Even before I had given birth to my second child, I knew she’d be my last. Something within me just felt so certain that our family was complete with two kids.
But then something funny started happening as my little one grew older. I’d see women with babies or hold a friend’s newborn and something inside of me would start to stir. At one point, I jokingly mentioned this to my doctor. “What in the world is happening?” I laughed. “How could I want another baby? I’m done!”
My doctor, thankfully, didn’t let me off so easy. She refused to brush off my flippant comment, made me slow down, and looked me in the eye. She said one clear, simple thing that encouraged me to neither write off my inner emotions nor dive head-first into them:
“You know, wanting another baby is a very different thing than wanting another CHILD.”
Though I was certain we wouldn’t be having any more children, it didn’t mean I was immune to bouts of baby fever or longings for those sweet newborn snuggles. But that one, simple comment from my doctor put everything in perspective for me and helped calm the baby fever. It helped me to be able to hold babies and look back fondly on the snuggly baby days of my own children while still acknowledging that I do believe our family is complete and that I’m not actually longing for a whole other person in our family.
Baby fever can be painful, even gut-wrenching. I want to be clear that I don’t want to discount women’s emotions around this sensitive topic, and I also know that not everyone’s answer will be the same as mine. Many women will decide that they’re “done,” but then feel the very clear pull towards adding to their family. Others might have a deep desire for a child but struggle with infertility.
But for those of you who are wrestling with a baby fever that’s caught you off guard, let me encourage you to slow down. Honor those feelings, but dig deeper. Do you just want another baby, or do you want another member in your family? Either answer may be the right one. While baby fever may certainly indicate that you want another child, it doesn’t always.
How have you decided your family size? Have you been surprised by baby fever, or did God open your heart to another child after you thought you were “done?” Tell us your story!