We Are Four

A couple of weeks ago, I had a very vivid, very realistic dream that I had a baby boy, and his name was Griffin.
(Or maybe Gryphon. Or Griffen.)

A few days later, I had the exact same dream. I told Chris about it. He didn’t say much, except that he didn’t really love the name. (I do.)

Two days after the second dream, we were at the park. Chris was splashing around in the wading pool with Bee, when he overheard a conversation between a couple of the parents standing around. He walked over to where I was sitting in the shade with Dove, and said, ‘You’ll never guess what I just heard.’

‘What was it?’ I asked.

‘That man was talking to that woman, and they just discovered that their kids have the same name. Griffin.’

My mouth fell open. I don’t feel like life sends me all that many signs, but I was sure the universe had just dropped one in my lap. A big one. Maybe two.

We took heed.

Chris went for a consultation for a vasectomy this week.

Do we want more children? I do. I know I do. I would have another one now. I would. I love being pregnant, I adore my midwife, I desperately love newborns, and I even really love giving birth. I would do it again in a second, even risking the chance of another c-section – the experience of which I now cherish as much as my homebirth experience.

But that’s not really the point. I will always be fighting biology and emotion over this one, but in the end I will make sure that practicality and reality win. But they will duke it out if I let them. Both Chris and I are one of four siblings, so we also have history and experience to rally against. But we’re going to.

I want to give my girls everything that they need, be it emotional, fiscal, imagined or otherwise. I do not want to struggle to give them my time, my patience, a comfortable home or an education. These were struggles that my parents had, and they weighed heavily on me all my life.

Plus, I grew up in the days before mini-vans, so I always got squished in the front-middle seat of the family sedan.

I do not want my children to have to feel as though they are being squished in to fit where really, there wasn’t much room in the first place.

Oh, and did I mention that both mine and Chris’ mother is a twin? Double Griffins indeed. No effing way.

And so, we decided, before we even had our first, that our second would be our last, if the situation were one we could control. And it seems it is.

I know the material things are the least important, but they must be considered. I don’t want to grow out of our little 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom house. (Ok, I would like another bathroom. The little ones will be teenaged girls one day after all.) Vacations are way easier to take as a family of four. I don’t ever want to drive a minivan. (Fine. I kinda do. Don’t tell.)

We have been so lucky – SO very lucky. Our girls are healthy and beautiful. (knock wood, spit into the wind, evoke whatever talisman needed to not tempt fate) My pregnancies took little permanent toll on me, and as I said, even the c-section was no big deal. Should I roll the dice again?

I think we can provide for them; know that we have done all that we can to help ensure their future successes, whatever they choose them to be.

I am afraid that another child would compromise the promises I’ve made to my girls, in my head and in my heart, that they will always be cared for, always be our priority, always be protected.

Trust me, I’ll think about the third child that I am not going to have, and I’ll think of him often. But I won’t be sad, and I know that down the line we won’t change our minds about our decision. In the end, we are four. And four feels good.



  1. four is the magic number.

    and you, sister, you are the warmth everyone gathers around.

  2. Wow, good for you for knowing your mind and sticking to your guns. I mean Griffin (or Gryphon or whatever) is a REALLY good name.

  3. Hmmmmm so familiar (yet different) - I admire your confidence and you know what? Your four definitely looks good, damn good.

  4. We weren't even sure we wanted two, for many of the same reasons. We eventually decided that we could manage two, but that is most certainly it. We, too, don't want to outgrow our house or have to spread ourselves and our resources too thinly. For me, I know three would be too much to handle with any sanity or nice-mom-ness intact. Although I will say that if there were any guarantee of another girl, I might consider three... But there's not. I'm totally getting my tubes tied when this one comes out.

    (And btw, I've met a couple of Griffins in Preschool times the last couple of years, both very nice little boys. Just so's you know.)

  5. We were sure we were stopping at two, and then I got that feeling, too.

    We decided to table any thoughts one way or another for 3-5 years. I got an IUD, so we have up to 5 years to make a decision.

    If our financial situation improves dramatically, we'll consider a third child. Otherwise, at the end of my 5 years, it's time for the big V.

  6. Coming from a fellow pragmatic Capricorn--my sentiments exactly. Two will be tops for me. I barely have the patience for one!

  7. I waffled on this issue so much that I actually stopped my husband's vasectomy after he had been prepped and shaved and drugged. Yes, I did. But then six months later, he went again, and I was OK with it. I think that post-delivery hormones wreaked havoc on my emotions when he first went. Our 3rd child was a newborn, and I think I was afraid I might lose her and then we'd be done. That baby is 15 now.

  8. I'm with you on the family of four idea, although not so much about how you enjoyed giving birth. That is pretty werid about the dreams.

  9. your four is my five ;)

  10. Because of infertility issues we can't have more than one. That being said, I do believe that no matter how many you have and what your decision was, you'll always get a bit broody at times for that new baby.

  11. Griffin is an awesome name! But then, I may be a bit biased in that arena.

    I always said it's a game of numbers and I don't want to be outnumbered. With four, we can each take a kid for one on one, or either of us can take both and still hold them by the hand so they can't escape. (Doesn't life with me sound like fun?..)

    You've got two gems. Who could ask for anything more?

  12. Two kids has always been our magic number also. So of course Trillian's current fear is that we'll have twins on this next try. But at least we have built-in birth control.

  13. One really kicked my ass but I wanted two, so just to drive home the point mother nature sent me Julia to give me a total whoopin. Norm's brother has four kids though and not much money. As long as you have enough love you'll be alright.
    Plus you want a minivan anyway.

    I don't know about these signs. Julia was supposed to be a boy so I am wondering the same thing - do I go for three. I don't think i will, but we haven't done anything permanent yet either.

    It is an interesting place to be with the dice in your hands wondering what you will do.

  14. I'm content with my two girls and I'm done. I have moments (I won't lie) where I worry I might grow to regret my decision (I always hoped I'd have three children). I want my husband to get a vasectomy but he's the one who is hesitant, he wonders if he might like another...and that is why I didn't have a tubal at the same time as my c-sec with Bug three years ago.
    PS-I want to add that I don't think there is a 'magic number' either. I feel it might be a little unfair to those who have one child, three children, or more. It's something I felt the need to mention simply because I feel mildly annoyed when people say 'million dollar family' or those who ask me if we are going to try for a boy (we have two girls). Hope you don't mind that I addressed some of the comments made (and btw, you have such lovely commenters)...and please I don't want anyone to take offense to what I've said, it's not a big deal...just something I wanted to mention! I know nobody meant to be negative or unkind in anyway...okay?

  15. This is a beautiful post, evoking a lot of the sentiments 'round these parts at being three.

    But then again, sniffing newborn at BFF? That kind of made me long, just a little bit, for another one.

    We haven't done anything permanent, but the fear of another preemie is also keeping us cautious. For now.

  16. I want to thank you - seriously - for this post. I desperately want three children. I have always wanted three, and Dave and I agreed on three when we gripped the family-making reigns and got into this crazy game.

    And then we had Oliver, and well, he's like a two-for-one combo about 90% of the time. In the last two years we have come to realize, really realize, that two is probably the magic number for us.

    And fuck, that smarts sometimes.

    But this: I do not want my children to have to feel as though they are being squished in to fit where really, there wasn’t much room in the first place. Yes. As much as I want another child, I completely agree with this statement.

  17. I'm in the same boat, and it's funny because I was just thinking about this yesterday. We have a healthy, happy boy and girl, and me and the hubby are happy to stop there. We struggle with two as it is, and I've been looking into sterilization. But yesterday I stopped and really wondered if a third someday wouldn't be so bad....

  18. I think our 3 is your 4...but not a day that goes by that I don't "imagine" if things were different.

    if only we could win that 36 million....

  19. Ok- my math is so bad that when I read this post's title I got all choked up and excited thinking...OMG! She's pregnant!

    Yup. I'm special.
    And sappy.

    And, I hear you...I love being pregnant, my midwife and giving birth too. We haven't decided on a final number yet. Although I know 2 makes the most sense ...I feel there may be three out there in the universe for us. I think a good start will be to see how we can cope with one first though.

  20. I think deep inside us all we sort of know how many we are supposed to be.

  21. Yup. I'd go for another, though not sure about the whole birth/infant thing. Jan is dead set against. I'm still holding out for a cute toddler adoption down the road though.

    But yeah, broke as a joke, so um, not gonna happen.

  22. This kicked my ass. And like Mama Tulip said, it sure smarts. I was also convinced that three was the magic number. I am one of three, my husband was one of three, three felt like it. But then there is the emotional, the practical, the logistics of going back to school to complete a dream. How to fit in another baby?

    We were watching home movies last night. My Lillian was a tiny, oft-nursing bean. I miss it. But I remember still how tired and shell-shocked I was. I want it again, and I definitely don't. We haven't made up our minds in totality yet...but still, this hit home.

  23. Ah. Wow.

    We've been having the vasectomy discussion. We haven't finished it. We think we know the answer, but...

    This post helped a little.


Talk to me.