Somewhere around Cullen’s first birthday, I remember the questions starting to roll in – when will you try for another? I feel like society generally assumes that one kid will lead to another (although of course this is not always the case AND you should never ask people these types of questions!!). And for whatever reason, we were ready to roll shortly after that, and we started trying for Graham.
It took 14 months for me to get pregnant with Cullen after we started trying, and with Graham it only took ONE. Surprise! Both our kids were conceived in January, and born in October – exactly two years apart.
But after Graham was born, the conversation shifted a bit. Now the questions are – will you have a third? – instead of the automatic assumption that more are on the way. And two years later my answer remains – I don’t know!
When I was in the thick of it, I would have told you absolutely, for sure – we were done. Two was all I could handle and it would be insanity to consider adding anyone else to the mix. But of course, as the boys have gotten older and things have gotten easier, thoughts of that third little one have crept back in. Here are some of the positives and potential negatives we’ve considered during all our family planning conversations:
Yes, we want another baby:
- IT’S ANOTHER HUMAN BEING – can’t really argue with that.
- I didn’t go into my second pregnancy expecting it to be the last one, and I honestly loved being pregnant, so I feel sad to not experience that again (although at SOME point, you do have to stop).
- I am one of three kids, and love the dynamic that three brings versus two (who I think tend to be more directly competitive).
- The spacing between Graham and #3 would be three years (at least) at this point, which would make things a million times easier than they were the first time around.
- By the time a #3 would be born, both my kids would be in drop-off preschool at least three mornings a week, which would provide nice breaks and quality time for all.
- Casey is SO GOOD with babies – way better than me. I love seeing the way he can soothe and sway with little ones – heart melting.
Nope, we are done:
- We have two healthy, amazing kids, and they are more than enough.
- Neither of us has any urge of “we need a girl” and that would be a silly reason to have a third kid anyway, since I feel quite certain it would be another boy.
- Another child brings more financial consideration – we want to make sure we can provide things that are important to us – like travel, good schools, activities, etc. – for everyone.
- Our house will be cramped, and we really don’t want to move. That said, it can be done, but the boys will have to share a (tiny) room. And we’d probably have to move sooner than later as they get older/bigger.
- Selfishly, my body has been through a lot. Eighteen months of pregnancy, plus 2.5 years of breastfeeding, and 70+ pounds total gained and lost. I’ve worked so hard to get back into a fitness routine and build strength again, and I cringe thinking about starting over yet again.
Next month, I will turn 35 (!). And while I know many people have kids later than that, for me this is the cutoff. I have always said I’d be most comfortable being done having kids at 35, and so I feel like we are sort of in now or never mode.
The now part is sort of obvious, and for the never part – we are using hormone-free birth control as well as fertility tracking through Natural Cycles – but more on that in a minute!
Graham is getting bigger and is going through a major transition right now from toddler to BIG KID. He recently moved from a crib into a bed and absolutely loves feeling like a big boy. And in very exciting news – he is almost completely potty trained! It has been (knock on wood) ridiculously easy, and he’s only had one accident since we put him in underwear.
I’ve taken apart the changing table and crib and packed them into storage. We traveled all the way to Florida last week and it was a BREEZE! Part of me feels SO READY for this next stage of life where kids are older and more self-sufficient and we can do so much more as a family.
Not to mention, once Graham joins Cullen at school I will have consistent time to myself for the first time in years. I could go back to work! I could do so much more for the blog! And at the same time, I can also picture those solo morning hours being spent rocking a newborn, or looping Greenlake with a little one snuggling on me in an Ergo. And I see pictures like this one and think GIVE ME ALL THE BABIES RIGHT NOW!
Sigh. Can you tell I am all over the place? What it really comes down to is me needing to decide if I’m ready to push into this next stage of life with older kids, or if I want to start back over again with the baby stage. I have heard that you shouldn’t plan your family based on how it feels in the thick of it with young ones – that you should imagine the family you want as adults! And if that’s the case, then I want to be the Bravermans!
And so with ALL of this said, clearly we’ve had lots of family planning conversations over the years. Backing up to when I we tried to get pregnant with Cullen – it took 14 months! I wrote a long post all about it years ago, but the short version goes like this: I took hormonal birth control for almost 10 years. Once I decided to discontinue the pills, it took six months for my period to return at all. Once it did, it took another six months for the cycles to even out and become regular. I felt so unbelievably lucky to get pregnant when I finally did, and it was a real eye-opener to see how the hormone use had affected my previously-regular cycles.
After Cullen was born, I didn’t want to use any hormones for fear of what had happened before. I breastfed (which typically reduces fertility) and we used back up methods, and my period returned right at the end of weaning. We decided to try for Graham shortly after, and BOOM – I was pregnant on the first try. Talk about a shocker!
And so having experienced both ends of the spectrum now, I wasn’t taking any chances either way. I feel strongly about not using hormonal birth control again (ever), but also wasn’t willing to take my chances on getting pregnant. So we have continued to use back up methods, as well as fertility tracking.
For the past few months, I’ve been using the Natural Cycles app. It is “fertility tracking made easy” – and you can use as many or as few of the features that works best with your lifestyle and needs.
By consistently measuring your basal temperature with a digital thermometer, the Natural Cycles algorithm is able to predict your ovulation dates with 99.9% accuracy. From the Natural Cycles website:
Natural Cycles uses an intelligent algorithm that quickly learns your cycle and accurately detects and predicts ovulation, and thus, your fertile window. The algorithm takes into account temperature and LH testing (optional) – both quantitative fertility indicators. We do not take into consideration cervical mucus, which, despite being a good fertility indicator, can take a long time to gather, analyze and implement findings.
The setup is super easy, and it can actually be used as a pregnancy prevention tool, as well as a pregnancy planning tool!
I have been using it to track my periods and ovulation dates, and from my own experience so far it’s been very accurate.
For me personally, I haven’t been able to consistently use the temperature tracking feature, but I hope to use it at some point in the future. In order to ensure accuracy, the basal temperature readings need to be done first thing in the morning before you get out of bed – when your body is most at rest. Unfortunately, as this stage in my life, my body is never at rest – HA! We have kids crawling in and our of our bed most nights, and we are often shuffling them back into their own beds at 4, 5, and 6am. So temperature tracking would be too inconsistent for me to rely on alone for now.
If you want to try Natural Cycles yourself, they have an awesome offer for Daily Garnish readers! Get 40% off of a 1 year subscription + a free basal thermometer when you click the link here!
We’ll need to decide in the next few months if we want to stick with “tracking fertility” mode to “planning a pregnancy.” And while you can plan all you want, we also know that you can never really PLAN to get pregnant. Having been through it myself twice now, and watched my friends and family experience both blessings and heartbreak, I know now more than ever that new life is truly such a gift.
As you can see above, there are lots of things to consider! But of course, it’s always exciting to imagine adding to the family. I’d love to hear some thoughts from you guys!
For those who have two kids – what do you consider when thinking about a third? Or are you “done?” And if you feel comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear from others who have chosen hormone-free birth control options like this!
This post is sponsored by Natural Cycles. As always, all thoughts an opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Daily Garnish!