No. I'm not dying. Not yet, anyway. I'm referring to the light at the end of the Toddler Tunnel.
A discussion was held recently on Mia Freedman's blog Mamamia about how you know when you're 'done' having kids. Of course, the answer to that varies in each person's situation. There are people who never feel as though they're 'done'. They'd happily have 100 children or, like The Dugger Family featured in Mia's piece, 18. (With the, um, 19th due next year. Gulp). Which, to me, would feel like 100 children. And then there are some who would happily extend their family of 1, 2 or 3 kids, but don't because they just can't, whether it be for financial or physical and health-related reasons.
Then there are those who just know when they're done. They have their baby, or babies, and then they just stop. Happily. I include myself in the latter category.
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to have kids, and to be a full-time Mum. No question. I also assumed I'd have three kids. I believe that's because I'm one of 3 myself, and I often find that people will aspire to the same amount of kids their parents had - but not always, of course. I'm quite sure if I'd been one of, say, 19 for example, I wouldn't be going for quite that many of my own. Oh, you can bet your booties on that one.
Hubby is also one of 3. In fact, just like our boys, he's one of 3 boys. And early on in our relationship, he always talked of having 3 kids. Then at some point, he upgraded that to 3 to 4. I wasn't 100% convinced of the idea at first, but then a friend, who is one of 3 girls, pointed out that even numbers could be easier on the kids. You know how it is. On planes there's usually 2, 3 or 4 seated together. There's always someone who has to sit on their own (I try putting my hand up to be that someone, but it hasn't happened yet. Darn.) And what about the show rides at the local fair? It's usually 2 x 2. Who sits alone? Or who has to go again just so that their brother can have a turn?
And so, I started to think maybe four kids would be ok.
Even though the birth of our first son was long and difficult, and he wasn't the best sleeper and quite the challenge all round (especially between 18 months and 3 years of age), there was still no doubt in my mind I'd go again.
My second birth was brilliant. Far quicker and easier than the first, and he slept through the night earlier and was much easier to handle. It wasn't a hard decision to go for a third, but I did hesitate slightly on the timing. After being pregnant, breastfeeding, being pregnant again and breastfeeding again, I just wanted to...be for a while. Well, that, and we were going on a holiday to Italy and I wanted to eat and drink anything I damn well wanted to without having to worry about how it would effect 'the baby'. (Cheers! I indulged. I enjoyed. Immensely.)
So, eventually we had our third, and then almost instantly after he was born, I just knew. This. Was. It. I felt content, and I also felt bloody tired. It was time to close up shop and say goodbye to nausea, swollen legs, sore nipples, incessant baby kicks and continuous nights of only 4 hours of sleep. I. Was. Done.
Hubby seemed to agree. He suddenly realised after our third son was born that being able to spend quality time with all three was not going to be easy. But then, almost two years after our third was born, he tentatively raised the subject again. "Why don't we go for another one?" he asked over Christmas last year. I think I recall spluttering out my wine and answering something along the lines of "ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!" In the New Year, he asked again (and always in a kind of jokey way) and I basically said, "You know what. I feel done. I just don't think I can go back there." Hubby seemed happy with that. And instead we got a dog.
Recently, we moved our 2yr old in to his 'big boy' bed and promptly listed the cot on eBay. Hubby set it all up, and after a week had passed since it was listed, I asked if we'd sold it? Nope. Hubby had forgotten to check. Which, you know, considering he's a busy guy and we were flat chat with everything else around here, is understandable. And so, he listed the cot again.
Last night, I asked if the cot had sold this time? Hubby, looking sheepish, admitted, "Oops. I haven't checked." I shook my head, rolled my eyes and said, "You know, keeping the cot in the house isn't going to suddenly make me want to have another baby." He just laughed.
It's all in jest. We are not...repeat, NOT planning another baby. (Ok, Mum?) And, you know what? My 2yr old will be 3 in a couple of short months, and I can honestly say that as time passes, I feel more and more certain that having another baby is not for me. His tantrums have been the most impressive out of all three boys (and I don't mean that in a good way). But then, about two weeks ago, whenever I would ask him to do something, and he would complain, and I would then explain again and wait for the tears and feet stomping and screaming and throwing himself down on the floor in protest, instead I got, "Ok, Muuuum..." Lordy!
Now for some, they might be lulled in to some false sense of security and think, 'Oh, this isn't so bad. I think I could go another.' But not me. I'm relishing in the fact that I can see the light. See the light in all it's glory, shining through that (what on some days feels like a) never-ending tunnel. And, my goodness, it's beautiful. I'm embracing it, and my 3 boys as well and looking forward to the future!