You have one baby, and the question everyone asks is, â€œWhen will you have the next one?â€ You have your second, and the question everyone asks you is, â€œAre you done?â€ I would be curious to know what the questions are after #3 or #4 (Iâ€™m betting, â€œArenâ€™t you done yet?â€ Hmph).
Before I had kids, I wrote a post called Planning Parenthood. I asked, â€œHow did you know when you were ready to have kids? Would you do things differently in retrospect?â€ Over 575 people responded with the most interesting comments. (Turns out that I was ready â€“ I got pregnant just a few weeks later!).
A few months after Henry was born, I wrote a post called The Only Child. It was all about how I grew up as an only child, liked it as a kid and hate it as an adult. One funny thing about having a blog is you write how you feel at a particular time and itâ€™s etched there forever â€“ itâ€™s interesting to look back and see how I felt at different times. In that post, I wrote that we occasionally wavered on the idea of having a second. I think I was just having trouble adjusting to motherhood because, in retrospect, I canâ€™t remember ever REALLY feeling that way! I also wrote that, if we did have a second, weâ€™d want some space in between the kids. I said 3 years (and we ended up deciding we didnâ€™t want that much space between kids; Henry and Claire are 2.5 years apart).
So now, we find ourselves with a 3 year old and a 9 month old, and I canâ€™t help but think, â€œAre we done? Like, really done?â€ Andâ€¦ I think we are.
Reasons I think weâ€™re done having babies:
I donâ€™t feel a wistful twinge of, â€œOh, this could be me!â€ when I hang out with pregnant friends.
When I think about getting a baby out of my vagina AGAIN, I kind of want to curl up in a fetal position and sob.
Newborns smell really good, but I want to hand them back to their moms after 5 minutes or so.
I added up our ages with the kidsâ€™ ages and realized that, God willing, weâ€™ll still be in our 40s when Claire leaves for college. And that sounds pretty damn awesome!
I saved everything after Henry â€“ but I sell clothes and gear as Claire outgrows them.
We feel â€œcomplete.â€
I guess that last one is the biggest one â€“ the Husband and I just both feel done. Itâ€™s hard to describe what feeling â€œdoneâ€ feels like, butâ€¦ itâ€™s just something you know, deep in your bones. We feel like our family is completed by Henry and Claire and no one is missing from it. And I feel blessed â€“ and am very grateful â€“ that we get to decide weâ€™re done, you know? But one thing we have learned, of course, is to never really say never â€“ weâ€™re each only 31, and I can think of several situations in which we would have a third child. And a surprise third is always a possibility because weâ€™re not willing to commit to any more permanent preventive methods. But it would be a pretty big shift if either of us changed our minds.
So â€“ Iâ€™d love to know what you think. Are you done? How do you know? Did you ever think you were done but really werenâ€™t? Was being done â€“ or not â€“ a choice that wasnâ€™t up to you?