No more babies? How do you really know when you're done?

No-more-babies

Do you ever know when you’ve had your last child? When I held my baby boy in my arms almost two years ago, it felt so definite that I was done. Our family of four was complete. But as that same baby boy nears his second birthday and I slowly give away and sell the big items of his and his big brother’s babyhood, the question sometimes rears it’s head again ‘Are you sure you’re done?’.

I’ve pondered this question over the last couple of weeks and for me, I think the answer really is ‘yes’ but the tug of emotion that comes with change and letting go of those baby years has hit more than I thought it would. Maybe two years is the length of time you forget the struggle of that first year and the idea of snuggling a newborn head to yours and taking in their sweet smell becomes somewhat romantic, maybe it’s purely the biological pull or perhaps it’s my inner hoarder trying to trick me into keeping all the baby stuff ‘just in case’. Whatever it is, despite all the emotions, my rational self has made up its mind and it continues to pull these thoughts into line. So, maybe you’re never really done – you just reach a point where you make a decision to be done?

So, how does my rational self (and that of my husbands) know that two children is the right number for our family? Here’s the thought process I’ve gone through, and the discussions we’ve had, to reach the point that we’re getting rid of baby things. My hope is that it will help you, if you are tossing up whether to have another child.
1. Financial situation: Look, I wish that money didn’t have to come into it but for us having another child would severely stretch our finances. For us though it can’t be the only reason, as there are always ways to make do and you really can’t put a price on the love that children bring into your life.
2. Life goals: For me, this meant looking at what kind of life you want for you and your family and if adding another child would impact this in a positive or negative way. This can be tied to the financial goals, but it can also be about freedom, travel and personal growth.
3. Demands on time and resources: For us, this was a bit of a biggie. With J needing extra assistance with his speech and gross motor skills, it already sometimes feels we’re struggling to fit appointments and practice in, while also allowing him time to just be a kid and give Hugo the same opportunity. Having another child would make this even more difficult.
4. Demands on sanity: I’m the first one to admit that the baby years had a huge impact on my mental health and sense of self. I don’t function well with lack of sleep and combined with my perfectionist tendencies, I end up being really hard on myself. The past few years have taught me a lot about being a bit kinder to myself but even so, my feeling is that another child would push me past my limit sanity wise.
So now it’s back to packing up those well-chosen things that served our baby boys and us so well and moving onto the next stage with memories of those sweet snuggles and struggles that got us here.
How about you? I’d love to hear how you decided you were done with the baby years? Or how do you know you’re not done just yet?
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13 thoughts on “No more babies? How do you really know when you're done?

  1. It is a big decision and for me Health was a big factor, I am an acute asthmatic and life was sometimes hard but my main concern was passing it on to my kids. Also ‘hole in the heart’ is prevelant in my family and has been passed on down the generations.

    Also, money – my husband was working two jobs.

    I wasn’t ‘a stay at home type Mum’ I needed to be stimulated by working, and I was more organised and motivated being a working Mum.

    The final decision had to be made when my younger daughter was 3 and my husband got rid of all the nursery furniture to his brother. I likened it to a light switch and I could not turn the switch on and start over again, life had become a lot easier!

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    • Health is a big reason – as much as I would have loved another little person to boss around, I think you made the right decision for you. (Yes, this is my mum!!) xxx

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  2. Honestly I don’t know if you ever know if you’re done. Having similar aged boys to you B – I know I’m 99% sure we are done BUT there is still that niggling feeling that refuses to go away. I do wonder if that’s just the 1% feeling of “awww no more babies”. That feeling of “did I truly treasure the wonder of babies when I had my 2nd not knowing at the time he was my last”?

    On the flipside last weekend I gave away all my baby furniture and I’ll be honest – it felt amazing!! I love looking at my boys rooms with their big boys beds. I love knowing we are no longer in the “baby cycle”. I love knowing every day we are moving forward with our lives and our little family.

    So I’m happy with being 99% sure; because I don’t think I could ever say I’m done with 100% certainty.

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  3. I was one of those Mothers who was absolutely certain I was done. Being a working Mother and sometimes doing full-time hours I knew having a third child would tip the balance for us. I have always loved the idea of a big family but having one was hard let alone 3. What I didn’t count on was that desire to have another baby kicking in again and kicked in it did. I found myself in a position where my youngest had started school and I felt ready to return to babyville. I was attracted to the age gap. Unwilling to entertain thoughts of a third baby when my children were still toddlers. We have been trying for a year and a half and no baby for us. I am now 40 so I have come to terms that our family is now complete. So you just never know !!

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    • Thanks for sharing this Lizzy. I think its true that even the most rationally made decision can change over time and ultimately sometimes our decision is made for for us in the end. Much love to you! xxx

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  4. Thanks for this post Bel… for us this has been a really hard decision too. I am 18 wks pregnant with no.3 as I write this, but your logic has almost made me question our own sanity…LOL! My 2 boys – almost 6 and almost 4 – are both asthmatic so that has been quite draining for all of us. Perhaps the fact that Brad and I are each from 3-sibling families is what made us feel that 3 would be “our number” but life these past 4+ years have been full-on and we didn’t decide to go for no.3 lightly. After much back-and-forthing over whether we were done or not, there were a few points that helped us… having 2 siblings has often meant that Brad and I have an extra person on whom we can call in times of need, it means we had to share that bit more when we were younger and that’s not a bad thing, and we also believe that our 2 boys will be awesome big brothers so child no.3 will be blessed in that regard. Also, despite being so grateful for the 2 kids we do have, that feeling of “should we have” would have haunted me for a number of years and we potentially may have had no.3 later down the track and I feel if we are going to do it, then now is the time. It is not easy… but if finances were no concern we would probably have 4! Crazy?!?!

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    • Thanks for sharing your decision making process Heather. Reading this almost makes me want to change my decision … such beautiful and honest reasons for adding another child to your family. xxx

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  5. We are at this stage at the moment. We have almost decided but aren’t quite there. I agree I think that you’re never quite sure, like many things in life sometimes you have to make the best decision you can and keep moving forward. It is a hard decision to make.

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  6. Very true. All that decision making and at the end the decision was made for us. At least I can move forward knowing we tried and it wasn’t meant to be. I have friends where the reverse has happened. They were completely done, no question and a little surprise came along. All the best decision making in the world can’t stop whats meant to be.

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  7. Having a third has meant it has taken me a week to find the time to write here! After being so so sure that I was done with my 2 beautiful boys I changed my mind when the littlest was 3. I am still so very surprised that I did and we now have a 3rd beautiful boy! I’m not sure but I think for me because the first was a surprise and the second was a bit of a case of he needs a sibling this was the first time I actually felt like I really wanted it! But I was also so unsure as I was convinced we were meant to only be a family of four! And then when it happened so quickly and i didnt have time to change my mind back i realised it must have been meant to be. My mother tells me it was mother nature. Anyway 6 months in and after not believing for ages that we did have a 3rd I now couldn’t imagine life without him! The amount of love his big brothers have for him is absolutely amazing. Am hoping it stays that way forever!

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    • Love this, Bri! he is a lucky little guy and your story is always in my mind when I really think I’m done. It’s OK for us to change our mind and sometimes changing our minds can be completely life changing in the loveliest of ways xx

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