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Are Your Friends Done Having Kids?

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

A lot of my friends (and family) are still in full-on baby mode. My best friend Jamie had her second baby just this week, in fact, a precious boy named Blake, whom I got to spend quality time with in the hospital on Wednesday—the same hospital Preston was born in. It brought back some incredible memories for me that hit me the minute I walked through the hospital doors. Holding and feeding him definitely made me think I might be ready for at least one more, sooner rather than later. But I still have some reservations...

As I’ve mentioned a few times, my “womb friend” Robin had her daughter Hailey a couple of months ago (she’s also a step-mom to an eight-year-old). Our cousins Ally and Jordy (she’s eight years younger than I am), are due with their first (a girl) in July. I have two friends who recently had their third babies; another two who had their second earlier this year; and some more that are probably going to try for a third within the next year or so. My husband’s best friend has three kids, too—ages 5, 2 ½ and 11 months.

I recently heard one of my closest friends from high school is pregnant with her fifth.

The women in my age group—many of whom I attended camp, grade school, high school and/or college with—are still having babies. Some of the ones who were married by the time they were 30 are onto kid no. 3; the ones who married a little later—almost all of them—have two now. The babies are still popping out around me—and in a lot of cases, they’re having them very close together, within two years or less.

I’ve stopped caring about the fact that my kids won’t be that close in age—it’s not something I can control, so I don’t spend too much time worrying about it. I truly believe everything happens for a reason—I actually take comfort in knowing that.

We were having lunch in the suburbs last weekend and saw a dad (who looked our age or older) pushing three kids around in two strollers, all under the age of three or four. Jay pointed him out to me.

Him: “Look at that guy…

Me: “We are sooo not those people.”

Him: “I think we are.”

Me: “You think we could handle three kids that close in age?”

Him: “I know we could.”

Me: “That wouldn’t freak you out just a little?”

Him: “N-o-p-e.”

Okay, my husband’s great with kids. I think I’m pretty great with kids too. That’s not really the point. Being great with kids doesn’t mean juggling three that close in age is a breeze, especially if two of those kids happen to be twins or are less than two years apart, when you already have a toddler. This is something I think about a lot. It’s something I have to think about, because if and when we decide to move forward with more fertility treatments there’s about a 20 percent chance of us having multiples—even at my age.

Twins wouldn’t scare me nearly as much if I didn’t already have a child—but I do. So it does. Frankly, having one more scares me sometimes. It’s not a matter of loving kids, or even wanting more kids—it's a matter of not being naive about what having more kids would mean.

Even though my friends are still having kids right now, which does make me feel less anxious about it, I still can’t escape the fact that I’m not as young and sprightly as I once was. I have a much bigger job now than I did when Preston was born (that's a huge factor); I have more responsibilities (another factor); I know what it means to take care of a child, both financially and logistically (bingo!). I’m not going into this blindly. That’s probably the no. 1 thing working against me right now when it comes to having more kids (that, and this little thing called "unexplained infertility"). I’m overly cautious; hyperaware of all the challenges. I wish I could get pregnant accidentally, but since it doesn’t look like that’s happening I can’t pretend I don’t know what I’m getting myself into.

Are your friends done having kids, or still popping them out? How many kids are you hoping to have? Do you ever worry about having them too close together and how difficult that would be? Sometimes I think there's a very good reason why we haven't been able to conceive our second yet—maybe someone is watching over us to make sure we're ready for it when the time is right for us, whenever that time may be.

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