I never particularly wanted children. My husband did, but once told me he hoped the person he married had a determined drive to expand the family so he could ride along on the wave of chaos. My ambivalence prompted by many factors delayed the pregnancy with my first for ten years.
I knew I didn't want an only child even in the recesses of the maybes I dwelled in so long. I'm an only child with a lifetime of sibling fantasies and an undercurrent of sadness that my family, albeit close, so small. It's always been a hollow feeling, an indescribable emptiness for an impossibility that I never voiced. Perhaps I didn't want the malaise to creep in and grasp any stronger of a foothold.
Then my son was planted, and along with it the surprising realization that my larger family could start with me. Not so large, really, but something about a family of five struck me and resided in my mind's desires for two years before I mentioned it to my husband. He's older. I am as well, although not quite as old as he. The first conversation about the possibility of a third left me hopeful and surprised my husband was open to the prospect, but his anxiety manifested as soon as he uttered it. I intervened and asserted we should focus on having a second first. With relief he agreed, and time lapsed; the conversation was forgotten...by him anyway.
My daughter and second child is a month old, and she is every bit as miraculous as my two-year-old son. I grew these little people who are equally delightful and challenging, and our house has an exponential amount more noise and activity.
But, several times since that last hopeful conversation, my husband declared he wants to end with two, denying that he was once open to having one more. He's asked me why I can't be happy with the two beautiful children we have. How can I explain that the lack of completion isn't a flaw with what I have, but an empty feeling of something missing regardless of what already exists? It's irrational, but something feels just a little askew, something a bit lost. I can't answer why two isn't enough, and why I am having difficulty ridding myself of the better items among my maternity clothing. I also can't answer why I tear up and feel just a little sick every time my husband proclaims we need to give away clothing and toys we will no longer need. A funny thing, but he seems to have the same purging struggle.
It's been in the open for a bit now my hope for a third, and I know my husband takes my wishes seriously. I don't know if he will change his mind, and certainly during those first sleepless months of having a newborn is not the time for any shift in tide. But, I sigh on the edge of leaking tears when I encounter a woman pregnant with her third. I don't really enjoy pregnancy, but as I hold my fierce girl with all of her dynamic expressions or watch my son bouncing with excitement while I sing another off-key tune, I think that it would be profoundly sad to not go through it one last time.