• MadMonk

    Do it for Leta. This is a bit morbid, but when you are gone, who will be her best friend? A brother or sister would be a better replacement for when you are gone than just some person she discovers for a friend by random chance.

  • obritany

    I think go for it. Chances are your next baby won’t be as difficult as Leta was. My baby slept through the night at 2 months and hardly ever cries. My brother was a lot like Leta as a child, but I was completely opposite. I think you have gotten your difficult infancy out of the way and the next one will be completely opposite.

  • http://kimbanelson.blogspot.com/ dancingnancy

    If my kids were as cute as Leta, I’d want a million of them….okay fine, at LEAST one or two more. :) Besides – you’ve got help this time. Big sisters ALWAYS want to hold little brothers or sisters. Leta can be your nanny……….. :) What’s one more car seat in the Honda?

  • twinsmom

    My twins are now 18 months and we thought we would be trying again at this point. HAHAHA right. It depends on the day I am asked if I want more or not. It is a hard question to answer. I don’t think anyone is ever really prepared for children – no matter how many it is! I have loved watching you raise Leta and Chuck and I would love to see more :)

  • jams

    i just wanted to thank you for posting these types of things
    i dont have kids yet and i dont know if i will
    your blog (save for a few of my closest friends) is the only thing that makes me feel sane for not knowing if i want kids or not
    i am hugely afraid of failing, and have spent a great deal of my life waiting for ‘perfect’ moments. the right time to do X,Y, and Z. there is no perfect time, i know this in theory of course.
    i read through your archives and i just feel so much more NORMAL for not knowing, and for being totally scared at the thought of creating a human being.
    most women act like i’m a alien if i’m not dropping eggs at the mere mention of the word ‘baby’

    thank you so much heather
    whatever you decide for your family, you have shown how strong you are and how much love your family has for you, and you will make it through

  • http://lawyerish.typepad.com lawyerish

    I have these kinds of thoughts (and many more) about whether to have children at all. Whether a child would fit into our lives, and how; whether we’d be ok with that much change; whether I would psychologically be able to handle the body changes, the lack of sleep, the anxiety.

    Right now, all things considered, for me the answer remains a clear and firm, “No” (even though Baby Head Smell clouds my thinking at times). That may change; but I am open to the possibility that it won’t.

    There is a lot of pressure to have children, and then to have more children; but no one can decide for you what’s right for you and your spouse. Incidentally, you and I are the same age (both valedictorians, Class of ’93 – woot!), and, relatively speaking, we’re quite young. There is time.

  • iamjenlindsey

    my partner and i have the same struggle debating back and forth on the should we or shouldn’t we question. she takes meds daily to help control her bipolar rollercoaster and most likely would need to come off the meds in order to conceive. it’s a tough dilemma.

    you should consider the fact that you made it this far and you survived (dare i say thrived) as did your marriage. you’ll know what you’re up against ahead of time the next go round which seems to me like a kick ass advantage for dooce.

  • http://www.vaguelyurban.com Vaguely Urban

    Those are really big questions. I wish you luck in finding the answers.

    Meanwhile, I’m taking a moment to celebrate the fact that you’ve healed, and that you know it.

  • Kat

    I’ve been struggling with this exact issue for at least a year. My son is two months older than Leta and I’ll be 35 soon…but I also had PPD and the thought of subjecting everyone to that again makes me queasy. Every time I think I might be pregnant I panic; every time I know I’m not pregnant I get weepy. I keep wondering if I should wait to have another one until I feel as 100% sure as I did before becoming pregnant the first time. But now that I know what pregnancy and parenthood really involves, I’m not so sure I would ever feel that blissfully naive again. I envision Christmas morning or Disney World vacation in, say, 2012, and I see two kids there; I’m just not real clear on how to get there from here without leaving my sanity at the side of the road. Good luck in your decision, Armstrongs, and thanks for sharing your ambivalence….it’s good to know I’m not alone.

  • Heidi

    If you decide to have children, I think it will be somewhat easier next time. You both will be more prepared and know what to expect. Also if you wait until Leta’s 13, she can babysit ;-)

  • John

    I thought for sure you would say at the end of the post that you’re preggo.

    Anyways, the way I look at things [as a gay male who obviously has ALL the knowledge on this matter] is that if you think bringing another child into this world, more specifically your household [a very loving and nurturing environment], and it’s something you are excited about, then do so. You said yourself you are in mom mode, which might detract from many of the scary situations that occured in the first experience. Leta is still alive and well, as are you and Jon. I think that’s a positive.

    Plus, you’ve got a bigger support system than most. How many readers? 35,000? And if anyone comments or emails negatively, you can just erase or delete them, which is a privilege very few have.

    You made it through once, and now you’re better off for it.

    And imagine the blog fodder.

  • http://findingrace.blogspot.com Amy Mingo

    It’s good that you are taking the time to think all of this through. So many people don’t put that much time into planning their last meal of the day let alone family planning. I know that no matter what you decide, all will be well. Good luck!

  • http://www.zahlaway.com Jon Z.

    I won’t be so bold as to suggest how many children you should or shouldn’t have, but I will say this: know your limitations. Mine are such that I have two children and a still-healing vasectomy. The one-to-one parent-to-child ratio is the only set of odds I’m willing to accept. Beyond that, fuggedaboutit.

  • http://homegrown-insanity.blogspot.com crzylady

    I wake up every morning praying I’m not unknowingly pregnant. My beautiful five-month-old is more than enough. Sometimes I try to remember what it was like to function before the baby.. when I still had a half of brain to focus on things like work and drinking.

    Do these thoughts of yours mean you’re thinking of PLANNING a pregnancy. Do you know anyone who’s planned them? I can’t figure out how they do that. I say OMG, holy effing fertility, and Hooray! if babiness happens again, but planning one is sheer insanity.

  • ripplebliss

    I really admire you for stepping back and taking time to consider this decision!
    It is a HUGE thing!
    The decision to have one child is as beautiful as the decision to pump out a small army of progeny, despite what some may say.
    It’s all about what decision suits your life and your comfort level.
    If you know you have enough “mom” for two, and crave more spark in your life, then pop that Folic Acid !
    If your lifestyle, home and personality are made to accomodate. a happy little threesome, then enjoy the extra time, money and relative peace!

  • kidsmom

    Ummm, how about adopting a two year old? ;-)

  • Mack’sMom

    From experience…your Dr. can keep you on something like Prozac while you’re pregnant and/or nursing. Once you are done with that step you can go back on your regular stuff.

    It was a hard adjustment at first…but my body got used to it and I did pretty well.

  • kidsmom

    Ummm, how about adopting a two year old? ;-)

  • http://www.noshowmo.com noshowmo

    Good for you for asking all of these questions and really thinking things through before jumping right in and trying again. You are feeling the urges, you are analyzing all of the issues/factors, and trying to be responsible about making this decision. *patpatpat*

    That said, you could totally overthink things here. Having had NO kids, and not even being married, I am in the supreme position of authority to say . . . you never know. While I would never wish your ordeal those first six months on anyone, they do put you at an advantage now in that you’ve been through the worst (or almost) and you know how to recognize those signs, Jon knows how to recognize them, and you can take care of things before they get out of hand.

    I don’t know what the statistics are on recurrence of postpartum depression/anxiety, but since you have been through it once, and sought treatment (you should not underestimate what a big step that was), the chances of it being as bad as last time are pretty slim to none, IMHO. I just don’t think it’s possible for the ordeal to be exactly as it was last time because now you are going into it with your eyes open, are aware of the risks and the signs, and are prepared to do whatever is necessary to treat it promptly and fully so that you can take care of your family.

    As for whether your house is big enough, financial issues, etc., I always feel those things just work out. Then again, I’m the one who hasn’t actually HAD a kid . . .

    You don’t need luck in making the decision. You’re well-equipped to do the right thing for you.

  • mousejockey

    I do. Don’t. If you have all of these doubts put the idea, at very least on hold. Enjoy the people in your life. If you feel the need to stick baby’s heads in your mouth become a candy striper in a maternity ward. Personally, if I knew there was a chance of twins, I would immediately get a hysterectomy. My cousin had a toddler and then had twin boys and she says she doesn’t remember the first two years of their lives, it was a blur. Enjoy Leta and John, life is short. Is the only thing you want to experience is midnight terror screams and changing diapers? YIKES!!

  • Michelle~in~Memphis….ugh

    I don’t know why the question of “when are you going to have another?” is so uncomfortable. My son is almost 7. I still feel like he’s my baby. I don’t know when I will be ready to open my heart to a new child. I too went through post-partum. It’s a scary thought to do that all over again. I don’t know if I could handle letting my son see me in that state. It’s frightenting. My grandmother had post partum with number three of her 4 girls. I know she made it through. I know we could do it. It is just the unknown that is so creepy. Some say it gets easier with each one. But not for anal retentive people. It is just as spastic as the first.

    You’ll know when you are ready.

  • http://thebigtradeoff.blogspot.com Karen

    Your fears are totally understandable.

    You are stronger now and you have learned a lot through your experiences. You will be better equipped for whatever decisions you and Jon make.

  • http://www.agirlandaboy.com leahkay

    Ah, the old Mormon announce-the-pregnancy-with-a-cheesy-gift technique. I spend every Christmas morning in a state of permanent cringe in anticipation of one or more of my nineteen-year-old cousins giving her mother a baby rattle. Gah.

  • http://www.dustyclodfelter.blogspot.com Melanie

    I’ve got three kids. Hell, if I can do it, you sure can! Throw caution to the wind! Breed your little heart out!

  • snowshyn

    Birth control fails. Condoms fail. God will decide when it’s time for you to expand your family.

  • http://rivetergirl.blogspot.com rivetergirl

    It seems that you are more ready to have another child than you are willing to admit. You are asking all the right questions, have all the right concerns.

    There are no guarantees.

    You have a good thing going. A beautiful daughter, a loving husband. Bringing another baby isn’t going to spoil that.

    But it might complicate it.

    It will definitely change it.

    Listen to your heart and Jon’s, too.

    You have time. Whatever decision you make will be the right one.

    P.S. I have a stepson who is 15 and a daughter who is 5. I happily drove my husband to the doctor when Margaret was 6 weeks old to get a vasectomy (even though he would’ve been happy with a litter of kids).

    I’ve never looked back. But I knew was I was pregnant that she was the only one for me.

  • ChristyD

    I don’t know either, but it sounds like the things that are stopping you are temporary. The first 6 months, the post-partum depression, the money, insurance. We had a surprise baby last year and I was terribly worried about similar issues. I am so thrilled that it worked out the way it did because I never would have had another on purpose, and I think we all would have missed out on so much.

  • MontanaJen

    Get out of my head, woman.

    The ‘what ifs’ never, ever stop, do they? Sheesh.

    When my husband and I got pregnant for the first time, the what ifs CONSUMED me – couldn’t sleep at night, wondering about college funds and the fact that I didn’t know how to bake bread and by God where I grew up bread making is what mothers DID and HOW am I EXPECTED to be a MOTHER and NOT BAKE BREAD?!?

    Three months later we miscarried. Then we were devastated.

    I realized that the questions will never, ever be answered, but even better – my sainted, bread making mother had the same damn questions. She didn’t answer them either. I’m so freaking happy she didn’t, because having three girls and then a boy in relatively close ages is NOT where the answers would have pointed her.

    You’ll make the decision that’s right for you. Best of luck in your journey there.

    Then I realized that

  • http://kelliamanda.blogspot.com kelliamanda

    I don’t know if it’s possible for you to stay on meds while pregnant, or if you could, possibly, go on them right after the birth and forego trying to BF this time? A good friend of mine, who battled severe PPD after her first child, decided to stay on Zoloft during her second pregnancy. So far, so good, and hopefully it’ll work out for her, but we won’t know for sure until after the baby. I have no kids & no pregnancies under my belt, but I know depression all too well and, unfortunately, Zoloft didn’t work for me, so that wouldn’t be an option if I were to get pregnant. I’ve seriously debated whether it would be smart for me to try for a baby (at some point) at all, given my history of depression and med-resistance. That said, you do what you have to do. If staying sane & out of the psych ward means no more kids for you, then so be it, and you can shower your (non-depressed!) attention on Leta. But if you decide to go for it again, I’m rooting for you. Hell, I’m rooting for you either way. Best of luck.

  • http://www.spankoff.blogspot.com TerraT

    Those are such great questions and real concerns, but I for one think that you are definitely one of those moms that doesn’t think they have it together when in fact you do.

    As for, can you handle more than one, let me share a piece of advice my Grandmother gave me when I was first considering being a foster parent (single and with no children) always have two.

    Two children will keep each other company when they are older, sure there will be the squabbles and disagreements, but while they’re busy playing and fighting with eachother you can be sneaking a drink in the kitchen, and that alone makes it worth it.

  • http://brewerburns.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Tough questions. Very tough decision. But I’m sure that whatever you do, it will be the right decision.

  • Urs

    this isn’t meant to be offensive, so please don’t get upset.
    it is because of people like your sister that i am choosing not to have any children.

  • http://therodebachers.blogspot.com Elle

    I haven’t even had this one yet and I am asking myself how will I ever want to go through this again? I cried today at work in front of several co-workers who are now looking at me like I really am that poor, crazy pregnant lady I think I am. Everyone says the 2nd trimester is great. I really am banking on that, because as it stands now I don’t think I can handle 6 more months of this.

  • Mack’sMom

    You are going through EXACTLY what I am going through…and so I relate all too much. My daughter turns two TODAY, and I always said I wanted my children three years apart. I need to get crackin’ this fall.

    We can’t afford it…but we couldn’t afford my daughter and we made it work. Luckily you don’t have to worry about daycare, because that’s what we really can’t afford. So the question is, Do I go part-time? My sanity won’t let me be a SAHM…

    I have the itch, but I don’t think I have the mental stability to add to the craziness around me.

    I say, WAIT until you absolutely can’t handle it….then you’re ready! I want more children, but I don’t want to not enjoy them like I did my daughter.

    You can only try to plan for the big picture, you can’t control it. If the depression comes back, you have experience under your belt. You’ll be able to get help immediately rather than months down the road.

  • smellthejava

    We’re in the midst of this quandry, too. Some people say just close your eyes and jump in. I dunno, having one great, but a hand full of a kid makes the decision doubly hard. Good luck, whatever you decide.

    And am I really first?!?

  • http://www.subtleglow.com/ Lily

    Totally understandable. There is a lot (A LOT) of pressure for people “multiply.”

    I have one, and I know I am done. He’s almost 8. I love babies… I even love the idea of being pregnant. It’s just EVERYTHING else that I know I don’t want to commit myself to for the next 20 years +.

    Good luck in whatever you and Jon decide.

  • http://hmckillip.blogspot.com Heather

    After reading several of the responses, I have to say I think people plan way too much. I’m not saying don’t take any precautions, but all this planning for every single thing in your life is just too much. Let some things happen. I never thought I’d be able to take care of three young kids (except for that time before I had any kids), yet here I am doing it. I learned to go to the grocery store with two or three of them, learned to make one wait when the other one needs me, learned to go to the bathroom with all three of them joining me. You do what you have to do. People need to lighten up. Your kids will probably benefit by learning some patience by being told to wait. It’s not very often easy, but people do not give themselves enough credit.

  • http://www.stellasphere.squarespace.com stellalafayette

    thanks for the great post heather. some of the best blogs i read have been by reading comments to your posts. so thanks for opening up the comments sometimes. you rawk.

    i just wanted to show you the blog of an AMAZING mom. i’m not sure you spend much of your day reading other blogs, but check out this super-mom: http://www.kristyk.org

    and sorry for the no caps… i know it bugs you but i just got up and my left pinky hasn’t had coffee yet.

  • Jessica

    It frustrates me when people push others to have children. It is a decision each couple (or even individual) has to come to on their own and certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly. It especially frustrates me when the pressure comes from my own family. But I’m sure many can relate to that. =)

  • http://biodtl.diaryland.com biodtl

    I think all parents have been through that difficult decision (even those who haven’t shared your specific struggles) and I defintely think the decisions over subsequent kids is more difficult than that over the first. I always knew I wanted more than one, but it was still hard to say, “ok…now” You’ll definitely handle it. In some ways it will be easier and in others, harder.

    And personally, it’s people like you sister (good, competent, happy moms with beautiful, wonderful, happy children) that make me WANT to have more, because they are proof that it can be done.

  • kookaburra

    As the proud mother of one 10 month-old energetic girl, I have to say that I’m happy and satisfied with one. Why mess with perfection? I, too, get “go forth and populate pressure.” But, is that a pressure to which we should succumb? When you finally learn how to manage big poopy diapers, running in 6 directions at once and turning on and off every light as you go by the switch, you should ask yourself if you’re fulfilled. I remember pregnancy, and no sleep…so, I love my current life.

  • momma 2 angels

    What a thoughtful post Heather. As I type this, I am watching Telletubbies and my 3 year old just polished off the last of my diet coke. My 1st kid didn’t exactly have the same experience, but I am a better parent this time I think. More relaxed. Brooke claims she isn’t having PPSD this time either, so she says. Who knows maybe she is snorting Paxil? I believe in a colossal conspiracy that makes people in your situation contemplate that pro8spective twinkle! Because the people with more than one WANT you to have another child because if you didn’t, you’d have loads more free time, money, guaranteed sanity and they’re envious of that. That sad, my daughter has added blah blah blah (good stuff) to our family and my son is exponentially a better human because she is here. Now sit that uterus down and have a real heart to heart! Now Heather I think you should move out here to LA and have an edgy/musicy/family talk show. You need an agent:) Get going!

  • http://bloodsugarmagik.livejournal.com SilverSeraphim

    I’ve been having the baby-making impulse, too. I remember when I got pregnant with the Small one being terrified I was going to have horrible PPD because I have a history of depression. I did have some (nowhere near yours, Heather), but I got through it, and now I know better about myself.

    Your experiences were horrible, sweetie, but now you and John know what you’re dealing with. You know what to look for, you know how to handle it, and you know when to call in the cavalry.

    And the responses of Leta and Chuck to this little invader will be *priceless* blog material…

  • http://www.poopandboogies.com William

    I know you only touched on this a little bit, but there is sooo much more to consider. Like chasing a toddler around while you are 8 to 9 months pregnant. My wife is going through that now and that is tough. As well as all the hormonal changes and dealing with a toddler.

  • babbling

    Leta’s not gonna be mad LOL. Leta is gonna be the best big sister ever! She’s gonna teach the baby ABC’s, and read to the baby, and introduce baby to Elmo, and have someone to talk to in the back of that bubble of a car (but Chuck might have to run behind the car on a leash if you put another car seat in the back) and just THINK! How many, many, many, many time Leta will wanna check that baby’s diaper. WEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA let the breeding begin!!!!!!

  • http://www.curiousgeorgeknits.typepad.com/my_weblog/ LeAnne

    I’m looking to have my fourth, my first with my new husband. My other three are wonderful and although it was hard when they were young (they are close in age) it is so very much easier now. I am kept awake nights wondering if this is something we should do. You are not alone in your thoughts.

  • Heather

    I am not advocating for either side but selfishly I would love to have more of the lovely monthly updates if there is another Armstrong in the works!! My favorite thing about having 2 children is watching them laugh together until they can’t stand up. I was terrified at first when I found out we were having number 2 but now that she is 2 and her brother is almost 5 – I love to watch them interact. It wasn’t always easy when she first arrived but it seemed much easier than when I was a first time mom.

    Leta will soon be old enough to work the Tivo on her own and that alone will give you an extra hour or two to sleep in!

  • CharlotteRose

    I truly believe that when your first baby is difficult/a screamer, your second will be easy/a quiet one! This belief is what enabled me to have a second baby. My first screamed for hours day after day for MONTHS. She was so hard. My second was a boy, and couldn’t have been an easier baby. I swear he practically never cried! It was so much better the second time around. I also had PPD with the first, but not the second. I often wonder if the lack of screaming the second time around, plus the “knowing what to do with a baby” factor helped. This too could happen to you!

  • http://www.absentmindedhousewife.blogspot.com/ Becky..Absent Minded Housewife

    My firstborn started his terrible twos at a year old. God he is so much work. He’s near 13 and the terrible twos still haven’t let up.

    I had my second almost five years exactly after the first. (Because my hell child was going to SCHOOL!) My second boy is so sweet spirited and gentle. He skipped the terrible twos completely. They are night and day…

    I had my third six years after the second because someone told my birth control pill that it had the day off. He’s a mix of the two…boundless energy with an almost constant good mood. We have not reached the terrible twos yet. Please tell me I’m not jinxing myself.

    Kids are like a box of chocolates…but for god’s sake, don’t ever give them a Forest Gump haircut.

  • http://www.theniffer.blogspot.com the niffer

    I’m with Windy. I’m due in September (partly because of that edible child you have) and the scariest thing for me is not knowing if I’ll poop on my kid. And if I do, will it keep me from having another one?

    I guess you haven’t really considered this an issue. I imagine you’d welcome a good poop, public or not.

    Excellent post, great discussion. Whatever decision you and Jon make will be the best for your family.