Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What I Think About: Knowing When to be DONE (advice ladies!)

A funny thing happens to people who have same sex children.  A couple of friends, for example, have two daughters and people always ask, "are you going to try for a boy?"  I'm sure this happens with people who have boys too.

In fact, one of things I love about one of my fave bloggers--Shell at Things I Can't Say--is that she states "Mom to three boys.  Not trying for a girl."  Do you hear that?  She has 3 boys and calls that a family? Sheesh.  What's wrong with her? ;)

For me, I have a boy and a girl so no one asks me this question.  People just assume this is the "ideal" family make up so why screw it up now? Right?

Families look so different. Some people are happy with one.  Some people want 19.  My thought is, how do you know when you are done?

When I was young{er} I had this grand vision of 4-5 children.  I'm a teacher; I love kids.  But then I had a hideous pregnancy followed by a traumatic c-section and all of a sudden that 4-5 went to three.  MAX.  Trust me, being sawed in half three times is my limit.

Then baby #2 (the often-coveted son ... remind me why this is so?) came along after a delightful pregnancy where I was all but prescribed a diet of whole-fat ice cream but another c-section.  Suddenly that magical 3 number seemed all wrong.

Holding this baby in my arms I just felt like I was finished.  Our family felt complete.

My son will be 3 in May and I still do not have a desire for another baby.  4 of my closest friends all had/got newborns this past fall/winter and while I loved holding and snuggling those little treasures, I am all too happy to give them back to their moms.  Just last Friday night I watched one of those babies, 7 week old baby girl H.  I swaddled and rocked and cuddled and fed.  And I looked at my husband and stated, "if this was it--if this holding and kissing was it--I'd have another in a heart beat!"

But the truth is that holding and cuddling isn't it.  Having a baby is hard work.  Babies change everything.  You need more gear, a bigger car, and more stamina to work full time with your other kids while running on something like 45 minutes of sleep.  Being a mom is tough.

I don't want to sound selfish but I just feel done.  I feel done with not sleeping through the night.  I feel done with sore breasts and smelling like spit up.  I feel done with putting my budding career on the back burner.  I feel done with diapers and spilled sippy cups and 3 am pacifier hunting.

Don't get me wrong, I love and adore my children.  One smile from them makes everything worth it but in the end, I'm not sure another child is best for our family.

So I'm on the birth control pill--again--which I promised my mother I'd never do.  I just don't know what else to do.  I don't want to count days (I'm not good at math so I know that method will get me child #3).  Matt and I have contemplated permanent fixes but those just don't feel right either.  I'm mean, we are 99.9% certain we are done but that .1% keeps us from taking drastic steps.

I'm so confused.  I feel done.  I feel like our family is just right for us.  But I'm not ready to take any drastic steps so every month as the arrival of Aunt Flo nears I have these panic attacks of "what if."  I don't want to feel that way.

What I think is that I'm done having children but I'm confused how done I am.  I'd love your advice!

Are you done?  How did you know? I love participating in Shell's PYHO on Wednesdays!

 

12 comments:

  1. I'm currently pregnant with baby girl #3. Yes, we had high hopes of having the coveted boy to carry on my husbands name, but it didn't happen. I'm 39 years old and high risk due to preeclampsia with #1 (preemie) and the beginnings of high blood pressure with #2 at 37 weeks. This will be my third c-section. Although I would not mind having a fourth, I feel three is enough for us. I knew at 2 we weren't done. I haven't decided on a permanent fix yet, but will need to make that decision soon.

    Good luck on your decision! For us, age and complications are helping us make the decision.

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  2. I have three kids and I knew with my last horror of a pregnancy that I was done having kids. But then I had my twins and I kinda forgot and I entertained the idea of a fourth child of a second or two. But, I knew I was done when I looked at my family eating dinner and I realized that no one was missing from the table. It was just like that, we were done having kids. My husband got the big snip snip so our decision is permanent.

    This Winter my closest friend had a baby and it didn't make me want another baby AT ALL! In fact the thought of starting over again sounds horrible to me. My twins will (hopefully) be potty trained this year and I love that we are getting pretty mobile. No packing up all that gear to go to the park or dinner. Just grab the kids and go.

    I would say that you'll know when you're 100% sure. There will be a moment when you just know.

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  3. I am 42 years old and have nine children. I have never had that "done" feeling. I envy my friends who have had that "done" feeling. I sometimes wonder if I was born without a "done" receptor. I always, always want another to join our family. And the newborn stage? My absolute favorite! I love ages newborn to four years old, when they are still needing me all the time; diapers (love changing them!) nursing (I have been nursing a child since 1997 pretty much non-stop -- okay, not the SAME child, of course. Come on, people...it's not like that here, I swear it) and everything else that comes with taking care of littles -- I just love it all. When we had six and were expecting #7 we bought a 15 passenger van. I remember how good it felt to buy that vehicle, because in the back of my mind I quickly counted, "Okay...that means we can have...10, 11, 12...wow, we can fit six more kids in this thing!!!" Oh, happy day! A car wasn't going to determine my family size! That is how I thought. I always thought that once I reached the age of 40 that then finally I'd get that "done" feeling. At age 39, I had our 9th baby. I remember looking down at her soon just minutes after her birth, holding her naked little body against my chest, and thinking, "How can I never do this again! I want to do this again!" So I seriously think that if Mother Nature didn't have her way of naturally slowing down the reproductive abilities of my body -- which is happening right now as I type, because we do not have a #10 yet and it doesn't look too promising -- I'd probably have about 20 or so children.

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  4. Can you guess how often I get asked the girl question by what I had to put in my bio? For us, it was always about the number of children we wanted, not gender.

    We wanted four. But our kids came closer in age than we had thought they would- so 3 is enough for us.

    I feel done. I still get baby twinges, but they pass.

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  5. Good post...just sent you a fb message. :)

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  6. I just found your blog through PYHO. I wrote a similar post about this exact question (although I have 1 of each) in last week's PYHO. I LOVE your blog name too. I'm excited to keep following your journey. Come say hello if you want.
    http://schermanfamily.blogspot.com

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  7. I wrestle with this issue all the time. Somedays I absolutely want more, on other days I question whether I really want to go through the two's and three's again. Even with the issues from my last pregnancy those aren't the reasons I would stop. I go through cycles of wanting more and feeling like our family is complete. Since we have two girls, we really want a boy, as of right now we figure if a few years down the road we still want another we can adopt. That's where w are right now, check back next week and it could be totally different.

    -Sarah M.

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  8. I AM done! My baby will be 13 (3/19). But I knew when I was pregnant with her I was done. Baby 1 (girl-22 yo) was born at 24 weeks (very scary), baby 2 (boy- 19 yo) had premature labor but ended up full term and being induced. baby 3 (boy-almost 15)full term doctors knew (could be)complications with cord/placenta separation, but didn't happen til after delivery. Baby 4
    (girl-above) gestational diabetes. But then after my divorce and then married someone with NO kids, I told him I would have one more if he wanted any of his own, THANKFULLY he didn't want any!
    I think deep down, you know when you are done. When I was younger, I didn't think I wanted 4 kids. I just wanted 1 of each and that was enough. Instead, I got 2 of each :)

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  9. I am done, but not because of some overwhelming emotional gut moment; because Cole is done. Oh, horror, my husband decided for me :) Actually it is good that he did because sometimes when I look at Torin, I think "maybe one more..." But, I am spread thin enough with three. I think four would be too much for me. At some point, the decision is no longer just yours; it involves your husband and existing children. Could I have four kids? Honestly, I love babies, but I don't think that it would be fair to my family to spread myself thinner. (Sorry for the poor grammar; I have a tired brain!)

    Beth

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  10. I don't think I can be much help. I have two, but definitely do not feel done. I have heard from other mothers that when you're done you just know. Good luck to you!

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  11. Being an only child i thought id only have one. Went on the pill and yet i gave birth again 16 months later. Both girls. Ten years later my MD calls a few days After my annual checkup to tell me im pregnant. TEN years, no BC and all of a sudden im prego. We have a 3yo son now. I had my first depo shot when he was 3 months old. 11 months later i gave birth to my now 2 yo. All are healthy. All are wonderful. So glas they all sleep through the night. Im planning on an IUD next. I love my kids but i think having even just one more would put too much of a strain on all of us. Good luck girl. I know its a hard decision. Heck sometimes the decision isnt even yours.

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  12. Thanks for the comment

    My desire for more is probably b/c all of mine were great prgnancies, delivers & babies. They were all really good sleepers after the initial first month when NOBODY sleeps.

    Also? I had my first two when I was nothing more than a baby myself. I was 17 & 19. And while I love my boys, I never got to enjoy the prgnancies b/c I felt like I was always looked at being judged. Then I was in school or working so I missed alot of their toddlerhood.
    With my last, I was finally at an appropriate age to have babies. I was fortunate enough to stay home with her. And I loved it..

    I also think a big chunk of it isn't wanting more, but being sad about NOT having anymore. It's definitely a bittersweet decision.

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