Family Nature

How to Know when You’re Done Having Kids

My baby will be 2 next month. I was thinking recently how the end is in sight to diapers, breastfeeding and co-sleeping (although, given the chance our almost-eight-year old would still *love* to sleep with us, and sneaks in when he can; so I don’t really expect co-sleeping to come to an end soon, but it will change when the baby starts going to sleep with one of her brothers).

With my fourth and last c-section, I had a tubal ligation. I have been pondering the fact that I can’t have any more children for the last two years. Mr. Family Nature and I thought that we’d have more than four kids (ahem, that was before we had kids, but anyway). After our third was born, while I was still lying on the operating table being sewn up, the OB leaned over the curtain and said to me, “I strongly advise against future pregnancies”.  I was heartbroken. We decided to have one more baby anyway.

With all the baggage that comes along with c-sections – physical and emotional – I knew while I was pregnant with my fourth that it would be our last. I just could not do it again.

I have found myself wondering from time to time, if we would have had another baby if circumstances had been different; if I’d had the natural births that I had wanted so badly to have. I’m not sure of the answer. We are quite content with our family of six; to us it seems perfect, but still….

When the baby was around a year old I started thinking about another baby because that was the age the other kids were when I started thinking about the next baby. I asked my husband if he would have another if we could and he said, “Woman! Are you crazy? We can barely handle the four we have now!” This in a loving, joking (but not quite joking) kind of way. Yes, yes, of course; our lives are pretty busy with four but I guess I was mourning a little the fact that there would not be any more babies in our house. Still, I told my husband that if we could, I’d have another in a second – and I absolutely would have at the time. The next day my husband said to me, “You know what? I’d do it in a second too.” I guess we’re both suckers for babies.

At the end of last week I was thinking that I was late. You know, late. Truth be told, I don’t really keep track of my cycle like I used to now that we don’t have to worry about birth control anymore. So I just figured that I had my dates wrong and tried to push it to the back of my mind. It kept nagging me though. And then I was thinking about how I hadn’t been feeling quite right for a couple of days. I told myself that I was being ridiculous! I had a tubal ligation, for crying out loud! So I searched the internet for tubal ligation effectiveness, looking for reassurance. Depending on what you read, the failure rate is as high as 2%. What‽ TWO percent‽ (I realize that even 2% is very low, but I was feeling very irrational at the time). And then I started feeling sicker … and sicker. OMG, what if I’m pregnant

Then I basically started freaking out. OMG, I don’t want to be pregnant! I cannot have another c-section! I cannot have another baby! I’ve given away all my baby stuff! How in the world will we manage‽

Then came the guilt. OMG, what if I am pregnant? Of course I would want the baby! Of course I would love the baby! Of course the baby would be the biggest, best, surprise I’ve ever had! *sigh* Have I mentioned before that motherhood makes you crazy?

Sooo anyway … I’m not pregnant.

My husband and I sat down with friends, I had a nice big glass of wine and we laughed over how silly I was.

And I thought about how four is perfect. I wouldn’t change things, even if I could.

4 thoughts on “How to Know when You’re Done Having Kids

  1. TheFeministBreeder

    I want three or four as well. I think if we get a girl next time, I’ll stop there. I don’t want to be having babies after the age of 35 (that’s my own personal cutoff date, which was decided by a number of complicated factors.) I don’t know though…. the idea of four kids always sounded nice to the husband and I. We want a “big” family. We’re both only children, and that sucked so bad for both of us. We were so lonely.

    But every time I tell someone we want a 3rd, they look at me like I’ve lost my damn mind. The other day I was talking about it to some woman in my playgroup (who has 1 baby) and after a few minutes she looked at me and said “wait, are you serious… you really want ANOTHER one!?!?” and I said “uh, yeah?” and she says “Oh Gina, you’re too funny.”

    WTF is that about? Since when does 3 (or 4) kids make us look like the Duggars?

    Anyway, I feel like I’ll know that I’m done after the next one… but I never say never anymore. Who knows.

  2. Amanda

    My husband says that when he was growing up they always called only children “lonely children”.

    I know, seriously, why is 3 or 4 kids such a big deal. AND I hate how those of us who want “big” families are labeled as “crazy”. Don’t even get me started!