Do Moms “Just Know” Their Family Size?
Lately, this question seems to plague me as I watch my first born grow older. Around me, I hear countless stories from mom friends of intuition and conviction of their family size. “I’ve always known I wanted four children,” one says. Another without hesitation explains the moment after she gave birth to her second child, an inner voice loudly informed her that her family was complete. On the other end of this, I am shocked to hear these objective answers that apparently many women seem to know. Is it true that moms always know how big their family should be?
Part of my awe is surely rooted in the ever-changing family model that I have envisioned for myself.
I distinctly remember one time thinking about having six children in high school. Enter my twenties, and I toyed with the idea of having no kids. As I watched other friends and family members embark on the parenthood trail, I saw a path of joy and challenge. Of heartache and full hearts. I started to doubt if I could do it and if I would even be a good mother.
But oh how my child has blessed me. I have been stretched in ways, challenged in others, cried more times than I can physically count, and experienced utter joy that cannot be expressed with words. Still – there were so many times the thought “I can’t do this again” fluttered through my mind:
– Recovering from labor and postpartum, crying every day.
– The time she was so sick and it kept breaking my heart.
– The time I was having so much trouble getting off of work just to bring my child to the doctor.
– The time I was having so much trouble again getting off of work because daycare was closed to the pandemic.
There have been breaking points that I have thought, surely, I am not cut out for this?
And yet, sometimes I wonder if I should have another. And sometimes I think the answer is “no,” until the next time I wonder again. One side tells me that means my family size isn’t done, that I want another one. But another disagrees saying if I knew I wanted one, I wouldn’t have hesitation. That there would be resolution. All it has left is me spinning in circles around, wondering which means what, and how can I even trust myself to know what I’m really trying to tell myself.
And an epiphany happens. The simplest explanation for all of this. I feel silly that it didn’t occur to me in the first place.
If I don’t know if I want more children or not, it just means I don’t know.
I’ve been so busy trying to find a secret message in my deep subconscious that I missed the true reason for my absence of conviction. Not knowing your plans or future is one of the greatest annoyances a type A person can experience. Guilty.
I hope to not disappoint, but I am still holding in this tension. I can’t tell you what the future of my family looks like. But for some reason, I feel less burdened. I have faith that we will figure it out and what’s meant to be – will. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it is that life has a funny way of working out. I’m working to embrace this nonbinary decision, knowing that I don’t have to have it all figured out today. And as they say, I’m taking it one day at a time, knowing that whatever decision I make is the right one.