is when I was contemplating going from 2-3 and had some health issues (high BP and it was going to be my third c-section). I’m Team More Babies - it will work itself out. But I logically know that is insane. Each infant stressed the fuck out of my marriage and destroyed my body but right now I am enjoying three boys under 6. That being said, I scream at them daily and sometimes have no idea how we will make it all work money wise. But I love the group dynamic they have now and watching them play and love up on each other in between trying to kill each other.
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