Are You “Done”?

in All Posts

You have one baby, and the question everyone asks is, “When will you have the next one?”  You have your second, and the question everyone asks you is, “Are you done?”  I would be curious to know what the questions are after #3 or #4 (I’m betting, “Aren’t you done yet?” Hmph).


Before I had kids, I wrote a post called Planning Parenthood.  I asked, “How did you know when you were ready to have kids? Would you do things differently in retrospect?”  Over 575 people responded with the most interesting comments.  (Turns out that I was ready – 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 it’s etched there forever – it’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 can’t remember ever REALLY feeling that way!  I also wrote that, if we did have a second, we’d want some space in between the kids.  I said 3 years (and we ended up deciding we didn’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 can’t help but think, “Are we done?  Like, really done?” And… I think we are.


Reasons I think we’re done having babies:


I don’t feel a wistful twinge of, “Oh, this could be me!” 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 kids’ ages and realized that, God willing, we’ll still be in our 40s when Claire leaves for college.  And that sounds pretty damn awesome!

I saved everything after Henry – but I sell clothes and gear as Claire outgrows them.

We feel “complete.”


I guess that last one is the biggest one – the Husband and I just both feel done.  It’s hard to describe what feeling “done” feels like, but… it’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 – and am very grateful – that we get to decide we’re done, you know?  But one thing we have learned, of course, is to never really say never – we’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 we’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 – I’d love to know what you think.  Are you done?  How do you know?  Did you ever think you were done but really weren’t?  Was being done – or not – a choice that wasn’t up to you?


Related Posts:


How Long Did It Take You To Get Over Childbirth?

Things I Learned About Having a Newborn

Claire’s Birth Story

Henry’s Birth Story – Part I and Part II

Pregnancy Posts

My review of the Bradley Method (pre-birth and post-birth with Henry)



  • Ellie September 21, 2015, 8:36 am

    I love this! I have an older brother and just always knew I wanted more than one child. I have a 1 year old daughter and sometimes can’t imagine having another. She’s amazing and I love her SO much, but I fear not being able to handle another one both in giving love and time/energy!?!?! I struggled pretty much the entire first year of motherhood (and I still don’t have it together!) with anxiety, guilt, extreme emotions, etc. and the thought of going back to those newborn times scares the #$%! out of me. I’m hoping that one day I will be ready because deep down I don’t feel “done”.

  • Katie September 21, 2015, 9:06 am

    I just have to comment. Your posts about motherhood, kids, etc. have been SO helpful to me. I have been a regular reader since 2010 and I am now a mom to a 6 month old baby girl. I STILL go back and ready your mind and body posts from Henry so I can feel like I am “normal” for not always being full of happy rainbows and unicorns. Pregnancy was a very hard journey for me (mostly emotionally) and my daughter was a colicky baby from 1-4.5 months. I had days where anxiety was almost unmanageable at 4-5 months and I remember finding comfort reading your posts about that and feeling like it was OKAY that I was feeling that way. I wasn’t some crazy and terrible mom that was so overcome with anxiety or stress she was barely enjoying her own kid. From day 1 people have asked us “when are you going to have another” ANOTHER?! I honestly for the longest time couldn’t even fathom the idea of two kids! Now our 6 month old is getting more and more fun every day, I feel better and better every day and enjoy parenthood even more and so I can imagine the idea of two (although still not for some time). I just had to say thank you for writing your posts. Your honest thoughts on motherhood coupled with posts like these that show the light at the end of the tunnel help new moms like me more than you probably even realize. Motherhood truly is the greatest thing ive done and our baby girl brings me more happiness than I could have imagined… but holy crap sometimes its hard and stressful and frustrating and emotional!!! Thank you for being honest so I feel like I can.
    And seriously, you have two of the cutest kids ever!

    • Stacey September 21, 2015, 10:43 am

      I know exactly how you feel – I had a very hard time until our daughter was about 10-weeks. Every time she’d cry I’d want to run the opposite way instead of to her. It was a horrible, overwhelming feeling. But for our own reasons we gave her 1/2, 1/2 BM and formula bottles and then she just became the happiest baby ever. Our connection grew and now I stay home with her part-time and couldn’t imagine not having this time together. Like you said, they get more and more fun each day and it starts to become less of a ‘how the heck do you people do this more than once’ to a ‘okay… we could tackle this again’.

    • Danielle September 22, 2015, 3:44 pm

      I also wanted to say thank you to Caitlin for sharing your experience so honestly!

  • Ellen September 21, 2015, 9:20 am

    I am not sure I am done. My husband says he is, but right now we are going through so much change in our life…. 3 weeks after my second was born my husband got a new job and has been away training and starting the job which is 6 hours from home. We are in the process of selling the house and looking for a two bedroom apt where my husband is working. I will need a new job too, so all these changes make it really difficult to even consider a third. That being said, I can not imagine not ever being pregnant again, and also I am so sentimental this time around…I am really sad that my baby is almost 6 months old! I am really enjoying the baby stage this time around.
    Ps I saw your Instagram post about no sleep and I am right there with you. My three year old is in our bed EVERY night and the baby has been waking up more and more. At one point this weekend there were four of us in our tiny bed!

  • Jill September 21, 2015, 9:35 am

    We have two summer babies that just turned 4 and 1 (two boys) and we are for sure done, done, done!!! We weren’t sure if we should have a second, and went back and forth a lot. I know a lot of people say the opposite, but for me, it felt like everything was harder with the second: pregnancy, newborn days, juggling two kids, sleep deprivation, etc. And I know in general our second is just a “harder” baby than our first. He didn’t have colic as a newborn but I have found myself googling “can toddlers have colic?” ha! I can tell things are slowly getting better as he starts to find his words instead of just yelling, but man, we have had some rough days.

    BUT – I know we overall made the right choice because of how much love I see between those two brothers. It truly melts my heart how much big brother LOVES his little brother. I am glad my first came first because he is so patient, loving, and playful with his baby brother! He keeps asking when we are having another baby. Sorry, buddy! 🙂 So, it’s true we have had kind of a rough year, but it’s getting better and I know they will be friends for life and always have each other, so it’s definitely worth it.

    • Jasmine September 21, 2015, 1:44 pm

      I don’t feel done. My son is 8.5 weeks old and I’m still struggling pretty hard most days, so imagining going through pregnancy, birth, and the early weeks again feels… Well, UNimaginable. And, yet I definitely don’t feel done. I keep thinking about our next and when we’ll try again. What?!?

      I keep telling my husband this must be how it feels to finish a marathon, swear NEVER AGAIN, and then immediately sign up for the next. Lol.

      • Julie September 21, 2015, 4:37 pm

        My son is 10 months old, and I WISH I can say with certainty that I am done. I had bad nausea, pelvic symphysis disorder, gestational diabetes and a C-section, things that I just can’t imagine dealing with again. Also, the post-partum anxiety + blues… it took me almost 5 months to feel 85% normal in that regard, and the other 15% of the time, I just wanted to run away. Also, it is only now that the baby is sleeping slightly better, but prior to this, my life has been a series of naps, and it nearly killed me and my relationship with my spouse.

        But I kind of feel I might regret not having a second. I grew up with four siblings, and some of them are my life. Yes, we are not all close, and that could happen, but I have heard that I’m more likely to regret the kids I don’t have then the ones I do. And I know as I snuggle my growing boy that this is likely.

        I think to consider this again, I’d have to be in a different place — job- and commute-wise, and I would safeguard myself with a plan for the hormone crash, and more space at home. Just more help in general (underline this twice). My current baby would ideally be old enough to help with small things like keeping an eye on the baby while I go to the bathroom.

  • brynn September 21, 2015, 9:35 am

    It is funny that you say you feel “done.” That is exactly what my mom friends say; they either feel done or not. I just had my first and definitely do no feel “done.”

    • Johanna September 21, 2015, 10:17 am

      I’m not in a position yet to make this decision because 1. I am getting divorced and 2. my heart condition could make a second pregnancy risky. I have one daughter who is about to turn one. I sometimes find it hard to read about people getting to decide if their family is complete since I don’t really have a choice. I would consider adoption or getting pregnant on my own even if I don’t remarry, but if my doctor’s don’t approve me for anymore pregnancies and with the cost of adoption, I may not be able to give my daughter a sibling. So there is a part of me that can’t fathom feeling “done”, But that’s why it’s such a personal choice and I never ask people anymore if they are done or having more. I know it hurts me when people ask me and I have to smile and say “maybe someday”. Either way, you are so blessed with two wonderful children and you should trust how you feel. And like you said, nothing is a 100% especially since we are young (I’m a year older then you). Also I should again note my daughter is only 1 and the love of my life but I may decide someday that doing the toddler phase once is enough! LOL

  • Melissa September 21, 2015, 9:44 am

    we’re done.
    When I was pregnant with my first, we talked about having 3-4 kids. (One of my brothers has 3 and one of my brothers has 4 so we have been around a lot of kids for many years).
    After my first was born we still entertained the idea of a few more children.
    When I was pregnant with my second, my husband was already starting to feel done after our second. My son was getting to a really fun but demanding age and my husband could imagine our future with -just- two better than I could. I still held on to the idea of 3-4 kids.
    But then our second was born. And shortly after her birth, my husband and I had that feeling of completion, the “we just know” feeling. And it hasn’t gone away. My son is now 3 years old and my daughter is 16 months. We are coming out of a really thick fog of tricky, demanding, overwhelming yet amazing growth to a family of four. And we still feel complete. And I can’t imagine adding another human to our little circle. I am so happy my children have each other. And I still think having a bunch of siblings would be really fun. But it’s just not for me and my husband. We have what we can handle and love. And that’s just it!

  • Kate September 21, 2015, 10:01 am

    I wasn’t sure if my last comment went through–if it did no need to post both.

    I just wanted to chime in as long-time reader who has never commented before that you may want to rethink the way you frame these sorts of conversations both online and in real life. As someone who has been struggling to have a child since you had Henry and has suffered through repeated failed infertility treatments questions like ‘when are you having kids?’ or, I’m sure if I’m lucky enough to have them ‘are you done?’ aren’t the innocuous conversation fillers that they used to be for me and I’m sure still would be if I had gotten pregnant easily. Please remember what a wonderful gift it is to be able to make these ‘decisions’ and remember that you often have no idea what others are struggling with.

    • Caitlin September 21, 2015, 10:51 am

      Well, what I was hoping for was to have someone chime in with their experience on this. There’s also the reality of one partner being done and the other not being done, you know? The best comments on those two prior posts that I mentioned talk about this kind of stuff. I can only write about my own experience, that’s why I always ask people to share! I always think about my blog post on these kind of topics as “the first comment” and then the comments are all these other experiences and realities to share and learn from – my blog post is obviously not the end all or be all on the topic! But I could’ve written some of this a little more sensitively (thank you) and maybe I can make my ending question address these realities a bit better… Hold on, I’ll edit!

      But EXCELLENT POINT that asking people about kids, family planning, etc in real life can be a pretty big mindfield that you don’t realize you’re walking into.

      I’m so sorry that you have experienced all this. Soft hugs. Soft, soft hugs.

      • Casey September 21, 2015, 12:20 pm

        I can chime in here…my husband was DONE after our second, I was for sure not done. I brought it up at her first birthday, and he said no way. After a few months, he said he would be willing to try for a third when she turned two-leaving a bigger age gap between 2 and 3. Our first 2 children are under two years apart. In his heart, he would love to stop at two. But he knows how much this means to me and does not want regret or resentment down the road. You never regret your children, but you may regret not having them. But I have promised him three will be IT.

    • Courtney September 21, 2015, 3:25 pm

      I too have been trying (unsuccessfully) to get pregnant for quite some time. I completely understand the initial gut check of seeing blog/social media posts about having children, not having children, etc. I read this post and felt a twinge of sadness for myself, but also found myself smiling at how happy Caitlin and her family seem. I know after that initial AHHHHH! feeling of seeing topics like this, that even if I never read another one I wouldn’t feel less empty. The idea of being pregnant often times seems surreal and I wonder if I will ever get to have discussions like these with my husband. Having said that, having children is a reality for most couples and conversations such as these are necessary and helpful. I don’t believe this post was intended to be insensitive or to forget the women out there such as you and me. Our stories maybe don’t get told as often, but we aren’t alone. I know the emptiness you feel every month. The sadness of passing by baby aisles at the store. One day I will be on the other side of this conversation. You will too 🙂

      • Meg September 21, 2015, 11:01 pm

        Kate, I hear what you are saying regarding the fact that many, many couples struggle with varying levels of infertility. However, I think Caitlin spoke respectfully about the topic and acknowledged that she was grateful and lucky to have her two sweet kids. I appreciate you addressing this, Caitlin, as it is something I wonder whether I will feel with certainty. Some women said they knew their wedding dress was “the one” as soon as they tried it on, whereas others never got that feeling. I think I will probably fall into that latter category regarding kids and being “done,” meaning I won’t be certain, and I’ll probably have pangs both ways.

        For me and my husband, it will likely be a financial decision. I read in the NYTimes that, for a middle/upper-class family, each child costs $400K or more – and that doesn’t include college! (It does include living in a bigger house and in a more expensive school district, however). As a teacher with a husband who is self-employed, it will be hard to provide the kind of life we want for our kids while still saving for retirement if we have more than two.

  • Sana September 21, 2015, 10:13 am

    You and the husband make cute babies. Don’t stop. JK. You have a beautiful family and whatever is supposed to happen will 🙂

  • Gena @ orgenazation September 21, 2015, 10:14 am

    Such a great topic. I have two kids a son (7) and a daughter (4.5) which are 2.5 years apart. My husband and I always figured we would have 3 kids – we are both middle children of 3. But, then we had our first and decided two would be good 😉 I knew I wanted a second and I wanted them under 3 years apart, but I after our daughter was born I knew two kids made our family complete. I know that right now this is the right decision for us, but I do worry that when both kids are grown I will have wished we would have had more. So that we could have big family gatherings “Parenthood” style. But, then I remember that Parenthood was a scripted TV show and not real life 😉

    • Faith September 21, 2015, 8:03 pm

      Bahahaha. I think the same thing – I want those big family dinners! But I don’t know if I can survive the newborn stage 3 more times. 0_0

  • eve September 21, 2015, 10:15 am

    I am feeling totally done too!
    Maybe that is too personal to ask, but would you/your husband consider a more “permanent” birth control method? (that way there are no surprises!)

    • Caitlin September 21, 2015, 10:47 am

      A vasectomy. I know it’s not 100% but I think that + my IUD is pretty much a sealed deal.

  • Reenie September 21, 2015, 10:30 am

    Your kids are adorable. You look fantastic!!

  • Rachel September 21, 2015, 10:39 am

    I have a just-turned-3-year-old and an almost 1 year old, and I know 100% that I am NOT done. I truly feel like there is still someone missing from our family. I get insanely jealous when any friends make a pregnancy announcement. I can’t imagine never breastfeeding a newborn again, never announcing a pregnancy, or picking out a name. I’m just not done. Unfortunately for a long time, my husband felt the opposite. It was a real sticking point in our relationship for a long time. But just a few weeks ago, my husband changed his mind. I am absolutely thrilled. I feel like I can truly enjoy my baby now instead of mourning the loss of his infancy with each passing day. I am celebrating that he’s so close to walking and thinking about the end of nursing. I know exactly what you mean by just knowing your done because in the same way, I just know that we are not done.

  • Kate September 21, 2015, 10:46 am

    This post was very insightful. I’m not a mom yet, but I am soaking this all in for the hopeful future.
    May I ask what preventive measures you do take? I’m really torn on hormonal birth control, but don’t have a whole lot of faith in other methods.

    • Caitlin September 21, 2015, 11:02 am

      Non hormonal IUD. I also used it after Henry. Seems like the best of a lot of meh choices.

  • Lauri September 21, 2015, 10:50 am

    My story is long but i wanted to share!

    After my son was born, we knew we wanted to wait awhile before having another. I always just assumed I would have 2 kids for many reasons but I knew I wasn’t meant to have them close in age. As my son approached 2 and 3 years old we decided to start trying again, but not put any pressure on it. I got pregnant right away but also miscarried right way. We kept trying for another year with no luck. We then had fertility testing and everything checked out, so we chugged along on our own. After about another year we decided to try IUI. Although the procedures wasn’t invasive, I had a very crazy experience (too complicated to get into here), got pregnant but miscarried again. It was a long, trying and emotional experience that made me realize fertility was not for me! So we decided to take a step back, and I got used to the idea of being a family of 3. I actually really liked the idea. I was in my late 30’s and worried about a healthy baby if I were to get pregnant again. Our son was 5 and heading to Kindergarten and was so self sufficient. I didn’t want to go back. We made plans to travel more, with our son, and just enjoy that we had flexibility with an older child. We were far removed from diapers, bottles, sleepless nights, etc. I remember my husband saying “let’s just see what happens” and i said “I don’t think i want to see what happens, I’m DONE!” We were preventing pregnancy for the most part. Then, a few months later, halfway through my son’s first year of school, I found out I was pregnant. I freaked out, but I also just assumed I would miscarry again. I remember when we had the first ultrasound and saw a heartbeat around 7 weeks and I was surprised there was one. I still assumed it wouldn’t last. But it did. I was so worried the entire pregnancy – about going through the baby stage again, about being 39 and having a newborn, etc. We had our baby girl last September (she just turned 1!) and at first I was euphoric. After about a week at home, I started suffering crippling anxiety, sadness and dare I say it – regret. I wished for our “old” life back and I was afraid we had made a huge mistake. Luckily I knew I needed help and I sought help right away. I saw an amazing therapist, went to a support group weekly, and also ended up needing a low dose of meds to even things out. I slowly crawled out of the dark place I was in.

    I have come a LONG way since then and our daughter is the light of my life. I adore that little girl and our family feels so complete now, even though it never felt like anything was missing.

    Long story short – I thought I was done but the universe had other plans for my family 🙂

  • Tiphani September 21, 2015, 10:51 am

    My two boys are the exact same age as Henry and Claire (both born days before my boys)! After we had our second I waffled with having another (I always wanted 4 but I think that ship has sailed) but could see it either way. Now that my youngest is getting out of the baby stage I know we are NOT done. It will be a while until we can have a third but I definitely want one. And to answer the inevitable question: no, it is not just to try and have a girl. To have a baby just for gender is crazy (and really doesn’t matter!)

  • lauren September 21, 2015, 10:52 am

    i love the way you think. These are the sort of things I like talking about, but few friends share their feelings on.
    We have one 2 yr old and we love him to pieces. He’s the perfect kiddo. We talk about having another in a couple years, by time he’s in K…or not. We could go either way, but feel another would be great for our family. If we do have #2, that will be our last. I’ll have to have a csection anyway, so would see if I could get something permanent done at the same time 🙂 people say I’m crazy, but we know what we want and what we can handle. You’ve got to know yourself and trust your instincts!

  • Jennifer September 21, 2015, 11:23 am

    We have 2 girls and are done. Even though we constantly get the “oh you’re not going to try for a boy?!” comments. We knew we wanted 2, we got our 2 and were happy with whatever gender we got 🙂 However, we were more than ready for “more permanent” prevention measures so my husband has been snipped. No changing our minds now!! 🙂

    • Jennifer September 21, 2015, 1:58 pm

      Ha…two boys here and I always hear, “aren’t you going to try for a girl??” Well, my husband only has brothers, his dad only has brothers, his dad only had brothers….Nope, I’m not trying for a girl. My husband had a vasectomy, which we have since found out failed so we need to figure out what to do about that, but we are so DONE! 🙂

      • Julie September 21, 2015, 4:39 pm

        Huge GASP for the failure. I’m glad you know about it!

  • Sarah @ September 21, 2015, 11:53 am

    I am due with my third boy in December and am definitely fantasizing about being “done” after this. Meaning I keep thinking of that point when the boys are old enough that I could potentially do something like go on a yoga retreat solo while their dad hangs with them at home or when I could take up a new hobby or resume some of the things I love doing but have been too harried to do with two young toddlers. People keep asking if we are done too but I can see a scenario when I get to 39ish and freak out and want to have that baby experience one last time if I am able to (I am 37 now so we’ll see.) I’d also be okay with a happy mistake, though I think I’d do my darndest to prevent that from happening.

  • Katy September 21, 2015, 12:05 pm

    I have two children – 1 boy (2 years) and 1 girl (5 months). We get the “are you done having kids?” question ALL. THE. TIME. We always said our “plan” was to stop after two if we had a boy and a girl.

    When I was pregnant with our little girl, my husband and I had the same answer to the “are you done after this one?” question – “we don’t know!” Now that our little girl is 5 months old, our answers have changed a bit. My husbands is a firm “yes, we are done” and mine is a wobbly “I think so, but I don’t know”. Our youngest is a REALLY good baby (good sleeper and great temperament) so I feel like she gives me amnesia quicker than my first did. I just don’t know if I’m ready to say for certain NO MORE BABIES! It kind of makes me sad to think about. However when I think about the financial aspect of it, I definitely lean hard towards the “done” side.

    I can’t wait to read the comments here on what other people say!

  • Karen B. September 21, 2015, 12:13 pm

    I grew up in a family with just two kids. My sister was a drug addict who didn’t get clean until her 50’s and we’ve never been close. I would have loved another sister or brother. When I was having children, my husband (ex now) didn’t want a second child, even though he had agreed to three before we got hitched. We had a second anyway and I desperately wanted a third child. I wanted to have a third child even more than I ever wanted the first! My husband wouldn’t cave on that one and I still wish I had had a third child, even though we are divorced now. I knew right after the birth of my second son that I wanted a third and not so I would try for a girl, I actually always saw myself with three boys, the second and third close in age.

  • Tanya September 21, 2015, 12:32 pm

    Phew…I am sitting over here nodding my head enthusiastically to every single one of your points. We also feel “done” but are not ready to make any permanent changes. I can’t get the baby clothes out of our house fast enough and the maternity clothes were practically thrown out the window. Taking on another 9 months of pregnancy and then childbirth sounds traumatizing. I’m pretty sure we are done, but sometimes I just think maybe we aren’t. I probably spend way too much time and energy thinking/talking about this really! I think most women in our shoes probably do too. Thanks for sharing!

  • JennyV September 21, 2015, 12:40 pm

    Then there’s my husband of 8 years and and me. We don’t know IF we want to have children. We were the first of our friends to get married, and now others are on child 3 or even 4 and are saying they’re “done”. SO many people ask questions all the time and I just don’t know how to answer them — and it’s not even their place to ask. We’re both 31 years old and we just feel like we aren’t sure. How do you know? I’ve never had this intense feeling to be a mother — I think I would do just fine, I’ve just never felt ‘motherly’. Am I the only one out there feeling like this??

    • Caitlin September 21, 2015, 1:16 pm

      No you definitely are not alone! I have several close friends who feel this way. Maybe some people can chime in…

      • Liz Main September 21, 2015, 2:25 pm

        We actually have several married couple friends who don’t want children. We’re all in our mid to late thirties, and most of our friends are about to have their last or are “done” having kids, except for those four couples. I’ll admit that there are times when I’m extremely jealous of them – the extra income for vacations, free time to pursue interests, two of the women are getting additional degrees in school, etc. But I can’t imagine my life without our children…just the same as I suppose our friends feel about imagining their lives WITH kids. Anyway, my point is that I definitely don’t think you’re alone!

    • Jessica September 21, 2015, 2:27 pm

      You’re definitely not alone! I’m 31 and my boyfriend and I have absolutely NO desire to have children. Never have. The same goes for my two best friends and their husbands, two of whom have been together for 12 years. People tell me all the time that I’ll change my mind or regret it when I’m older, which I find very rude. Yep, I’ll totally regret all of that uninterrupted sleep, spontaneous weekend getaways, and extra money lying around! 😉

      • Caitlin September 21, 2015, 3:23 pm


    • kirsten September 21, 2015, 3:59 pm

      Definitely not alone! My husband and I have been married 5 and 1/2 years and I felt like you for most of our marriage where I just wasn’t sure and didn’t feel a need to become a mom. We were also the first of our friends to get married and have seen many of them have 1-2 kids by now. Only in the last year did I start feeling like I wanted a baby. My husband is still a little apprehensive but I think we’re going to start trying next year.

      • VI September 21, 2015, 5:05 pm

        You are so not alone, I had to start a blog to try to help document our decision making process, in the hopes that it would help someone else, not just myself!

        I too love that Caitlin has said that she feels like she is “done” and that she basically trusts her gut… my gut really isn’t telling me anything either… and we are on year 2 of marriage (and been together for 6 total)… still waiting for that feeling to kick in.

        • JennyV September 21, 2015, 8:50 pm

          Love your blog name “kids or dogs”!! We have two German shepherds

    • Joy September 21, 2015, 5:45 pm

      You are definitely not alone. I just turned 41 and my husband and I have always agreed that we don’t want children. I’ve never felt “motherly” either, and my husband doesn’t care to have children of his own. He’s a FABULOUS uncle but can leave it at that. We’ve always gotten the “oh, just wait…you’ll want them” from people, but our feelings have never changed.

      I love hearing about other people’s decisions though. Caitlin, I loved hearing why you think you’re “done.” Feeling complete is a great feeling! You have a beautiful family (seriously…Henry and Clare are absolutely adorable).

  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul September 21, 2015, 12:47 pm

    I would love a boy and a girl one day!

  • Regina September 21, 2015, 12:55 pm

    We have a son who’s 3 (Aug 2012), a son who’s almost 1.5 (April 2014) & our third son due in January! We knew we definitely wanted at least 3 kids, God willing, and we’re so lucky to be able to create 3 beautiful little ones. I can honestly say at 21 weeks pregnant that I don’t feel done or like this is my last pregnancy or even ready to never be pregnant again. A 4th is definitely a possibility for us, and sadly to say if money weren’t a concern #4 would be a definite. But we shall see. After 2 years of infertility and a lot of scares with #2, we just feel truly blessed for each of our sweet babes and every day we get to be their parents.

  • Stephanie C September 21, 2015, 12:56 pm

    I have an almost 8 month old (in 3 days!). I’m a very very low energy person (I’m hypothyroid) and my husband is the opposite. We knew we were ready … But really, were we?? we have a very high energy kid and I am completely drained by the end of the day. We also decided no sleep training until he’s a little older so that’s even worse! With that said, he an amazing baby. Almost always happy, loves other people, very curious and determined (he sat, crawled and pulled to stand all in three weeks).
    When his sleep is good I could have four babies. When it’s bad, he’s going to be an only child. Realistically, we’ll probably only have one more. We don’t want kids past 35 (well me being 35) and I don’t want more than a 4 year age gap between them, though 2.5-3.5 years sounds nice).
    I am an only child of my parents, but I have two older half brothers (one is 39, the other is 36 – I’m 30). I’m not incredibly close with either but glad to have them for shared experiences.

  • Anne September 21, 2015, 1:08 pm

    When my friend told me that she was pregnant with her fourth, I said “Don’t you know how birth control works?” And “Well aren’t you a good little Catholic!”

    We just had #1, and I’m planning on a #2. We’ll probably stop after that, since we’re old. Both of us come from families with three kids, but we’re not sure we want that many. Of course I could be like my cousin and #2 ends up being twins!

  • Nicole @ Broken Road Creative September 21, 2015, 1:15 pm

    I love reading things like this from you! And could your littlest be any cuter!? Omigosh.

    I’d say many of the reasons you listed are the same for me. I am thankful to have had healthy, uneventful pregnancies, but quite frankly, I never want to do it again! Plus, it would be like starting over again, with a newborn, and with my youngest just turning a year old, I feel like we’re hitting that stride… know what I mean? Of course, the biggest reason we’re done is just feeling complete as a family. This is it!

  • laura September 21, 2015, 1:36 pm

    We have two. Our daughter will be 4 in November and our son will be 2 in January. We felt pretty certain that two would complete our family, particularly after we had a difficult time getting pregnant the first time. The second the ultrasound technician said, “It’s a boy!” we knew our family was complete, and we haven’t looked back. All of your reasons made me laugh and smile, because I echo them, but above all, we just feel complete. Peace on your decision! Once you get there, it’s a good feeling.

  • Stephanie September 21, 2015, 1:46 pm

    I thought we were done after Pearson was born (10 months tomorrow!). I even sold some of our baby girl stuff since big sister is 3 1/2 and I figured we could start purging. The odd thing is that I had this nagging feeling that we just couldn’t close the door yet. I wasn’t dying to have another and I seriously couldn’t imagine having a third at that point, but I just had this feeling. Anyway, I’m currently 23 1/2 weeks pregnant with #3 and it’s another girl! We are thrilled, but I’m a bit terrified too. I know it will be awesome down the road, but we are in for some hard and chaotic days/months/years! Hahaha! Anyhoo, now we both feel “done” and that’s that!

  • Heather R September 21, 2015, 1:47 pm

    Thank you for being so open and sharing with us. My husband and I didn’t know if we wanted to have any children for a long time. Then one day we thought we would try and get pregnant. Little did we know it would take a while to get pregnant. The emotions I went through during our years of trying was very hard on me, as it seems like “everyone” was getting pregnant. When we found out we were having a baby, we were overjoyed with excitement. Our families were beyond thrilled. We had been getting the “when are you having kids” question forever. I loved being pregnant and delivery was a breeze. Once our son was here, happy and healthy. I knew I was done. I couldn’t handle the emotional toll again to get pregnant again. Our son will be 11 in December, we are some lucky parents. We still get the “when are you going to give him a brother or a sister” question. We are all happy and content. Thank you.

    • JennyV September 21, 2015, 2:56 pm

      I’ve been stalking comments for a post like this. I posted above about being married 8 years and at 31 years old, we both don’t know if we want children or not? How do you decide? And, there’s always the question of IF we will be able to conceive like you mentioned above!

      • Heather R September 22, 2015, 8:24 am

        Only you two will know what is right for your family. I will be 36 next month and we are both very happy we our decision. We are able to give him opportunities we didn’t have. We get to travel and he is able to play sports and do things with his friends. He does ask for a sibling, but we have explained the situation to him. Do what works for you and your husband.

  • SaraJoan September 21, 2015, 1:57 pm

    We have four and are DONE (good Lord willing—I’m in my early 40s and we’ve not yet been willing to commit to any more permanent preventive methods, either). When we were at three, my dh felt done and I didn’t. I was working on being okay with stopping at three when we found #4 was on the way. Ever since he arrived, I am completely in sync with dh — our family now feels complete to me.

    I’m extremely grateful that dh and I are now on same page regarding feeling done. It’s a really hard place to be when one of you feels done and the other doesn’t! My mom never had that done feeling, but my dad did. They decided to /be/ done, but I know she never /felt/ done — so I’m quite grateful that I do feel done now!

    Oh, and even with four I still get the, “Are you going to have another?” question.

  • Liz Main September 21, 2015, 2:10 pm

    We are done! We big pretty much always knew we only wanted two children, although there was the possibility to have a third if we had two of the same sex first. We both come from families of three and both felt like two was just right for us. When we were ready to finally have children, it took 14 months of stressful and expensive fertility treatments to get pregnant. Then, when our daughter was exactly a year old, we somehow lucked out and got pregnant with our son without any assistance. He was a huge surprise, and having two babies (and two c-sections) in less than two years was honestly a lot to handle! I wanted my husband to have a vasectomy while I was pregnant with baby #2, but we both agreed that it probably wasn’t a decision that should be made while I was pregnant. After our son was born, I still felt that we were definitely done, and so did my husband. He got a vasectomy when the baby was four months old. The baby is nearly one now and we still feel relieved that he had it done, so hopefully we won’t ever change our minds! One heathy boy and one healthy girl makes us feel extremely lucky 🙂

  • Lindsey September 21, 2015, 2:38 pm

    You pretty much summed up the exact conversation my husband and I had last night. Our second is 4 months old and we are getting a lot of “are you done?” “Don’t you want one more?” Etc. Right now, I can’t imagine ever wanting to be pregnant, go through labor, recover, and have a newborn again. And having three young children just isn’t what we want. Two feels right for us. However, we are in the same mindset on birth control and definitely have a “never say never” mentality, but right now, saying two is it, feels right.

  • Rebecca September 21, 2015, 2:50 pm

    What a great post! Thanks for the thought provoking question.

    We have two kiddos, about the same ages as yours. And I know, deep in my heart, we are not done. I feel as though a small piece of me is still missing. Despite the fact that I will have to have a c-section with baby #3 ( so not looking forward to this) and so far, very awful pregnancies, I’m still hoping for another one.

    I agree with you, our feeling is something that is just in our bones. It is hard to verbalize!

  • Linda September 21, 2015, 2:56 pm

    After my third, that feeling of holding a baby and feeling the “Oh, I really miss this” just went away. Plus, I purged all of my old stuff that I’d been holding onto for YEARS (My oldest is now 11, I just got rid of some of her clothes last year. Hoard much?).

    I think, you know when you feel complete. I mean, I still have moments where I wish we would have hurried and had just ONE MORE (Youngest is 7. too late for me now) but I think those moments are just fleeting. I think those feelings really come from the idea of all of my babies growing up so quickly! But. yeah, we’re done.

  • Stephanie September 21, 2015, 3:39 pm

    I am an only child too! My husband and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary over the summer, and while kids are on the brain, there are a few factors that play in to when we will actually have a child (i.e. my husband is finishing up his bachelor’s degree). I definitely think not growing up with brothers or sisters has made me think that I would be OK with just having one kiddo, but I think I would be open to (one) more. Very interesting post! I enjoyed reading!

    • Liz September 21, 2015, 9:35 pm

      We have 2 girls, ages 5 and 6. We don’t know if we’re done yet. People ask all the time and we just say we don’t know. My husband is open to having another, I’m torn. I have the same non hormonal IUD in, so it will have to be a conscious decision to try for another

  • Meg H September 21, 2015, 4:14 pm

    I’m currently in the nausea phase of pregnancy with #2 and the only thing pulling me through is thinking that this is probably (hopefully) the last time I have to suffer through this (perhaps not the best time to make a final decision??). My husband and I have always said two to three, but I think we’ll both be content with two. I’m one of six kids, my husband is one of four, and our parents are all from large families. In our religious background, big families are encouraged and the norm, so we deal with A LOT of questions. I absolutely love being part of a big family, but I know that it’s not for me. I think I will be a better mom to two than I could be to four or more. I loved reading the previous comments; it’s so nice to get other perspectives.

  • Jennifer September 21, 2015, 4:19 pm

    We are DONE! My husband had the permanent procedure done. We don’t want to go through the baby stage again. We don’t want to go through terrible twos again. We are loved experience the good of those things with our two children but dont want to do them again. We also don’t want to be outnumbered. I feel ya, holding newborns is sweet, but giving them back to their mom is even sweeter! BTW, we have a boy and a girl, seeing our friends with two of the same sex, there always seems to be the need for them to have another bc they want of the other sex.

    • Jennifer September 22, 2015, 3:48 pm

      Not over here! We have 2 girls and we love it. And we’re done 🙂

  • Allison September 21, 2015, 4:27 pm

    Oh how I love this topic! We are pregnant babe #1 and we just don’t know if we are “done” we might be. People look at us like we are CRAZY. We knew for sure we wanted one and our plan all along was to see how we feel after we have this little one. I think you know if you are or not. I just don’t have that feeling of we have to have another one right now. That might change in 2 years it might not. Our plan is just to wait and see how we feel about our family!
    I do think its crazy how we haven’t even had one and people ask when we will start trying for #2! I am like this one isn’t even cooked!

  • Amanda September 21, 2015, 4:29 pm

    Before I had my son I always imagined that I would want 2 kids. My husband and I are both one of two and it just seemed ‘right’. Then I had one, and have always felt complete. Maybe when he was a baby I pictured having another one, and kept everything. Then slowly realized I was very happy with one so I started getting rid of maternity clothes first, then slowly baby stuff. He’s 4 now, and the older he gets the more complete I feel. I never imagined I would have an only child, but it’s how our family worked out!

    • Melissa September 22, 2015, 9:33 am

      Yes! This is our family exactly! I NEVER thought I would want a single child. But our family just feels complete and right. But man, the questions all the time! And weird rude comments. Get over it, people! 🙂

  • Dana September 21, 2015, 4:46 pm

    I have a 2.5 y/o and a 9 m/o. I want a third and would start trying for one now or when I’m done nursing but my husband is firmly done at two. I feel incomplete and like there’s another little soul/baby waiting for us…its a pretty strong feeling too. I’d never force my husband into having another child. It’s tough!

  • Kathleen Ojo @ My Ojos September 21, 2015, 4:48 pm

    I have a 3-year-old daughter and am expecting #2 in April, and though I believe this will be our last baby, I don’t know that I’ll ever feel “done.” I love being pregnant, I love giving birth, and babies are the best thing ever. If time and resources were no factor, I would pop out a dozen kids.

    Unfortunately, time and resources ARE a big factor. We both work, and paying for childcare for two kids is going to suck us dry. Due to our circumstances (my husband immigrated to this country in his mid-20s) we’re in our early 30s and still trying to build “careers” out of “jobs.” We don’t own our own home yet. My husband has a large family in a poor country, and someone is always going to need our help. And travel/experiences are very important for us as a family. With two kids, we’ll be able to do/see a lot more and invest more resources into those kids. I’m not closing the door on #3, and emotionally I’m all for it, but for now we’re making the cognitive decision to stop at 2 kids and are both very comfortable with doing so.

  • Leslie September 21, 2015, 5:23 pm

    Loved reading all the comments so far! I’m 32 and newly pregnant with our second; our daughter is 2. I didn’t want kids for a looooong time. One day, I just felt ready. My husband, who has always wanted kids, told me to sit on that feeling for a while to make sure it stuck. And it really did – we got pregnant about a year later, at a time when I was comfortable starting to put my work on hold. Pregnancy was good but challenging, and delivery and recovery were very difficult. Our daughter is fantastic, and amidst my efforts to recover from everything, I occasionally wondered if my thoughts of having a second were unrealistic, or even greedy. Why would I have more children when I felt so lucky to have one amazing child, and pregnancy/delivery took a serious toll on my body? But, we really wanted her to have a sibling. There were a couple of times that I thought I was ready to try again, but the feeling passed very quickly. Finally, this summer, I just felt ready. I felt ready to add another personality to our family, I felt ready to give myself over to the changes that will occur, I felt ready to take on breastfeeding as a full-time job again. I am apprehensive – I love our family as it is. But truly, when I found out I’m pregnant, I felt so happy and complete; this feels right to me. We have discussed having a third, but a growing part of me thinks that I’ll be done after this. I feel ready to parent another infant (as ready as anyone can feel, I suppose!) but I also look forward to returning to my career in a few years.

    And one more thought: sometimes when I found myself longing for another baby, I realized that I was just missing my daughter as a baby. I would look at old pictures and videos and reminisce, and ultimately feel a bit sad, but satisfied. Something changed in me when I realized that I was ready for a NEW baby – not just a memory of what I already know.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015, 10:37 pm

      I can really relate to the nostalgia in your last paragraph. We are DONE at two. I took permanent measures to ensure it. My son is 3 and my daughter is 15 months. Beyond the fact that the first year/newborn phase/breastfeeding is really tough on me physically and emotionally, there are other personal reasons related to some mental health stuff and my basic personality that lets me know I need to be done at two in order to be the best mom I can be to the kids I already have.

      However, there was literally ONE day where I thought I may want another baby. But I realized that I was just having nostalgia for the excitement and anticipation of a pregnancy. I specifically think of my first pregnancy with my son… I was the healthiest mentally I have ever been. It was honestly the best time of my whole life. Obviously, wanting to experience another pregnancy and wanting to actually bring a child into this world and raise are two VERY different things. I am a million percent sure we have made the right decision being done. I enjoy having kids who can tell me what’s wrong when I ask and we can do more and more things together as a family. It gets better and better for sure.

    • Elizabeth September 22, 2015, 4:18 pm

      Yes, yes, yes. I knew we were done when I told my husband “I don’t want some new baby, I want to go back and do it with [our first] again.” lol. I also am not far enough out of it yet that I think I want to do it ALL over. Maybe like a day in each month or something 🙂

      • Kelley September 24, 2015, 11:33 pm

        This is me exactly! When I came to this realization that I didn’t actually want another (only that we’d want to relive what we had!), I finally came to peace with the reality we will only have the one. We are happy. 🙂 and also

  • Laura September 21, 2015, 6:15 pm

    I said i was done after #2, I felt like we were complete. She just turned 3 in August and I’m getting that “baby itch”. We’re thinking of trying for one more next year. Never say never .

  • Jolene ( September 21, 2015, 8:15 pm

    Since I was a kid, I was always convinced I’d have a big family. All through my 20s, I said I wanted 5 kids! I was DEFINITELY going to have children … but I wanted to wait a few years. And then, at 29, as time was getting close to start getting on the baby-train … I had an epiphany that I actually didn’t think I wanted kids!! I’m now 32, my 30 year old husband recently had a vasectomy, and we’ve made the decision official – we’re not having children. We’ve had terrible reactions from people regarding this decision however … like not nice at all. We love our nieces and nephews and I absolutely LOVE baby snuggles … but we just don’t want our own. It’s really hard for some people to understand and accept.

  • Amanda K. September 21, 2015, 8:47 pm

    I wrote a similar post when I was pregnant with #3 and it’s still one of the most popular posts on my blog.
    SO MANY people wanted to join the conversation. I have three, my youngest is 4 months, and I wonder EVERY DAY if I’m going to have a fourth. My mom says that means I’m not done, but I’m not sure. I think it partially means I DO want another, but also that I’m worried about the mourning process of deciding that I don’t want another…if that makes sense.

    We’ll see.

  • SHU September 21, 2015, 9:35 pm

    i do feel a little bit wistful about it, but I also feel pretty done! Looking forward to all of the “big kid” experiences and happy to never operate a breast pump again. (Also have a copper IUD and would recommend it!)

  • amelia September 21, 2015, 9:45 pm

    I have all sorts of mixed thoughts about this topic. We have 1 baby girl. She is just shy of 10 months. At first my husband declared he was done. Now my husband says he is not done. I never started asking myself the question until I came out of the newborn haze. I thought I’d always want a large family, but now that I have C, I’m really happy with just her. Here are my reasons:
    1. It took us 7 years of trying to get pregnant. Two of those years were full on fertility treatments. You name it, we’ve gone through it. I’ve been stuck more times with needles than I can count. I’ve gone through the daily injections/no cycles/failed cycles/back to estrogen therapy/more injections/heavier drugs/miscarriages/mental & physical struggles.
    2. We are both now 30+. My husband is closer to 40.
    3. Do you even want to know the amount of $$$$ we spent? But I’ll also say this, EVERY DAMN DIME was worth it for the beautiful daughter, smile, laughs, and challenges everyday. I would never take that back.
    4. I love my C. I Want to spoil her, travel with her, send her to a good school, put her through college. I’m afraid we couldn’t do that for a second.
    5. I see my sister and brother in law with 3 and all of their chaos. It makes me an anxious wreck.
    6. I am tired of having someone or something on my breasts.
    Other thoughts:
    1. IF we were to have a second, it would have to happen naturally, which I know won’t happen. I’m just not willing to go through the mental aspects of fertility treatments again.
    2. I feel bad when she grows up and has no siblings. I see how close my husband is with his siblings and it makes me sad for her. Who’s left once we are gone?
    3. I have great frustration and anger towards my mother and law and her mother after they Told me I was being selfish and that it was a ‘shame’ that C would not have a sibling. They also told me that they won’t consider us a family until we have 2 kids. Who says this? I swear I can’t make this up!!

    Ah, ok, so clearly a lot to say. Gotta stop before I clog the comments too much.
    Love your little family. Always a pleasure and favorite of mine to read your posts since the very beginning, even when we were struggling through fertility treatments and you were pregnant. I relied so much on your blog.

  • Kate @KateMovingForward September 21, 2015, 10:09 pm

    Just wanted to share a funny story about husbands and wives being on different pages. So my mom and dad had three kids. And they were “done”. But then my mom got the baby itch and my dad wouldn’t budge. So she flushed her birth control pills down the toilet and “accidentally” got pregnant. My sister is about 4 years younger than next closest sibling. So then my mom got worried that she wouldn’t have a friend in the family since there was such a big gap, so she once again “accidentally” got pregnant with my youngest brother! After that, my dad decided they needed a permanent solution since birth control clearly had no effect on my mom. Lol! She told him when they were 12 and 10 that they were not accidental, and he is happy to have them now, of course. 🙂

  • Amanda September 21, 2015, 10:52 pm

    We don’t have any kids yet, but we go between whether we want 2 or 3. I’m hoping that when the time comes to be done, we’ll just know 🙂

  • KK September 22, 2015, 1:07 am

    I’m not sure you can say you know that after only 9 months… my parents weren’t even excited when they initially got pregnant with me as their first. But then they had their 2nd 2 years later and were in the same position thinking they were done. 3 years later they changed their mind and had my second brother (my mom was 35 at the time). I can’t even imagine my life without my second brother! We are the closet siblings and adult friends, whereas my middle brother is completely different (almost polar opposite in many ways- which is totally okay!) but not close to us at all. Obviously finances came into play as well in terms of their decision, but they also were waiting until life settled into a groove for a while to see how things went. Long story short, I don’t think you can make up your mind when your second child is still less than a year.

    • Jill September 23, 2015, 10:36 am

      As a mom of two, one of which is biologically mine, I can tell you that for us, we KNEW we were done when I was still pregnant. We are really happy with our decision, and both very glad that my husband got a vasectomy before our baby had even turned a year old. I think large families can be wonderful, and so can small families, and so can families with no kids. It’s so subjective and personal. For us, it was about keeping everything about us “small”. Small house, small car, small family. Everyone has their own reasons for the choices they make, and we just felt like being a family of four was right for us. We’re really grateful for extended family, for when we want that big family vibe, but we also love when it’s just the four of us. But yeah, we knew we were done early on, and we’re still really happy with that choice 🙂

  • Claire September 22, 2015, 8:13 am

    We had three in less than four years. We always knew we wanted three, and as close together as possible so we could get through the baby/toddler fog as quickly as possible. I remember when the youngest turned about three and we were done with nappies and day sleeps it was so freeing. Like others have said it bugs me that people assume we had three because we had two girls and must have been trying for a boy. I’ve never understood why you would make a decision on number of kids based on gender. Although after our third was a boy, my husband did confess he would have wanted a fourth if he had been a girl! Now our kids are 9, 7 and 5 and they are so much fun. And although I did entertain the idea of a fourth for a short while, I did not have the same certainty that the universe had a little soul waiting for us as I did with the first three. That’s how I knew we were done.

  • Michelle September 22, 2015, 9:27 am

    In the exact same place as you. I need figure out some birth control so we don’t end up with surprise third and I don’t really want to go back on the pill… Maybe some blogger will do a post on it. hint hint…

    • Caitlin September 22, 2015, 11:53 am

      Paraguard? I am pretty happy with it.

  • Lydia September 22, 2015, 9:40 am

    I have a one year old, but I’d LOVE to have more. Even in the hospital with her my DH and I were saying we can’t wait to have another. I just had a miscarriage, but hopefully number 2 will be here sooner as opposed to later. Now three, I don’t know. I’d love to have three I think, but we’ll have to see how two goes first. I think I’ll really want a 3rd, but that logistics, biology and finances might make the choice for us.

  • Laura September 22, 2015, 9:42 am

    We have one child (just turned three years old). I’ve always wanted a big family, but my husband (who is 12 years older than me) has always said, “Let’s have one and then we’ll see.” He is absolutely done, but I’d still love more. I think my son would be an amazing sibling, too.

    Even though I’m truly devastated over not having more children, I value and respect my husband and marriage more so I am learning to love being a mom of one (I could never imagine trying to “make an accident happen” as some people have suggested to me… seems so dishonest and deceiving).

  • Lauren September 22, 2015, 10:37 am

    So I had my husband “fixed” for Christmas last year. We were “DONE” at that time. I had two, had two pretty decent pregnancies, but I’m still dealing with the after affects of birth. However now, a year later, I feel that we may have rushed the decision. I do feel “in my bones” that I could do it one more time. And I do feel that ache whenever I see my friends with their new babes. So now we’re discussing adoption down the road. In a few years, obviously, but it’s still a consideration at this point. I sort of wish we had held off the surgery and just allowed time to tell us which decision to make.

  • Angie September 22, 2015, 11:10 am

    When we first discussed children, my hubby wanted 2 and I wanted 4 (to this day he claims that I was aiming for him to compromise at 3 🙂 ). We had 3 children within 5 years and felt “done.” But we were only 35 and not sure about permanent measures. Just after my 40th birthday I found out I was pregnant with my “bonus baby”! Turns out we weren’t done after all! While life with 4 kids of such varied ages (15, 12, 10, 4) is chaotic, we really are a complete family.

    I also wanted to say that I am terribly sad for those women going through fertility problems who commented on this thread. My family has been incredibly fortunate that we did not have any issues, and I sincerely hope that things work out for you all.

  • kim September 22, 2015, 11:16 am

    Great post! I told myself when I had my 1st child that no matter how many kids I was blessed with I would be done when I turned 30-it just seemed like a good number to me. I think that is because kind of like you were saying, I will still be in my 40’s when my youngest turns 18.
    We ended up with 3 great kids- ages now 18, 15 and 13.
    – although every now and then I do kind of, sort of, start thinking what is I had just had one more 🙂 –

  • Abby September 22, 2015, 11:37 am

    I love this post! We have 2 daugthers, 4.5 and 3. We feel complete. I think if we were younger we might consider another. We both came from a family of 3 siblings. But with me turning 40 next month, I’ll be 55 when our youngest goes off to college! Ha! I feel so fortunate to have the family we do and the opportunities that we can take advantage with a family of 4 + 1 big brown dog 🙂 Thanks again for a great post!

  • Samantha E September 22, 2015, 11:58 am

    I felt the same after our first–I was just too traumatized by birth and new motherhood that the thought of another made me cringe. After I forgot the intensity of birth and we had a second, I looked at her at a few days old and thought, “you’re our middle child!” I couldn’t believe I was excited for another baby that quickly. After our third, I just didn’t feel like anyone was missing from our family anymore. And now, I do pass on/sell things as baby outgrows them. There are still moments when I second guess my intuition that we’re done, but I’ve decided it’s really just feelings of grieving being done with the childbearing years. It almost feels like we’re saying goodbye to our youth, if that makes sense.

  • Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood September 22, 2015, 12:55 pm

    While I really think i would like 3, it’s taken my husband some convincing to eventually have two (he was an only child) so I don’t think 3 is in the cards. There are so many factors to take in to account when considering more kids, and I think the important part is that you have to do what’s right for YOUR family. If that’s 1 or 2 or 3 or 7 (personally, I think 19 is a little too much, buuuuuttt..) then you do you. Also, people who ask how many kids you want/if you want more/when you’ll have the next one when you’re pregnant or just had a baby it drive me CRAZY.

  • nancy September 22, 2015, 2:35 pm

    We took a break after baby #2 (1 & 2 were 19 months apart) to give my at that time 34 year old body time to recover. We also knew from birth that baby #2 need some corrective surgery and I needed to focus on that. Once he had his surgery at 13 months old I found myself thinking an awful lot about another baby. We had always discussed having 3 but, once you have two healthy children it seems almost too much to be blessed with a third. But when I looked at my two kids I just felt like there was still somebody missing. Since I was already 35 I got cleared by my dr first and then we said we would give it a year. If I wasn’t pregnant we would tie my tubes and be done. I got pregnant like 10 minutes later. Having 3 kids in under 4 years was A LOT but I wouldn’t change anything. We definitely felt like we wanted that third one and once she arrived we knew our family was complete and that was that. Now we are trying to put them through college but that’s a whole different conversation………….

  • Julia September 22, 2015, 2:50 pm

    Once you have 3-4 kids, people do think you’re nutty for having more UNLESS you have all the same gender. All I ever get asked as a mom of three boys 5 and under is – are you going to try for the girl?

    And since I think it’s genetically impossible – methinks no. But part of me does really wish I had dollhouses and the overall girlygirl stuff I was into to share with a daughter. Because my boys will build guns out of anything and wrestle all day long.

  • Tricia September 22, 2015, 8:31 pm

    The idea of a third baby makes me want to run away and hide. HAHA! I am DONE! I have two little boys, who are only 15 months and two days apart. They are currently 7 months and 22 months. That is insane. But, my youngest son has pretty bad reflux and it has been SUCH a struggle. We have tried so many natural remedies and ended up on special formula plus meds. It has been rough. It would’ve been rough if he was my first. And he probably would have been my only. It is so fun watching them interacting with each other and thinking about them growing up together. We feel very blessed that we have two boys and we don’t feel a longing for another boy or for a girl. We are BUSY. Things might change down the line, who knows, but we both work full time and we are just drained. A newborn is exhausting no matter what. But man, a newborn when you have a 15 month old… wow.

  • Erika September 23, 2015, 8:49 am

    Here’s a question for all the moms out there: How has having a child (or children) impacted your marriage? You hear parents (moms especially) say how wonderful their lives become when they experience the love of having a child – but how does that love impact the love you have for your spouse? Are you able to find time/energy to balance being a parent and a spouse (especially with more than one kid)? After my parents had me, my parents put more time and energy into us than into each other, and that’s my fear as a potential parent.

    • Caitlin September 23, 2015, 10:46 am

      Oh this would be a great post! Maybe I will write it next week?

      But I’ll give you a summary of my experience….

      I think it depends so much on the couple. I think the most important thing to do is have great communication before you go into it and have clearly defined roles. Reading “Love Languages” helped us a lot.

      Honestly, I think having kids made our marriage stronger because it was something we both really wanted to do and understood. We also had 7 years “alone” before we had kids, which I think helped. And we make time for ourselves… We also have a theory of parenting that the marriage is central, not the kids. We think of ourselves as the protons and the neutrons and the kids as the electrons, if that makes sense! I think if you think of yourself as the electrons, that’s when you have a lot of problems.

      • Lindsey September 23, 2015, 11:35 am

        We feel this way, too! Our situation is a little different, though. We had been married four months when we received the opportunity to gain custody of my 2-year-old niece. I won’t go into the details, but you can imagine that it was a stressful process (and decision), and lots of people have asked about how our marriage has held up, especially since it happened so soon after we were married.

        Truthfully, it has been a very intense experience that has knit us together even more than I could imagine. It HAS been very stressful and adjusting to parenting a 2-year-old, plus all of the custody/court stuff and the circumstances surrounding it, has been a lot. But we are committed to communication, and having a common goal every day (keep the kid mostly happy and healthy) has made us even more of a team. It’s like the greatest team-building exercise out there, and you get lots of bonus problem-solving! Overall, we love being parents and decided we could never go back, and I am pregnant with our first biological child 🙂

      • Jessica September 23, 2015, 1:27 pm

        Just chiming in to say I’d love to see a post on this topic as well! I’m honestly nervous to have a child because I’m afraid it will hurt my marriage.

      • Jessica September 23, 2015, 1:27 pm

        Just chiming in to say I’d love to see a post on this topic as well! I’m honestly nervous to have a child because I’m afraid it will hurt my marriage.

    • Kinnereth September 24, 2015, 12:57 am

      My husband and I dated for many years before getting married. Once we did tie the knot we tried for a baby right away. I am thankful I was able to get pregnant and our daughter is 9 months old next week. However, I almost killed my husband emotionally.
      I had debilitating postpartum anxiety and it flares up once in a while (I have panic attacks re: the baby’s safety). I took it out on him and never meant to. I used to just crumble on the floor, sobbing, because I couldn’t express how I was feeling. He got to sleep, I was up with a crying infant, etc. I sought counseling and it was the best thing for us and for me. Having good communication and support is important. I am so thankful that my husband is patient and kind. In the end out marriage has become stronger since having the baby.
      We do want to give our daughter a sibling. I like what the above reader posted about being prepared the second time around for the hormone dump.
      PS- Love that you share so candidly, Caitlin!

  • Sarah September 23, 2015, 11:46 am

    I’m working on my fourth. Can confirm that comments such as “Aren’t you done?!” are a regular occurrence. I feel done now, but who knows.

  • Joey September 23, 2015, 1:19 pm

    Thanks for sharing! My twins are 6 weeks old & I’m 99% sure that we’re not done. We battled infertility for 7 years, & now that I have these miracles, I can’t think of a reason not to want more! <3

  • Ashley M. September 23, 2015, 6:23 pm

    We always planned to have three. Now? We don’t even know if we can have two. So, we’re not “done” but it might not be our choice :-/

    • Caitlin September 24, 2015, 9:14 am

      I always think of you Ashley and send you positive vibes. <3 hugs.

  • Jen September 23, 2015, 7:03 pm

    We only have one, but I think we’re done. I am an only child (and also agree it’s not so great as an adult!), but I’m almost 36 and the husband is already 46. We wanted a healthy child (fingers crossed for a girl, lol), and got both of those things 16.5 months ago. Sometimes I think, “well, we could have one more…” but the thought of going through another pregnancy and even worse, newborn stage, just makes me want to cry. However, we’re like you, no permanent preventive measures against pregnancy, so I guess you never know.

  • Amber September 24, 2015, 1:55 am

    My husband and I thought we were completely done after baby #3. He even had a vasectomy scheduled, but I just didn’t feel at peace about it. Even though my husband was still completely on board, he ended up canceling the morning of the appointment with both of us still certain we were done. God had other plans for us, and we welcomed baby #4 almost 3 years after #3. It was totally not what we thought we wanted, but are so thankful for our little guy. I didn’t feel well at all during that pregnancy, but I have enjoyed the baby/toddler stage with him more (even now as a somewhat difficult 3 year old!) knowing he really is our last one. We did take the permanent route this time, but were so much more at peace this time around.

  • amber September 24, 2015, 2:10 am

    Oh, and to the question about what people start to ask once you have three or four…a lot of you do know how that happens, right?, I can tell you how to stop that from happening, Why are you having a third when you already have perfect family with a boy & a girl? (yep, really!), Surely this is your last one!, Were you trying to pregnant? (from strangers). I got a lot of weird looks when I was pregnant with my third. With my fourth, people would look at me like I had 10 children with me, and said some extremely rude comments. I can laugh now, but as a hormonal pregnant lady, the comments weren’t very funny! Really, the only kind comments I received were from much older people.

  • Morgan September 24, 2015, 9:43 am

    We have two girls, 2 years and 9 months apart and I think we are really done. At this point after my first I was ready for a second, but this time I am looking forward to moving out of the toddler stage and selling off all of the clothes and baby items as we finish with them. We are (knock on wood) finished potty training our two year old and I am loving moving into big kid territory with them.

    We went through terrible fertility issues before our first and I had multiple miscarriages before having any children and between the girls. I would be lying if the thought of subjecting myself to another loss didn’t play into my decision. The sense of relief I feel at never enduring another first trimester is overwhelming. I have come to terms with that being our story and it no longer hurts to tell doctors that I have been pregnant 5 times and only have 2 living children, but it is not a path I wish to travel down again. Really I am just thankful to be on the other side of that nightmare and my journey made me realize what a blessing it is to decide you are “done” rather than having it decided for you.

    All that being said, we haven’t taken any permanent measures so I guess never say never!

  • Ann September 25, 2015, 3:54 pm

    Finally a safe place I can say- I want another! I have a 14 month old my husband is saying he is done. I am devastated but also patient. I just don’t feel “done”. I feel open for te possibility of another and welcome it.

  • Mom of boys September 27, 2015, 10:42 pm

    I get asked a version of the Are You Done question all the time. Are you trying for a girl?
    I have four boys. I’m done. (And tired of cleaning toilets.).

    By the way, we were never trying for a girl just another baby to be a part of our family.

  • Char September 28, 2015, 2:50 pm

    I love how you had the only child debate after #1 just because you were overwhelmed with parenthood. I was so there. My daughter was exhausting the heck out of me and I started thinking – one is enough. Of course I’ve always thought two, but in those times, I honestly thought my mind was switching to one. Now my husband and I are at a point where we’re NOT ready for #2 yet (I had planned a little earlier this year and then freaked out and signed up for my very first marathon instead haha), but hopefully we’ll know when the time is right!

Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point