15 Reasons I Am DONE Having Kids (And 10 Reasons I’m Not Sure)

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I dipped my spoon into the molten lava cake and ice cream I shouldn’t be eating (and wouldn’t be, if I fit into my favorite skinny jeans), and slowly raised my eyes up to his, only to see them trailing off somewhere in the half-empty chain restaurant. I know he’s already mentally changed the subject, so I distract myself looking at the kind-of-cute waiter’s tattoos and let it go (for now).

This morning, my doctor told me I could go into labor basically any moment, without the previous concern for a scheduled c-section just yet. This afternoon, I had a minor melt down for an unexpected reason – I wasn’t sure if I wanted more kids. (Wait, what?)

As any mother knows, the last few weeks of pregnancy are an incredible struggle. Both physically and mentally, everyone seems to tell you to “just hang in there” if they aren’t busy reminding you oh-so-politely that you are indeed, “still pregnant” or “ready to pop” at that particular moment. A popular conversation among myself and friends who are also pregnant usually starts with a baby-belly complaint, includes a few lighthearted but also serious ponderings of how to start labor, and ends with a desperate attempt to remind eachother it doesn’t last forever.

And today, that last bit is what got me. Am I in such a rush to just evict this little tummy monster and bid farewell to heartburn that I am failing to enjoy the end of my pregnancy? (Is that even possible, to enjoy your third trimester?) More disheartening, is this possibly the last time I’ll ever have little feet kicking the inside of my body and a little heartbeat echoing my own?

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And so the conversation began. The insanely hormonal, somewhat one-sided, should-we-have-a-fourth-child conversation about birth control and siblings and finances between my enormous head-turning-belly self and my husband, over what could be our last meal without a new little human stealing all of our attention.

Perfectly logical, I know.

But it’s a subject I’m torn on, and while our conversation went virtually nowhere, I definitely lost some sleep on it later. I originally wanted a list of reasons to remind my future baby-feverish self of all the reasons I absolutely loathe pregnancy. But then the rebuttals crept up as I laid in the dark writing. And the flutters in my abdomen (ok who are we kidding, the g-force octopus tentacles ripping apart my ribs) along with my three year old (who climbed up to sleep next to me) clutching my hair like one of her baby dolls, reminded me that there is, after all, a light at the end of this tunnel.

I’m just not sure it’s a tunnel I ever want to tumble through a la Alice in Wonderland ever again, and I know I’m not alone. I hear so much about women who “just know” they are done having children, or that they never wanted them to begin with, and I can’t relate. I am wondering if I will feel differently in a few days, and if, when swaddling my little baby boy, I will be completely washed over with a sense of our family feeling complete. And while I vaguely remember feeling “done” after my daughter’s (child #2) birth, obviously my reasons then were not compelling enough 2 years later, when we decided to conceive again because ‘things were different’.

Things will always be different. And change is unpredictable, whether good or bad. So here is my list, written mostly for my future self, of why this is my last rodeo, but also why I’m not 100% certain about it. Maybe you can relate. Maybe I’m just crazy.

15 Reasons I Am Done Having Kids (and 10 reasons I’m not sure)

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15 Reasons I Am DONE Having Kids

1. I do not enjoy pregnancy.

Let me start with a little bit of a disclaimer. I know there are so many women who dream of the day they see two little pink lines, and that I may come across as ungrateful with any complaints of pregnancy. I get it, and I am thankful for the fact that I am fertile and have produced the beautiful children I have. If my brutally honest dislike of pregnancy may upset you, please stop reading now.

That being said – I really do not enjoy pregnancy. It will never cease to baffle me how I am so seemingly built to birth babies, and yet it is pure hell. I have never had an issue conceiving, and thankfully I have never had any miscarriages or stillbirths. My first pregnancy was relatively healthy and easy, aside from the first few months fighting seasickness working onboard a cruiseship, then severe “situational” depression and baby’s stay in the NICU. But with two of three pregnancies, I’ve had hyperemesis gravidarum that basically knocked me useless for almost 4 months each (evidenced by a complete lack of blog posts at the beginning of my current pregnancy, by the way). Even with ER trips and anti-nausea meds, the life was basically knocked out of me as I laid on the couch asleep or throwing up for what seemed like months that would never end. I’ve also had severe hip pain and sciatica, that rendered me unable to regularly exercise or even walk some days.

I don’t even want to talk about heartburn and acid reflux, nor will I rant on about migraines, or the fact that my tall, big-boned husband creates 8lbs+ babies and I forever measure ahead to the point that no one believes me I’m not carrying twins with my petite frame and enormous belly. Add to that this pregnancy’s newly diagnosed gestational diabetes and all of the complications that come along with that – and I officially loathe pregnancy. Uncontrolled sugars and a different dosage of meds every week, twice weekly appointments and ultrasounds, a diet of virtually no carbs that caused me to lose weight during the last trimester all add up to exhaustion that can come from a high-risk pregnancy. My doctor has been slowly coaching me into the idea of a c-section with worries of shoulder dystocia and a huge baby (until this week, when suddenly the ultrasound “estimated” a normal size range), and let’s not even get into all the regular discomforts of pregnancy like you know, having a bladder the size of a pea and never, ever sleeping.

I have a difficult time believing women who just glow and sparkle with wonderful pregnancy joy for 10 months (yes, it’s TEN, do the math). I would love to be that ethereal existence of life as I grow a human being and just radiate beautiful contentment but guess what? I’m not. I’m a miserable bitch for any given reason at almost any given moment of pregnancy. And I’m well aware of that.
2. I want to travel and be selfish.

But you can travel with kids, you say? Have you traveled with kids yet? Plural, children, under the age of 10? I have. Just the thought of TSA lines and getting all the bags and bottles and strollers through the security scan or feeding an infant whose ears are popping while he poops in the window seat of an aircraft is enough to give me anxiety. Traveling with kids is like… Disney. And as much as I am thoroughly obsessed with Disney – it is not a vacation. It is an adventure. Traveling with kids could also be like… a road trip to the beach. Which again, not a vacation. It is a sandy exercise in patience and coordination with hopefully some beautiful family photos and seashells at the end. For us, traveling with kids is also like…taking a cruise. Even if you are on the most family friendly cruise ships in the world, cruising with kids is an ambitious trek into the middle of the ocean that is not for the faint of heart.
As my youngest (well for the next few days anyway) is finally finished with diapers, and can walk on her own without a stroller, we have just begun to taste the freedom that comes with older kids. On our last family vacation, my son entertained himself on the waterslide for over an hour. A full HOUR of me, laying on a deck chair soaking up the sun and drinking a virgin pina colada (pregnant) while my daughter napped blissfully wrapped in a towel. It was heaven. And also hell. Because I knew it would end, and by evening I would be spooning mac and cheese into little wiggly mouths in the elaborate dining room while the adjacent tables thoroughly enjoyed escargot and wine.

 

Oh, and wine. While I openly admit to the occasional glass of wine or champagne during healthy times of my pregnancies (with doctor’s acknowledgement), I also openly admit that I would love to never sacrifice my body again for an entire year or two without alcohol while pregnant and breastfeeding. Being an adult, even for a night out to dinner, is so necessary sometimes. Sushi, rum, high heels, and occasional reckless behavior are all small sacrifices in comparison to bringing a healthy little human safely into the world – but I’ve been avoiding such luxuries for much of my life since 18 years old. I just want ahi tuna. Is that too much to ask?
3. Stretch marks and breast pumps.

Speaking of luxuries. Remember what it’s like to wear a bikini, and not spend hours of your life attached to a whoosh whoosh machine draining liquid gold from your bosom?

Maybe the word bikini is making you question my sanity, and maybe you don’t mind being a walking dairy farm for a few years, but I’ve had several years of it, and I just can’t see myself doing it for 5+ more. My genetics lend themselves to serious stretch marks (thanks, mom) although somehow my grandmother escaped 6 pregnancies without a single one. Maybe it’s my husband’s height and huge babies that just elasticize me until I literally burst at the epidermis. I don’t know. But while I’ve finally accepted the battle scars after so many years of agony living as a young mom in south beach, I still don’t love them. And I won’t. And regardless of your views on cosmetic surgery, I would like to at least consider the fantasy of a tummy tuck when I’m finished with my childbearing years.

I had a breast augmentation in 2013, and already I worry about the final outcome of my girls after this round of baby making ends. Even if I decide to never go under the knife again, I am still very ready to having my body back. No, I don’t have unrealistic expectations of a teen beach bod, but we do live by the beach, and being in shape enough to run around the park with my kids (without jiggling in the wrong places) or rock a hot dress on the weekend is something I’m very much looking forward to, but not sure I have the motivation to do the hard work ever again after a fourth child.

4. I want to focus on my career.

Admittedly, at the moment, having children is beneficial to me as a writer. (I mean, if and when I can balance working at home and actually raising them.) But as anyone who blogs knows, your style evolves. In 5 years, will I still be wanting to write about diapers and postpartum meal planning? Possibly, but probably not. Wherever I take me skills and passions, and ultimately always prioritize my kids over my work, there’s still no denying that a newborn makes it nearly impossible at times. When children gain just a bit more independence, or even when they aren’t inside your pelvis – you gain just a little more time. Not to mention the mental ability to focus on something besides nesting or nursing.
6. Soccer games vs. play dates.

Not that either of my kids are excessively athletic or sports-oriented (we’ve yet to see if maybe the third one inherits that gene from someone other than myself or my husband), but just in general I am for the first time looking forward to structured routines and activities. One of the biggest love-hate relationships I’ve had with being a mom to toddlers has always been the free-time. I have to confess: I am really, really bad at setting up play dates. Maybe it’s the fact that I was younger than most moms in Miami, or that I’m just really bad at time-management unless it’s based on my levels of creativity and energy. But there has always been a pretty equal balance between fantastic days of adventurous park trips and absolutely lazy, nearly depressing lay-around days with too many hours spent watching cartoons or playing on iPads. I’ve come to appreciate that school routines keep me in check, and keep my kids structured in a way that while maybe not as fun as my spontaneity, is ultimately more beneficial.

7. Babies are not cheap.

You can say that again, right? Sure, you can be a frugal mama and do the whole cloth diaper, exclusively breastfeed, purée your own food, shop at thrift stores type of thing. But even if it’s your second or third (or 4th, 5th, 12th?) child and you have a stash of baby stuff stored away for hand-me-downs, there are still costs. Car seats are recalled, highchairs change, trends or laws can drastically flip in just a couple d years. Plus there are copays (more if you’re high risk and have more appointments) and then the cost of delivery. When you want another baby, there is no price comparison and money is no object – but when you are unsure, all those dollars start to look magically like little piggy bank shapes that buy magical things like vacations, or shoes.8. My sanity is priceless.I repeat, priceless. Let me tell you a little bit about my state of mind while sleep deprived and healing from childbirth…..it’s non-existent. I literally lose my mind. And while postpartum depression is nothing to joke about, (and thankfully I’ve never been diagnosed), every woman goes a little batshit crazy at 4am with a crying colicky baby and partner who may or may not be snoring. With one baby, it’s hard. With a preschooler, and a new baby, it’s harder. How I’ll manage with a 1st grader, just-turned 3 year old who still crawls in my bed nightly, and a new baby? We’ll see but I have a few guesses. While I love kids and love the chaos of big families, maybe if I could just fast forward to the years when everyone plays together and I get my breaks to sleep and have me-time I would be more open to the idea of a fourth.

9. Reproductive health and beyond.

Both of my births were vaginal so far, and while I’m at higher risk for a c-section this time around, even a third vaginal birth takes a toll on your body. No, my lady bits aren’t all dysfunctional and disformed. They bounce back pretty well (tmi, sorry). But there’s only so many Kegels a girl can do to strengthen a bladder. And no matter how many crunches I complete, my ligaments will still always be looser and less toned if I ever decided to have another child. And if do I have a c-section? I am totally unprepared to research or fight for a VBAC like many strong women do, so that begs the question: would I want to have major abdominal surgery again or take the risks otherwise?

10. My identity as a young mommy.

I didn’t necessarily plan to be a young mom. But once I became one, I knew that’s all I wanted to be. Some women have a child young, then wait a decade or more later to finish having kids. I didn’t and don’t want that. I’ve always envisioned my childbearing years being over at 30. As of now, I will be 44 when my youngest graduates high school. Could I see myself being over 50 when I have an empty nest? I’ve always felt like one of the major benefits to being a young mom, along with excess energy and biology on my side (trust me, there are cons too – I’m not advocating that you should only have kids young) was that I would have so many years after being “done” with baby raising.

I’m also just not sure how I feel about being an older mom. I know how slightly absurd that sounds. But I’ve always been the young one, the one who had kids early and had experience and time on my side. Having another child in 2-3 years and still changing diapers possibly mid-30’s doesn’t make me the young one anymore, it just makes me that girl who had kids young and never really stopped or did anything else in a way.

11. Sibling balance.

A lot of people ask why we didn’t stop after having a boy and a girl, like that is some magical nuclear formula for a perfect family and we are insane for wanting more creatures in our house. If I could give you a definite answer of why we felt like someone was missing from our family, right now when I just want this little boy to exit my womb is not the best time to come up with an answer. It just happened and it’s what we wanted. Both kids are overjoyed with the idea of a younger sibling, and I love the idea of having a final baby boy with my princess protected in the middle of two brothers. If we decided to have a fourth, we wouldn’t be waiting so many years in between, because again, I want to be done before 30. So trying to figure out how two younger siblings would relate with such close ages (or how I could manage two in baby diapers at the same time), and also how they would  get along with the older two, is a little dizzying. Right now I feel like I will have a pretty good ability to focus on baby with my son in school and my daughter gaining independence daily. Plus hello, there’s that whole risk of – THERE COULD BE TWO BABIES – as in, twins. If we tried for a fourth and got a surprise fifth, I think I would just die. This list doesn’t even come close to the logistical issues we would have making room for a set of twin newborns and beyond.

12. I asked my doctor about an IUD.Now I know this seems like an effect rather than a cause, but hear me out. I hate birth control. (Haha, insert multiple kids joke here.) No, it’s not a political anti-feminist statement really, but more of a personal choice. I just hate it. I’ve been on the pill (several versions), and it makes me feel so imbalanced. I hate the lack of control over bloating and rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve always felt more same when I can track my monthly cycle, and we are usually very careful. But this time I feel like I need a little more help than just my willpower. An IUD at least takes a conscious effort and doctor’s appointment to remove it before trying for another baby (instead of you know, a few too many shots of vodka and a sappy romantic comedy date night). The fact that I am even considering it, and asked my doctor about how to get one, speaks volumes about my inner feelings on how much more sand is left in my baby making hourglass.13. Family support.

When we had our son, the childcare options were so abundant I think we took them for granted. In Indiana, I had several family members to watch the baby anytime I needed them to. When we moved to Florida, my husband’s parents were near retirement, and his grandparents were still fairly young and active enough to watch him while I worked. Then my Mom moved down, and we always lived in the same house or building as another family member until last year – we basically had built in babysitters. But now, my husband’s mom passed away unexpectedly in 2012, we live an hour away from any of his other family members, and his grandparents’ health has declined. Neither of us have childcare through work, and it no longer looks like I’ll ever be returning to a conventional office job with built in daycare subsidies. Thankfully my mom lives with us to help, but how can we know how things will be in 3-5 years? Before all the kids start school, even doctors appointments for another pregnancy are too scattered to think about coordinating around a paid babysitter. If my sister or another family member moved closer, maybe we’d have some options open up, but am I willing to risk the fact that I may be solely responsible for 4 kids without much backup? Not really.

14. Buying a new house and car.

Three car seats (ok two, a booster and a baby seat – Florida law doesn’t require one for our oldest anymore and he’s tall enough for the shoulder belt in the middle) barely fit into my car. Already we will have to take two cars for any family outing that involves everyone. But it works, for now. So does our three bedroom rental home, for now. And saving to buy a house (hello, money saved from not having another baby) is a lot more attainable when we don’t require 5 or more bedrooms. Call me whatever you want, I am not a minivan type of person. I just feel like a small part of me would die trading in my wheels for a sliding soccer-mom floodgate door on the side of my child-laden bus. Of course, there are several SUVs I love, have owned even, that could potentially fit 3+ car seats and 6+ people. But when we already have our cars paid off and we are going to be working towards buying a house, the last thing I want on my mind is a monthly payment for a minivan.

15. I don’t like feeling single.

This one is pretty personal, and I’m not sure if anyone else can relate easily. My husband works incredibly long hours during much of the busy parts of the year in his industry. While I love being able to stay at home and supplement income at home, there are often times I feel like I’m doing the duty of both parents or at least household partners. We try to teach our kids that he is gone often because he’s working hard for the family, but absence is still absence. Being a “single” mom of 4 is a scary thought. Even scarier if you factor in all the what-if’s of life – what if heaven forbid something happened and I really was alone? How could I raise four kids by myself? Or find a new partner who would blend well with an insta-family of my four little ones? I know three is already a lot if you are on this point, but it’s just another thought that adds up in the equation of no-more-kids.
15. My marriage would not survive.

Maintaining a relationship after having a baby is hard work. Maintaining it after two, or three, or more babies is even harder. I suppose there are couples out there who just overflow with joy each time they pop out a new mini-me magnification of their love, and couldn’t imagine it any other way. But I believe there is strength in knowing your weaknesses.

It’s no secret that our relationship has been rocky in the past. And it’s changed us both in a lot of ways for the worse and ultimately, hopefully for the better. But whether you are a newly dating couple who decided to make things work for a pregnancy, or you have been together 10 years and want nothing more than a child – pregnancy is still a huge strain on a relationship. It changes every dynamic of who you are and who you are becoming. There are hormones and fears and unspeakable emotions, and communication can quickly become misunderstandings or frustrations. Finances change, your body changes, focused energies change. Time spent together having a drink on Saturdays may turn into separate weekends of baby shopping or working overtime. Intimacy can be awkward or at the very least slightly insecure, as everything changes in your life.

Does that mean you’ll divorce? No, but you might really want to. Does that mean you’ll pull through stronger as a couple? Unfortunately, too many times it doesn’t work out for some women despite so many happy ideals she has of how a happy family could emerge from a fling.

When I am pregnant, I’m not myself. I enjoy my high heels and confidence, and I enjoy my carefree, energetic attitude normally. I like taking care of myself, wearing lingerie, and I like meeting people and being on the go 24/7. Ultimately, I think I like being independent enough to walk out the door at any given moment if it should please me to do so.

Something happens when I am pregnant, when I become dependent on others for simple tasks, that doesn’t mesh well with my personality. And like most men, easing tension and dissolving distance with a woman who seems like a different person, isn’t my husband’s strong point.

My last two pregnancies were pretty traumatic in the sense of relationship expectations. We had a lot of negativity going on in our lives, and I always felt a little resentful that I didn’t get to enjoy a positive pregnancy and be pampered during a woman’s “most beautiful time” of her life. I think with this pregnancy, we felt like things would finally be the way we always wanted them to be. I think in a way I felt like he owed me this calm and peaceful pregnancy just because I didn’t want to grow old feeling like my childbearing years were cut short due to drama out of my control. But the truth I learned is this: you can take away all problems in your life or relationship, and a pregnancy is still hard. Supporting each other through such a drastic change in your life is hard.

And even if my husband deeply wanted (or begins to want in a couple of years, as right now he thinks that four kids is mostly “unacceptable” in society) another child, I’m not sure I could say yes. Because in a way I know I’d be tearing our already busy lives in yet another direction, and needing support in ways that our relationship just isn’t built for yet again.

There are wonderful aspects of any relationship, and reasons that someone shines (and stays) in your life. For us, this part has never been one of them. And I can feel bitter about that all I want and wish that I had a dream partner women brag about after blissful deliveries, or I can accept it and focus on the future of what type of love he can offer me and new ways we can grow as a couple after the early, hard years of parenting.

It’s ironic in a way, since we’ve been parents almost as long as we’ve known eachother, but I like to think we beat the odds and more importantly than “making it work” (I hate that phrase) we have found something better than we ever expected in sharing an unexpected life together. I think for once maybe our relationship deserves a little focus on just us, instead of just drawing from the happiness we have created as a family. If that means completing our family at three kids, it may be the best decision. I would rather regret that choice later than regret having a fourth child and a broken marriage in the end.

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 And 10 reasons I’m not sure…

1. That sweet newborn smell (and all that baby gear).

This one doesn’t need much explanation. You know the intoxication of brand new baby smell, I know you do. And when you flip through those baby albums, maybe there comes a time that you see only the hard work and reminisce on the sweetness from afar, but I think most moms wish they could do it again if only for a brief moment. I’m not sure if that feeling ever goes away. Plus, after you have one or two, there’s never a shortage of baby gear stowed away “just in case” you ever have another baby. And sometimes those little outfits can make you question “Would it really be so hard? We already have practically everything we need.”

2. Four is an even number.

This sounds like some kind of numerical voodoo belief, I know. But I don’t mean it quite like that. Three does just feel weird to me in a way. There is always an odd man (well, child) out. There is always one parent with two kids instead of an even split. There is always an extra rider in line for the rollercoaster, and an extra chair pushed to the edge of the table at the restaurant. It just feels like four is more balanced. And I’ve heard from many parents that four balances out the chaos of three. But this could all just be overanalyzing on my part, like you know when you were a first time mom and decided you needed pacifier keepers in 3 different colors AND a matching case specifically for pacifier-only sanitizing wipes? That kind of overanalyzing? Maybe three isn’t so crazy or being a family of five isn’t as awkward as I imagine.

3. I hate PTA moms and feel lost.

No offense if you are in the PTA. Hell, I’m a member of the PTA. But you know what I mean. I don’t know how to blend in with the moms who so passionately vote and fundraiser for 5th grade school dances or teenager issues like cell phones yet. I’m sure I will get there, but in a way, I am scared I would feel lost without a baby on my hip. Like once they outgrow sippy cups and trips to the zoo in the baby carrier, you really have to look like you have your shit together. And 9 times out of 10, I don’t feel like I do. It’s just so much easier to blame it all on sleepless newborn and toddler nights, and laugh it off that my life is crazy chaotic. I’m afraid of becoming a cookie-cutter suburbia mom whose life has either blossomed or plateaued after her kids all passed grade school.
4. Never say never.

At the beginning of my third trimester, my doctor nonchalantly asked me (while I was in stirrups) if I wanted my tubes tied in case I had a c-section. Besides nearly choking on my surprise and hating him momentarily for forgetting I’m a human, I was baffled. Why would I want my tubes tied? I’m only 26! Do some women know at 26 they are never going to want another child, ever? Was he implying I had enough kids already? No, in actuality he was probably just asking for technical notation in my chart but it was something I’ve never thought of deeply. What if, heaven forbid, my husband or kids all died in an accident tomorrow, or in 5 years? Could I say with certainty that I would never remarry or want another child? No, absolutely not. So as with anything, life changes in unexpected ways. I’m not ready to say “never” just yet.

5. Sisters are best friends.

Although my sister lives 1000 miles away, and she only entered my life by accident (and some family drama I’m sure my mom would rather me not air on the internet), I love her to death. I am closer to her than any of my 3 brothers. And because she wasn’t always around as in actually living with me while we grew up, I always was jealous of girls who had built in best friends and insta-sleepovers at their house. I think I gravitated towards boys as a friends because I never felt like I had enough experience being girly. (Or maybe just because girls can be catty bitches, and I’d rather just be girly and hang out with boys, but hey…)

So when I think about my daughter having a sister, I’d love for her to have a little best friend and watch them support eachother as they grow into women. That being said, with this pregnancy I had NO gender preference – which tells me I really just wanted another family member. If I wanted to conceive again just for a little girl, do I feel morally okay with that? And if it was a third boy, would I handle the disappointment well? Isn’t that selfish to even question when healthy is all that matters?

When I found out I was having my daughter, all I looked forward to was having another girl in the household to paint nails with and dress in pink and love walking around in my heels. And I got exactly what I wished for. So maybe having my own little best friend is enough, for me and for her. And maybe she will grow up to have the best girl friends in the world who couldn’t be replaced by a biological sister if I tried.

6. The universe has bigger plans.

I’m not religious. My husband is Catholic, but not practicing. However, I do believe to some degree that if I am meant to have another child, it will be. I am not one to play with fate, and just like I could never say “never” and get my tubes tied or a hysterectomy at this point in my life, I also just can’t simply close my mind to the idea of ever being a new mom again. It’s empowering to know I CAN create life if I choose to do so, and at the same time humbling that if there is a life meant to stir inside of me, it will happen with or without my control. I do not believe anything in life is permanent.

7. I want to be grandma, not an empty nester.

My grandmother had six children, who mostly all had children of their own, and she even had grandchildren growing up at the same time as her own children. Her home was never an empty nest. There is a part of me that wants those enormous family holidays (even if crammed into a tiny home like my grandparents) and the endless sound of pitter pattering little feet on my floors until the day I die. But at the same time, I’ve never had an issue with solitude or finding creative outlets, so I just don’t know that I would really be so affected by an empty nest for a few years before (if) my children start having grandchildren.

8. Nursing homes are depressing.

I know it’s controversial and sounds selfish to have another child just to have another set of hands, but it sounds worse than it is. I’d like to believe that as I age, my kids will have eachother to lean on and will be there to care for their parents. It only makes sense in that case that the more loving hearts and open arms there are, the less likely I would end up alone and elderly.

9. I don’t care what society thinks. (Or I don’t want to care, anyway.)

I mentioned the fact that my husband thinks four kids is unacceptable. I’ve never quite understood his mentality towards family sizes but I assume it has to do with his city upbringing vs. my rural childhood. I grew up in a large family and he didn’t. Neither did any of his friends, and because we are young parents (well, he’s 8 years older) we do not have friends with large families yet. But here’s the thing: I don’t care what society thinks. I don’t care if society says I should have a set number of kids or that there are set rules and reasons for wanting another one. I only want what’s best for us, and if we can provide them with love and shelter and a happy childhood – who is to judge the size of our family?

10. The Guilt of Being Selfish

So many of us are taught to give, from an early age, and then especially as mothers – we are expected to be selfless and always put the needs of everyone else before our own. Whether this comes from traditional patriarchy or some modern supermom way of thinking we can have and do it all, it sucks. You can’t possibly please everyone all the time and still take care of what you want. Occasionally these desires match up, and that’s wonderful. Often, we have partners in life who look out for our interests while we look out for the kids, but not always. The majority of the time, our needs and desires are ultimately supposed to be less important than those of the kids, and a lot of the time I actually think this is a biological instinct rather than a learned political trait.

However… If I say I am done having kids simply because I want my life or body back, there is an instant judgement within myself and also inside of anyone who heard me speak such words. I can say we are done because of finances, or my health, or any other “acceptable” issue that could understandably make a woman end her childbearing years. But if I just say that I simply *don’t want* to be pregnant again, or breastfeed again, or that I would rather indulge in life’s adult pleasures and leave my diaper changing years in my 20’s? I doubt I get the same reaction. In fact, I know that I don’t.

And that reason alone, the guilt that is associated with simply being able to want something as a mother is enough – maybe most important reason as to why my previous list should be taken seriously. Because while this is absolutely true, it’s a negative reason to have another child. And such reasons should not exist.

Here’s to a positivity in motherhood, and making choices when we feel like we have no idea what we are doing or wish we could just predict the years to come. Here’s to you, mom reading this who can relate, and to my future self re-reading this and questioning if I am on the right path: you are just doing fine. No one said this was easy. But in the end, whatever choices you make are ultimately the best ones for you.

In the meantime, I’ll probably be pushing out a baby before my next post, so wish me luck! Be sure to follow on social media and keep updated if you’re curious to see the first little newborn pics!

 

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