My Biggest Question Before Having a Third Child (Part 2)

Two boys and their father look at a lake. Text: by Jay Fadden

So a quick recap in case you did not read last week’s blog. We discovered that Shirley was pregnant, and after the initial shock, Shirley settled in and prepared for our new child. I melted like ice cream on a hot summer day!

At first, everything was fine. I was excited and looking forward to another child. I had wanted a big family, but I had gotten married later in life and did not think it was possible. My 41st birthday was on the horizon, and now we were going to have baby number 3.

We did not find out the sex of our first 2 children. We put it in God’s hands and wanted to be surprised. I wanted our first baby to be a girl for Shirley because that was her hope. I was the only boy in my family with four sisters, so the odds were good that a girl was in our future. On May 12th, that dream came true as Amelia was welcomed into the world. When she was just born, I asked not to see Amelia until Shirley and I could gaze upon her together. While I did not see her, however, when she was born, the nurse took one look at her and with a disappointing and dismissive tone said, “She looks like the father!” Talk about a humbling experience. Thankfully, now that she is older, she looks like her mother.

I was surprised when our second child was a son. I thought I would have all girls, as that is what most of my sisters’ children were, but on April 24th, we welcomed James into this world. He was a small child with big brown eyes. It was Shirley who wanted to name him after my father, and the day we told my dad, his face lit up and he smiled and just shook his head, unable to speak for fear of showing emotion. No words were needed to understand the magnitude of Shirley’s gesture to him.

The day we let Amelia and James know that they were going to have a sibling was hysterical. We sat them down, which in itself was a challenge because they were always in perpetual motion, and gave them a picture of the ultrasound. We asked if they knew what it was, and Amelia looked at us with those big blue eyes and proudly and confidently said, “An octopus.” We laughed and then said no, they were going to have a new brother or a sister. For several seconds, there was nothing, no sound or emotion, just blank stares as we looked at them, smiling. Then, they turned to each other and erupted in joy. It was a great moment.

There was a new problem, though. We were now expecting a third child, and Amelia wanted a sister and James wanted a brother. It became apparent that it would be best to find out and prepare one of them for disappointment. So we found out that our new child was going to be a boy and let them know.

Amelia handled it well, and James was over the moon.

Soon after all the joy and celebration, it hit me. It was not a creeping emotion, but a tidal wave. I had put so much into my first two children, devoting time and energy that I did not even know that I had, and now there would be another child. The question hit me hard like a ton of bricks. It came from nowhere and shook me to the core. The question was simple, yet complicated. The question was: Do I have enough love in my heart for another child? I was lost in all that the question entailed. It enveloped me and held me hostage to my own emotions, and I battled it alone. I did not tell anyone or share my thoughts. I was captive to a question that only brought more questions and soul searching. Could I give any more? Will it be enough? Am I worthy of this responsibility?

In next week’s blog, I will tell you how I approached the questions and the toll they took on me and my family.


My Biggest Question Before Having a Third Child (Part 2)