This weekend my youngest turns 8.
I still remember all the feelings I had when my eldest turned 8. Although they aren't as strong this time around. I am going to chalk that up to the amount of time spent away from the expectations and tenets of Mormonism.
But obviously, it has crossed my mind.
8 years ago I had my second child surgically removed from my body with the expectation of having so many more children. Growing up, I always wanted 17 children. I would say stupid things that ranged from being willing to give up my vote if it meant I could always be a stay at home mother to other stupid things about 'real women' and 'real childbirth'.
That life I had envisioned didn't manifest itself. I admit, many of my choices prevented me from having 15 children more than I currently have, and I will be forever grateful to my younger self for choosing a path that led me here.
I was raised by a woman who believes that people who chose to have no children or chose to have only one child are selfish. They put themselves before god and that it was an unwritten sin to have fewer than two children. Granted, having anything less than four children wasn't ideal either. She has said on multiple occasions that she wanted her four children to have at least eight children each.
Now, I try my best not to judge other people's journeys. I don't believe having more than two children makes you selfish, or having less than two makes you selfish. I just know that I am a good mother to two children. I don't know if I would consider myself a good mother to three. And that is my choice.
Shortly after having my second baby, I decided that I had reached my limit. I didn't want to have children just for the sake of having children. I knew we were tight financially and I wanted to be able to give the children I had a stable home. Which hasn't always been easy.
When my husband and I found ourselves without a home in 2009, living in crappy motels with our two toddlers we knew we weren't in a position for a third child. So when we miscounted days and feared that our mistake could possibly lead to a pregnancy, I bought myself Plan B.
And now, I have two healthy children who fill my life full of love and wonder. Both will have passed their 8th birthday without conversion, without baptism, and best of all without guilt. They are still learning how to be responsible humans, and I am still learning how to be a mother. And I wouldn't change anything for the world.