Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Should we have a third kid?

OK, this may just be the post where you're going to think that I've lost it. Because I am opening this blog to a discussion about us having a third kid. For the record, this is not going to be like a reality show where you vote on what we should do and then we'll go and procreate...or not. OBVIOUSLY, this is a decision only we can make. But I'm throwing this out to the the wisdom of the web, and the thoughtful people who visit here, because I'm genuinely curious about your experiences and any deliberations you've already worked through. I'm interested to hear perspectives we may have not yet considered. As it is, I already grill every single mom I meet who has three kids.

We want to have a third child.
We're hesitant to.
We'll wait a few months.
No, we've already waited a few months.
But we're not quite ready.
But is anyone ever really ready?

I'll just lay out the main pros and cons in cold, hard type:

• Dave is an incredibly hands-on dad, so even though we'd be physically outnumbered we'd have two involved parents juggling three kids. Not such a bad ratio, considering.
• We can afford it, more or less. And if it ends up being "less," we'll deal. College, three square meals a day and clothes on your back are highly overrated.
• Another sibling to encourage Max. Sabrina's been a great influence: She's encouraged him to try to talk, to eat and drink on his own, to use the potty, to sing silly songs, to jump on the couch (that's something you welcome when your kid has physical challenges), to stand up for himself. I've written before about how when Sabrina annoyed Max when she was little, we'd be secretly pleased to see Max swat the pacifier right out of her mouth—an amazing display of dexterity for a kid who has such trouble using his hands.
• Another sibling to care for Max when Dave and I are not around. Sabrina already helps him a lot when she's not trying to maim him or put the blame on him for something. I feel this intense mix of joy and sorrow when I see her cover him with a blanket because he can't quite grasp it, or when he trips and she rushes over to pick him up, or when she talks for him, or when he gets upset and she pats his back and says the only three words that bring him comfort: "Max loves purple!" Seeing her with him is a reminder of the care that Max needs, a reminder that Sabrina is going to be there for him alone unless there's another sibling to help. Although who knows, said sibling could turn out to be a jerk or a free spirit who wants to backpack in Nepal and have nothing to do with Max. It's a crap shoot. I guess it all is.
• Another baby: yum. We've made some pretty cute kids so far. I am personally not looking forward to the teen years, but I am sure that by then there will be an app for managing teens.
• I don't want to be 70 years old and regret not having another child.

• Another child will mean less attention for each child...especially for Max. And he needs as much of our attention as he can get. As it is, I feel guilty about all the stuff that I could be doing for him but don't get to often enough. Another child will mean even less time for programming Max's speech device, doing therapeutic play with him, massaging his limbs, and the countless other responsibilities I have as a parent of a child with cerebral palsy.
• It's hard to imagine going back to the infant days (make that infant daze), although when I was recently talking with my ob/gyn about this she said to me, not unkindly, "You're not completely out of the baby stage." She's right. Max still requires certain help.
• I'm worried about handling three kids on my own. When I go to a busy place with Max and Sabrina, like Target or our town center, I need to hold Max's hand at all times; sometimes, he darts away and I have to run after him. How would I juggle him, Sabrina and a baby? I know, the baby would eventually grow more independent and hopefully Max will, too, but when I picture the four of us making our way down the street, it terrifies me. Even though the baby is really cute-looking.
• I like having a life, or at least some sliver of one. There, I said it. Another kid would mean less time to enjoy Dave, have a hobby (coming soon!), read, write, think, savor.
• Of course, we could adopt; there are so many children out there who need a home. The world is already overpopulated, and we're draining our natural resources. An environmental activist I know once described a third kid as a "Hummer," and I've never forgotten it.

Whew. Just getting that out has been helpful. But still, I want to hear: If you were us, would you have that third child?

Photo by Robin Keefe


  1. I'm happy to be the first to say, "Hell, yes!" The way I justify it (and my first is the severely disabled one) is that there are more people to love and surround her. It feels more balanced, not less, having three children. I don't worry about people describing our family as the one with the typical kid and the atypical one. I love that my boys have each other AND their sister. I think there's less pressure to "be good," "to be the perfect one," etc. when there are two around. Don't get me wrong, it's been really trying at times but overall, at age 46, I wish that I had had another one.

  2. Well,I am a self professed baby pusher.Six children is the final count here.3 older... 23,21 and 18.We had these grand plans of being empty nesters in our mid forties.I had my tubes tied after our third daughter and regretted it in the delivery room.Flash forward 10 years... had my tubes,REVERSED,and on came the next two.Our friends thought we were crazy.Then came Zoey... along with a host of extra,extra's and you know what... SHE was what we were waiting for all along!

    I would never go back and change our decision to have more.Our lives are richer and better because of all of my children and take it from me ... all the worries,all the cons... it all works out.I promise.

    Final decision:Go for it.

  3. I've seen around babies, so I'm going to say yes, totally. You, my friend, are a baby lover.

  4. We have 3 and I wouldn't change it for the world. It is NEVER a dull moment and we are completely outnumbered. I wanted to have things planned, but when do we really have things totally under control anyway? We came to take it all as it comes and although we are exhausted, and have 3 kids in our bed as I am typing this now, we cherish ever chaotic moment! Follow your heart and enjoy the magical miracles that life offers!! You will do fabulous as a mom of 2 or 3! xo

  5. Go for it! I have three. I'm not gonna lie, I'm busy. But it is worth it. I was like you, on the fence, for about two years. The urge to have another child never left me, so we stopped talking and went for it. Sabrina would probably appreciate the help with Max one day; you having another child will someday make her life as an adult with her own family easier. As for the third child being a Hummer...that is crap. It all comes down to how you live. I know a lot of families with one child that create MORE waste than we do. Also, maybe that third child will be some sort of brilliant genius who will figure out how to fix the hole in the ozone, or contribute something great and meaningful to our society.

  6. Go for it! I just strap Daniel to me in a sling and we head out. It will be a little more tricky when he starts walking but I love my little family and wish pregnancy was no so hard on me because i would have a ton more kids if I could.

  7. Yep. Can't imagine our life without number 4 (or number 3 for that matter).

  8. If I could, I would. You should. And you are going to think I am totally nuts, but I was just thinking today as I read Sablog, I wonder if Ellen will ever have another child. How strange is that?

  9. I say go for it! The way I look at it, there's a chance you might look back twenty years from now and think:

    "We should have had another baby."

    Now compare that to the odds of you'll be looking back twenty years from now and thinking:

    "We never should have had that third baby. Max and Sabrina would have been so much better off without that kid."

    I'd say one scenario is significantly more likely than the other.

    So in my opinion, the more the merrier! There's always more love to go around, and I would think that the advantage of having another sibling to motivate Max would balance out the fact that your time is spread more thinly.

    That's my two cents!


  10. Do what you feel (not anyone else), but if you do want another, don't wait too long, unless you've got fresh eggs in the freezer. You probably aren't as old as I am (that ship has sailed for me, being too old now and without my life partner), but sooner is better, I think. You don't want to get into Elizabeth Edwards territory and have to be pumped full of hormones (with the attendant health risks).

    I came from a huge family and we all got along just swell when we weren't trying to murder each other! Siblings are precious, and more so in your adult years (when you're reliving your glory days of childhood). I wish I saw mine more--most of 'em have moved away so we only see each other at holidays. We're yakking on the phone constantly, though. My dad keeps threatening to pull us into this century with a webcam so we can count each other's wrinkles!

    If you do decide to have another, this blog will get even MORE interesting than it already is!

  11. I'm the wrong person to comment, my 2nd one's not even out of the oven and I'm already trying to figure out the best timing for the 3rd!
    I'm sure both Max and Sabrina would love another sibling :-)

  12. Hmmmmmm...a 'hummer'? I always thought that lead to the baby! :)

    You know my feelings! We were done after Jacob, and along came Victoria! One of the best 'surprises' we have ever had!

    So I say 'Go for it DAVE AND ELLEN! GET THAT HUMMER!' and have fun doing it! ;)

  13. I had the third and absolutely have no regrets whatsoever. She is 13 months old now. The first 6 months are hard, but by 12 months it is so much easier:) As it happens she is bringing along her brother with autism who is 16 months older than her, that is an added advantage though as we had her before we knew about his autism. It's very busy in our house, but I wouldn't change it, not even for a second. We based our decision on how we would feel in 15 years when we couldn't have another? We felt we would regret it hugely and that any chaos in the early years would be well worth not having the regrets later on:) Jen.

  14. As the mom of three, who always wanted three, who feels thrilled with my three, I'll say....three kids is a lot of kids. But it's so clear from what you wrote that you really really want a third. I'm especially moved by your thoughts re Sabrina that it seems this is the right decision for you.

  15. I will be the one weirdo in the room. Just for us....more was too much. After Faith was born I craved another baby...selfishly....for sure! I was angry and hurt that I missed all the baby milestones. I wanted that. But we waited...and waited...and waited....and it turns out those missed steps did come, in time. And it's ok to just have her! She is enough for me....I can lavish all my attention on her. I know it's different for each family and since you already have Sabrina so things are different for you.

  16. TeamBaby here:

    What a 3rd child taught our 2 kids:

    1. That they can be the teacher, too.

    2. That someone will look up to them.

    3. That the house now feels FULL of love, laughter, and squeals.

    4. That they need to pitch in more around the house and that they are VERY important in the house.

    5. That family life is not all centered around one child, but all children.

    6. That games/family night are more fun with 5.

    7. That EVERYTHING is more fun with 5.

    I have never regretted having a third. And I will campaign hard for you to have a third.

    I think of how focused we'd now be on just our second son, if it werent' for the little spitfire under our roof. There is less of us as parents to go around, and the other 2 have to pick up the slack with baby, and it has catapulted those 2 up into celebrity fame, with the adulation of little brother.

    Our middle child has now become someone who can teach, and show, and help. It has been huge in his development to see how much I needed him to help with baby.

    I say go for it now!!! Sabrina will love it, Max will adore it, and your heart will feel so full, you'll wonder what you were waiting for.

    Get busy. Ellen :) because in the end, you won't get a chance to do that part over.

    Love always, Alexandra

    P.S> I would've started sooner and had a fourth, if I knew how wonderful it all would be. I was 43 when I had my last. Didn't want to do it again at 45.

    1. Thanks for your post. I came here on a whim because I have been wanting a third for 2 years. Your post made me feel better about the fact that we have finally decided to go for it. We have a 9 year old daughter and a 4 year old son. I kept thinking about how much youngest might feel slighted being pushed out of the "baby" seat, but now I can see that he will be enriched by getting to experience what its like to be a big brother, and my oldest might not feel like she always has to be perfect and that its ok to fall down sometimes. Again thanks for your wise words.
      Em from Tx

  17. P.S> I 100% agree with Mara, Sabrina would appreciate the help and more to love Max! Just think when you bring the baby home all in purple for Max and Sabrina (oh, geeez, am I getting hysterically ahead of myself or what? I'm all ready to throw you a virtual shower and everything :)!


  18. If you're thinking about it this much, it sounds like it's something your heart wants you to do. We adopted 2 children after having my bio kids -- Ben, with disabilities, and Lucy, without.

    I think we will never feel we have enough time for our kids with special needs, no matter how many other children we have.

  19. Ellen.... Whatever you do...God will bless you. He's amazing like that.

    2 is all for us. Sadie (with therapies, etc)... and Caris (just being herself) is the max for us.
    We want to give the most of us to our kids...and FOR US ...that means only 2.

    It's hard to give adivice on such a life changing question..... because only you can really know what you want/need/can give.

    Ellen.... please, for the next advice question ~ can it on be on something simple like what to make for dinner?

  20. Yes. D., my son with disabilities is my third, and I had two more after that. And baby #5, though totally unexpected, has been such a gift, even if he is missing an ear. Yes, yes, yes. And I never take all my kids to Target by myself.

    But if you want to know how you really feel, you can either flip a coin or take a pg test. When the coin lands or the test comes up negative, you'll know how you feel by your reaction. Powerful stuff, that.

  21. It sounds like the subject has been sufficiently "weighed in" but I'll had my two cents anyway. ;)
    We are a three kids house so I was intrigued right away when I saw your blog title.
    There was never any doubt that we would have a third child, the when was the big thing. But they have a way of taking care of that on their own. The way I see it the more the merrier.
    Something that you didn't mention, but undoubtedly feel, is the wonderful relationship between Sabrina and #3. I think when we have kids nothing prepares us for the relationships we watch develop among our children. As we watch them care for eachother, watch out for eachother, even all the fighting with eachother.
    After my third one was born I had some complications that left me unable to have any more little bundles of joy. Even with that I could never regret having her and would do it all over again to get her here. She is that important to our family.
    Like has been said before whatever deciscion you make God will help you get there.

  22. We went for a third and ended up with our second set of twins. Don't regret it for one minute. I had some of the same thoughts you did. We wanted Claudia to have more siblings to help care and look after her. But we also did not want Eloise to have the sole responsibility. The two biggest negatives for us has been the challenge of traveling and doing activities. And the second biggest negative is that Claudia get left out of the physical fun at times. (but she also gets involved in all the fun too) At times we have to split up and we probably end up using a babysitter a lot more than with just two. It all works out, and is fun along the way.
    You can do it!!

  23. If we could do it and have a "normal" chance of having another child with special needs, then I would pop one out in a heartbeat. Well, 9 months of heartbeats. I covet one, I crave one. I will probably not get one, and I am trying to comes to terms to this. And by terms I mean that I am tearing up as I type this. So I clearly have issues with it still.
    So....go for it!!!!!!!11

  24. I can't imagine having another - my husband would love to, but I just mentally can't. All those reasons why you shouldn't, I totally agree with.
    BUT we're not talking about me, sounds like you should! Sounds like you have many wonderful reasons to have that third.
    Best of luck - if there's anyone that can do it, you can!!

  25. If you FEEL it, DO it. Just go with your gut.

    Nuff said.

  26. Didn't we already go down this road months ago? As Nike says "Just do it". Obviously it won't affect us any BUT I kind of look forward to your whining during pregancny!!! Just kidding! Kind of.

  27. I have 3, my special needs son is in the middle and I was very determined that I would never have another child after the absolute hell we went through when he was born...... however time passed and we felt that it was not fair to our oldest that her only sibling be so impaired.... We also considered the fact that this child may be a free spirit and backpack through Europe.... but my answer to that was at least the oldest would have someone to be mad at..... a little crazy but that was that thought process.... I can tell you now (17 years later) that it was the best decision ever...
    Just last night my heart melted as I watched my oldest and youngest embark on a brother/sister shopping adventure..... it's hard to walk in someones shoes... they have each other and can relate on issues that only they share growing up with a disabled sibling. So, my advise is go for it--- no reservations!!!

  28. I have 2, Jailen with CP & Randi Jane. Since I've had Randi I've come to realize exactly how much of me Jailen really requires. I could never do that to him again. I know this sounds ugly & I don't mean it to be because I love both of my children very much, but Jailen was meant to be an only child & I messed that up. He doesn't get enough from me like he used to...like he deserves. Things, of course, are financially tighter as well so some therapies/equipment that's not covered by his insurance is more difficult for me to afford because I'm feeding, clothing, housing, etc. another child as well. I just feel like I made a mistake & hurt Jailen by having a second child & it's something that I'll NEVER do again. Having said that though, my Randi Jane was a blessing as well. She's my pretty, sassy little girl that I get to dress up & shop with...on occasion. I love her to pieces, but I could never choose to have another. Just me. :) Good luck to you!

  29. I would have a 4th if I could, lol!

    Isaiah is our special needs child and our #3.

    I say go for it--you won't regret having #3, but you might regret NOT having #3. :)

  30. Do it.

    The world is NOT overpopulated. That is such a crock. Americans are barely even replacing themselves. A lie we've been fed.

    NOT less attention per child....different attention. And, I think, good for both Sabrina and Max. It won't just be Sabrina vs. Max or Max gets more attention or Sabrina gets more attention. It becomes "the children" and they become brothers and sisters.

    Do it.

  31. What a question!

    OK, here's where I stand. I have 4 kids, two who are teens, one in kindergarten, one getting ready for preschool. All four are healthy, but my third had extreme behavior as a 3-4 year old. Not the typical toddler stuff, but I-think-she-needs-professional-help stuff. She moved past it in time and is a sweet gentle child now, but it was a very rough couple of years for us. If she'd been that way before I got pregnant with our fourth, I would not have had more kids because it was all I could do to handle her for a while.

    I'd like to address the 'hummer' idea. Part of me agrees that more people means more strain on the environment. But I also had one of the smartest people I know explain to me that every person born is a chance for a solution. What if Edison hadn't been born? Or Ben Franklin? Or Martin Luther King? Your kids might be a drain on the world, but they could be the answer the world has been seeking. Only time will tell.

    So do I think you should have more kids? Yes. I think you nailed it on the head when you said that Sabrina is going to be there for Max alone one day. What if something happens to her, if she has health problems, or even if she just grows up to be the one who's the jerk or the free spirit backpacking in Nepal? A third child means that in the future Sabrina and #3 each have a choice, each have help, and each have someone who understands.

    And from a mom who has been outnumbered and needed help, here's how you handle 3kids on your own. You recruit help, hire help, and/or buy a big double jogging stroller that is roomy enough for Max and the baby. You plan ahead and prepare. You pray extra hard. And sometimes things are awful. But at the end of the day you've all survived and your kids are one day closer to being able to do things on their own. Those years WILL be hard, but they are not a reason not to have the family that feels right to you.

  32. Wow, that comment that the third kid is a Hummer is powerful. I really wanted a third and my husband wanted nothing to do with that. Almost 14 years later I both thank and curse him. I still think, "What if?" and there are plenty of days I'm glad I don't have one more person stretching me any further than I am. That being said, I wish my typical had a typical sibling, ideally one of the same sex - I mourn the loss of that for her - she will have an awesome responsibility someday, even if we help provide financially.

    I know that doesn't help, but just wanted you to know I get both the pros and cons. I think it's true that it takes 2 yeses or 1 no to have a kid, if both of you are yeses, there you go.

  33. Hey what if you have multiples?? You're fun Ellen, had to throw that in. That would make this blog REALLY fun.

  34. 3? I've been questioning baby 2, can't even think of 3.

  35. do it!

    We just had our 2nd. He's 2 weeks old. And although I haven't been able to keep up with the older ones therapies because I was on bedrest at the end the pregnancy and now just keeping up with the little one's feedings. All I keep thinking is that the best thing I did was give Eric a baby brother to play with and grow up with, learn from and to teach. We're definitely going for #3 and hopefully someday #4. I come from a big family and my siblings are still my best friends. good luck making the decision.. you're an amazing mom.


  36. Wow. This feedback is absolutely amazing, and so honest. I'm making Dave read every single comment here tonight before we go off and procreate! Ha, ha. Obviously, this has been an issue we've been wrangling with for a while. (Yes, oh mysterious Anonymous, this is my blog, I get to revisit things on my mind. And Anonymous, are you by any chance related to me? Hmm.)

  37. As the sibling of someone with special needs, I can say that I am much less concerned about what is going to happen with my sister after my parents are gone because I have three other siblings to help share the load. It gives my parents comfort to know that we'll all be able to work together to figure things out.

    Not that you should have five kids like my Mom, but I'm sure your whole family, and Sabrina in particular, will appreciate the additional support down the road.

  38. omg, Ellen, I am totally having more! Before LilB I wasn't even sure I wanted kids, but now I want 4!
    There are many days where I am tired and grumpy and then I see those fat cheeks on both my boys and I remember how much brighter my life is with them and how much they've opened my eyes.

    I dunno what it is. I think I have baby fever

  39. Go for it! Your an amazing mom. I have 4 kids my oldest two boys are typical developing, my third has a chromosome deletion and needs loads of help and she now has a baby brother. I didn't plan on number 4 but we didn't take too many precautions either. I find 4 helps eliminate jealousy issues related to having a sibling with special needs. I thought family and friends were going to tell me I was crazy to be having number 4 but many many people (who had 2 or 3 kids) admitted to me that they wished they had more kids. I was really surprised how many times I heard that. Once pregnant I couldn't thing of a cons list to be honest and I tried.

    I reviewed your cons list and well ...

    - I'm 100% sure you will still have a life

    - If shopping with 3 kids is hard you find time to go on your own or with just one or two.

    -I had less time for my third this year and she learned to do more things for herself like go places by bum scooting and even finger feed herself after being g-tube feed. it's truly amazing.

    -The night feedings and diaper changing goes by why to fast with healthy little ones.

    - And well baby making is loads of fun


  40. If you have a third child - you will simply love it. All the other concerns will still really be there whether you have another child or not - you can never fix it all or plan for it all so instead you just embrace and love fully:) I hope you go for it!

  41. If you adopt, you could adopt another child w/ special needs like Max- www.reecesrainbow.com/angelboys.htm
    If you do choose to maybe adopt one I'll sponsor them over hear and raise money for adoption (more info @ www.reecesrainbow.com)

  42. Posting here just in case you missed my tweet this morning. I love my kids. You KNOW I do. But we quickly realized at three that we were WAY outnumbered.

    Then again, babies are so nice and sweet smelling, with those chubby cheeks and thighs... nom, nom, nom.

    Besides, I'm voting for baby Violet.

  43. Gosh - I don't know. I didn't have a chance to contemplate going from two kids to three - we went straight from one to three! Busy busy busy. Now with one with special needs, I wonder about taking "resources" (aka me) away from what she needs. But, then again, so many people do it, maybe I could too! And, there is a lot of learning from a new child, for both siblings. But, like others probably already have said - this is a "gut" thing - and what your gut says will probably work out ok in the end. Good luck!

  44. I want a third myself, so this is easy for me. I have a lot of guilt that our daughter will have too much on her hands. It drives the therapies I want my son to have, the focus I want our IFSP's and IEP's to have. Besides I just plain wanted boy/girl/boy and all we need is that last boy! I do believe that he will come into our lives at some point, whether I get pregnant again or we adopt, he will come to us.

    I hope you get what you want!

  45. If anyone calls your 3rd kid a Hummer, you can quote the OECD and tell them that the US (and the world, for that matter) is already at a non-replacement birth rate, meaning, enough people are having O or 1 kid that there will be plenty of room for your 3rd.

    As the adult sibling of a group of 3, one of whom has ongoing special needs, I will state that having both my siblings is incredibly valuable, and we all take care of each other, and our aging parents as well. It is also nice for my sister to have 2 sisters show up (together, or separately) for her appointments, school functions, etc - it proves to the world (and her!) that we don't "have" to support her (because we're the only one to do so) but that we love her and want to support her.

  46. Love having all my sisters! They all help me. Hey, we all help each other and will help each other later in life too as things come up with parents and grandparents.

  47. I have one child and I can't imagine having another. She is not special needs, but is a handful. I don't know how people have more than one child, but I think it's awesome they have the energy for it! I figure there must be something wrong with me that I couldn't physically or mentally handle it. Now if there were a surprise, by all means I'd be for it. However, it took 2 years and 5 IUIs to have our one daughter, so that is highly unlikely.

    Only you can decide what's best for your family.

  48. As a special needs mom I'm struggling with the decision of whether or not to even have number 2. There already aren't enough hours in the day to do everything my son's therapists want me to do. But we would make it work with a second, just as you would/will figure out way to make a third work for your family.

    It's not what you decide, but how you handle that decision that matters.

  49. Hmm, I'm a lurker here... I am a mom of two teenagers with special needs, and I am also legal guardian for my older, DD brother who requires 24/7 support. Our last parent died over 10 years ago, and I have been "it" (no other living relatives)... the only one available for the job. I love my brother dearly, AND it is a huge responsibility.

    I would strongly encourage you to give lots of thought to Sabrina and supporting her with another sibling. NOT to say that would be the only reason to have another child, but everything else being equal, go for it... sib responsibility is a TOUGH road to travel alone, and I would never wish that on another sibling.

  50. I'm sure I'll repeat what everyone else has said...

    We'd always planned to have three kids, but I was on the fence when it came time to go for it. I knew a 3rd would help balance our family and that was a huge factor. Oscar and Prader-Willi syndrome were a significant focus and I was concerned in part for Abe that it would continue that way. I also really really wanted Abe to have a typical sibling...not so much so they could share the care-taking, but so they could share the emotional aspects of having a brother with special needs (and talk about their annoying parents too) Abe is six years older than Ruby and that bond has always been incredibly strong.

    We long ago stopped being able to do everything the therapists suggest for Oscar. This used to drive me nuts and cause me all kinds of stress, but at some point I just let it go. I get behind on appointments and we've cut some activities. But we still do a lot, and having a younger sister has definitely been more beneficial than some of those other things we're not doing. (I seriously credit Ruby for Oscar's flexibility and problem solving skills -- we have spent so much time helping the two of them resolve conflicts that it is probably ok that we had to drop the social skills class.)

    I do sometimes wonder if life would be more "sane" if we didn't have three kids, esp. since our third is a rather intense high needs kiddo herself. I wouldn't be attending functions at three schools, but otherwise I think we fill the time we have. With three kids the balance is toward more typical activities. Instead of the special needs swimming program we do a regular program with accommodations when needed. I'll sign O up for horseback riding again if I can find a place that will take typical sibs too. We are less involved in our local support group because we have three busy kids. I'm ok with all of these shifts...and I couldn't imagine our family without Ruby. She completes us!

  51. Wow this discussion was really thought provoking for me. I have been worried lately that I have let my typically developing daughter's needs take a backseat to the infant with CP (so much so that I failed to get well daughter to the dentist until now she needs crowns instead of fillings and I am oh-so-proud of myself there. My inclincation is that I won't have more because I feel spread so thin that I cannot fathom having the resources for another child let alone another dog and still give hannah waht she needs. I feel under so much pressure right now to make every advance I can while she is under three with all those extra neurons waiting to help us rewire her brain and give her the best functionality later that she can have. I'd hate to let any of my kids go without my attention because I had too many and yet I had not thought of the burden on my older daughter if only she remains and younger daughter needs her help. And well, damn I love holding and kissing and loving on those babies and somethimes I think there is one out there, wanting to come home to me . . . holy crap, am I nuts or what? Ellen, I think you are going to have a baby!

  52. Hi Ellen,

    You know that we've just DONE what you're thinking about maybe doing.
    Baby 3 is 2 months old today. And wow, I love him to BITS and so do both his brothers. They smother him with kisses and even though I was worried my crazy little 2 year old would be super jealous, he's just not, at all.

    The biggest con for me was actually being pregnant. I am tired when I'm pregnant, I'm grumpy when I'm pregnant, I'm hormonal, anxious and forgetful when I'm pregnant. My third pregnancy just seemed to go on, and on, and on. It was hard not being able to lift S, who needs to be carried in and out of cars etc and I had to cancel appointments and really wind things down (thank-you morning sickness, thank-you gestational diabetes). It was a tough time.

    HOWEVER, now that he's here. It's bliss. We've been blessed with a very cruisy smiley little baby who sleeps a LOT and I can already tell is going to have a very chilled out personality. And you know if you could guarantee for me that baby number 4 (I know, crazy!) would be the same AND a girl, I would do it all again. ;-).

    Good luck with your decision making!

  53. Can't wait to see what you decide. I have 3, one with Cri du Chat syndrome, and it's been a great choice for our family.

  54. YES! But we've already talked about this. I would have a fourth if I didn;t get such horrible preeclampsia/eclampsia.

  55. As an older sister with two typical siblings I say do it, Max will have bulit in teachers and someone else to play with + have support in the future

  56. I love the third baby= hummer comment because i was thinking that. But what do I know. I have a puppy and I'm exhausted (you can tell Sabrina). Ask your 2 best friends from College. They both have 3 kids :-)

  57. My two cents, since you were bold enough to ask:

    I have 3 children. Life is hard, even when it's easy, and it's rarely easy.

    If you decide to have another child, you will never look back in regret.

    If you decide not to have another child, you may be comfortable with your decision, but you may also feel a twinge of regret for the path not taken.

  58. My older sister is mentally retarded with a seizure disorder. She's around two years old mentally so she takes a lot of time, yet my parents were able to spread the love between all three of us. I've never felt like my mom devoted more time to anybody even when I was younger and my sister was having a lot of problems with her meds. Just wanted to give you siblings POV. =) Good luck with whatever choice you make!

  59. I think YES! I have 2 children a 3 year old(that is very hyper active and somewhat hard to handle and i have a 1 year old i was so scared going to the store with only 2 of them since Hayden needs more attention and I think that in the future I'd love to have another baby!

  60. Yes!!!!
    We have 3 kids - a 7 year old daughter, a 5 year old son with CP, epilepsy, visual impairment, and a 2 year old son. We had much the same list of pros and cons when we were deciding whether to have a 3rd. Ultimately, there have been chaotic moments (ok, maybe more chaos than not) but it was the best decision we ever made. We no longer worry that Claire alone will carry the burden of looking after Henry when we are gone. There is always lingering guilt about less time to do therapy with Henry but I also realized that a sibling can be incredibly motivating. The love and support that they give him on a daily basis is invaluable.
    If money weren't an issue I would have 4th in a heartbeat.
    The one thing I would say is once you make your decision, ignore whatever anyone else says. We had family members responding to the news with "don't you think you have enough on your plate?" instead of the encouragement/excitement we thought we would get.
    Good luck!

  61. I don't think it's an easy decision either way - because either one affects your life!

    I've often thought of having a 3rd child, and sometimes still do as Lucas just turned 2 and is growing up too fast!

    But most days I feel like I have all I can handle with just the 2 I have now. I admire families with more than 2 children and how 'together' they seem and not stressed out LOL But I just think I don't have the patience for a 3rd...who knows, that all might change at some point :)

  62. I am the mother of three special needs kids. My eldest child has severe ADHD and crazy panic attacks. My middle child is autistic and also got blessed with the ADHD gene. My youngest child has what we're told is Circadian Rhythm Disruption Disorder, which is medspeak for "She doesn't sleep more than 3 or 4 hours out of every 24". If you're thinking that sound like we live in Insanity, you're right. That being said, we're talking about adding another.

    If you honestly feel that you want another, you will make it work, regardless of what you're given. It isn't always the easy road, but at least you won't look back with regrets or wonder "what if..."

    Good luck to you and your family!

  63. I'm not the parent of a special needs child so my two cents may be worthless. But, perhaps, fostering a baby or child for a time help you make your decision.

  64. I'm the mom of 2 kids with special needs - a 6 yr old girl we finally have just gotten diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder - Asperger's Syndrome. My 19 mth old has a genetic syndrome - a 22q11.21 duplication - along with dev/motor delay, speech delay, and numerous medical issues. and i have just been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome also. We're waiting for the blood work results - I or my partner might actually be the genetic syndrome carrier. Which means the Asperger's is likely just another symptom of the syndrome and my daughter also has the syndrome.

    I didn't think I wanted more little ones, but now that we finally know what is going on with my kids as well as myself - suddenly my marriage is much healthier, and I want another little one. In fact I want 2 more. I want the 4 that I envisioned before we started having kids.

    I am 43 and not sure it's possible anymore. But I was always afraid of only 2 things with kids - autism and genetic concerns. We have both. And although I am exhausted at the end of each day, and know I don't do the greatest job of meeting my older one's needs - they each make each other's and our lives SO much richer. I would never change anything about either little one. I know we could handle anything more that life brings us after seeing how these two actually make us stronger and more capable.

    I posted my thoughts on a forum I belong to and shortly thereafter deleted it, as I received several suggestions about thinking carefully about the responsibility I have towards my kids, and how I might not be capable of meeting their needs, and how it might hurt my current two if I have more.

    I don't have any answers. But I do know that no one knows what will happen with ANY pregnancy. No one is truly prepared for what they will have to deal with.

    I say GO FOR IT.

  65. If you're like me, you'll question any decision you make. If you have another one, you'll be asking yourself if you made the right decision (especially during stressful times). If you don't have another child, you'll regret having another one. I say pick the choice that comes the most naturally...the one that you'll regret the LEAST. And then DO NOT question it ever again, for your sanity and your family's sanity.

  66. I know this is old but I just came to this link from your new post... I have two kids - a "normal" two year old and a six month old with a rare form of dwarfism - and I'm asking these questions too. We always said we wanted three but we didn't count on having special needs as well! Plus for us, there's a 25% chance of any future child also having the same form of dwarfism as my second child. There's no right and wrong answers - but one thing that I keep coming back to is that I know that if we DO have another, we won't regret it. But if we decide not to, I'll probably always wonder about that third child that we wanted but we never had...

  67. Well - you asked, so I get to wade in on this discussion. 'Children are a blessing from the Lord'.Be blessed!
    We have 11 and have lost 2 little boys before they were born. God is good and faithful in all our circumstances, as you know, I'm sure. I had our last at 43 and was left ... wanting more. This said from a girl who never planned to have children.

  68. I am wondering/googling the same thing and that's how I found your blog. I always thought 2 was the perfect number until my 28 year old brother who i was very close to died recently, leaving me with just one sister. Then I realized, if anything happens to one of my kids, the other will be alone. Then what if they have kids who have no cousins or aunts or uncles. How sad. Even if nothing happens, I want to give my children the security and happiness of another sibling, even if it will be difficult at times and adjustments will need to be made. (Just finished renovating the basement into two rooms, now we need one more!) Good luck and take care.

  69. We waited a long time to have children, and when we did we had a girl and a boy. I always thought of having a third, but my husband did not. Then my mom passed (at 62). The emptiness I felt was only filled by baby number three. The healing she has given our family can never be put into words. I know my first two could have been enough, but number three made things so much easier! For whatever your reasons, if you can do it, and have all the love to do it then GO FOR IT! I have no regrets! Matter of fact I would recommend a big age gap between the first two and the third!

  70. I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me permission to want a third baby after having a disabled second one. I will share this post with my husband and hopefully go for another baby.

  71. I say Go For It! I had to have a hysterectomy after my second child. As horrible as my pregnancies were I would give anything to experience it just one more time. My husband and I have been discussing adoption and who knows maybe we will be able to one day. Good luck I wish you and your family the best.

  72. I am still on the fence about having a 2nd pregnancy. I had twins 1 boy 1 girl the first time around in December 2013. My daughter Claire has spastic mono CP and my son Timmy has spastic tri CP. I may have a third though I'm not sure.

    My answer would be to pick the one which makes the most sense to you NOT anyone else. Its your choice after all.


Thanks for sharing!

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