When I was younger I always envisioned myself with a large family. I thought for sure I’d be a mother of four. When my husband and I talked about starting a family, he seemed to dream about a large family, too. I am currently a mother of two little girls, ages 6 and 2.
A friend of mine asked me when my youngest daughter was only six months old if we’d be adding a third to our little family. I brushed the question off with, how could I possibly think of another baby when I was just pregnant 6 months ago?!
You know what it’s like, if you are dating someone everyone always asks you “when are you going to get married?” Then, when you get married they ask “when are you going to have a baby?” After you have a few kids, “when are you going to have another baby?” What’s the next round of questions after that?
Which brings me to my next question… when do you know you are done having children?
My baby isn’t a baby anymore. She would be classified as a toddler. Her third birthday looms in the distance. I’ve come to terms that she is probably my last baby. I am operating as if she is — giving away clothes to her younger cousins, donating and giving away gear that she outgrows.
My friend gave me the advice to leave the door open with having another child until my youngest turned two. Well, she’s two now, and I feel that we are done. I told my girlfriend that the other day, she laughed and said “wait until she is three. ” My youngest daughter turns three in September. My decision today still stands.
I am 35, my sister had her last baby at 38. Some of my friends are having their first baby or haven’t had their first child yet. This day and age, women of my generation are having children much later than women of my mother’s generation. So, I guess technically there is time for me to let things marinate and change my mind.
I cried when I packed up the 0-3 months clothes after my youngest daughter outgrew them. Putting away those tiny little outfits, knowing in the back of my mind that we are done was very emotional for me.
The first time I packed them up with my oldest daughter, I knew I wasn’t saying goodbye to the outfits, I was saying I’ll catch you one more time before you go.
We put our youngest daughter in her big-girl bed this year, and it was the first time in six years that there wasn’t a crib up in our house. We gave the crib and changing table to my brother-in-law’s niece. I took extreme care in wiping it down and cleaning it before we passed it on. I knew I was really saying goodbye. Yes, I cried while I was cleaning it. I am a sap!
If I never have another baby again, here is what I’ll miss the most:
– never hearing my babies heartbeat for the first time
– never again feeling my baby move inside of me
– giving birth
– seeing my baby for the first time
– finding out the gender of the baby (my husband and I always waited to find out, we loved being surprised!)
– new baby smell
– having my newborn sleep on top of my chest
– seeing the wonder in a babies eyes when they discover something new
But, here is how I know we are done: both pregnancies I had morning sickness for 18 weeks, I had to wear maternity stockings on my right leg the whole pregnancy– despite those two major inconveniences I loved being pregnant!
My youngest daughter did not sleep through the night until she was 14 months old… the thought of sleep deprivation alone makes me snap out of it when I get the itch for another baby!
Furthermore, I home-school my children, and the one-on-one attention with the two of them is working really well for us. I think if we added another little person to the mix, I may become overwhelmed. Financially, we have a good balance with the two kids we have, having a third means more financial responsibility and we are a one income family.
Finally, I am so in love with the family we have, I don’t feel like we are lacking or missing anything. My children are growing up so fast. At the height of chaos in our day I remind myself that someday I’ll miss this.
Someday I will miss all of this.
Right now, I’ve grown accustomed to having my girls at the age they are now, enjoying the thrill of what comes with that age, I rarely (if ever) think about adding a third child to our family.
Every night I put my two-year-old to bed. I read her two or three books and always sing Hush, Little Baby to her, per her request. I tickle her back and sing the song. Later in the night, before I go to bed, I check in on my girls. I watch them sleep, cover them back up and sneak out quietly… happy for the time that I have with them. Happy that they are still so little, but sad knowing the time going by so fast.
Are you done having babies? How do you know?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Courtney Cappallo of Massachusetts, USA. Courtney can be found homeschooling on her blog, Table of Four.
The photographs used in this post are attributed to the author.