I've been asked this a few times recently. Once by a good friend (totally acceptable), once by Dr. B (totally acceptable, especially using the guise of birth control to ask), once by a coworker (completely inappropriate).
My short response? "It's complicated."
Like every single thing in my life after losing my daughter, it's complicated.
I have three kids, but I only get to raise two of them.
I don't feel my family is complete. But is it because we will never be complete, because we will always be missing one? I know that no matter how many children I have, I will never feel the way other moms get to feel, when they look around their kitchen table or in their rearview mirror.
I know I will never feel "done."
The thought of going through another pregnancy makes me want to vomit. I'm not talking about having to pee every hour or not being able to drink. I'm talking about constantly wondering if my baby has died inside me. I'm talking about waking up in the middle of the night, terrified that my baby's heart stopped beating while I've been sleeping. I'm talking about worrying that every kick might be his or her last. I'm just not sure I have it in me to do it again. And the idea of facing another loss? A miscarriage I could handle. Another stillborn child might destroy me.
Lydie's death has changed me, and though I don't worry about not having a guest room like I did before, I still can't fathom paying three grand a month for daycare. I wouldn't be able to afford to work. (This is not a joke).
Not to mention, I am really quite busy and stressed with my two living children and all the projects I take on to honor my girl.
But still I find myself wondering, as Bowie grows out of her hand-me-down clothes and I place them in a tub: will we use these again? Or should I just get rid of them now?
Obviously, clothes are not the issue here, though the tubs do take up a lot of space in the basement.
I wish I knew if this was my last time for all these "firsts," as Bowie sits up, eats solids, itches to crawl. Sometimes I wish I could look around the dinner table, with Lydie's candle burning brightly in the center of it, and stop wishing for more and instead start trying to be grateful for all that I do have.
So, what are my plans? I don't know. I don't know if we'll try for a fourth child. I don't know if we want one more.
In an uncomplicated world, I'd want one more. But in an uncomplicated world, my dinner table would be full, and this would be a moot point.
I know that it is okay not to know right now. But I don't know when I will know. I don't know how we will make this decision. I worry that if we don't make a decision soon, then my age and time will make that decision for us.
And I still find myself wanting more of the love.
BLM friends, I would love your thoughts here. Your families will also always be incomplete. So, how do you know when you're "done"?