People always ask if I’m trying for a girl. The answer is no. I wrote a little post about it on Growing Up Last. Like to hear it, here it go…
I get a lot of stares and comments about the size and age of my family. I’m sure some people might even see me dragging a cart full of more kids than groceries around the store and believe I was irresponsible. But no, this tribe of toddlers is a carefully orchestrated plan. Both my husband and I come from “large” families—he has three siblings, I have four—and we always felt that four was our number. Them being so close together is the intersection of two uncontrollable factors. First, my doctor said during my second pregnancy, “They say sometimes the best treatment for endometriosis is getting pregnant.” And though that might not work for every situation, for me, it was true. I was treated for years before we even got married, and our first son didn’t arrive until our third anniversary. We thought it would take years for each pregnancy, but we were wrong.
Second, finding out my first son had Down syndrome ignited a fire in me to have an entire network of siblings that could go through life with him. I wanted them to be close in age so he could have support through every stage of life. I also know that the risk of Down syndrome increases with maternal age. It is much more typical to see a family with a lot of kids and the youngest has Down syndrome. My son’s diagnosis was “spontaneous” because it doesn’t run in either of our families and I was only in my late twenties when he was born. So every ultrasound appointment for my subsequent children was filled with anxiety. I wanted so badly for them all to be healthy, and every year I just get another year older.
Is our family complete? I can say, finally, yes. There is such a calm feeling of done-ness that comes over me when discussing this topic, that it is overwhelming. My husband and I have given this a lot of thought, and I am glad to say, we are in total agreement. And we are so excited to begin this next stage of our lives. Gone are the days of me, sick and pregnant, trying to bathe three rowdy toddlers. We can plan a nice vacation and not worry that the money is wasted on kids too young to remember or enjoy it. But most importantly, when we sit around the dinner table, I feel like we’re all present and accounted for. I feel like, though they’ll change and grow, these are the most important people in my life and I’ve finally met them and learn more about them every day.
It wasn’t easy to get to this place. We’ve struggled for years, at one time thinking we might never have children of our own. We’ve even suffered loss, when my third pregnancy ended in miscarriage. And though we’ve decided to keep an open mind about adoption in the future, I feel certain that the baby factory is closed. And for the first time, I’m at peace with that.