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We have two kids − which is as many as we ever wanted − but it turns out that deciding to never inhale the scent of your brand new baby again is an incredibly tough decision.
It might have been easier when the youngest was little, and we were drowning in a sea of sleep deprivation, dirty nappies and milky spew. At that point we knew with every fibre of our beings that we would not survive more children. But we weren’t having a whole lot of sex at that point and there was also the morbid but persistent fear of SIDS to deal with. What if we weren’t lucky enough to keep our beautiful babe? Wouldn’t we want to try again?
So we missed the boat. And now here we are on the home straight, with both kids pretty much sleeping through the night and nappies likely to be gone forever, and we find ourselves going round in circles as to what’s the next move. It doesn’t matter that every time we have this conversation it ends in the exact same way, with both of us strongly agreeing that we don’t want any more children, we are doomed to leave it for a few days or weeks and then to reenact the whole thing again.
The arguments against are strong − we can’t afford it, we’d need a new car, we’d need another bedroom, I couldn’t work, our relationship would struggle, we would be so, so tired. But the argument for, while less solid and practical, pulls strongly at the emotions. There is a little potential human out there, just waiting for us to call them into existence. If we were to do so it’s highly unlikely we would regret it. My own brother is one such human, and imagining a world where he doesn’t exist is unfathomable. What little light are we denying the opportunity to take form? How much would they add to our lives? Does not having another mean a life spent haunted by this bittersweet spectre? And round and round it goes.
Obviously there are a whole lot of alternatives sitting between never having more kids and having them. If we’re not 100% sold on a vasectomy I could go on the pill or get an implant until we’re more sure, but I’m not sure I could face another year or two with the depression and mood swings that come with the pill (for me) or the possibility of heavier and more painful periods until they eventually even out on the latter. Also, I’ve been managing my fertility for nearly 20 years − the idea of letting my husband take care of things this time is incredibly appealing (nearly as appealing as the stories I’ve heard about sex getting even better once babies are no longer a possible outcome). I’m sure in the end we will go with the vasectomy. And over the past week or so my thinking about that little person who may or may not come to be has shifted a little. Perhaps what I’m imagining is not a future child of ours, but a grandchild. Or a niece or nephew. Or the baby of my best friend. Whatever way you look at it, our two-year-old is far from the last babe that will light up our lives.