First of all, no-- this is not an announcement!
That being said, believe it or not, I'm already getting asked, "Are you ready for another baby? When do you guys think you'll have another baby?" Apparently this is the next question that comes up after the excitement of your first baby's arrival dies down. It's natural conversation. A decade or two ago, this question might have come across as rude or overly personal, but I find that it's just normal talk for my generation. People are curious, and babies are an exciting part of this season of life that most of us are now in.
I've thought about it a lot. Joshua and I have talked about it a lot. It comes up frequently when we're making dinner or on a walk to the park with Eden. Together, we are both extremely like-minded on having children, raising children, discipline, etc. but there is still so much to talk about when it comes to this topic!
As soon as you have your first baby, age gap begins. This was one of the oddest realizations for me after having Eden. After her birth, time seemed to go slow. I was more home-bound (even though, in my opinion, we were very active for new parents), nursed around the clock, and she had a steady, monotonous routine of eat-sleep-poop. Now, the weeks go so fast they feel like hours and I'm racking my brain trying to remember how many weeks old my baby girl is. It's hard to believe she's already 5.5 months old, and that being said, if we were to get pregnant next month, her and her sibling would already be almost a year-and-a-half apart.
Is there ever really an ideal age gap? My OBGYN told me at my 6 week post-baby check up that her "ideal" age gap for children is 18 months. Meaning, she likes to see her patients have at least 8 solid months of getting adjusted to motherhood, nursing, parenting, hormones balancing out, etc, before throwing another kid into the mix. Of course, this is just her opinion, but it made sense to me. However, that doesn't mean it's for everyone and certainly not the right and end-all-be-all answer. I see pros and cons to having kids close in age and farther apart. Having kids close in age to me seems harder when they're really young, but easier over time because they play together.
Age. Joshua will be 31 in August when Eden turns a year old and I will be 28 in March. We aren't getting any younger and we both want to be young, active parents that can can physically be able to play with our children. And we all know that kids have a lot of energy! We also would love our kids out of the house by our mid 50's so that we can go travel and enjoy retirement (Joshua will retire at 53). So that being said, if we want 4 kids, we need to bam them out FAST! :)
Money. Before we had Eden, we analyzed this specific issue to the moon and back. It seemed like the responsible thing to do before bringing a child into the world. I still agree with praying over this issue and giving it over to God and being responsible. But looking back, we definitely questioned if there would ever be "enough" before we had her and now that she's here, we have really learned that having children costs very little money. It just depends on what matters to you. For us, the biggest thing that mattered to us both was not putting her in daycare, so we live off of one income. God has always provided for us and for her needs. We've made it work; we just make sacrifices in some areas (i.e., I don't buy new clothes/makeup/shoes as often as I used to and the loss of it is insignificant now). Me going back to work doesn't make sense for us, actually, for several reasons. As the worrywart in our marriage, I've had to learn to "let-go-and-let-God" on this subject. After 9 months of pregnancy and 5 months of being a new mom, I am now more confident than ever that God would provide for us with another addition because He has always, and always will, take care of us-- His children.
Education. Before I had Eden, there was a part of me that wanted to pursue more schooling. I am a continual learner, so taking classes and pursuing something new always sounds appealing to me. I was a paralegal studies major that should have majored in something more "me," like English or graphic design, so perhaps that mistake still haunts me. I still would like to pursue taking more classes, but not on a "because I have to add on this degree" or whatnot basis. Strictly for personal fufillment and interest. I see God's hand in closing the door on me going back to school full-time (which I considered doing right after our move to Arizona) because there's no way I would be able to be a stay-at-home-mom with that added student-loan debt.
Debt. Like almost everyone, we have debt. Did we want to be 100% debt free before we had our firstborn-- you bet. Did it happen? No. Last year, we even decided to buy a house and that tacked on more expenses. But God opened the door for the right thing at the right time and we've seen His hand over all of it. We wouldn't change a thing! I could go on and on about this topic, but the bottom line for us was that we didn't want not being debt-free to stop us from becoming parents. There will always be bills-- that's life. We have to have a car to get to work and back. Has God commanded us to be good stewards of our money? Yes. And this year we are devoting to becoming 100% debt-free.
Gender. It's kind of assumed that we would want a boy next, since our first child was a girl, but we couldn't feel more different. Having a daughter has exceeded our expectations and she is a continual joy. I'm pretty much sure this is how every parent feels. Whatever God chooses to bless us with, we will be SO thankful. A healthy baby is all that matters to us!
How we feel... Money, opinions and everything else aside, we have decided to trust God 100% about the conception of our next baby. With Eden we had more fear going into it, and looking back, before we started thinking about having a baby we still controlled everything on our end. It wasn't until July of last year that we really prayed about it and felt God leading us to 100% trust Him. That November, we got pregnant, which was our first month of actually being intentional about trying. God is so good and faithful to us and we are trusting Him with the life of our next child and whenever that happens, we will be so ecstatic!