As I near the end of this pregnancy, it is starting to occur to me that this may be my last time in this state.
I have always said I wanted three children. Two seemed too small, four seemed too big. Most of the families I envied growing up were families of three. But given the state of this economy and the fact that we will have our boy and girl and the fact that I hate pregnancy and the fact that worries about overpopulation keep me up at night, we may stop here. This is not to say that we are ruling out a third (no vasectomies just yet) or that we are ruling out adoption at some point, but for now, at least for the forseeable future, we are sticking at two.
Two seems reasonable. We can maintain our lifestyle with two children, travel widely and continue to shop at Whole Foods. And while our financial picture will hopefully only grow brighter as R completes the PhD and starts making real money (and I sell my first novel, of course), I fear the thought of having more children than we can afford to send to college.
I have always believed that it is the parent's responsibility to put their child through college. I graduated with no debt and I expect to provide the same for my children. If they choose to go to a private school for undergrad like their mother, that will be roughly $400,000 to put two kids through school. I am not sure how a third would fit into that picture.
Further, I am really not sure I am equipped to handle more than two. I love the idea of a big family, but I am inherently a selfish person (let's face it, it's the truth) and the thought of giving up even more "me" time than I am already going to have to makes me a little nauseous. Mommy will be a better mommy if she has the time to run, relax, read and write. And mommy will not have that time if three toddlers are in tow. Sure, five or six years from now, we may decide to give it another go, but who knows if it will be possible then to have a baby and it is highly unlikely I will want to do this again before the time when both Sam and AJ are relatively independent.
This realization--that this might be my last pregnancy--has me reeling a bit. It all has happened too quickly. Since neither of our pregnancies were planned exactly, it feels like they happened and ended too fast to appreciate them. It is hard to believe that in a couple of months, this phase of my life--one that my whole prior life was kind of leading up to--could be over.
I know this sounds funny given how much I whined throughout this pregnancy and sure, I do not like pregnancy at all. But the fun--getting the double lines on the pregnancy test, feeling the baby move inside me, gearing up for something new and exciting--is over. And that feels a bit shocking. In some ways finding out I was pregnant was more fun and more exciting than any other part of the pregnancy so it is hard to believe that may never happen again.
Two may be the right amount of children for us. They fit in our car. They will be affordable. They balance out our family. But the thought of never having all the good parts of pregnancy again are making me a bit weepy this week. It is hard to say goodbye to a phase of my life that feels like it flew by. And just like that, I am a mom. No more mom-to-be. No more knowing smiles, asking when I am due, laughing when the baby moves my tummy.
And that thought makes me very, very sad.