It's just mind-boggling to me to think about being "done" having kids right now. I've always thought I would have a number of kids. For us, we think of this as "just the beginning" of our family. For the record, I do believe there are legitimate reasons for needing to limit family size at two, or whatever other number - I just don't have the impression right now that that's what we're called to do. But it's so weird to think that if we were following the path of the typical American family, we may well be boxing up and giving away all the baby clothes and toys as the kids grow out of them - knowing that we won't we having any more. As much as I dislike actually being pregnant, I couldn't imagine knowing that I'd never grow a baby inside me again.
Yes, kids grow up SO fast. But I think it's been easier for me to watch it happen because I have the hope that there will be more babies down the road. This isn't the last time I'll get to sniff in that amazing new baby smell, bathe a little one in the sink, have my finger squeezed by five tiny little strong fingers. So it's easier to just let them grow up, and feel excited for all the new things they're learning and doing.
Plus, it's possible that by the time I'm really starting to miss the newborn stage, grandkids will start to come along, and I'll get to experience the cycle all over again. At least I hope so.
Notice I just used the word "plan". I hate that. I hate that I think that way, and that it's the word everyone uses when they talk about family size. Because really, all life is given by God, and all life is a gift. I can plan to have as many kids as I like, but that doesn't mean they will be given to me. The reason it's such an issue, I think, is from the very real fact that a lot of people these days plan not to have children. That didn't used to be such an easy thing to do. Now, instead of married couples allowing the children to come when they will, it's assumed that each pregnancy will be consciously and carefully planned out by the parents. Even the midwives asked me last time whether it was a "planned" pregnancy. Tom and I just sorta looked at each other, unsure how to answer. I finally said, "um, well....we didn't do anything to prevent it." And the midwife immediately answered, "well, that means it's planned." I hated that she had to put that label on it. What does it matter whether it was planned or not? This only leads to the trouble of "unplanned" babies being considered "unwanted" babies.
Avoiding pregnancy is now the default, so if conception ends up happening, it's given the passive verb - "unplanned". (Because of course, you didn't do anything to help make that new life, right? There was no way at all you could have anticipated that an act naturally geared towards reproduction might possibly result in...reproduction?!) But if the pregnancy wasn't an "oops" (because isn't that really what people mean by "unplanned"?), then it's assumed to have been a fully intentional, thoroughly-discussed, "let's-pull-out-the-spreadsheets-to-calculate-this" active decision to make a baby right now. Tom and I understood, of course, that sex tends to produce offspring. We realized - and even hoped - a baby might result. But did we "plan" that? I would say no. Something inside me just cringes at that word for some reason.
Anyways, we don't really have a plan about our family size. Our plan is just to be as open to children as is reasonable, and to continue to pray and discern so we can better understand God's plan for our family.