Having a fifth child makes no sense. We already have two boys and two girls. Their bedrooms are easily sectioned. Our minivan is too small for yet another car seat and, if we’re being honest, the car won’t easily sell (you just can’t scrub five years worth of mashed Larabars out of carpet). When my husband Seth and I started dating, we talked about our future family. And today, it’s exactly how we wanted it.
Which is why my existential crisis is so strange. I look at my four kids, and by golly, I like them. It makes me want more. Watching each personality emerge is like unwrapping a surprise present that I’m basically guaranteed to love, no matter what’s inside. And I say this with an intimate understanding of the frenzy that comes with parenting young children.
I was thrilled at the idea that my fourth pregnancy would be my last; but, after a year or so, when the fourth baby started pushing away as I tried to nurse, I tearfully told my husband that this just couldn’t be the end. I just wasn’t ready to be done nursing a baby, and I don’t even like nursing. I confessed that I just couldn’t be done with any of it.
At the playground, I chatted with another mother of four who was similarly torn over whether to go for a fifth. When I told her we decided to take the plunge, she asked me “Why?” I didn’t have a ready answer. Just that I like my kids and so, well, why not? My nonchalance, however, belied deeper reasons behind…