How Did You Know You Were Done?

July 18, 2008

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Stacie Mahoe, one of the blogging moms over at Because Mom Said So, shared recently that being with her sister as she gave birth didn’t make her want another baby. She expressed surprise at her feelings.

Go take a second to read the post over there: Surprised At Myself - I’m Done Having Babies

I thought her post was interesting because I’ve noticed the same thing about myself lately. Stacie is a mom of 5 so noone could accuse her of not being maternal - and I have 4, so you could say the same about me.

And I admit I have a strange kind of envy/fascination with mothers of many. Large families are fascinating to me for many reasons. I love reading the blogs of women who have a brood. For one, I like to learn their secrets. I like reading about how they manage their days and afford all those kids.

A lot of people says things like I must be super patient or whatever, but I’m not - I’m just laid back. I’ve learned to be, one kid at a time.

Ok, maybe I am a pretty patient person. I don’t wig out over little things. That’s probably a major reason why I didn’t try harder to prevent pregnancy… the idea of having several didn’t bother me the way it might a women who, for instance, is OCD about cleaning or whatever (although I wouldn’t mind having such a woman for a roommate LOL!).

But mostly my parenting style came about because of my circumstances. I knew that in order to enjoy my kids, I had better adapt.

I’ll never forget a conversation I had with my sister once (also a mom of 4 - all boys!). I expressed to her my frustration over not being able to keep the house as clean as I would like.

Her response?

“Lower your standards.”

“I already have!” was my reply.

“Lower ‘em again.”

;)

The point being that when you have several kids, you have to learn to be happy and content with what is - so you don’t drive yourself and your kids plum crazy. And one thing that “is” is that you’re not always going to have perfect order. Stuff is going to mysteriously disappear when you Just.Put.It.There. The fridge door is going to be left open a cajillion times a day. Toilet paper - entire rolls - disappear in an afternoon. There is a lot of fighting. There is a lot of hugging and snuggling too. And a lot of fighting over who gets to sleep in mom’s bed tonight!

Anyway. How did I get so off topic here? Oh yeah. I was talking about how I knew I was done.

Lately I’ve noticed that when I see a friend with a new baby, I don’t wish mine were little. And I don’t wish that I had one of those.

I drop off lunch, give the new mom a kiss, and get outta there so she can rest (I don’t believe in overstaying my welcome in a postpartum home).  

Of course, if I had a different situation I might feel differently.

If I had a wonderful, supportive, virile and hot husband I might want to have more babies. (Like, if I was married to the perfect man.)

If I had a big house on a huge plot of land somewhere and a maid and an organic garden, I might want to have more.

If I could have a guarantee that my perfect luck wouldn’t run out and I wouldn’t have a miscarriage, stillbirth, child with a health problem or what have you (since I had 4 perfect births and 4 perfect babies - I feel if I got pregnant again I would be tempting fate) then I might have another.

Or maybe not.

You see, I love love love birth and babies and breastfeeding and all that. I love babywearing and even sleepless nights and sleepy days and the smell of babies and chubby toddler thighs and dimples and all… 

but I’m looking forward to the next stage in my life too. I’m not a sentimental person. I enjoy each stage fully, and embrace the new. I don’t long for the baby days.

I love that I can talk about things with my 10 year old that he couldn’t understand when he was a toddler. I love that my 7 year old can pick out chords to the Scientist (that perfect man again!) on his own when he sits down to the piano. I love that my 5 year old daughter can put on dancing recitals for me. And I love that my 3 year old can speak to me and tell me exactly what she wants - and make me laugh like our little mascot.

I don’t grieve for the baby stuff.

What about you? How did you know you were done?

 

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Comments

7 Responses to “How Did You Know You Were Done?”

  1. Tsoniki on July 18th, 2008 7:32 pm

    The *second* my son was born, I felt that our family was complete. I just knew. That’s all there was to it!

    Then I’m the one in one hundred over five years that gets pregnant while using an IUD for birth control and the ensuing months rocked my world. I’ve gone through all the stages of yes more kids or no we are good. This week I feel wishy-washy - if it happens, cool, if not, okay then.

    I want to feel definite though. And I’m not sure how to do that or if it ever will.

    :)

  2. Marie on July 18th, 2008 10:41 pm

    We struggled with infertility for over five years before finally conceiving dd. Now I am 40 years old. For me, it has never been a question of ‘knowing I’m done” (I wanted a large family). It has been much more about coming to accept that our family size may never change. (Along with one home-grown child, we have one son by adoption.)

    I won’t know I’m done until I know I have no chance of cycling or ovulating. Until then, I accept, with some peace, our situation as it currently stands.

  3. Carrie on July 18th, 2008 10:51 pm

    Thanks Tsoniki… maybe we don’t ever have a definite feeling :)

    Marie, I speak from the perspective of someone who has never had to “try” to get pregnant. I hope I didn’t come off insensitive. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to want another baby and not be able to conceive. My heart goes out to those who struggle with this issue. :(

  4. Marie on July 19th, 2008 11:52 am

    Carrie,

    No, I didn’t find your post insensitive at all; we all come at issues of fertility with our own experiences. My hope in sharing my experience is that others may see their fertility as a gift rather than a burden.

  5. Nell @ Casual Friday Everyday on July 19th, 2008 10:29 pm

    Since I’m pregnant I can’t answer…obviously. lol I say I’m done now because the thought of having three kids 4 and under is overwhelming enough…thinking of more…HA, not right now. Get back to me in a couple of years.

  6. Elizabeth Ashe on July 20th, 2008 3:45 pm

    Yes, Carrie this is my fourth and fourth boy. I am completely done with having kids. But in the new system- i will have more. you know what I mean.

  7. Heather on July 22nd, 2008 9:35 am

    Carrie, this is exactly where I am right now. Recently I have noticed that I don’t feel that yearning every time I see a little baby. I love holding and interacting with them, but then I am glad to be able to hand them back to their mom. It is a surprise! I remember the almost painful desire to have more babies. My dh was sure he was done, but I wasn’t. It was a difficult time. Now that my two girls can feed themselves, wipe their own bottoms, and read to me, I don’t feel up to the challenge of teaching all that stuff to another baby. This is a great relief in my relationship with my hubby, too. How nice it is to be on the same page. Thanks for the post.

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