How do you know when your family is complete?

Alice, Alex & James by Suzy Buhle

Some people know exactly how big their family will be.

‘Four kids – two girls, two boys,’ – they declare.

‘One will be enough for me,’ say others.

Of course life doesn’t always go according to plan and what we want and what we get are often miles apart.

Pre-kids I had no idea how many I’d like. Keen to hedge my bets, I suggested, ‘Let’s see how we go with one.’

Alex arrived and we did okay – he was a happy baby although sleep wasn’t his strong point.

I’m an only child and it wasn’t a life I wanted to give my son so we signed up for another.

James arrived just over two years later, healthy, happy and thankfully a better sleeper.

It seemed easier the second time round. Maybe it was. Maybe I was better at it. Maybe the sleep deprivation has screwed with my memory.

We thought ‘this is fun’ let’s have one more. Secretly I thought it might be nice to have a girl to even up the numbers in our very male-dominated house.

We fell pregnant quickly and miscarried nearly as fast.

The next pregnancy took longer to come. It ended in hospital – ectopic pregnancy, goodbye fallopian tube.

The boys were growing older and we quietly gave up on having a third. Our boys were happy, healthy and we loved them – what more could we ask for?

Life was beginning to find a rhythm and return to a sense of normality. Everyone could dress themselves, nappies were a thing of the past, we’d given away our strollers and baby clothes, sold the cot … life was good.

That said, secretly at the back of our minds we knew that if a third baby happened we wouldn’t be upset. Each night as we kiss our growing boys goodnight, we know that the days of those gorgeous baby hugs, smoochy kisses and cute baby sayings have all but disappeared.

Then late last year came a surprise – a very unexpected pregnancy. Sadly another ectopic. We said goodbye to my final fallopian tube and to our hopes for a third child.

I am comfortable with this and am focused on enjoying our two wonderful (albeit naughty) blessings.

Our family is complete.


A version of this article first appeared in the Gold Coast Bulletin. Read my parenting column, Family Matters, in the Bulletin every Wednesday.