Indecision About Having a Third Child is Driving Me Nuts


My husband and I are so grateful that we have been gifted with two healthy, fantastic kids.  We had no issues getting pregnant and had both our kids in the span of 19 months.  A girl, then a boy.  For many, the birth of our son would have been the clear line in the sand… the signal to stop having kids.

But for us…?  We always had that lingering question mark.  Sure, our family felt rounded out, and our days were full (sometimes, too full).  But something nagged at our hearts.  The idea of having a third baby – a final baby – wiggled into our conversations.  It certainly seemed doable, and we loved the idea of three kids: the chaos, the constant activity, the lifetime ahead of big family dinners (idealistic, I know).  We liked thinking of our two kids as older siblings, and everyone having more than one sibling to love.  Especially already seeing the benefit of our kids each having a built-in playmate/partner in crime, the talk of having a third became more and more frequent.  So, we left the door open.  If it happened, we said, then we’d be happy.  If it didn’t, we’d take it as a sign and would eventually close the door once too much time had passed.

Last year, when my kids were 3 and 1.5, respectively, we found out we were pregnant.  It was a bit of a surprise; I thought I knew when I had my “window” to conceive and could have sworn we missed it.  But the week that we returned home after my mom’s funeral, I realized I was late and a positive pregnancy test soon followed.  My husband and I cried with joy at the news, and the pregnancy helped give me something big and happy to focus on.  But I never really “felt” pregnant (unlike with my first two)… and at the first ultrasound I was sad – but not surprised – to learn that the pregnancy was nothing more than a blighted ovum, a fluke of nature that would have no bearing on our ability to have kids in the future.  But this one wouldn’t become our third baby.

We moved forward relatively seamlessly, since we hadn’t really been “trying” to get pregnant, anyway.  I didn’t really think about that blighted ovum too much, until the pregnancy’s “due date” rolled by in June of 2017.  I had forgotten to take the reminder off my calendar, and when “DUE DATE!!!” popped up on my screen one morning, it was like a slap in the face.  Maybe it was time to get serious and start trying, in earnest.

But “trying” for another baby made me and my husband nervous.  Our heads and hearts seemed at odds, and we kept saying there was no “logical” reason to have another kid.  Money, time, space, convenience, the state of the world… we couldn’t rationalize having a third.  But the ineffable joy of bringing another life into our family often seemed more compelling than anything that logic could defeat.  We went back and forth, but couldn’t come to a clear decision on whether a third was really right for us.  Then one night, while on a fun summer trip and after a few too many glasses of wine… yadda yadda yadda, we found ourselves again staring at two pink lines!  This time, we laughed with happiness tinged with trepidation.  This was really happening!  We put our “reasons not to have a third” in the backs of our minds, and moved forward with excitement.

This time, we heard the heartbeat and saw the little bugger at the first ultrasound.  I was honestly surprised, and told my doctor as much during the visit.  It just didn’t seem real!  After the blighted ovum, I had stopped taking the miracle of a healthy pregnancy for granted.

I miscarried at eleven weeks.  

It was brutal, and due to a relatively unusual complication and an unfortunate confluence of circumstances, the miscarriage nearly cost me my life.  Genetic testing on the pregnancy tissue revealed that this fetus had a random chromosomal abnormality – Turner Syndrome – that caused the miscarriage.  We had a reason for this loss: a fluke of nature, for the second time in just over a year.

So now we’re back in limbo.  There is nothing apparently “wrong” with me or my husband, which should prevent us from having a normal healthy pregnancy and baby in the future.  But our list of reasons to have/not have a kid is back on the table – and we’re two pregnancy losses wiser.  

I know we’re not the only ones to struggle with this question, and we’re not the only ones to have more than one heart-wrenching pregnancy loss to consider.  We are so lucky to already have a great family – a complete family – so what is that little voice doing in the back of my mind, telling me to try again for another?  What have your experiences been?  How did you know when you were done having kids?  


  1. We have 3 wonderful girls and we still wrestle with the wonder of having one more. The list of reasons not to continues to grow (adding on is there enough space in the car, etc.-which seems so trivial, but matters a great deal in our lifestyle). The knowing you could be complete but also wondering what or WHO you are missing out on if you stop. My youngest is 9 months and i am so not anywhere near ready to do this baby stage again any time soon. I thought the physical exhaustion i feel would push me to call it good, but deep down i still wonder. I dont know what that feeling of “done” feels like. maybe it will come. But, does anyone ever really feel it in completeness? If so, maybe we aren’t meant to be done.


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