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One, Two, Three, More?

By Amalah

bounceback_dolls.jpgWhen Noah was five or six weeks old, my husband opened his mouth and spoke the most insane sentence in the history of the human race: I think we should have another baby.

WHAT. WHAT? Are you kidding me? We just HAD a baby. Do you remember that? Are you so sleep-deprived that you’re having time-traveling hallucinations? You know, AGAIN?

No, I didn’t say any of that. Instead, I said something equally as insane: Yeah, I think so too.

Of course, this didn’t translate into actually trying for another baby right away, but still. I was shocked that we felt so sure, so quickly. We’d always planned on having one baby, singular. I spent the majority of my pregnancy insisting that this was a one-time deal, that I was not going through this again. And then BOOM, he arrived and our world turned inside out and upside down and we were like little kids staggering away from the end of a wild roller coaster, barely waiting for the dizziness to die down before screaming AGAIN! AGAIN! and running to get back in line.

How Do You Know You Want Another Baby?

Since Ezra’s birth, a lot of our one-kid friends have asked us how we decided to have a second baby. The answer is really no different than how we decided to have the first baby: Our family was not complete without him.

(And this has NOTHING to do with any attitude about only children. We planned on an only child. There are many, many good things about being an only child. There are many, many good things about having a sibling. Or having multiple siblings. Or families deciding what’s best for them and their child/ren and everybody else shutting the hell up about it.)

This time, we’re admittedly a bit more conflicted. Three kids? THREE? That sounds exhausting. And expensive. Most days, I think I would be more than fine with keeping our family as-is, and there are many smart, practical reasons that would make that a smart, practical decision.

Some days, though. I’m not sure I’m ready to say never again. The best I can say right is: Not yet.

What about you? Did you have a preordained family size all mapped out? Did you ultimately stick with that family size? Or did you have to adjust your plans (say for, infertility or multiples or something else outside of your control)? Are you done? Not done? Not even ready to start thinking about the question, crazy columnist lady, oh my God?

Photo source: Flickr/dollop

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Kate
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Kate

We’ve always planned on having three or four kids. My husband is the first of three and after we got married started saying that he might like to go for five. I’m in the middle of 5 and think it is definitely too many. I have three much older half siblings (they were 9, 12, and 15 when I was born) and one sister who is two years younger. In two “batches” 5 was fine but I can’t imagine doing it with kids any closer together. My current plan is to stop at three if they are all boys (can… Read more »

jive turkey
Guest

I never thought I wanted ONE baby, let alone multiple babies, but immediately after the birth of my daughter (I’m talking MERE HOURS after her birth), I was all “OH YES WE ARE DOING THIS AGAIN WOOOOO!” I later learned that many women experience this as a result of the adrenalin released into your system during childbirth. Oops. Now that the kid is almost one, we’re still really undecided about more. I am perfectly happy with our family the way it is, but then I get all nostalgic about her teeny tiny baby days and find myself feeling slightly jealous… Read more »

Dorie
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Dorie

I’m 17 weeks pregnant with our third child. Whether or not to have a third child was a HUGE decision for us. There were plenty of reasons not to have another (finances, kids are exhausting, etc.) but in the end we decided that none of those reasons mattered. What mattered most to us was that we didn’t feel done and we didn’t feel that our family was complete.

HereWeGoAJen
Guest

My husband wants two but will settle for three. I want four but will settle for three. So we’ll probably end up with three. HOWEVER, we’ve been birth control free since January of 2007 and we’ve only got the one baby. After she was harder than expected to conceive, we decided to not use hormonal birth control again. We aren’t quite ready for another one yet, so we are using a lazy version of the Fertility Awareness Method. (I say lazy because we are being lazy about it, not because it is a lazy method.) We aren’t totally ready for… Read more »

Kim
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Kim

I always wanted two kids. Not one, not three, two. I needed help getting my first daughter, and now that my second little miracle is here, I am done. We are complete. Now I just need DH to sign up for the snip to make sure.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I recently had my 3rd c section and just…couldn’t….get….my tubes tied. My husband really wanted me to. I don’t know, i keep waiting to feel complete as a family. That being said, 3 is exhausting (boys 4, 2, newborn)and sure to be expensive, but also wonderful. The odd part I don’t know if we want 4 because quite frankly I’m scared I might have a girl.

LauraL
Guest
LauraL

We initially said two, and two is what we’ve stuck with. Partly because of age, partly because the second pregnancy was ghastly (vomiting for 30 weeks anyone?), and mainly because of finances. Husband is a public-school teacher and I’m in one of the few professions that pays less than teaching. Plus, our second child has Down syndrome and although we’ve been VERY fortunate not to have major health issues thus far (such as open heart surgery), we definitely need to do more financial planning for his future. Also, it just feels like we’re done. Complete. A set. … Except for… Read more »

Natalie
Guest

We planned for two. Then we had my daughter and I said “Are you freaking kidding???” because the recovery was… So. Awful. And the breastfeeding was… So. Awful. Now, about 8 months in, I’m ready for two… and three sounds pretty darn awesome.

Isabel
Guest

My husband always said we’d only have two (MAYBE!) kids, but I’ve wanted three since I was a little girl. I’m pretty sure that we won’t have three kids, but I’m still not going to get my tubes tied, or anything, after the second one is born.
(I keep hoping my husband doesn’t bring up the whole “you should get your tubes tied after we have the second baby” conversation. I’m not ready for that yet.)

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Yep, this sounds oddly familiar. Well kind of…see I married my husband and he came as a package deal with my then 5yr old stepson (we have primary custody). We knew we wanted to have a baby…A BABY as in just one. I admit that in my mind, I envisioned having a girl so I’d have my little mini-me and we’d have one of each and be done with it. And then…I had my son (who didn’t turn out to be a girl but is mostly definitely my mini-me in a lot of ways. Oy!). And he was such an… Read more »

Jessica V
Guest

My husband and I knew we wanted at least 2, maybe 3 (ok, heavily leaning toward 3), but after a year of multiple miscarriages before getting pregnant with my second, plus a pregnancy that was really tough on me physically, I was done at 2. We made the decision together. It had taken a lot longer than we expected to get to #2, we were in our late 30s at that point, financially 2 (boys!) was plenty, so I had my tubes tied during my c-section. Sometimes I have regrets – knowing that we are really and truly done, although… Read more »

Cheryl
Guest

Yeah…I’m preggo with my second, and my son is 13 months old. Obviously, we decided we wanted more. My husband brought his then 8 year old daughter into our marriage (we, too, have primary custody), but he always wanted more kids. As in, undefined, no real set #, just MORE. His ex was absolutely done with the one. (She’d had two in a previous marriage.) I was 34 when I delivered our son. We decided to wait about a year to a year and a half to try again. Then, when my son was about 8 or 9 months old,… Read more »

Cheryl S.
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Cheryl S.

I always wanted 2 kids. Always. So did my husband. BUT, we’ve pretty much decided to stop with one, for lots of reasons. I am nearly 40 and my hubby is nearly 50. When you think about raising a teenager at 70 it gives one some pause. Plus, I have to work. No getting around it. And I honestly feel like I could not be the kind of mom I want to be to more than one. That being said, if we won the lotto tomorrow, I’d be pregnant as fast as I could manage! 🙂

eva
Guest

I am pregnant with #2 right now, and because the crazy sleep deprivation and stress of a newborn hasn’t hit yet, I am already trying to convince my husband to agree to a third! I grew up with one sibling, a younger sister, and no extended family anywhere near where we lived, and just always wished for a bigger family. Expenses be damned! I love the thought of three kids tearing around, being a little pack. Maybe I am romanticizing it because that wasn’t how I grew up. My husband is the youngest of five (!) and loved being in… Read more »

Suzanne
Guest

Oh I am so not done. We were really lucky to have no trouble getting pregnant, an easy(ish) pregnancy, and a labor so sinfully easy I said “Oh let’s do this again!” while they were WEIGHING the baby. That had just come out of my vagina. Epidurals are better than crack. Now my son is 11 months old and I’m having a fantasy of announcing my pregnancy at his first birthday party. Definitely no later than this summer. My only problem is my body isn’t really on the same page and I haven’t had a real, regular period since June… Read more »

Olivia
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Olivia

I always pictured myself with 2 children. There are two in my family and many of my friends are from 2 children homes. Before we got married my husband asked me how many kids I wanted and when I said 2 he said, “Good, that’s what I want.” He is from a family of 8 children and feels that was too much.
We have our first and are talking about when to go for the second.

paranoid
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paranoid

DH and I always said we wanted two kids, with an option for a third for gender variety. We have two girls now, and the choice whether to have another has been made for us — I can’t conceive naturally anymore (DD2 was the result of IVF). Honestly, I expected it to hurt more that we can’t have a third. But two feels just right. Our family is complete. Which is not to say that I wouldn’t thrilled if by some miracle I managed to get pregnant again. I just don’t feel any sense of loss at the idea of… Read more »

G
Guest
G

When we got married, husband and I said three- maybe even four- depending the job situation at that point…but then we had our daughter and the first 6 months were really tough on me/us. Pure hell, actually. As much as I loved having her, post-partum depression hit me really hard and we were barely able to manage as a couple, much less able to consider having one more. I am happy to say now that I’m getting help and things have evened out quite a bit (she’s 9 months old). In fact, just last week husband and I looked at… Read more »

Ally
Guest

From the beginning we said 4. We have two right now, and that is still the plan. I think I would actually want more than that, but I have to have all c-sections and having more than 4 may not be wise.

Lynnette
Guest
Lynnette

I would love to have three. Baby Girl is six months, and honestly is such a dreamboat of a baby that she makes it easy to think that way. That said, my fecundity is not optimal, and it took 14 months and surgery for severe endometriosis to get her. Also, we live in Los Angeles and even with a good career, resources are not limitless in such an expensive city, where we have to live for my husband’s tv/film cameraman career.
Still. 3 would be great. Honestly, if they were all like her, 10 would be great.

Rambly McRamblyson
Guest
Rambly McRamblyson

This is so interesting as lately I’ve been caught up in a huge internal debate on this exact subject, so have loved reading all the comments too. I always wanted a big family of three or even four kids, but after a traumatic beginning and a colicky baby who never slept, I really wasn’t sure I could do it again. It was just so… hard. So much harder than I expected. And financially we are just sort of making it right now. But now my daughter is 18 months old and she is so incredible and those awful few months… Read more »

Brooke
Guest

2. Always two.
My husband is an only child and has all of the stereotypes that only children have. I am a middle child and have all of the stereotypes that middle children have.
Therefore, no only child. No middle children.
Two.

Amy B
Guest

I have all kinds of strong opinions (and ambivalences) about this very subject, and to be perfectly honest I have to be careful not to allow those feelings to translate into judging other people. I know I want at least two kids because I feel that the experience of having a sibling is important. Maybe not necessary – I know well-adjusted adults who were only children. But most of them say they want their kids to have siblings. So…yeah, at least two. My husband and I are both open to the 4-6 range. Which is huge by today’s standards. We… Read more »

Amber
Guest
Amber

I always not-so-secretly wanted 2 kids. Seemed like a good number to me! My husband was always sure he only wanted one. Since I wasn’t ready for another baby yet, I saw no point arguing with him about it. Then I very unexpectedly got pregnant with #2. And my sweet husband handled the news MUCH better than I did. I freaked out, felt guilty about depriving our first-born from being the center of our worlds, and just nearly had a nervous breakdown! WTF!? Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones. Once the news sank in, I got really excited about having… Read more »

Jen P
Guest
Jen P

Hubby only wanted 2 when we first got married, and I wanted 4. We have compromised and I am currently pregnant with #3. I hope I feel “closure” after this one, because I am tired with 2 already! 🙂

Bekki
Guest
Bekki

We had always said we only wanted two…and then ended up with twins! For the whole pregnancy and the first 8 months of their lives, I was pretty sure I was done. But now? Well, I really want one more, but making that jump from 2 to 3 seems huge. My husband is not totally on board, and I promised to put of discussion about it until the twins were 2.

Marnie
Guest
Marnie

We went into it not sure if we wanted any kids at all, but open to the idea. At some point, I realized that we were working, having fun, doing things, but then I felt like something was just missing. We got pregnant, had a little girl, and . . we decided we were done. Everything felt complete. As my husband said, “NOW we’re a family.” and that was all we needed. In fact, the thought of getting pregnant now sends me screaming to the bathroom to make sure I took my birth control.

dcmama
Guest

Oh, this could not have come at a better time! I have a wonderful 13 month old, and always thought I wanted at least 2 kids. I really like the idea of my kid having a sibling, a partner in crime, a support system. (I know it doesn’t always turn out that great between siblings, but there’s a good chance!!) Had a wonderful pregnancy, good birth experience, and really traumatic first month and a half, with the kid in the hospital and nursing just Not Working At All to boot. That hard experience has thrown me into turmoil. Could I… Read more »

Emily
Guest
Emily

We waited awhile after we got married (young) to have our son–we were 27 and married 6 years when I was pregnant with him. We had always talked about having two (we’re both oldest of two, we each have a younger sister) but within the first year after our son was born we shifted to thinking about stopping with the one. I don’t know exactly how that happened, just that it kind of evolved from thinking we’d have another one (would probably be trying for #2 now if that was still our hope) to knowing that one is right for… Read more »

Nora
Guest
Nora

I always thought 2 kids would be perfect. But I am loving my little family of my husband and 5 month old, the idea of another kid seems invasive. I surprised myself thinking that I really did NOT want another. I’ll give it time though.

eM
Guest

I was certain I only wanted two children but as soon as our daughter was born I KNEW I wanted three.
Yes, she’s tough work, we get a whole lot less sleep than we used to and we are so much poorer than we were, but I feel a ginormous need for a bigger family.
Maybe I’m just baby crazy, maybe our second will be a devil child and put me off a third (something my Mum tells me is bound to happen!!) but I really, really want 3, I’m just glad I’ve managed to convince the hubby!!

Michal
Guest
Michal

My husband and I have said 2 kids from the get go. It took 3 years to get pregnant with my first and 4 years with my second. My girls are 7 years apart almost to the day. I am sooo done. Not only for practical reasons, but also because I had 2 miscarriages in between and dont want to go through that again. The emotional roller coaster you go through when trying to conceive isnt any fun either. I still occasionally have the I want another one urges, but I ignore them! 😀

Heather
Guest
Heather

HOT topic!!! I have a 16 month old son and am currently 5 months pg with baby #2. I have always always always wanted a large family (4-5) but my husband came into the relationship not wanting any kids (and is now so so happy with the one son, and even more happy with the baby on the way BUT I think that is it for him). We are older and my clock is winding down…and we really need to start thinking about these babies and their futures, and our future life after they’ve grown up ($$$). But I KNOW… Read more »

Cecily T
Guest
Cecily T

I’m 22 weeks pregnant with baby #2. Just came back from the ultrasound, doctor thinks it’s a boy, so we’ll have one of each, which precludes any trying for the one we don’t have, which I would have been against anyhow. I’m very sure that I’m done after this one. Two is comfortable financially. I really am having this one b/c I want #1 to have a sibling, and 2ndarily b/c hubby and I want another. But I was really unsure for a long time, and I haven’t forgotten how miserable I was for the first year (yes, year) after… Read more »

Kate F.
Guest
Kate F.

I’m pregnant with our first now, so of course this could all shift in August, but I have always wanted at least 3, possibly 4. My husband agrees, happily. We each have a younger brother–mine is 4 years younger, his is 8 years younger, and I always, always wanted another sibling so we’d be more of a tribe and less separated by our ages. My brother and I are incredibly close friends now but we ignored each other until he was about 13. If I’m perfectly honest with myself, my views on siblings and family size are heavily influenced by… Read more »

cassie
Guest
cassie

Our plan was always let’s have one and see how it goes. Well, we have the one now (3 mos next week!) and we’re still seeing how it goes. After he was born, as we navigated that first and second month, I was *sure* it was going to stay just one. Parenthood is freaking EXHAUSTING and HARD. (I knew this intellectually beforehand, but after having a first baby you know know it. 😉 But now that he’s 3 mos and sleeping the night and getting used to a bottle I’m… just not sure anymore about just one. I already miss… Read more »

kari Weber
Guest
kari Weber

We had Zachary almost 5 years ago, and Jacks was born in April of ’09… Now with an almost-five-year-old and a 10 month old, I know I am not ready for a third RIGHT NOW, but feel at 32 (O.K. almost 33…) I am definitely NOT ready to say I am done forever. If we had another it would be a bit of time, and if we don’t… we still have plenty of time to decide. Your family is going to rock, and you will be happy no matter how many children that ends up being. My niece always says… Read more »

Liz
Guest

I always wanted 2 kids, since I’m the youngest in a 2 kid family, that’s what felt right to me and my husband wanted 3 kids–he’s the youngest of 3 and although he has never really gotten along with his siblings (they always resented him for accidentally coming along and ruining things), 3 kids feels natural for him. We figured we’d just see how things went and make up our minds along the way. However…my sister died about 2 1/2 years ago and this has changed EVERYTHING about me, including how many kids I want for my own family. My… Read more »

Caitlyn
Guest
Caitlyn

I’m the oldest of five, and I think it’s a great size. My parents planned on four, and the youngest was a surprise (as in they weren’t trying).
When we got married, I said four or five and my husband said three or four so we figured we’d have three and see how we felt from there. Right now, four weeks after the birth of my first daughter, I’m not so sure about all this…….but I have to assume I’ll want another eventually, given that most couples seem to have more than one.

Kat Eden
Guest

Before I gave went through pregnancy and giving birth and then dealing with the fact that getting back in shape is nothing like as easy as I thought it would be, I always thought I’d like to have 3-5 kids all quite close together. Now? GOD NO! I know I definitely want more kids, but the idea of having to actually HAVE them (as in pregnancy) is horrible right now. My daughter is only 16 weeks old though so I guess it’s early days. But I’m a control freak when it comes to my body, so (even though I admit… Read more »

egplnt21
Guest
egplnt21

As they wheeled me out of the delivery room after #2, I said, “That wasn’t so bad, we could do that again.” My husband looked at me like, well, like I was crazy. Only two pushes will do that to a girl. We hadn’t said no to more, but had always planned on only two. Then about three years later, we learned that condoms really do expire. I walked into my first appointment with my OB and said, “The only thing I know right now is that this is it, and I want you to put it in my chart… Read more »

Dawn
Guest
Dawn

I am #6 of 7 children, I love having sisters and brothers and even though I always thought I didn’t want any children i knew if I had one I would have to have at least one more. My husband has only 1 sibling a brother 6 yrs older than him, he said it was like growing up an only child so he knew he wanted children and he wanted them close together. When we married I had finally come around to thinking I did indeed want kids after all and together we thought 3 was a good number. Then… Read more »

Crabby Apple Seed
Guest

I feel like it’s all already been said, but our current plan is three…hopefully. I had my daughter three days before I turned 33, and with significant anovulatory issues, not sure three is in the cards for us. Our first daughter was also a colicky, no-sleep nightmare baby until she was six months old, which had us drastically rethinking our plans, but then turned into such a dreambaby, we’re back at hoping for three. Three months off birth control/nursing, I’ve ovulated once. So…yeah. I’m not entirely sure this decision is in my/our hands, but three would be really nice. Similar… Read more »

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

We have one and are done. As is, vasectomy done. We are both the oldest of 2, with a fair bit of space between us and the next kid. We both have careers that are important to us and travel a bit. I was 95% sure about one, given limited time and resources. Then I had a horrific pregnancy with hyperemesis and IV rehydration, rising blood pressure, and eventually a posterior delivery. Then an infant with reflux and colic who screamed for HOURS every day until she was four months old. We were exhausted and depressed. It tested our marriage.… Read more »

Stefanie
Guest
Stefanie

We always wanted two or three, then we had our darling daughter. Between the colic, the reflux (think 12 hour scream-fests) and PPD (so I was crying right along with her!), my husband nearly went and got the snip when the baby was 6 weeks old. At 14 weeks she’s still not an easy baby by any means, but is so adorable that we’re open to more, but not for 2 or 3 years, when the hell that was her first two months of life isn’t so fresh in our minds. If the second one is as difficult as our… Read more »

Crystal
Guest

My husband and I are both only children. We talked a lot about kids and initially said two with an option for 3 (if we had two of the same biological sex). We have a 16 month old little girl. My pregnancy SUCKED (well considering that I puked from week 7 right through delivery, I could say that pregnancy sucks and blows for me). She had a very rough start to life and although all is mostly well now is still a very medical kid. She’s also a very strong willed child. I’m now getting to the point where I… Read more »

Alecia, Hoobing Family Adventures
Guest

I was so happy to be on maternity leave and so in love with our new baby that I started talking about having number two the minute after we had our daughter. The further we get away from it, the less excited I am to jump back into the baby phase, but we definitely still want to do it. Maybe it will correspond with your third. 🙂

Joy Real
Guest

I’m 1 of 2, my husband is 1 of 2. We always said 2 kids max, but we would see how one went first to be sure. I just had my first, a daughter 2 months ago today and within a week of her being born, I surprised myself by saying out loud that I FOR SURE wanted another. Could have been the Tylenol with Codeine talking but I can’t imagine leaving my baby girl alone when her Dad and I leave this world.

Sara
Guest
Sara

We thought we’d have one, for financial reasons mostly. (I’m an only child and I think I turned out ok). But like above, within hours of having our son I told my husband I thought we should have another. He agreed and 3 months later we still want to try for one more, although not any time soon!

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

Before we had kids my husband and I would talk about having 4 or 5. I taught early childhood education and love kids. Who wouldn’t want a bunch? Well, pregnancy and the first year has kicked my ass. Babysitting a baby and parenting one 24/7 are completely different! I adore my beautiful daughter and she is wonderful but I am also struggling big time with PPD and anxiety. I honestly don’t know if I can risk going through this again. My husband is in school full-time and hasn’t had a day off in a while. Once he graduates he will… Read more »