August 15, 2011

To baby or not to baby?

35 weeks
Three years ago this week I was 35 weeks pregnant with Ivy and apparently had thinner arms than I do now but also, three years- THREE YEARS it's been since I had a baby in my belly? That just absolutely took me by surprise.

I've found myself so adamant about being done having babies that I'm almost all the way on the other side of the fence again... thinking... and second guessing the empty womb. All of this is probably due to the fact that all of my children now sleep through the night for the most part and are growing-ly independent and thus the memory-loss happens of how life is with many children and a baby. Oh the memory, it fades.

We saw Jim Gaffigan over the weekend and he described what having four kids was like: "Imagine you are drowning. Then someone hands you a baby."

Of course it's a joke. I love having four kids and that love often nudges me into thinking five would be even more awesome. I am sure it would be. But I don't know if I'm meant for that kind of awesome today- or rather- 9 months from now.  And it's not even about the money or the size of our house anymore. It's much, much deeper than that.

It's never comfortable talking about not having any more babies. I always feel like I'm going to say the wrong thing even when I'm obviously only speaking for myself. I think I feel like some camps are disappointed that we don't keep on and other people of course think we have way too many kids already. And who cares what either thinks? I can't even make up my own mind about it.

I'm just being wistful today. I love being pregnant, and I love that I love when I'm not.

photo: crookedeyebrow


  1. I love this!!! I am a few days away from #3, and even though we were happy with our two, and I have miserable pregnancies, I am already thinking *what if* about number's just such a hard decision. And somehow, not deciding *is* deciding, you know? :)

  2. I can't imagine being "done". Of course I only have two children so far so, it might be way easier to feel like a complete family if we had say...four or something. I don't know though because each child is so unique and such a gift. Whatever you and your husband decide, I'm sure it will be perfect for you and your family.

  3. Yes, who cares what people think? I will embarrassingly admit that I will ask other mamas if they are thinking of more... but I think that is because until now I have never been so sure myself and it is nice to talk about it with someone else. Whatever you decide, or whatever happens, will be perfect I am sure.

  4. Only you know what is right for you and what anyone else thinks doesn't matter one little bit. You are an awesome mother and you'll be able to handle as many babies as you want. I don't doubt that for one minute. Just enjoy being wistful and see what happens.

  5. I love this post. The ironic thing is that I knew we were done with 2. It's just what is right for our family, now that my littlest is 27 months old I miss the baby-ness sometimes, but I'm loving the growing too.

    Every family is perfect with what they know is right for them. I'm the oldest of four and can't imagine not having all of my other sisters and it was perfect for my parents, my husband is the youngest of three and both his sisters have three children of their own. But for us - two is perfect, we both agree and that is a good feeling.

    Oh... and as a miserable pregnant woman I'm always jealous of those who loved being pregnant! I wanted to love it... but my body sure didn't like it :)

  6. I loved this :) I also really REALLY loved being pregnant, and I really really love the tiny baby stage.

    And talking about not having more babies makes me so amazingly sad.

    But at the same time, something in my gut tells me I have reached the max of what we can handle, and handle well, with our three little guys.

    And I feel great about it, while also being sad. :)

  7. your post title totally intrigued me. :) i have always said i want like three or four (the hubs even says five!). right we we are at two, and if you asked me last week i would have said we are done, that's what stress can do to ya, right? or the happy moments when the day goes so well, then i want a dozen. ha! only time will tell, i suppose.

    and you make beautiful babies, so you know what i think--more more more! ;)

  8. I found this so timely as I just gave birth to our third a week ago and of course the convo has come up between hubby and I already! Each of my pregnancies and births has become increasingly trying for another might be asking for unwanted trouble! Plus both of us are looking forward to watching our kiddos grow and all the funstuff we can do. But it stll makes me so sad because I too love being pregnant...and I love babies, I know we are done but it's stll hard to soak that in. Good luck deciding!

  9. The thing I identify with most is the hesitancy to talk about it for fear of saying the wrong thing. And not so much for what other people will think, but more because that could be my child I'm talking about. I don't want to speak casually (Oh, I want 3 more kids) like it's easy or simple. But I also don't want to speak callously (Sorry, sweetie, when I said I was D-O-N-E done, I meant after the pleasant yet paralyzing shock that you existed).

    I want to talk about a new life like it's a miracle, and for me that means neither dismissing the possibility nor assuming it will just happen.

  10. Even at nearly 44 and really quite sincerely done, I still find it awe-inspiring to try on the idea of a pregnancy and a tiny fresh new baby every once in awhile. We are so amazingly fortunate (and I am really not grateful enough about it some days, so thanks for the reminder) to have the bodies and minds and souls that were created specifically for this kind of wistfulness.

  11. Dear Steph,

    I am currently preggo with our 4th ( yes that will make 4 babies 4 and under) So you can call me one of those crazy mother hehe!

    I know the feeling of wanting a baby to grow inside (always about 6 month after last baby is born):-)

    There is something unique, something special, can almost say spiritual in having new life growing slowly inside of us.

    Nothing in this world can compare to this experience.

    Yes having more children does mean that some logistic needs to be worked around, but people did it before us. Our grand parents had huge families of 12 to 14 children and live in home way way way smaller then the one we live in now a days.

    "Saying there is too much children is like saying there is too much flowers" ~ Mother Theresa, quoted very often my Michelle Duggar)

    Much love

  12. I find that I have a VERY difficult time saying I am done, or will be done after one more, ect. Even though we have 5 together, I truly don't know how many we will end up having. Saying you're done seems to permanent to me....depressing even. LOL. Anyhow, I guess my point is you should do what feels right. I think you know when you are really done, and maybe you're not. It could be that you miss have a nursling, and a little one to cuddle with. I makes me really sad to think about not having a nursling. Good luck. :)

  13. I know. I can't wrap my head around NOT getting pregnant again, because it is all I have been doing for the last 9 years. So, ending the chapter of that book of my life is just something I am not ready to do yet.
    But, I think I'm done. I think we're done. I think my uterus is done.
    Here is the thing, no one can make the decision for you. It is such a personal decision and it kills me when people try to guilt you one way or the other. You have to do what is right for you and your family and the only people who know what that is is you, your husband and God.
    Love you babe.

    Also? My arms were thinner when I was pregnant 3 years ago too. *sigh*

  14. Thank you for writing this post! I have 4 children, my baby is 16 months. My husband and I have decided that are family is complete, but there is a part of me that wonders about number 5. Thank you again.

  15. I was just gonna sit down and read a piece about exactly this. I SO get this.

    It has really hit me this week especially since my baby turned two. I have never had a two year old without having a newborn or a baby very soon on the way. It is strange for me to have a two year old and know that I will never have a baby again. It's painful. But I think I will ALWAYS want another child (no matter how many I have- 10???) and eventually there HAS TO BE a last child. It will be painful no matter when it happens. I just love being pregnant and I love my babies. *sigh*

    I do see a different wonderfulness about my family's life down the road though as well. Being able to take family vacations, FINALLY, will be awesome. There is so much we will be able to do. There is much to look forward to.


    I know how you feel.

  16. I know this indecision well. Though, of course, we only have one. I loved being pregnant, I want to do it again, but then other days... meh. Things are so good the way they are. and my husband is not on board for another right now, maybe ever? It's a lot of question marks over here. I think the question marks make it even more confusing to think about.

  17. I love that line -- hilarious.

    I want another with huge parts of my heart, but lately my head is starting to think that 3 may be just right for us.

    We'll see, I suppose.

    Gorgeous picture. :)

  18. Sorry. I meant I was gonna sit down and WRITE A post about this.

  19. Three under three here! Our newest, Elinor, is due in October. At seven months pregnant, I JUST had the thought the other day, for the first time, "What if this is my last pregnancy?" I immediately burst into tears and thought, "No! I'm not ready to be done! MOOOOORE BAAAABIES!" And then I puked my guts out, because I have miserable morning sickness for nine months straight every time. So I guess I'm one of those crazies who always wants more even with hard pregnancies, LOL!

  20. Yeah. You know that I don't think I'll ever be "content" about being done having babies. We are done, yes. But the wistfulness of the speed with which that stage in my life went by is extremely keen...

  21. I feel the same way and I only have ONE. It definitely doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. I wish I could figure out what I wanted...

  22. We are still on the fence about having number three and I feel like two is awesome...most of the time. It's hard to think that your womb may be empty for the rest of your time. Lucky us that our arms are full.

  23. I am right there with you! We are currently at 3 kiddos, our youngest is 21 months. I thought for certain I was done, but these last few months, I've been feeling that oh so familiar pang in my heart. Now...if I can just get my husband on board : - )

  24. i love this post. and you are certainly not alone. we had always planned on stopping at two. and especially after the placental abruption, ken was definitely all about NO MORE. but ... i see lucy growing SO fast, and i'm thinking maybe just one more? we have the extra bedroom. we have the baby clothes. we already have it all! why not!? but then ... we always planned on stopping at two. sigh.

  25. I always loved being pregnant but I know at this point we are done building our family. So, I mostly miss the having-a-baby-in-my=belly part. :)

    Of course I love the babies too but they are only babies for a such short time...

    I love the joy in your face in that photo Steph!

  26. I'm not SURE I'm done either, and Maggie is almost 4. But I'd have to get pregnant yesterday for it to work for me biologically. So I guess I'm done.Have never felt fully sure about that though.

  27. Beautiful, Steph.

    and Beautiful Steph ;-).

    I loved pregnancy, I loved being pregnant and I loved giving birth to my children and holding them in those first moments and the ones that followed.

    However, when my son (my 2nd) was born, I looked around and saw that my family was complete, I knew. Peace and completion came over me. This part of our family, was complete. <3
    I don't know if I'm unique in that, but it worked for me.

    There are moments I miss so much it aches at times - the fluttering in the belly, the tug as they latch on to my nipple and the soft pop when they fall off asleep.

    I miss them fitting in the curve of my elbow, but those are fleeting in the moments that are our new lives.

    Okay.. done with my novel.. loved this, Steph. <3 you

  28. Let's see Noah's 10 and Carter's 9
    - just think in 10 -15 years you could be a Grandma with babies to hold.

  29. Smile.

    My brain says I'm done. I had such a rotten last month of pregnancy with Teddy, plus his delivery was the scariest yet. Plus, I'm 40 so it's much less likely. Plus, I'm looking forward to a future without diapers. It's been over 14 years straight with someone in diapers around here.

    But I don't even know what I'm having for lunch today, so why would I know with 100% certainty that another pregnancy won't/can't happen again?

  30. This made me laugh out loud. I was positive I was done when we brought our sixth daughter home from Africa. I'd had five healthy babies, finally gotten my dream birth experience, and completed our family with our sixth daughter. D.O.N.E. I was at a baby shower and a friend leaned over to me and said, "How does all of this make you feel? Any tingly urges?"

    "None, whatsoever. It's all adorable, but my ovaries aren't even twingy at all."

    Didn't know it then, but I was already pregnant with number 7.

    God has a sense of humor. 8 years ago, I struggled with infertility and miscarriages. And now, just look at me... arms so full and heart so blessed...

    I still think I'm done after this. So does my husband. But we both know that when God exercises His sovereignty over our responsibility, then there's not a thing we would WANT to do to change it. That's why He's God and I'm not. So we laugh and pray for strength and let our hearts fill up with love for the baby we didn't know we needed.

    And we eat a lot of chocolate!

  31. I love the response this post has received!

    The hubby and I had decided on two before we ever had kids. Pregnancy 1 was easy, pregnancy 2 was hard, and I was left with two fabulous boys.

    While I was saying I was done, however, there was the small part of me that felt like one little voice was missing from our choir. I just assumed it was because I wanted a girl and had two boys and went back to loving my life as is.

    When I got pregnant with #3 (through TWO forms of birth control, for crying out loud!), the fact that I was thrilled was proof that I hadn't been done. I didn't even care if it was a boy or a girl - I just felt like I was getting that last little voice that my heart KNEW was missing.

    Now that Abby (Yes, I did finally get my girl!) is here, and, except for the last couple of weeks, had a great pregnancy, I know, deep in my heart and soul, that I am done. My house rings with the voices of perfect harmony. I close this chapter of my life feeling full and content.


  32. I knew after #3 that I WASN'T done, and I knew after #4 that I WAS. After almost 4 years though, I DO think about doing it all again, but it's a different feeling than when you're "not done". I think, for many women, it's an urge that never completely goes away. Having babies is what we's why we are different from men.

  33. I struggle with this too and I only have 1 child! I have finally decided I am "ready" (or as ready as you can be!) Oh, and the people who are disappointed that you don't have more? That is a compliment to your parenting skills!

  34. you know, it's weird. i didn't make the "decision" to have either of my children. (on birth control for both pregnancies.) and now that i'm about to pop with number two, i'm getting my tubes tied. (mostly due to age and the fact that my ovaries seem to have a mind of their own.) it's so interesting to me to think about it from the other side. (oh, and don't get me wrong..i feel so so blessed to have my children. i'm glad my ovaries took matters into their own hands. i'm just ready for them to stop!)

  35. This post got me thinking... We are done at two. I knew this because of struggles I have on a personal level. If I were ten years younger and had live in help I'd have an entire van load of kids. If your thinking about it...maybe there will be another? How amazing a gift is a baby. Really!

  36. Exactly my thoughts. I haven't commented on your blog, but have followed it for a few years. So often you echo my own thoughts on parenting. Particularly on parenting 4 children. My youngest is 4 and it is getting easier and easier to see our family as complete, but a year ago I would have written this exact post.

  37. yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! How is it, every SINGLE post of yours reaches into my heart, reads it, and puts into words what my heart sometimes, cannot?!

    We have 5. And I know just what you mean.

  38. That last line really nails it for me.

  39. Yes! We have two and should really stop at that. Really. We live in New York so space is a huge issue, I will have to go back to work at some point, and toddler + baby seems like ENOUGH / too much. And yet the thought of being done terrifies me. So for now my maternity clothes have been put away but not given away, and we have outgrown boy and girl clothes that will probably not get used but I can't give away yet. So I'm getting an IUD and waiting til the baby is two to think about this again (yeah, right).

  40. So here's what I say when people ask about us having more: "We think, pray, hope, but not really pray, that we are done. We don't think we'll have more but we won't close the door on it. We've already been so blessed. So maybe, maybe not." Or something along those lines. So clearly I have thought about this and made peace with it. ;) But really, we do think we are done, but that can change in an instant. There is no easy answer most of the time. And I agree completely with your last sentence.

  41. I've been meaning to comment and tell you how crazy this post made me (in a good way) because I'm 35 wks this week. Between this and you and Mabel sharing a birthday and all the other random magical things I'm just still so stunned by God and bonds and connections and love. <3

  42. I'm pulling up the rear as far as comments go... weekend catch up and all that. But yes, I get this. The forgetting what it is to have that baby and thinking it round in circles. And then there's that moment when it's decided for you and lo! A plus sign and morning sickness.

    I can never talk about whether or not we're done. It just seems so final to say it, either way, when it may or may not be final. I'm not a fan of eating my words, often tho I do it.

    And yeah, my arms were skinnier at 32 weeks, four years ago, too. Heh.

  43. Totally know what you mean - I'm feeling the 'drowning' right now with 3 (all under 4, and my third is not a month old yet, so I know it will get easier) - I also struggle emotionally post-partum & don't know if I want to go through this difficult time again - I see how my emotions affect my three-year-old... I don't know. So I'm wrestling with the same decision - I never thought I'd 'only' have three kids, but we also talk regularly about the possibility of adoption in our future....

  44. What great, heart felt responses. Even after 6 children, I went into mourning when my youngest went to Kindergarten 4 years ago. I got a part time job and had just started to embrace a new chapter of my life when, you guessed it, I found out I was pregnant right before Christmas. We call Luke our bonus baby! 15 months later, Luke was sick and nursed way more than usual which threw my cycles off. Six days before Christmas we had our bonus, bonus baby girl! Completely crazy....but so grateful for these two little blessings!\


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