When we announced our fourth pregnancy last year we were met with less than enthusiastic responses by some. Are you going to get a bigger house now? Where will everyone sleep? Was this planned? Well congratulations, I guess. We even had some shocking conversations at my gender reveal party about my husband getting a snip right then and there. Needless to say, we were a little hurt by some of the comments whether they were only half joking or wholeheartedly imposing their thoughts on our family size.
Currently we have four children ages eight and under. Truthfully, there are times I question why we continue to have more kids as well. Each time I see those two pink lines appear we say, “Enjoy it! This is the last one!” but then two years later we have seen two more lines which we usually meet with joy (and maybe a little of fear, too!). Each time so far we have known we aren't quite done so it doesn't come as a surprise as it may to others around us. But I wonder often....Will I ever feel done? How do you know? Is it mental logic over heart desires?
For me it has been a deep knowing and longing to experience all the motherhood milestones again and again. Watching a first line, then a second creep over the blank white on that future-telling stick. Feeling those first fish-like flutters, the exciting moment of finding out if we will be welcoming a son or yet another daughter. And birth, oh how I love birth! I find it so empowering as a woman overcoming the intense contractions, with moments feeling like I want to crawl out the birthing tub and escape the pain, but in the end knowing I made it through. Not only made it through, but made a human and physically pushed it into the world! It is mind boggling to think about, really. I question if I'm addicted to these “firsts” in a way. These highs in life are unlike any others, the oxytocin love hormone runs strong through my motherhood veins and I cannot help but want to do it again.
Of course, there are times when we are frustrated as parents. There are moments our kids are testing the limits, when I'm covered in poop and spit up, I've only had two hours of sleep, and I can't get the fog to lift from my brain no matter how many times I refill my favorite bird mug. Those moments are easy to declare us done for good. If we all based our decision on the hard moments, would anyone ever choose to have kids? I can see how friends or family may worry when we add another because I'm the type that bares her soul. I aim to be real and reach out to my village for help when I feel like I'm drowning. But let's be honest here; sometimes motherhood just isn't fun. Sometimes it is crying over the dinner no one wanted to eat after you worked so hard on it or you feel like you cannot make it to the grocery store for diapers with a ninja one year old climbing out of the cart and screaming the whole time. Is it bad to share those struggles, those realities with others? Nope. It should make us feel closer together and know we aren't alone. Finances are always a concern for some. We do make ends meet but we don't always have an abundance. Sometimes we have to say no to art camp or buy used clothing instead of new name brands. Simply put though, our goal as parents is to meet their needs, not always their wants (that seems to be their grandparent's job!). I'm okay with that because our love should mean so much more than stuff and entitlement. We have never gone hungry and we've always had a warm home that may or may not be filled with laughter depending on the day.
Would we regret having more children? Nope. Each child we have added to our family has brought a unique perspective, grown us as parents, and added personality to our group. We have a creative artist, a sweet momma's boy, a feisty girl, and a baby girl that has been the most laid back kid yet (much needed being kid number four!). I do know that I may regret not having more children. No matter how life gets crazy on the outside or on the inside as I struggle with anxiety at times… it is always worth it. The light radiating from the joyful moments overshadows the dark nights of sleep deprivation and anxiety induced fears.
Do you want to know why I keep having kids? Because being a mom is a lot like giving birth to me. I enjoy the thrill of overcoming the intense realities of parenting. I enjoy knowing that at least in this moment I'm meeting their needs and I made it through the day. My kids are happy, loved, and we are making memories together. I hold on to those moments in the ones where I want to hold up my white flag and surrender to the tiny army we've created.
And at this point? What's one more. We are so outnumbered anyway.
(So don't be surprised if we ever announce a number five.)