“I’m sure you’d just love a little brother or sister, wouldn’t you?” a stranger asked her daughter as they cooed over my 5-month old, Cecilia, at the park. You could tell the little girl was taken with the “baby.” Her mom was next to her, pointing out Cecilia’s fingers and toes and warning her not to get too rough.
“Yes!” the little girl eagerly answered her mother “Well,” replied the girl’s mother, “you’ll have to talk to your father about that one.”
I pretended not to notice the longing behind the woman’s light hearted remark, but I couldn’t help but feel sad for her—sad that such a beautiful desire may never be fulfilled. I was also filled with gratitude for my own husband. Amidst the various financial, emotional, and physical trials married couples face these days, I know that having a large family sometimes is just not possible. But I am thankful that Adam and I are both open to having a large family, even if we have no perfect number of children in mind.
I know some women worry about how they’ll be able to love their husband and a new baby, and eventually another baby. They wonder if the love they feel for the first will be just as strong for the second, or third or fourth. But that wasn’t me. Thankfully, I’ve been surrounded by mothers who’ve told me that, although it’s a mystery, the love is always there.
After hearing horror stories of the transition to having kids, I did think I’d need some time to “regroup” before the desire to have more was there. But, after the birth of my son two years ago I was surprised to find that it took only a month for me to comment that I was excited to have another–that may have been the crazy postpartum hormones talking. Then the same thing happened again when I gave birth to Cecilia last November. In fact, the desire to have more children has been even stronger since Cecilia. I would have thought that chasing after two kids 2 years old and under would have snuffed that desire, but that’s not been the case.
Sure, it’s exhausting. There are endless diapers. Up until two months ago I constantly smelled of spit-up. And my husband and I go through periods where there’s way less sex than either of us would like. But in the end, the quality of my marriage improves as my husband and I fall in love with this new little person that we created. We gaze and we coo, and with Cecilia we marveled at how she could be so different from Gabriel, yet still come from the two of us. We marveled that we could love her as fiercely as when we laid eyes on Gabriel for the first time.
The truth is, I have found that love doesn’t divide, it multiplies. With each of my children I’ve found that my capacity to love increases. It’s a generous love, wanting to spill over from my husband and me, to our children, and then from there, to my entire community.
I’ve been to homes where older couples have those photo walls with the words “All Because Two People Fell in Love” surrounded by photos of their growing family. Each time I see one I think, wow, all of these people, all of this joy, all of this love wouldn’t be here if this couple wouldn’t have said yes to loving each other. It makes me wonder what my own wall will look like someday.
Now I don’t know how many children Adam and I will have and I don’t know what our future will bring. But I do know that Adam and I are excited to see our family grow. I’m excited about having more of Adam in this world and I know he feels the same about me. We have lots of love to go around. It’s impossible to have too much.