Note: This post was written as part of PAIL Bloggers July 2012 Monthly Theme Post. If you don't know about PAIL (stands for Pregnant and/or Parenting through Adoption/Infertility/Loss), follow the links to learn more.
Have you completed your family building or are you considering trying to add another child to your family?
Our family is (probably) complete. We will certainly not be having any more biological children. (I say "probably" because I still hold out a small hope that, perhaps later, when the boys are in school, MM will consider adopting a daughter from foster care. Not an infant, and not a child older than our sons, but a preschool-aged girl. BUT there are a lot of contingencies which would have to fall into place--in addition to MM's approval--before that could happen. . . . too many to even go into here, that would be another post of its own.)
What does your “complete” family look like? Has this changed along your infertility journey?
More likely than not, our complete family looks like the family we have today: MM, AJ & MJ, and me.
This has definitely changed over my adulthood and along our infertility journey. At one time, I had hoped to have three children. After marrying MM, an only child, at age 37, we had discussed having just one child. We ended up with twins through fertility treatment.
Do you think there is such a thing as “optimal” child-spacing? What do you think this is, and what do you base it on?
In my opinion, there are some approaches which seem to work better than others, but at the same time, I believe this to be highly personal and individual. Some people love the idea of parenting a whole passel of kids who are close in age--and getting the sleepless nights/diapers/crying phase out of the way all at once--while others prefer to be able to stagger things by a few years so that they never have more than one child in diapers or more than one college tuition bill to pay down the road. (My granny used to say she never wanted to have more than one "baby" at a time, which is why there are six years or more between my father and each of his siblings.) And that's to say nothing of the people who think having just one child to be ideal.
As a new-ish mom of twins, I will say this: people who think having twins would be "fun" are in for a rude awakening. LOL. Yes, there are some things about having twins which are unique and fun, but it's a whole different ball game than having one baby at a time, and it's very, very difficult in the beginning.
Are you factoring in how far apart your children would be in your decision to start trying again? How so?
If you are planning to add to your family, what considerations must you take into account (i.e. beginning treatment again, pursuing adoption again, finances, etc.)
There are several. First, there is no chance of our having any more biological children. My pregnancy and delivery were far too difficult for me to ever go through either again. (Yes, it's true that I don't know that a subsequent pregnancy or delivery would be as hard. . . . but it's also true that I can't know that it wouldn't be. At 41, with twin boys already, I'm just not willing to take that risk.) There can be no doubt as to our resolve on this point: we have already donated our remaining frozen embryos to another couple, and MM will be getting a vasectomy next month. Because our infertility was "unexplained," neither of wants to take the chance--however small--that I might get pregnant by accident.
Second are the logistical considerations. As we joke, we currently are able to play a "man to man" defense: each of us cares for one baby. (We do switch off frequently so that neither of our sons is with either of us more often than the other.) If we increased our family size to three, we'd have to move to a "zone" defense; we'd be outnumbered. Also, our house is not large and only has three bedrooms, none of which are very big. I'm perfectly OK with keeping the boys together until they are a little older, but they may well reach an age where they need/want more space. In our current house, we could simply convert the office/guest room into one of their bedrooms. With a third child, we'd be short a bedroom. . . . we'd have to move or be very cramped.
Third are the financial considerations. Because I'd never want to be accused of complaining, I won't even post here how much having a nanny for our boys is costing us. . . . and she's only there four days a week, eight hours a day. (By the way, another downside of twins: daycare for two infants wouldn't cost much less than the nanny.) Add in the costs of formula, diapers, etc., etc., and having a child is by no means cheap. And this is just discussing the shorter-term financial considerations, not even getting into what it would cost us to buy the bigger house and vehicle(s) we'd need if we added a third child or the costs of college and activities for a third child and the like.
Knowing what you know now, what are your emotional considerations in trying for a second (or third, or fourth, etc.)?
Honestly, for me, there would be no emotional considerations in adding a third child to our family. I absolutely love being a mother, and I have no doubt whatsoever that I would love any child placed in my care. (That's one of the reasons I was OK with using DE to conceive.) But that's also because we would not do so through fertility treatments, or even through TTC on our own. (Adopting a child from the foster care system would come with its own emotional considerations and frustrations, but right now, the possibility of our even taking that path is too far distant for me to really entertain thoughts about what it would be like.)
Readers, what about you?