In Case You Didn't Know
Most of you know that Daniel and I are expecting our 5th child in September. For those who didn't know...Surprise! Another Bartholomew Boy,(name to be determined). As I contemplate this experience I had a few thoughts on our family planning. If this is a subject you do not wish to read about, please skip to another post, (no hard feelings) but since this is my blog I thought I would share my experiences. So if you are still with me remember this is my personal story and in no way is meant to underscore or demean anyone else's family planning. You know what is best for you and I respect that. Whew, if you are still reading then you deserve a medal. So here goes....
Growing up I always wanted four children. In my head one child was practice since you don't have to deal with the joys of sibling rivalry or division of attention. Two children was not enough, three was odd and four was perfect. I have 3 siblings and have felt close to all of them. I had heard stories of large families where the oldest children didn't really know the younger because of the gap and that made me sad. So for me, Four was the golden number, the Goldilocks of family planning, if you will.
Now my husband, on the other hand, grew up in a large family and firmly believes that you shouldn't dictate to the Lord how large your family should be. Honestly Daniel could have a thousand kids and be happy, but being the sweet man that he is, he didn't say anything against my 4 rule. In fact it wasn't until much later that I found out his preferences at all. (Sometimes I can be quite stubborn, I'm sure that is a shock to you) We talked about children of course, but we didn't really plan together, he just let me take the lead because I was the one to bear the children. Then I scared him big time.
Prior to our marriage I was employed as a nanny to 3 children for a few years, then I babysat my niece during our first year of marriage and though I loved those experiences and those children, I wanted a break before having some of my own. A perfectly reasonable request in my head. I told my new husband that I wanted to wait a year before trying to get pregnant. Again I had no idea how this sounded to Daniel until much later. In his experience, he had known women who had said similar things and ended up never having children. As a man who always wanted to be a father, (and naively thinking that we were getting old. I was 25, he was 24) He felt his dreams of fatherhood were slipping away. He didn't talk to me about it until years later. Communication is so necessary for a healthy relationship. Any way, being the sweet man that he is he just swallowed his fears and went along with my plan.
When I changed my mind about getting pregnant he was elated. We still had Lizzy a year after our marriage, but that was a lot sooner then she would have been born if we had followed my plan. Lizzy was and is an amazing child. She challenges me every day. While that first year with her seemed so hard, I knew that I wanted my 3 more kids and I told Daniel that we would try for every 2 years. Again he went along with my plan. It took us a little longer to get pregnant with Charles. They have the biggest gap of 2 and a half years, but they have always gotten along and though having two was a challenge, I began to mellow a bit and had the added pressure of being in Missouri for only 2 years, (again, by my request, I really thought that I would hate MO, but I fell in love with it completely and I do wish we had stayed longer, alas) So I packed in as many adventures as possible. We were going to see and do everything we possible could before leaving the state. We did it too.
After we had moved back to Washington I was on track for child number 3 and Devon was born a scant 2 years and 2 weeks after Charles. He is my Christmas baby and an amazing addition to our home. Devon, however was a bit more adventurous then my other two. While I can not say that Lizzy or Charles is not adventurous, they both are highly physical and have no fear, Devon took it to another level. As his many hospital trips can attest. I really felt that after Devon I could handle anything....Cue Child number 4....
Emily is almost two now and has her own impressive list of daring feats. She recently had her first hospital visit and just had her staples removed yesterday. We affectionately call her, Emily: eater of soles and the destroyer of worlds. It is astonishing the amount of things she can destroy which never occurred to the other 3. At this point I had my four and was contemplating our family planning and so I actually did what I should have done in the first place and consulted my husband. It takes me some time to get things right. I even brought it up to him like this, "So I have been taking over your duties as head to the household and I need to apologize for that. I think we need to talk about our family planning." To which he replied okay. Fully expecting me to tell him to get a vasectomy, but I had been feeling for some time that we weren't done yet. So I said as much and he was stunned but of course willing to have another child. So we decided to go off birth control and see what happens.
This lengthy story is all to bring us to this point. Here I am pregnant with child number 5 and in the first trimester I thought he was the last. I even started a blog post about the end of an era, but then I felt prompted that this might not be my last pregnancy. So here we are almost 5 kids and loving every minute of it. Sometime things don't go like you plan, but life is so much sweeter when you follow the Lord's plan for you.