Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm done, no I'm not, yes I am....

I've been thinking a lot lately about having another baby, or more accurately, not having another baby. Since I was a little girl, I thought that I'd have three...However, while I was pregnant with Grace, I swore that unless they discovered a way for Brad to carry our child, I was done. After delivering her, my resolve was even more babies, well, definitely no more babies without an epidural....okay, maybe I'll have another baby....

Two months ago I was feeling like I was ready...However because my children LOVE nursing (I've been lactating for 3.5 years...I know you are jealous...), I've been fortunate to have had only two periods in the last 51 months...though not impossible to get pregnant, this makes it kind of hard to try in any calculated, methodical way...

Over the last several weeks, I've started to feel like I'm done. Although I really love big families, I've never thought that I could handle more than three and certainly not more than four. I'm starting to realize that I really might not be able to handle more that two. I love my kids and I am so thankful that we were able to have them, but I want a piece of my former life back. I never thought that I would feel this way and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that this is where I am right now.

I want to do things for me. I want to get regular hair cuts and go to the gym. I want to go on vacation and be able to enjoy it. I want to go to CT to visit my family and have my kids sleep. I want to be able to go someplace other than The 99 for dinner. I want to be skinny again. I want to sleep for say 6 uninterrupted hours. I want to apply for The Amazing Race with my sister. Right now, these things are starting to seem possible (like 18 months away for everything other than the Amazing Race....that is probably 18 years away...), a new baby will delay them for three or four years. As I write this, I hear how selfish I sound. It's terrible, really not like me but exactly how I feel right now.

At the same time, the thought of never having another baby in the house makes me sad. I didn't think that Grace would be my last so I didn't treat each day with her like I would have if I'd been thinking, "You will never do this again." Do you know what I mean?

I keep going back and forth. On one hand, every day I think, "what if I'm possibly pregnant right now? I think I'd cry." But on the other, I can't seem to actually get rid of anything. Just yesterday I put outgrown clothes from both my kids into bins in the basement. I tell myself that it has nothing to do with saving it for another baby and more to do with being a pack rat and I almost believe it.

I fear that a third pregnancy will finish in wipe me out and remove any trace of the girl that once was. I don't know if my esophagus can handle throwing up every single night for nine months. I don't know if I can be a milk producing person for another two years. I'm really scared that a third pregnancy will remove any chance of ever reclaiming anything that resembles the body I once had.

I'm also afraid that I may someday regret not having another. Someday, when life is quiet and calm, when our children need us less, when we are well rested and don't have to wade through a sea of toys to get anywhere in our house, I will look back on these years and think, "That went too fast, it wasn't so bad, why didn't we have more..."

How did you know when you were done or that you wanted more? Any thoughts would be appreciated, cause this mommy is at a point where she needs to think about birth control or buying more nursing bras....


Bethany said...

I don't know what to tell you as far as advice...maybe someone that is done can offer a better perspective...and I mean done no chance of an oops. I have the exact opposite problem.....I admit it I am addicted to babies. I don't know why I am surprised. I am sure I inherited something of that from my mother who wanted 12 but had 7. I am sure if I wasn't throwing up for nine months living in a tiny house in LA I might even consider at least 5. I am no help. I know how it is to want time back, body back, vacations etc etc. For me as soon as I am not pregnant I forget all my trials and as they grow and change I long for the tiny little baby again. We are thinking about one more. I honestly deep down don't feel done. Although I sometimes wonder if I ever will. I am sure there will come a day that I know but I think it will still be emotional and sad. I know my sister was "officially done" and yet still had tubs of clothes she couldn't give away...until she gave them to me. My best advice would be to pray and ask God to guide and direct you. Okay nursing is not so bad....I just typed this whole thing on a phone with one finger while nursing!!!!! Course I have yet to make it back to the gym....thanks to early am feed

Anonymous said...

I'm 36 and have been thinking about this too. I'm a total stranger, so obviously keep that in mind. I'm just telling you how I'm thinking through making the decision. I think God gave women a desire for babies that will be there off and on forever, so I don't necessarily think that instinct is the basis for the choice to be finished. Some questions I'm asking myself are:
1. how would having another baby affect my marriage?
2. how would having a baby affect my existing children?
3. is comfort or desire for ease keeping me from wanting more?
4. or is it being humble to know that i just don't have the capacity to take on another human life (this would be for me, not you. i have 4 kids. i'm not great at this whole mom thing :) ).
I do feel an overarching sense of the change of seasons. child bearing was a precious season but it's over...i think :)(still haven't done anything permanent yet, but probably soon) . I really love having school aged kids and just can't see going back to a season that was beautiful, but has already passed.

sorry for the book in your comment box.

Beth Young said...

I think we are done and we have only two. The thought of kind of starting over makes me cringe and we definitely have a nice life going..nothing is too hard or too crazy. It's not very selfish to think about your self, you've been through a lot lately (over the years) and it's ok to want to be done. Although, I think Grace is too young and so is Sam to say that you know you are done. Go ahead and make sure that there aren't any oops', pray about it and rethink things in a year or two. No reason to decide now. Although, my decision is 95% made :-) Just never a desire to have more than two, really.

Beth Young said...

oh, and children ARE a blessing, but so is a nice and romantic relationship with your husband, easy family vacations, kids in school, going to the gym; etc, etc. It doesn't matter what the number is, you're a blessing to God as well.

mindi said...

We've gone through the same problem - but it's the possibility of three to four, instead of two to three. Lex threw us for a loop, we were going to have three but he was a big surprise. And BOY did it turn our lives upside down. I'm still hanging on, ever so gingerly.
BUT, I wouldn't trade him for anything. I agree about praying, waiting, and think about it a bit later. See what God is telling you :)

Sarah said...

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate your thoughts and encouragement. Anonymous...your questions are great ones to consider, thank you for taking the time to share them.

I've been thinking about this a lot....but not praying so much. I know that's what I need to do. Brad turns 40 this year and although I'm younger, I still feel like if we're going to do it, it needs to be sooner rather than later...pray I will....

BLMOM said...

I can really relate to this. I have an attic full of bins of toys and clothes. I don't know why I keep them but say I am finished. I thought I would have 3 but I have to say, I enjoy getting back some of my former self.

I feel like there are so many things I want to do, too and having another would delay them.

My friend who has 3 says, that you absolutely know when you have a baby whether you will have another. I can say with my first I knew I would have a second. I have to say that with my second, I felt like I was complete in some way.

It is so hard. I have seriously considered adopting because I don't like to be pregnant. But my husband is not on board with that.
I am 37 and mostly just tired! So, I guess we are finished.

Heather said...

Everyone assumes that once you start having kids, you'll want more than one. We now have a 7 month daughter and people are already asking when the next will be coming along. Hmmpf....

First, I'm older than I look (or maybe older than I act!), so this last pregnancy was high risk simply because of my age.

Second, what most people who haven't known us for a while don't see, is that we have a daughter in heaven. Her death shook us to our very core. Being pregnant again after a loss like that was enough to put me in a straight jacket. I can't go thru those emotions again.

So we had my tubes tied after our daughter was delivered via c-section. I don't regret it. We're done. With our own. If we feel that our daughter needs a sibling to grow up with, we'll consider adoption. But we're done.

So thanks for letting this total stranger spill her garbage. Good luck in your decision making!

Monica said...

I'm not in your shoes, but I will tell you my story.

We knew from day one that we would have a family. My husband said 2, I asked for 4. I figured that we'd meet somewhere in the middle.

We had our first two girls 13 months apart. Talk about shock. It was a huge adjustment in many, many ways, but we learned and grew.

After that my husband was sure that we were done. My heart felt differently. At the time I was studying Genesis and really relating with those women (Sarah, Rachel) who desperately wanted a child but could not have one. Mine wasn't a fertility issue per se, but nonetheless difficult. I remember praying and giving God that desire time and time again.

Our third was a huge surprise and I was horrified to tell Sean. Though I felt as though God had heard me, it was difficult news to deliver. We hadn't discussed children in a while and when I told him he embraced me and was excited. I couldn't believe it! God had done a work in his heart as well.

I think time, maturity, growth and God's continual provision opened our eyes up to see the blessing that children are from the Lord. We did not set out to have a huge family or as many as we could. Certainly it is not honoring to God to have an absent father, stressed out mother and a lot of out-of-control kids. We prayed about each step and feel that the seven children we have is His best for us.

My uterus has reached its max and I am no longer able to have children. This is something that I am still mourning (John is 18 months). It is a complicated sadness, but again, if we ask God to plan our family than I'm trusting that is what has happened.

I encourage you to give yourself time to enjoy the children you have without saying "No" altogether. I don't think family planning should be based on how we are feeling at a given season of life, but rather on the Lord's clear leading and a mutual decision in the marriage. You have no idea what the Lord has in store for you.

Yes, we sacrifice a lot to be moms- our bodies, our time, our emotions and much of ourselves. The world says that these children are taking all of us until there is nothing left. But we know that being a mom is part of God's plan to mold and shape and use us for the generation s to come. So much more is gained.

I think that my favorite part of having many children is the relationship that they share with one another. They love each other so much and that sense of security and acceptance is invaluable.

Now that I'm not having any babies myself I am looking forward to many grandchildren (but not for at least 10 more years:) and a very full and lively Thanksgiving table.Besides, I plan on being the hip, skinny granny:)