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Thoughts on Number Three

At date night last Friday, my spouse brought up the topic of number three.  I have to say, I wasn't fully prepared for the discussion.  There is a huge part of my heart that would love to conceive another baby (the fun part!), and I would more-so love carrying another life inside of me and delivering another little bambina/o.  I look less fondly on the ensuing challenges of having baby: postpartum issues, sleep deprivation, nursing, feeding, diapering... 

I have two siblings and my husband has three.  Our family dymanics have been robust and generally happy.  Now that I'm all grown up, I'm happy to have two brothers to call on for occassional back-up childcare or to invite over for Sunday night dinner.  I'm happy to have my husband's siblings, the aunties and uncles who are all beloved and important parts of our girls' lives.  Family affairs when our families gather are rambunctious and overjoyous.  Shall we keep the cycle of our families growing by growing our own nuclear family?

By the time our first daughter was 3, her baby sister was soon to come.  Now that our second daughter is 3.5 (!!!!), I get to thinking, "Should we?  Could we?"  The past few days, I have looked at our younger daughter with a few ounces of wistfulness and nostalgia.  Her days of babyhood are now years behind us.  Our little Tati is 3.5 years old going on 35: she looks like a little woman, a dalagita as they say in my parents' language.

Granted, having a baby just to prolong the sweet smell of baby in the household isn't reason enough to go for three.  Tati's best friend, who almost 3 years old, is expecting a baby sister within weeks.  Tati has come home saying, "I want to be a big sister."  I'm having a hard time coming up with a way to respond to her.

Have you decided?  Do your Thoughts on Number Two also apply to your Thoughts on Number Three?


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oh my gosh olivia! i am having the same issue (my husband not so much...) my husband and i only have one sibling each and it seems like such a small family. i've always envisioned myself with three kids, and i would love to go through pregnancy and having a little one one more time, but I think "really, can we swing this?" Two seems so much harder than one, what happens when you add a third? and then i think, "well, i have so much to offer and a little hard work now will be rewarded with another incredible family member..." ugh, i have no idea what the answer is.

good luck!

I am pregnant with our second (our son will be 3.5 when his little brother/sister arrives), and my husband just brought up the idea of going for three someday. I am the youngest of four and my husband is the eldest of two, so having him broach the subject was a surprise. I have heard that having the second jars you more than having three...meaning, at that point your life is a bit crazier anyway, so why not add three? As I have yet to go into the two-kid craziness, I am not one to give any advice. The topic of three also came up due to the fact that my beloved nephew was just killed in Iraq, and he was the second oldest in a family of four very close-knit kids. They have been a joy to watch grow and mature into young adults, and are a very positive example for a larger family. So it reminded us that a larger family would be a wonderful experience for us. My other brothers stopped at two offspring and are also very happy families...so...I'm torn as well. I do think more kids makes for even more love, whether we birth the third, or adopt. So, right now I think I'm leaning toward three. But, ask me when this baby is two months old and I am once again sleep deprived (and now in my late 30's!)...I might have changed my mind! I look forward to hearing any thoughts/advice from moms of multiples!

Ok. Well, we were having similar thoughts when our youngest was turning 1 (she is now 2). We ultimately decided against a third. The main reason being we just could not make up our minds. It seemed like there was no question on whether we wanted the first two, but since we were on the fence for so long, it seemed that we were done and just grateful for what we had. I have to admit, there are times it seems like a good idea, but we are happy with our family of four.

We're in the same boat, though we're not talking about it very seriously. When our second was born, my husband turned to me and said, "Let's never do that again," just because we had so much almost go wrong. It scared him. But I feel some regret, because I love being pregnant (and I didn't get to go the full 9 months), and I love having a baby. But on the other hand, life is crazy because we both work full-time too. Then just before Christmas this year my husband said he's up for three if I am... what? If we're just logical, we think we should stop at 2, because it works for us and we're not outnumbered. And it seems like it might be hard to be able to give three kids all the attention they need. On the other hand... baby, baby. I would love to have another one.

I guess the most likely scenario that actually ends in a third baby is a halfway intentional oops due to being negligent about bc...

It's such a personal decision and (as you well know) one that I've answered with a definite "yes!" and "how many is too many?" For me, it was an easier decision as I've always known that three was the baseline; I'd have three, and then decide.

However, in the past few weeks, I've been focusing very much on the "how will this work?" question. For us, three won't be much additional expense, as I'm working from home and our childcare needs won't increase much. However, this does greatly prolong the number of years I won't be able to, for instance, go out to a restaurant with my kids without being on red alert every moment (will my two-year-old climb over the back of the booth? will my baby knock over my glass of water? will anyone scream loudly enough for the authorities to be called? will i ever eat my coconut curry?). It will prolong the time before I'm comfortable travelling somewhere international with all the kids (we're thinking about a seven-months-pregnant trip to visit my sister in Panama, but that will be a stretch!) It will mean transportation becomes more difficult (no longer can I hitch a ride with the kids in just about *anyone's* vehicle). It means that at least the oldest child *always* has to walk to the park. There are so many things that become impossible with three. No more dreams of a mini-cooper lifestyle ;)

Of course, Everett will start full-day kindergarten a few weeks after this baby is born. And most of us who are either thinking about three or are headed there are in the same boat -- one child is going to "real" school, making more room for baby.

I think a lot of it depends on what you want to accomplish in your life-with-children. If you want to fill your kids' lives with activities, three or more is really hard -- shuttling and juggling can get difficult, and we haven't even begun to talk about expense and whether they'll focus on different things. I've consciously chosen to have fewer variables while the kids are young -- Everett's in ballet now, and I'll probably have him top out at two different activities, and Truman won't start anything until he's three. No music together for me, and book babies will probably happen about twice for each child.

But I'm already loving the sibling thing, and know that, for me, more *is* better. Truman and Everett have such different personalities and yet they already play together well (sometimes) -- I'm sure that #3 will have similarities with each, and they'll start finding ways to couple off for certain activities. And I love having a family full of siblings (both my husband and I each have four siblings). It makes my life so rich.

You *can* have a rich life without a lot of siblings (hey! you have us!) and, for some people, two is a very good number. But I tend to believe, the more you wonder if three is right, the more it IS right :)

It really is a personal thing.

I was one of three and it wasn't much fun. It was always the two older ones against the younger one; things don't divide in three the way they do in half, there aren't enough parents for everyone to get enough attention. My siblings and I get along well now, but having three was never something I considered. Even if I wanted a third, financial considerations alone (3 college funds?) would make it very difficult. Plus, as parents who find it hard to get enough time for ourselves and our creative projects and our marriage...well, another kid would push us right over the edge.

However! What's right for you is right for you. I think anyone with the emotional and financial resources to have lots of kids and the desire to do so should go ahead.

We just had our seventh 3 months ago. What a blessing she has been to our family already. We had a seven year gap between the other six and our youngest, so I've had lots of helpers this time. When we both felt it was right to have another baby we went for it...2nd, 3rd...all of them. Our children have all been very active in sports, it sure was nice when one of them started driving!

My thoughts on three are "No, no, no, heavens, no." I had a lovely first pregnancy and birth and a not great second pregnancy and birth and now with a almost-4-year-old and a 4-month-old and am completely in love with my children and completely done having babies. I have been harassing my husband about making "the appointment" and scared to death I might get pregnant in the meantime. I feel too old to do all of it again even if others can do pregnancy at forty beautifully.

We are all very happy with our family of four and I am really looking forward to the kids being old enough to do "big kid things" together. After my first was born I thought I couldn't do birth again but that feeling passed quickly, this time I am sure: Just two for me, thanks.

Now that I am getting to enjoy the magical sibling thing with my 5 yr. old, and 14 month old, I can understand the temptation to have a 3rd. When I just had one, THREE sounded like crazy talk! Still, though, we are done. We've talked about it a couple times, and dismissed the idea right away. I can't even really give reasons, there are just too many. We just know that 4 is our magic number. In the spirit of Sarah's comment, if you find yourself continuing to ask the question, maybe you already know the answer.(?) Good luck in your process.

I always knew it would be two and we are truly happy with two. For us, a third would mean: putting off professional endeavors I've put aside for the last few years, more pressure to make money on husband, a bigger house (which we can't really afford), a bigger car, saving more money, etc. The world population issue comes up, too, but only after all the impacts on our current life, which we really love right now. The only time we reconsidered was right after #2 was born, because the birth was so wonderful, she was (and is) such an easy baby. Also, our lives seemed to fall into place, but that was because I made radical changes in my work life, not because we had another baby. There have been small periods of mourning in this decision. I'll never have a son, because I'd always pictured one of each, but I've found having two girls is a gift I'd never anticipated. We talk about permanent birth control, but neither of us are really ready to be *sterile.* (We're both having issues with that.) And after a lifetime of anticipation, my baby-having days are over. They went by so quickly! Still, there is so much to look forward to with raising these girls and the more we get into it the more I look forward to focusing the "kid" years.

Even if you're totally sure you're finished having babies, are you ever able to get over that weepy sadness that you'll never feel a baby move inside you, that you'll never smell that milk breath again? I am hoping that the rational side will win against the sweet sentimental side and that one day I'll be sure that two is enough.

I was one of 3 kids, and while I might consider having more, it's either going to be 2 kids or 4. I did not like the dynamics of being in a 3 kid family. (Ack does this mean I'll have twins?)

As everyone has said, it's a really personal decision, but as I just had my third six weeks ago, I thought I'd weigh in on this. There were a couple of things we considered (although, to be perfectly honest, #3 was a complete surprise; we were still considering when we found out about him!): money, time, space, etc. In the end, all of that went out the window -- and not just because he was a surprise. We both just knew our family wasn't complete. I didn't want to go through pregnancy/postpartum again, didn't want to have to potty train another kid, didn't want to lose any more sleep. But I couldn't get it out of my head that someone was missing from our family. Now that he's here, I can say that three isn't any harder than two...just much, much busier! In the end, you can justify it any way you want, but it really comes down to a gut feeling about what makes the perfect family for you.

I have heard that 3 is the new 2! We are content with two for all the reasons Kat cited above. With that said, I will MISSSSS my sweet baby boy (19 months not so baby) when he hits full fledged toddler-dom (who am I kidding?, he's already there- tear...). I love me a baby. Alas, not enough reason for a third.
I am so curious about and admire couples who have more than 2 kids. While our kids are blessings beyond anything we could have imagined, parenting them is no easy task!
I say if you and your husband feel in your hearts that you are up to it on all levels, then go for it!

we have three and LOVE it, for all the reasons I mentioned in the other discussion. It really works well for us and even though they're begging for more siblings, I'm done. Our family of five is perfect.

Please talk to a wide swath of three kid families. What I imagined it to be was similar to many of you, how hard would it to be a third after a second? Many parents will say it is absolute insanity. In the best sense of course, but still, three is exponentially more difficult than two. You think you're adding just one more kid, how hard can it be? Every relationship in the family changes. When my youngest came along my older two started taking their frustrations of the baby out on each other. I imagine that will change later on and for the most part they get along well but that surprised me. You get one ready to go out the door, then turn your attentions to the next one to realize that the oldest has undressed the middle while you tended to the youngest. Stuff like that.

Also, after we had #3 it seemed that every mom I knew with three would come up to me with this knowing nod of the chaos we were experiencing. It was like joining a secret club.

One other thing to consider is that it is harder when you have kids in different stages in life. For example my oldest is playing sports now and that means dragging along the younger ones for all the games and practices. And the two littler ones have to have naps completed by 3pm in order to pick up big brother at school.

That said, our family wasn't complete until our youngest son arrived. He was a surprise and we are thrilled with our family of five. Good luck!

Hello, I just encountered Urbanmamas and love it. I do not have three kids so this post might be better considered for "thoughts on two" BUT since "thoughts on three" is the more recent thread and my comment could apply to that as well, I'm posting it here. Like everyone says, having or not having more children is such a deeply personal decision and so is how you choose to have them—by birth or adoption. So I completely respect that adoption might not be for everyone but I want to say that once you do start thinking about it, it is not nearly as daunting as you might assume. My husband and I have one child by birth and decided to adopt our second child. He was reluctant at first--both about having a second child at all and about adopting. Once we were both on the same page, we went forward and adopted a baby girl from China. Some people on the "thoughts on two" thread raised the concern of overpopulation, and although that wasn't uppermost on our minds, it does feel really good to know that we're loving someone who already existed rather than bringing a new human being into the world. Uppermost on our minds was just a general feeling of guilt/anxiety about all the kids who don't get a fraction of the care/love/resources our biological kid does. Many of you write about having loved the experience of being pregnant and this would deprive you of that, of course. But if you were like me, who did not hate pregnancy but did not really love it either or if you had a rough pregnancy, this might be something to think about. Our daughter came home with us at 13 months and, while I was concerned about missing those first months with regard to her development, she has astonished us with how quickly she adapted and how deeply she has bonded with us and us with her. She is over two now and we laugh when we think back to how tortured we were over the decision to adopt, because now we are so profoundly grateful we took the leap. International adoption is expensive but there are plenty of organizations out there whose objective is to prevent $ from stopping anyone from adopting and who can help. Best of luck everyone, no matter what choices you make.

I am the proud mother of 3 beautiful, intelligent, absolutely amazing children (biased, anyone?) Without going into a novel of detail I will say a few things. (1) it was a very personal decision, call me selfish, but my family didn't feel complete until our 3rd came along. A decision my husband had a hard time with. And yes, there does seem to be some sort of club for mothers of 3. (2) all the reasons NOT to have 3 were valid, and totally REASONABLE. But money, time, diapers, etc. wasn't most important to me. I was looking forward in the future and how my children would play together, not how much more work I would have to do, or when I'd be able to enjoy certain adult things sooner. Yes, it's REALLY hard now, but I just knew I wasn't "done." As my midwife said, if you're not done, you've already made your decision." (3) Yes, you will most likely need to get a bigger car, bigger house, etc. EVERYTHING changes with a 5 person family. Something I wasn't entirely prepared for. 4 is an even number and seems to be easier, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Now I dream about maybe even adopting our 4th someday years from now. GOod luck. (And if last night at the restaurant was any indication at how going out with 3 kids under 6 can be, maybe that will help your decision. hope that helped)

And domestic adoption works, too. After our paperwork was finished, we only waited three months to be chosen as the parents of a healthy newborn girl. If anybody is wanting to adopt a third (or second, or first), you might be as surprised as we were.

It's interesting to read these posts as my husband and I were just talking about the topic this morning. We both come from big extended families, with our immediate families being the 2 or 3 debate. He has one sister, and I have a brother and sister. Growing up in such a tight knit family I can't imagine having less than 3 kids. Now mind you, I only have one right now who was a surprise (I was on the pill). She jump started us having kids and immediately we began thinking about how many more kids we'd like once she was born.

I loved the joy of having a brother and sister, dinner conversations that were vibrant and doubled in volume when our friends joined us, and want to have 3 or 4 kids to emmulate that.

As previous posts have said, it is a personal decision and I am sure many go back and forth as time progresses through each stage their kids have. Meaning, as they graduate from baby to walker, to toddler, to potty trained 3 year old, to pre-k age... But, you could always leave it to nature and see what happens too. ;-)

I am the very tired, frazzled and grateful mom of three kiddos ages 7, 3 and 1. Our third came as a big surprise and the news was met with much weeping and wailing, sad to say. But, of course, now I can't imagine life without her. I was an only child and my mom was the oldest of 7 very close sibs so I was always very jealous of the large family thing. My kids are not going to get much sympathy from me when they complain about each other because I always wanted someone to play with, to fight with, someone who is always YOURS. Of course, I'm idealizing based on what I have seen in my mom's family, but even so I think it is just impossible to know what any family dynamic will be until it unfolds. All you can really do is dole out as much love and support as you can but to know that it's not always perfect or equal or fair. And that's not a bad thing for all of us to learn, quite frankly. I think our family is learning to be more patient with each other and with ourselves because no one can be the center of the universe anymore.
For me, going from 1 to 2 was more emotionally challenging and from 2 to 3 is more logistically challenging. It is non-stop action and time management even when there are very few extra activities. Our house is messy and loud, my baby is eating things at one that I wouldn't have dreamed of feeding my first (cat food and peanut butter have been "introduced" early), and yes my older kids are sometimes like the Itchy and Scratchy show. But I am happy to know that when my husband and I are old and senile (which may come any day), that my kids will have each other. How amazing to have these 3 distinct personalities unfolding every day! As for the work three entails, it is insane I must say. But it's like anything, you just get used to it. I am well aware of the horrified expressions on people's faces when we come into a restaurant for example, but I feel capable in the way that I did as a waitress many years ago...damn, can I multitask! It's not rocket science but I can get done what needs to be done, and usually put the rest aside. There are lots of things I would love to do, and some days seem insurmountable, but I know that their childhood is short and that we will all be better in the end. In fact, we're better now.

I am the mother of three teens, but doesn't seem that long ago we were making the same decision. Our birth announcement when the third was born was "finally, we are outnumbered" -- that sort of sums it up. It feels really great to me to have more kid energy in the house than adult energy -- contributes to the whole "let go and plunge in" mentality, and creates a great family dynamic. there was fighting when kids were younger, but now our three (each 2 years apart) are best friend (boy, 2 girls) who tell each other their secrets, have many cross friends, and do many social things together. Our family vacations are fantastic - we are a tighter group of five than ever. We talked about a fourth, but that is when you start needing a nanny, a larger car, a bigger house, etc and we just couldn't figure it. Three is very workable and endlessly fun.

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