Monday, January 10, 2011

Priorities # 2

I've been sitting on this post for awhile because I've been trying to get it sorted in my head.  The more and more time I spend with people who are not "like minded", the more frustrated I get.  While I try my best not to judge other mothers and the choices they make for their children, I will openly admit that lately I'm failing pretty badly. 

I don't consider myself to be an overly judgemental person, but there are times when I can't help myself.  Trust me, I'm trying to work on this, because really...what does it matter what another mother is doing with her own children?  The fact is, I care.  I care about the health and well-being of the children in my life.  I care deeply about their emotional development, and I care about their physical development.  With all the information that is out there, I find it frustrating that so many people make uninformed choices when it comes to the health and well-being of their children.  I like to refer to this as "willful ignorance", and this is my biggest pet peeve.  How can you not be aware of how the choices you make are affecting your children? 

Let's take nutrition as an example.  Recently, my mother-in-law commented that we must spend a "fortune" on our grocery bill.  And yes, in our overall budget, we probably spend more on food than the average family household.  Part of this is due to our desire to eat as organically as possible (and when not organic, we go out of our way to support local farmers), and partially because allergies require us to shop as specialty stores.  Even before the allergy diagnosis for both my eldest son and myself, both my husband and I were very contientious about what we were putting in front of our children.  We've always limited sugar (especially refined sugar) and been very careful about the kinds of foods we're exposing our children to.  Namely, I believe in offering FOOD to my kids.  That may sound trite -- I'm sure you're thinking "yes, I serve food too, you crazy lady".  Personally, I don't believe pudding and pop tarts are food.  We don't eat processed convenience meals.  And I definitely don't make desserts and "treats" part of my children's vocabulary.  Of course, this hasn't ensured that my kids are good eaters.  Quite the opposite right now, which is frustrating.  My three year old is turning into quite the picky eater.  But, my job is to serve him healthy meals and it is his job to decide how much he wants to eat.  I'm just hopeful one day he decides he wants to eat more than he is right now! 

What is my point?  The more I learn about food, the more I realize the importance of being careful about what I put in my own mouth, let alone the mouths of my kids while they're developing.  While I admit I sometimes rely on what's easy (eggs for breakfast every day anyone?), I do try and ensure that fruit, vegetables, legumes and grains are offered. 

Maybe I'm more sensitive about this because of all the issues we've been through with my son.  It now appears that my second child has food allergies as well, and we've recently gone through the testing process for him and are awaiting results.  The test isn't cheap, but I'm fortunate that my husband's benefit package through his employer covers the cost.  But the bottom line is this -- I don't care how much the test costs, if we're talking about the health of my child, I will spend the money. 

If you suspected your child might be suffering, wouldn't you do the same?  I encountered someone recently who suspected her child may have allergies, but after taking the first steps to investigate getting the child into see someone, she abandoned the process because the allergy testing was going to be "too expensive".  She decided she would chalk the issues up to sensitive skin, and wait things out.  The next day, her Facebook status said she was going shopping. 

I'm sorry....what?!?!?  Why is it okay to spend money on clothes and toys and THINGS, but the cost of a simple test is too much?  My children are too young to know if the clothes they're wearing are designer, but they DO know when they aren't feeling well.  They deserve to have functioning systems and skin that isn't sore and itchy.  Nothing makes me more upset than thinking I may have unknowingly given my son an allergen that has messed his system up.  The pain he is in just isn't worth it. 

So maybe my priorities are out of whack.  Maybe you're judging me for being so uptight when it comes to food.  Believe me, I know that my inlaws think that I'm uptight for being so rigid about sugar.  Maybe you think "what can it hurt?".  But the more I know, the more I realize that it does hurt them.  A lot. 

Maybe that's why so many people bury their heads in the sand.  It's easier to whip out that frozen convenience dinner than to actually put effort into meal preparation.  It's easier to change your laundry detergent because of your child's "sensitive skin" instead of actually finding out what's wrong.  Because once you know, you have to change.  And change isn't easy and requires work.  Maybe it's easy for me because I'm at home and can devote the time. 

All I know is that I look at these little people that I created and believe with my whole heart that they deserve the best that I can give them.  Regardless of cost or effort. 


Saturday, December 11, 2010

My priority list

My husband, and my marriage, are my most important priorities.

I'm saying this outloud so that I never forget this very true statement. 

We just returned from a much-needed vacation, just the two of us.  I was feeling particularly burned out -- exhausted, tired and sore from the constant lifting and running after two children.  The considerable bulk I'm carrying around my middle isn't helping matters either.  We haven't had time like that together in well over a year, and we were definitely feeling it.  Although we're very blessed and have my mom who is always willing to babysit for us, it's getting harder and harder to just get out and spend time together.  Forget about extended periods of time, even date nights are getting challenging. 

Being away, with no responsibilities, was a dream.  The warm weather was a plus, but it was really more about being together and being able to focus on JUST each other.  Well, and ourselves a little bit too.  Let's be honest, being able to feed myself first, when and how much I wanted, was almost the nicest part of the whole vacation! 

I know many people are probably thinking "how can you not put your children first"?  As mothers, we're almost preprogrammed to put the needs of our offspring before our own, to continually sacrifice for their betterment.  Only enough food in the house for the kids?  Mom will go without.  Laundry needs to be done?  Kids clothes are always clean, and mom can wear those dirty pants again (who will notice one more day?).  Only have enough money for one extracurricular activity?  Well Little Johnny can play soccer this summer, and mom will do without a haircut for awhile. 

I don't really subscribe to this way of thinking.  While I admit that more often than not I look a little bit frumpy (it is hard to be a stylish, pregnant, stay-at-home mom), I refuse to be "that" woman who has beautifully groomed children while I go without new clothes for years and years.  I refuse to let them be the only ones in this house that enjoy life.  And I REFUSE to let them grow up in a house where mom and dad don't have anything in common anymore.  I see having balance among family members as being the best way to put my kids first.

My health and well-being is important.  If I don't feel good about myself, I won't have the energy to devote to the others who need me to be "on".  Sometimes that means getting a hair cut.  Sometimes that means doing something I love, like playing baseball once a week in the summer, or going out for dinner with friends.  Sometimes it means doing something drastic like leaving for the weekend.  My husband deserves that alone time as well.  He goes hunting in the fall, fishing in the summer, and this summer he, too, is going to play baseball once a week.  It's important that we feed our souls so that we can be emotionally (and physically) healthy for our children.  It's also important that we teach our children that while they are they most important people in the world to us, the world does not revolve around them.

But really, what matters more than those things, is that we have a happy and healthy marriage.  My husband and I were a team before we had kids, and once the children grow up and become more independent (and eventually, hopefully, leave home), all we'll be left with is each other.  If we spend the new few years focused only on the children, we'll have nothing left when the children are gone.  More importantly than that, my children deserve to live in a home where their parents love each other.  Children grow up with good self-esteem and confidence when their home life is happy, and we (the parents) are the foundation of that happy home.  Also, I want to show my boys what they should be looking for when choosing a mate, and my husband is a shining example of how they should be treating their future partners. 

So is it selfish that we take time away from our children?  Maybe.  Personally, I see it as an investment.  An investment that they will grow up to be secure, confident young men.  And an investment that I will have a partner for my whole life, not just a partner "for now". 

So let me ask you....have you dated your husband lately?  Have you dated yourself?  Maybe it's time to spend a little less on shoes and clothes for your children and a little more on finding something that feeds your own soul.  Your children will thank you for it, I promise. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

'Tis the season...

....for ridiculousness.

Christmas used to be my favourite time of year.  The sights, the sounds, the smells....I loved it all.  I also loved buying the perfect gifts for people.  Sure, I usually went overboard, but it gave me some joy to buy things for people they'd never buy themselves.  The best part, however, was spending time with my family and our Christmas traditions. 

The last few years I have found Christmas incredibly stressful.  Once we GET to Christmas, it's fine.  I still love being with my family and going through our usual rituals.  And now that we have kids, it is really fun to start new traditions with them.  But much of the joy has been taken from me, and I'm not sure why.

If I could skip through to December 24th, I'd be fine.  That moment in church at our Christmas Eve service, I can almost feel the stress lifting off my shoulders.  Maybe it's because I'm finally with my family, quiet and calm, or maybe it's because I know the stores are closed!  I love hosting Christmas dinner.  I love sitting around the lit tree, eating until we're totally stuffed, hanging out in our me, THAT is what Christmas is about.  Obviously, it's about more than that (if, like me, you believe in the birth of Christ), but ultimately my "reason for the season" is being with my loved ones.

So why oh why are we constantly inundated with commercialism and materialism at every turn? 

I don't get it.  I just don't understand the need to buy my kids the "latest and greatest" crap that they a) don't need and b) don't want.  Ensuring that they have more toys than they know what to do with does not mean I love them.  Limiting the amount of gifts they get at Christmas does not mean I love them less.  I have a real problem with the excessiveness in any form, especially when so many around us are in need.  REAL need.  My kid does not NEED anything.  Neither does anyone in my family or extended family.  We all live very blessed lives.  We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, heat, hydro, clothes...we have everything we need to live comfortably.  We can even afford extras.  My children can do extracurricular activities.  My husband and I are fortunate and can afford to take a trip together.  We are VERY blessed.

Some may argue that my children have "wants".  Really?  At three and one, do they really WANT anything????  The only reason they would want for anything at this age is if I tell them they want it.  Or, if someone else tells them they want.  I know that at some point they will be exposed to greater outside influences that will encourage them to "want" -- school friends, TV, etc.  But I feel that it is our job as parents to teach them that giving is more important than getting.  More importantly, it is my job to set boundaries.  It just becomes difficult when those boundaries aren't respected.

The last few weeks we have had some interesting sermons at church which have made me think about this issue even further.  The gift of generosity and the discipline of simplicity are hard things to wrap your head around when our culture is working in exact opposition to these philosophies.  I hope that I can model generosity to my children so that they understand it isn't just about the "stuff".  It's about being generous with your time, your heart, your compassion.  I want my children to understand that we have been very blessed, and that it is up to us to "pay it forward".  The "stuff" they have won't make them happy, but loving their neighbours will. 

So as we close in on yet another Christmas season, I hope I can find some inner peace and embrace the things I love about this time of year.  Spending time with my family, planning a meal I know everyone will love, enjoying a glass of wine by the fire and the lit tree, cuddling with my kidlets in their fleece jammies...that is what's important.  I hope that I can let go of the stress of the materialism that surrounds me. 

Or turn it into a life lesson for my children. I'm pretty sure that is more productive than what I've been doing up to now! 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Alone time

I am a social being.  I thrive on being with people, and generally would choose to be with someone rather than be on my own.  That being said, I also require alone time to "recharge". 

When I was working (pre kids), I desperately needed at least an hour of quiet at the end of the work day to recover from being "on" all day.  This was one of the first issues my husband and I needed to work out when we got married.  Not having seen me all day, he wanted to talk to me and discuss the day.  It was hard for me to explain that I needed some quiet time before I was ready to be social.  Obviously I wanted to see him too, but I needed to recuperate.  My husband is also a morning person.  He wakes up and is ready to go right away.  I have teased him that he wakes up talking to me.  I, on the other hand, like to wake up slowly and have a bit of time to process things before I'm required to speak.  I think I need that time because once I start talking, I don't stop. 

Of course, this is all B.C -- before children.  In the B.C days, I had the luxury of quiet, the luxury of alone time.  Now even my "alone" time is peppered with child interaction.  Bathroom breaks, a bath while the kids are getting ready for bed, a trip to the store...I'm never actually ALONE (please find me a parent who gets to pee by themselves, without an audience, and I'll find you a liar).   When I do get a few moments of time to myself, it is just that -- a few moments.  A half an hour of time to myself while I run to the store to do an errand really isn't enough time to feel rejeuvenated. 

My husband has always had time away.  His fishing trip in the spring, hunting in the fall.  Sure, he's with other people, but it's time away from his responsibilities.  In the past, these trips never bothered me because it was his time to do what he loved, and in return he supported me while I joined a baseball team and got to do what I loved.  But in the last year, I've been feeling more and more resentful that I don't have the same opportunities for quiet. 

So I made one.  I decided I needed a weekend away.  A weekend of responsibility-free time.  More importantly, a weekend of time where I could be by myself.  I could sleep if I wanted, or see friends if I wanted.  The time was my own. 

I am now home from the weekend and it was lovely.  I had dinner Friday and Saturday nights with friends, but the rest of the time I was blissfully alone.  I even ordered room service for breakfast on Saturday so I didn't have to speak to anyone in a restaurant.  I slept in.  I went to a movie by myself.  I watched TV.  My husband was alone with both kids for the entire weekend for the first time.  And we all survived. 

I think we all needed this (my husband may disagree).  I think it was good for him to spend that time with both boys.  I think the boys loved having that time with him.  As they get older, the "dad weekends" are going to be the ones they remember forever.  I definitely needed some time away.  I needed some quiet, some time to just be with myself.  I had a lovely time with my friends, but an even better time when I was alone.  Not having to talk, not having to think of an answer to "why mommy?", not having to plan dinner, not having to feel guilty for the mess that surrounds me -- well, it was pure bliss.  And this may make me a bad mommy, but I didn't even miss them!   Sure, I was happy to come home today.  It was lovely to be greeted by little faces who missed me.  I couldn't get enough of the hugs, and I really appreciated the special dinner the boys made.  But while I was gone, I was happy to enjoy every moment of being alone. 

I've informed my beloved that this needs to be a yearly occurence.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Fertility Factor

This may be my first "controversial" posting.  I've struggled with writing this post for awhile now, but feel that I need to give another perspective.  That's the whole point of my blog afterall -- writing to make you think. 

I have been blessed with two beautiful children and a third on the way.  Ever since I was very little, I knew I wanted to have children.  Some people know they want to be rich or famous, some people know they want to be doctors or lawyers or police officers.  My goals were never so lofty.  My desire was to be a mother.  I remember when I was younger, I figured by the time I was 25 (an old age in my mind), I'd be married with two kids.  Obviously, life didn't work out that way for me and I am VERY grateful for that.  Being an older mom has its challenges for sure, but I am so glad that I am the age that I am.  We're financially stable, I've lived a bit of life and learned a little bit of wisdom along the way, and I was ready for my life to change. 

Of course, by the time I was 31 and we were discussing conception, I had no idea if I even COULD conceive.  By that time, I had watched many of my friends successfully conceive, start families, even have more than one child.  I had also seen several friends struggle with conception.  Some struggled for a few months, some struggled for a few years, and a few had to use fertility treatments.  Some of these friends I was very close to and almost intimately involved in their fertility journey.  I listened as they shared their deepest feelings about their struggles, I watched as they injected themselves with drugs, I hugged them and waited with them as the trying turned into failure, and I cried with them as those failures turned into successes.  But most of all, I learned.  I learned what it meant to want something so much and not be able to have it.  I also learned that in a life where we think we can control everything, that sometimes the toughest lesson is realizing that we really have no control at all. 

I haven't had the easiest life.  There are so many details of my childhood that I'd rather forget.  Even if I wanted to share them all, it would take me a year of posts (or more!) to recount them all.  And even if I did try to explain my story, some of it is so unbelieveable it probably wouldn't sound real.  At this point, 6 years in, my huband only has a vague understanding.  He knows my mom (who validates me) and he's met my dad (the source of the problems), and there are times I think even he doesn't believe it all. 

The last five years in particular have been incredibly challenging.  I've suffered unimaginable loss and experienced enough sadness to last me a lifetime.  Definitely more than my fair share I'd say.  Of course, I've tempered that sadness with unimaginable joy -- marriage to my soulmate, birthing my children -- it all evens out in the wash I think.  Every experience teaches you a life lesson whether you want to learn it or not. 

It also teaches you empathy. 

I find the people I'm most drawn to in life are the people who've suffered.  Not that I seek those people out.  But when you are around people that "get it", you find that they get you.   Everyone wants to be around people who understand you, who care about you, who don't judge you.  It is my personal opinion (and experience) that someone doesn't need to have experienced the EXACT same things as me to "get" me.  They just need to be empathetic, and we all learn empathy in different ways. 

I have a few friends struggling with fertility issues right now, and it is painful to watch.  My one friend has been trying for 8 years and has finally started with fertility treatments.  I'm excited for her as she begins this next chapter.  There are a few others who are struggling and I'm praying for them as they make their way through their own journey, and waiting patiently to celebrate with them as those struggles become successes. 

So why is it that I feel guilty because I haven't experienced the EXACT same thing?  Why is it that some of these women have actually said to me "oh you can't understand what this is like for me"?  Because no one life is the same, no one's experiences are the same as another, and no fertility issue is the same as another.  So even if I DID experience issues with my fertility, chances are I wouldn't be able to "get" what someone else is going through anyway.  And why is it that a woman struggling with infertility thinks that a woman who doesn't struggle can't possibly understand?

Despite the fact that I have experienced miscarriage, I have not experienced 10 miscarriages, so I have no idea what that feels like.  I also have no trouble conceiving, so I have no idea what it feels like to be told that the only way I will ever have a baby is if I pay $10,000 to the IVF doctor for scientific treatment.  I haven't had to make the decision to dispose of my fertilized eggs that are being kept frozen, and I haven't had to rearrange my work schedule to ensure I could make it to the clinic every morning for blood work. 

But I HAVE experienced loss.  I would give back every positive pregnancy test if I could just see my sister one more time.  Not that I would trade my children away, don't misunderstand.  But I would take my sister being alive for a little bit of struggle with my fertility.  I would struggle with my fertility if it meant I could spare my mother the pain of losing her child AND her only sibling.  I would take a bit of struggle if it meant I didn't have to hold my new husband as he cried while saying goodbye to his father. 

So while you make me feel guilty for my fertility success, or tell me "I'm so lucky" because I don't know how it feels, or ignore me and throw away our friendship because you just can't bear to look at my pregnant belly or hear about my babies, think about this:  I've more than paid for my fertility success.  Maybe God decided I've suffered enough for one life so this ONE thing gets to be easy for me.  You know the saying "God only gives us what we can handle"?  Maybe he knew I couldn't handle yet one more struggle, one more setback.  Maybe He realized that I was maxed out and so this gets to be one thing I don't have to worry about.  And because of my life experiences, why don't you realize that I DO get it.  Probably more than the woman beside you in the fertility clinic gets it. 

This is why I've chosen birth education and support as my career path.  No matter how and when conception happens, it's a miracle each and every time.  Each life is precious, and I want to be there, to ride the highs and lows of conception, pregnancy and birth.  I want to witness and support the journey. 

This is really why I'm "lucky".  I'm lucky because I get to do what I want with my life.  And I definitely don't feel guilty for that. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mommy heartbreak

I thought I had a few years before I had to deal with this.

I was prepared for some sadness that comes with parenthood.  The kind of sadness that comes when your baby turns one and you realize they aren't a baby anymore, or when they take a tumble and hurt themselves and you realize it was probably your fault they fell over that laundry basket in the first place....that kind of thing.  I figured the bigger stuff was a few years off.  The leaving home/breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend/saying "I hate you mom" for the first time...THAT bigger stuff.

In this month's Today's Parent magazine, there was an article that talks about how to deal with your child when they've been rejected for the first time.  Most of the children they were writing about were in the 8-9 age range.  Kids that were joining a sports team for the first time, or entering the challenging social pool at school and finding out they may not have as many friends as the other kids.  While reading, I was relieved to think that I had a few years before I had to figure out how I was going to cope with this.  I think watching your child be rejected, while an important part of their growth and development, must be an awful experience for any parent. 

My biggest fear in life is being a Helicopter Parent.  I believe my job is to teach my children to be confident and self aware so I can release them into the big bad world to find their way.  Obviously, along the way there will be lessons to teach them independence etc.  In these early years, I'm trying to figure out my children's personalities in order to determine which "lessons" will serve them best.  My oldest child is proving to be a challenge. 

My first born is very social and outgoing.  He plays well with others and likes to be outside.  Having said that, he is also timid in new situations that don't involve me or daddy and can be overly cautious.  He doesn't necessarily like trying new things, but once he has done something a few times, he loves it and will want to keep going.  He's never backed away from anything, but in a new situation it often takes mommy being RIGHT THERE to keep him involved.  This can be frustrating and endearing all at the same time.  As he gets older and is edging ever closer to going to school, I want to ensure that he has the confidence to want to try things without me, and the independence to know he can. 

We have a pool and it is important to both my husband and I that all of our children are a) comfortable around water and b) want to be in the water.  So far, we have given birth to two little fish.  This past summer, both boys wanted to be in the water all the time.  Because of this, and because we are going to have three kids next summer, I decided to enroll the oldest in lessons this fall.  I wanted to encourage him to continue to learn, but I was also hopeful that lessons would teach him a bit more independence.  I was apprehensive when registering him as it became clear the only level he could be accepted in because of his age was a class with no parent participation.  I wasn't sure how it would go, but decided to try it after being reassured we could drop out if it didn't seem like he was ready.  The level was for ages 3-5, which is where part of my concern lay.  There is a big difference between a three year old and a five year old -- especially when the three year old in question is my smaller-than-normal child. 

The first class was okay, mostly because I was in the water too.  Class two there was a different teacher, and she didn't let my son's tears and fear bother her, which was good, but it was still stressful to watch.  I was pretty sure I wanted to pull him out of these lessons as it was clear he just wasn't ready for what they were teaching to his four and five year old peers.  But, I decided to give it one more week because I also don't want to teach my children that it is okay to quit.  BIG MISTAKE.  It was the same teacher as week one.  My poor child was scared to go into the water, but I convinced him that it was okay to sit on the edge with the other kids and at least watch what was going on -- which he did.  He continued to sit on the edge for twenty minutes (this is a thirty minute class) without being acknowledged or helped into the water.  I don't think it phased him as I'm sure he didn't want to go into the water, but I was sitting back watching my child be ignored, and I'm pretty sure that to date, this is the most difficult thing I've ever encountered.  He sat there so quietly, just watching the other kids, and it nearly broke my heart.  Sure, I'm pregnant and hormonal, but I spent the entire time fighting tears as I watched the teacher help every other child and continually pass mine over.  When the teacher finally got out of the water, I asked him why he was ignoring my son, and he said he thought he was just "some kid watching the class" -- he had FORGOTTEN him!  There are seven kids per class -- I would think that they'd be pretty easy to remember, especially the one who is the smallest and the scardest!  After I finally convinced this teenage teacher that I wasn't crazy and my son was in his class, my poor boy finally got in the 5:29pm, 1 minute before the class was due to end.  I was livid and more convinced that the timing was wrong for my little "lesson in independence".  We made it to the changeroom where I burst into tears because my heart was hurting from the pain I had inflicted on my son.  I couldn't believe that such a small act of rejection had made me so upset.  I'm never going to survive their childhood at this rate. 

As my son hugged me and asked repeatedly "you okay mommy?", I realized that my son is incredibly sensitive and empathetic already.  Maybe those are much more important qualities for a three year old anyway.  One day he'll be independent and will want to do things on his own, without me.  But empathy is a much harder thing to teach, and he seems to have it down pat.  So what if he wants to be with me?  Obviously I've done something right. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Man plans, God laughs

I'm a planner.  I can't help it.  I've been this way as long as I can remember, and it isn't likely to change.

I've taken some flack for this in my life.  The non-planners in my life tend to appreciate this quality about me.  Other planners tend to either appreciate it, or fight with me about it.  The thing about planners is we tend to be "type A" personalities.  When you're friends (or colleagues) with other A types, conflict can happen. 

There is comfort in plans.  Knowing what is going to happen, and when, can bring stability.  My childhood and teenage years were rather unstable, so I think my insatiable need to have my life planned out came from that.  When I was young and single, every minute of my spare time was planned out.  Which seems crazy looking back on it -- I had relatively no down time, and no time to be spontaneous.  But, I liked it that way.  It was comforting to know that I always had something to do, and always had someone to do it with. 

As I've gotten older, I still like to plan things.  However, I now appreciate the beauty of a "plan free" weekend, and the ability to make plans on the fly.  So while every minute of my life isn't scheduled, there is still an underlying plan to everything I do.

Fortunately, I married a planner.  We work well as a team.  Now our plans include where we want to be in the coming months, what our life looks like in 5 years, and what we want our retirement to look like.  We plan for our children's futures as well as our own.  We're very responsible (ha ha). 

Having children was part of our plan.  We even planned out how many we would have and when they would come. 

Until this summer.  This summer, I learned a valuable lesson.  My life lesson is that you can't put too much faith in the plans that you make, because ultimately it's not you in control.  And so, despite our plans to wait a year before adding to our family, we found out we were expecting our third child. 

The news threw me for a loop.  Our other two children (and the baby we miscarried in between) were very planned.  This third baby was planned for, just not yet.  Having my second and third so close together in age seemed daunting at first (they'll be 18 months apart).  We had just gotten the second baby to start sleeping well.  This last year has been exhausting, and I questioned whether I could do it all over again so quickly.  I wanted to enjoy my children a little bit before having another baby around, and all that comes with that (meaning, my dreadful sickness in pregnancy).  I wanted to enjoy my husband for a little while before we added to the craziness of our house.  I wanted to enjoy my house -- do some more renos and prepare properly for three children. 

Once the news sunk in, I was thrilled -- obviously.  We wanted three children.  I'm actually looking forward to having them close in age. I think this is going to be a wonderful thing as they grow.

No matter what, I recognize that we are very blessed.  Blessed that we can have children.  Blessed that I have a choice.  Blessed that we have a good support system around us so that we will have help in the early days (and beyond).  And blessed that we're living the life we truly want.  Whether or not I plan every detail doesn't really matter.  What matters is that I am lucky to be living my dream.  How many women can truly say that?