Is your family complete?
Are you done having children?
How do you decide?
I am dreamer. I love dreaming about where I’ll be in 5, 10, 15 years. Whenever I catch a glimmer of the future, I run towards it wholeheartedly. When I was little my dreams would change from day to day. One day I swear I was going to grow up and teach a class of innocent children how to love and respect the world. The next day, I ‘d want to be an artist showcasing my work at top art galleries. When I hurt my knee in a ATV accident, my dreams moved towards being a Doctor and fixing the ill. No matter where I lived or what I did in my dreams, from the day dreams of a little girl to the reality of a blushing bride, my dream to be a mother never changed. I dreamed of growing a piece of my heart in my belly, watching it kick and move. I dreamed about the first time that piece of my heart became an infant that I held, touched and smelt for the first time. I dreamed of watching the baby grow into a child, teenager and adult and experiencing all their first with them. Let me tell you, it was everything I dreamed and more!
Before we got married DH and I talked about having kids. We both wanted a family and it wasn’t too long after we got married that we became pregnant with our first child. The problem was we never discussed how many we wanted. For years, I dreamed of having 4 children. Two boys and two girls. I grew up in a family where there were three girls. It was great always having a playmate or someone to share (err steal) clothes with, but no matter how hard you try growing up in a odd number of children family, someone is always left out no matter how hard you tried. DH, on the other hand, wanted a smaller family so he could provide them with more attention and greater opportunities.
In 2010, our lives under went a huge transformation. We moved into a bigger house, we had two healthy boys, we were in steady jobs, and we were finally not living paycheck to paycheck. Life was good, except it felt empty. Mommy would go out and they would have “boys nights”. The boys dressed like daddy and idolized daddy (rightly so!), but I felt lonely and felt like someone was missing. DH and I discussed the topic of children and decided our family wasn’t quite complete. That Christmas, we were blessed with DD4’s pregnancy.
Although not an easy pregnancy, I tried to enjoy EVERY moment of it, knowing it would be our last. I would spend hours watching DD4 move in my belly. I kept thinking, this is it. I felt at peace with the idea that this was our last child. When DD4 decided to enter the world, she came like a whirlwind. Instead of my ideal birth plan, I was forced to have an emergency c-section. I remember being in the operating room, barely coming to terms that after two healthy births, I was now having a c section, when they asked if they should tie my tubes while they are in there.
When it came time to seal the fate and close the door on any future children, I panicked (and to be honest I still am). I think most women have some kind of inner, innate feeling about whether they are done or not. It is not something that innate and nobody else can talk you into or out of this feeling. The problem is I don’t feel done. I don’t feel this closure and this I’m ready to move on to the next phase. I have given away all my baby stuff, I constantly embrace the family I have now and the bonds that I know would change dramatically if we had another baby. Finances, the amount of space we have in our home, the dynamic of our family, pressures already present in our lives, my own health issues, state we are DONE! But I am still sad to be done. Maybe I’m one of those woman who will always ache to have a newborn in her arms and feel that flutter once more in her belly. The end of children is like a chapter in my life is closing and I’m grieving for its loss. The one consistent dream that I have held on to from childhood has been completed, but I don’t know where to go from here. Logically I know I am done, but I think emotionally I will always hold on to the thought of carrying on with more children to share our love with. In my perfect world we would continue to let our family grow, but in the world we live in now, we can look forward to doling out all the love we have on our three beautiful children and watching them grow!