For a time, after my first child was born but before the second one, I thought I wanted to have three children. I was having fun and it seemed like a good number. When the second child was born he was a refluxing colicky disaster. He screamed nonstop for six months and continued to projectile vomit for another six months after that. My plans for a third were temporarily put on hold while I attempted to recover from the beating my mental health had taken over the first year of his life. I was a disaster and it took another year to recover from my PTSD of his infancy. But eventually that passed and I started to think maybe, just maybe I could do this one more time. He was sleeping through the night and had turned into a sweet and funny little boy who rarely screamed and never threw up on my shoes.
I have several friends who have more than two children. I even have a couple who have four or more. I am truly in awe of the ones who have six. How do they do that? Everything seems to run like a well-oiled machine. The older ones help out the younger ones. The moms seem so zen. And then one day I am sitting outside my daughter's dance class with my son, who was three. It is 5pm and he is filthy. His clothes, his face, his hair, his hands - just gross. And he isn't wearing shoes. And then it occurs to me, I shouldn't even begin to consider a third if this is the best I can do with the second. God knows if there was one more that child probably wouldn't even be dressed, and most likely feral. The next day I started giving away all my baby gear. Sometimes you just have to know your limitations.