My Number


I’ve wondered, on countless occasions, if I’d ever really feel like my family was complete. Would I ever not long for a peaceful newborn in my arms or stop feeling envious of the new mothers who got to inhale sweet baby smell rather than sweaty outdoor reeking older children? Would something suddenly click inside of me and allow me to stop holding on to the onsies and outgrown Halloween costumes and board books on the off chance that we may need them again? Would that ache ever go away?

I have friends with one child who knew the minute their babies were born that the proverbial kitchen was closed and their family was complete. I have friends who had their tubes tied after baby number one, two, three or four because there was no question that they never, ever wanted to be in that labor and delivery room again. And I have friends who knew for a fact that they never wanted to be parents in the first place.

But I’d never experienced any of those feelings of absolute certainty.

For the last five years, I’ve been pretty sure that three would be my forever number. It’s nice and round and there’s usually one child who’s not on my shit list at any given moment in time. But then, baby fever would inexplicably sweep over me and suddenly a family of six sounded more sweet than it did insane. Every late period was a roller coaster of emotion with imaginary future scenarios dancing in my head.

Until last week, when I finally had my moment.

In a weird missing-IUD-what-the-fuck-is-going-on experience, life with four children flashed before my eyes. The infant car seat. The formula. The diapers. The sleepless nights. The well visits. The precious middle of the night moments. The first smiles. And steps. And birthdays. But instead of foreseeing sibling introductions, games of flag football in the front yard or overflowing Thanksgiving dinner tables, for the first time I saw nothing but dollar signs, stress and turmoil.

And then, the moment was over. There would be no baby, and this time, rather than the familiar pit in my stomach of longing and loss and disappointment, I felt nothing but relief. Lots of it.

So, that’s when I knew for sure: My number is three.

Do you know yours?


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  1. Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes says

    I always said I wanted three kids, but that was before I actually had kids.
    When n°1 was about 8 months I proposed to my husband to stop at one, since I was so tired. A week later I found out I was pregnant.
    Two girls is all I can handle for now. Maybe I will think otherwise next year, I don’t know. But for now two is enough.

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  2. Sarah says

    I always wondered during my second pregancy, “Will two be enough?” because after our first daughter was born I just knew one wasn’t enough, and was so relieved my husband agreed (after a while anyway).
    But the moment I held our second daughter, I started crying and said “Yep, that’s it. We’re complete” I felt so strongly that our family was what it should be that I haven’t doubted it since. I have doubts about everything else I do as a parent, but not about that, not anymore. Love my girls, don’t need another one!

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  3. Sara says

    I’m still trying to figure out my number. I have one 2 year old and I have yet to feel any of that baby fever sweep over me. I’m pretty sure I want 2 kids, but until I get that strong urge to take the plunge and go for 2, 1 will do for now! I love having quality time with my son, but I want him to have a sibling. So time will tell!

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    • Kyda says

      that’s exactly where I’m at!! I never really thought I’d have more than 1 but my almost 3 year old really seems to need a sibling although I think that’s a bad reason for having a baby…

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      • michelle says

        IMHO… I think having a sibling is a a great reason for another baby… maybe it should not be your only reason especially if you or your husband really don’t want another child… but I can’t imagine what my life would be like without my siblings, niece, nephew and all that goes with it…that being said I respect that you are the mamma and you obviously know your family best :)

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        • Hana says

          When I was pregnant w/my second child’s aunt who has 5 children told me that there is nothing better to give your child than a sibling. After 3 kids I can say that it’s so absolutely true.

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    • Andrea says

      I totally agree – my son will be 2 next month – and I have no desire to have another baby yet. I know that I want him to have a sibling, and that have always wanted 2 or 3, but right now, we are very happy with 1, and are not feeling that itch AT ALL!

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      • H says

        Same here – hubby was 3 weeks away from getting snipped when we found out our third was on the way. I was having doubts about whether we should be done until that – then I knew 3 was it!

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        • M says

          Oh how can I relate to all of you! I have heard that most times number 3 is the “surprise” baby. Lol! Hubby was also schedualed for a snip but 6 weeks out and failt Nuva ring and baby #3 was discovered :) We were blessed with a girl after 2 boys and I know that if we had planned her “she” would have most def. been a “he” :) Shit happens and sometimes the universe just knows better then you I suppose :)

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    • Anonymous says

      I was pretty sure one was my number, then when she was four, we apparently went temporarily insane and decided one more might be ok. After I found another job, of course, since I had just been laid off. We almost immediately found out we were having twins. I still think one was my number, lol.

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  4. Alison says

    While I was pregnant with #2, I was sure he would be the last one.
    When he was born, I was super positive, yes, last one. Because dear lord, I was tired and the toddler was acting up.
    Now that he’s 9 months old, and we have things down pat, and I see little girl’s dresses (I have 2 boys), I’m like, oh gosh, I wonder what it’d be like to have a little girl, or oh my, have THREE boys.
    And it doesn’t help that my husband keeps reminding me to enjoy #2’s baby days because he’s growing up so quickly. He also asked me if I was sure we’re stopping at 2.
    So, long story short, 2.
    Maybe 3.
    No, 2.
    (yup, keep telling myself that)

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  5. Jenelle says

    We’ve always said we want 3. But after #1 was SUCH a ball of energy…I really thought I may never be ready for another. But eventually he calmed down a little, and we added another. Now I’m chomping at the bit to get #3 on the way so I can eventually not be plagued by littles at every second. Do I think we’ll be complete at 3? I sure hope so…but only time will tell. That’s why I’m glad to be an Auntie too I guess – push my sisters to have more so I can stop! :)

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