A couple of months ago I was on a playdate with my youngest child, who’s seven. One of the other moms was pregnant and yet another had just had a baby, a sweet six-week-old who made my ovaries skip a beat. She asked me and one other mom, who had seven and three-year-old boys, if were were done having kids.
“Oh, yes,” I replied emphatically, “I’m old. I’m 40.”
“That’s not too old! I had Johnny when I was 40,” said the mom of the three-year-old.
Oops. CALLED OUT. Ok, so the real reason I’m done having kids is…I don’t want to have any more kids. Is that bad??
When I was a young wife, before I had kids, I thought I wanted five kids. I mean after all I LOVED kids, and I adored being an aunt, and I adored my husband and the thought of having a bunch of little mini-uses all around seemed idyllic.
But then I had a kid. After I had one, I thought, “maybe three”. After I had two, I thought “Remember when I only had one? THAT WAS AWESOME.” Just kidding (sort of), I really thought, “Two’s good.” And then, well, we went away without kids for our 10th anniversary, and…we ended up bringing one back with us. And make no mistake, I am so glad we did. But I am also so glad we are not having any more. I got my tubes tied on the operating table when I had a c-section with baby #3 and I’ve not regretted it for one single second. Our family is complete and it feels great. And so does never having to have ankles the size of a California Redwood ever again. Which I think is a great segue into my 5 reasons I’m glad I’m done having kids.
5 reasons I’m really glad I’m done having kids
1) I can’t seem to pop them out the right way, and major abdominal surgery three times in seven years was puh-lenty. Especially that first time when I got a paralyzed bowel and it hurt worse than labor, and that third time when my magic pain ball medicine they gave me after surgery DIDN’T WORK and the nurse didn’t believe me and I just wanted to die for a couple days. For these reasons, I’m going to give another pregnancy a “hard pass.”
2) My three wonderful, awesome, amazing kids have stretched me to my limit. Even though they are now capable of doing lots of self-care, there’s not a minute of the day we are together when I don’t feel needed by them, because they still need me! I think it’s fair to say that emotionally my teen and tween need me more now than ever. And…sometimes, I can’t hear “Hey Mom” one more time without losing it. It stands to reason that if I had another kid, I’d hear it one more time plus one more time. I guess what I’m trying to say is, a fourth kid would definitely get the shaft. Because I’m about tapped out. I’ve got really good friends who keep popping out babies with no signs of stopping and frankly it makes me feel rather inferior because I would love to be that maternal angel who just wants to have all the children her loins can produce and love them each perfectly, but I. Am. Not. And then sometimes I feel guilty about having three kids when some people struggle to have one, and I think, well, what is the right way to feel? I don’t know.
3) Playing host to a growing human being for 40 weeks (which, let’s be real, is more like 10 months than 9. Somebody sold us a big ol’ LIE.) is totally miraculous but SO not enjoyable to me. Especially when at about week five, the 24/7 Vomitpalooza gets going. I had morning sickness with my first baby and I had alldayeverydayforthenextsixteenweeks sickness with my other two. And this may surprise you, but after about two weeks, the “Let’s count how many times and in how many different places I threw up today” game gets old. So does running from your desk to the bathroom that’s really far down a long hallway at work while your co-workers take bets on whether you’re going to take it or not. Oh, and…I didn’t like anything else about being pregnant either. Except getting that sweet, snuggly baby at the end.
4) My heart is in three equal pieces that walk around in three little bodies. I worry about my kids. I don’t let anxiety rule my life, but having and loving a child means taking a huge risk with your heart. I took that risk three times, so I have three times the mom fears. And I won’t lie, having two kids with developmental delays has taken a lot out of me. Having to worry and stress about their development wore me down to a degree…I think it’s a big part of the reason I consider myself tapped out. Every time I have to open a “Friday Folder” at the end of the school week I have to brace myself emotionally, because having kids who were developmentally behind has given me a bit of PTSD.
5) I like being back to me. I know it sounds selfish, but I nursed my last two babies until they were two years old. It has now been almost sixe years since I’ve been a nursing mama, but all in all I nursed my three kids a total of 61 months. That’s over five years combined, kiddos, between 2004 and 2012. I loved nursing my babies but I like the way I feel not having to share my body anymore. I like the fact that my hair no longer falls out faster than it could grow in and that I can wear real bras and drink large quantities of caffeine and take an aspirin without worrying about passing anything along to the kiddos. I like walking around in my own skin and having it be…my own. At this point in my life, it feels completely and totally right physically and emotionally to be done having kids.
Each of my children is a treasure, and each of my pregnancies was an unimaginable gift. But I’m so done having kids and I’m so not regretting the decision. How about you? Are you done? And how did you know your family was complete?