Not everyone can pinpoint the moment they realized they wanted another baby. For some, that knowledge is just deep down, strong, and persistent. For others, the revelation comes to them as a complete, out-of-nowhere surprise. When I talked to other moms about their "magic moment," their answers (predictably) ran the gamut. Personally, I feel like I have two answers: the general answer and the specific answer.
Generally speaking, I knew I wanted another baby before my first was even born. I grew up one of a gaggle of kids, so a family with one child seemed unfathomable to me. But, hey, we say a lot of crazy things before we have one child, right? All the things we're "definitely" and "never" going to do. (We're very strong about all these declarations, despite having absolutely no practical experience.) Still, my husband and I were discussing "next time" while I was still on the operating table getting put back together after my c-section, so we were still pretty much sticking to the plan. It felt like we'd just opened our metaphorical door to party guests: the first one had arrived, but not everyone was there yet.
As the days and sleepless nights moved on, however, and we fell deeper and deeper in love with our child, we both began to think, "We still want another one, but if we can't for whatever reason, this guy is enough." Two felt less pressing. As we enjoyed the party, we kind of forgot we'd left the door open for the rest of the party. It felt like maybe this was it. Maybe everyone had arrived. Sure it was fewer than we'd expected, but we were having a blast, so it didn't seem to matter.
Then I miscarried an unplanned pregnancy. After that, the open door began to loom. The feeling that not everyone was there grew stronger. I'd always known I'd liked the idea of more than one child, but after I lost one baby I knew I wasn't done. Months later, I became pregnant with my second child, who slammed and dead-bolted the door behind her.
Here's what other moms had to say about their "a-ha" moment:
"When [our daughter] realized we wouldn't always be with her and we would grow old and die before her. We realized she wouldn't have any family around either, and telling her she'll likely form her own circle of friends she considers family wasn't working for me anymore after seeing her face process this realization. We had been firmly in the one-and-done camp but this changed it."
"Before we had [my son] I knew I wanted another baby. I knew I wanted my kid(s) to have at least one sibling to share their lives with ... Someone they could always count on. But then, once he came, I wasn't sure anymore. I did not believe I could possibly love another baby as much as I loved him and I worried it would make his life worse rather than better. ... Of course [my daughter] was always wanted, but, I am not sure that I had a profound 'I want another right now moment' as much as a leap of faith 'OK let's hope this works out' moment. And, luckily it did. No brother has ever loved his sister as much as this kid."
When I got a second line on a pregnancy test (unexpectedly)...
"I knew I wanted to have two kids sometime around November 1986... when my sister was born. I knew I was ready for two kids sometime around September of 2015... when my second child was about 15 months old."
"The first two were not even a discussion... they were a given. We knew we at least wanted two. The third we went back and forth for years. It wasn't until I hit my 39th Birthday (when our youngest was 4) that we decided we needed to figure this out, because if it was a yes, time was running out. The thing that finally tipped the scales was I asked 'How many kids do you see coming home from college for Christmas? What does our holiday dinner table with adult children look like?' And we both said we saw 3. 10 months later our sweet [daughter] was born and the feeling of completeness was overwhelming. It had been what I was searching for."
I always knew I would have more than one. Within an hour of having our first we looked at each other and agreed that we needed another!
"Both my daughters were happy surprises! I am strangely wanting to have one more baby though, even though it doesn't seem logical to me. What gets me is watching my girls develop a very close relationship and a part of me thinks about how lovely it would be to have more of them, so that they can love and support each other throughout life. So, we are probably done, but that door is only 95 percent closed."
"Before we even got married, we both knew we wanted more than one, as we both grew up with siblings and enjoyed it. We started trying for Number Two when the first child was 20-22 months old. It wasn't until our first child turned 4 that we found out we were pregnant. It was a very long and hard three years of trying .... Infertility testing, trying every baby making method suggested by doctors, what we read, etc. I think it finally happened when we let go of stress and other things in our lives changed. We didn't want such an age gap between kids, but so far six months in with two kids, we're surviving!"
I knew before we started that I wanted more than one. I felt ready for Number Two when Number One was about six months old, but waited until after he turned one to try to give my body enough recovery time. Now that Number Two is 2, I'm beginning to wonder if another bundle is in our future.
"I'm a Mormon. It wasn't a forced thing or anything, but lots of Mormons have big families because that's what we know and are comfortable with. So there was never a time I didn't just know I was going to have a whole bunch of kids, or at least try."
"We always knew we wanted to try for more than one because siblings were something we wished for our daughter. Once we were rested enough to not dredge through the day we knew it was time to attempt another and re-up the exhaustion and sleep deprivation. The third time was a much more drawn out realization. It wasn't so much about knowing we wanted another but deciding if it was a practical path for our family. Not nearly as magical a moment as deciding on the first sibling."
I was always one and done. One month there was a small chance that I was pregnant. When I tested and it was negative, I was disappointed. We started actually trying the next month. Now, I'm for sure done! Our family is complete and I will cry if I'm pregnant again.
"When my son was born. Honestly, I was on the fence the entire pregnancy as to whether or not we had done the right thing. Fortunately it was love at first sight."
"I've known even before I got married that I wanted to have at least two kids— I grew up with a sister and loved having a sibling. With my husband, when the conversation about kids came up, we were both on the same page with wanting to have at least two as well. So there really wasn't one moment, it's just always been what I hoped for. We decided to start trying for a second child once we felt like we finally had a handle on things with our first, which was when she was a little over 2 years old. We're coming up on three years of trying for Number Two now, and I'm not sure what's going to happen. But I do know that we still want another and would be so excited for that to happen for us!"
"When my sister had a baby. Once I held a new baby in my arms again and saw how my daughter was in love with her son, I wanted the experience of raising siblings. Best decision I've ever made."