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D-O-N-E spells never again

D-O-N-E spells never again

August 20, 2006

Today I went to visit my niece who just gave birth to her first baby. A girl.

I always wondered when I would know I was done having children. For a long time I thought that the feeling would never pass that I would just always think that I should have just. one. more.

But then I had my seventh and thought, this is good. THIS is all I can handle. Seven has always seemed like a lucky number. I like to joke that I have a kid for every day of the week. If only I could get the other six to stay put in the closet when it isn’t their day, it would be perfect.

Today I held this beautiful baby. I stroked her soft little cheeks and hands. Admired her paper thin skin. I inhaled her fabulous brand new smell. I marveled that my babies, any of them, were ever that small. How is it even possible?

But even as I looked at her, I didn’t want one. I felt none of that tugging on my heart strings, nor did I have the desire to hold her up and say, “Oh, Rooooob. Loooooook at the baaaaaaaby.”

In fact I so much did NOT want one that my uterus felt compelled to expel it’s contents five days ahead of schedule. That is how much I don’t want another one.

I handed the baby back to her mother. I said my good-byes and left. Happily left. I may have even skipped out the front door, I can’t be certain.

I got into my car and thought of my husband at home with the children, all of whom are old enough to be away from me now for extended periods of time. I thought of how much happier I am to have that tiny bit of freedom, though there are some days that it is a double edged sword. And I kind of feel like a bird that has escaped and flown free and now is fighting against the people trying to stuff it back into the cage.

That analogy might sound a bit more melodramatic and depressing than the reality is, but that is the gist of it.

And so I drove away happy.

Happy most of all that I never have to be a first time mother ever again.

Posted by Chris @ 9:25 pm  

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  1. Jodi@OC says:

    I know that feeling. After our son (the fifth child) was born I thought I would never want another. But then suddenly one day I did. And the next day I didn’t.

    And now he is 4 and I know that God-willing we won’t be having any more. I love that little bit of freedom of being able to do things and not be worrying about a baby the whole time.

  2. owlhaven says:

    I am still waiting for that ‘done’ feeling– and I have 8. All I can say for certain is that I don’t really want another one right THIS moment…I think…

    Mary, who fears she may be baby-crazy til she dies….

  3. Rebecca says:

    I wish that I would have that feeling. I can’t get pregnant again. There is little possibility that I would a)Carry a pregnancy to term or b) survive it myself. But. Oh, how I want another baby. I actually found myself shivering in the baby department of Walmart the other day. And I can’t.

  4. Nicki says:

    After two I had that feeling. Now I enjoy everyone else’s baby, then I do the most wonderous thing. I GIVE IT BACK!!! It does’t come home with me!!!! I love my kids, but I am really glad that I’m DONE too.

  5. Jean says:

    Still waiting on that feeling over here. We’re waiting on our tenth.

    I grew up in a family of seven. My dad would always tell people that we had one, and a half a dozen. Which, if they weren’t listening closely (and who really does?) they all thought we had 18.

  6. Grim Reality Girl says:

    AMEN! I’m so happy NOT to be a first time mom right now. My sister is trying to get pregnant and I’m looking over and am grateful for the stage we are at here at my home.

    I have 2 and would have loved three (or 4, or 5, or 6….), but I’m very content and grateful to be past the early stages. I admire those with oodles of kids — they have a strength I admire. The DONE feeling took 6 years to get here — but I welcome it now. Congrats to the many with many!

  7. InterstellarLass says:

    I wish I knew that feeling. I know I’m “done”. I had a tubal about three years ago. And now I wonder if it was a mistake. I remarried 7 months ago, and now I wonder if it was the right thing, or if I’m just now having an emotional response to having a baby with the man I married, in addition to the two I already have. I’ve wondered this almost every day, and I’m no closer to an answer.

  8. Jenniffer says:

    Damn the mittelschmerz straight to hell. I’m crying again.

  9. Heather says:

    I love that DONE feeling. Now, if only I could get it to spread to my hubby.

  10. Chris says:

    I thought after my second child I was done. We both discussed it and decided that would be it. THEN, the thoughts came creeping into my mind. Maybe just one more. Two is not a good number…

    Then SURPRISE (seriously, it was a surprise) baby came two and a half years ago. Now I know I didn’t have that done feeling then. I have it now. I can hold a newborn baby and give her right back to her mother without crying. I am so glad we had our little surprise, but now I am enjoying what I have and want no more.

  11. kathryn, dym says:

    I’m not there yet. I feel like I should be pregnant pretty much all the time. Well not today between 2 and 6 or thursday between all day long, but most times I feel ready to do it again. I’ve got a couple more to go before I can catch up with you.

  12. bluepaintred says:

    I knew I was done after my second. i waited a bit to be sure adn then made an appointment to have my tubes tied. As a oprecaution the doctor gave me a pregnacy test. 8 or so months later , when my brand new baby was 4 hours old, I had my tubes tied LOL. My sis in law had a baby, and I felt the same way you felt!

  13. Heather says:

    I have struggled with that done feeling a little over a year now. Last year I made plans to have a baby in 2008. I am thirty five now, and thought I had better have another one before I turned 37 (dont ask me why this age, I dont know). My feelings however have changed over the course of the year. I think I am really having the DONE feelings now. I have a soon to be 19 yr old, a sixteen year old and a soon to be 9 year old. And you know, I just dont think I want to do IT, and we all know what IT is, all over again. Yeah, Im so done.

  14. The Lazy Organizer says:

    Heather, I thought I was the only one with a husband that will never be “done”. I tell everyone we need to get a few more wives around here so he can have the 12 or 16 or 27 children that his heart desires.

  15. jennifer g. says:

    I’ve been going back and forth with myself over this for the past year. And on the eve of my oldest starting kindergarten, my middle starting pre-school and my youngest only a year behind that, I’m thinking I’ve got to do it one more time . . . even though we’re on the verge of saying goodbye to diapers (sigh!).

  16. Cakes says:

    hmmm…I know I’m done, but I don’t want to be. 7 was always the perfect number for me, too. But we’ll be stopping at 5. The amount of technology needed to start and maintain a pregnancy for us, is just more than we can do anymore.

    Any ideas on how to make 5 the perfect number?

  17. Novaks8 says:

    I have that exact same feeling Chris.

    I still LOVE babies but gosh I don’t want another!

  18. Kbeans says:

    I thought I was done at 2-the first one fooled me by being so easy and fun, and I was surrounding by his half siblings who fought to change poopy diapers. The second one was a real baby and I learned my lesson….The third was a surprise that I caught only by noticing a sinus headache(irregular periods, but I suppose the weight gain would have tipped me off eventually…)and I was truly pissed about it until I’d had her home for two days and finally bonded. The dr must have known me better than I do, because he was ready to tie the tubes 2 seconds after she was born, and he was right, though we did wait a bit. 2 years ago, I coached my stepdaughter as she had her number 3, he’s beautiful, I held him first, but I have NO envy, especially now that he’s 2. Done is a good feeling. It’s funny how strong the “wanting” feeling is, though. I would never have imagined me feeling like that and I was relentless in seeking a baby. My husband already had 5, but was gracious about my first. I had to fight for the second and fight I did-every time I had more than 2 beers I was horrible. Of course, as I’ve said, I then got my butt kicked good by a tiny baby.

  19. T in HD says:

    We never set a number, just decided to have kids as we were ready to add another, until we felt done but I always wondered what “done” would feel like and suspected I’d never feel it. Nothing interests me like babies do! I’m still as passionate about babies as ever but, for the first time this past year, I’ve gotten a hint of what “done” might feel like. It comes and goes though and I’m not ready to commit to be done. The only thing I’m sure of is that I do NOT want to have another right now. I’m willing to bet I’ll feel differently in a few years though. The catch is, I may be heading into menopause now and if we don’t have another now, we may not be able to have another at all. As much as that possibility bothers me, I’m willing to take that chance. I just can’t do it again right now. I know I will very much want to carry, birthe and breastfeed another newborn but if we want another badly enough and can’t, we will definitely consider adoption. I just can’t do another pregnancy and baby thing right now!

  20. Deb W says:

    I think I might be where you are in a couple of years (or a couple of kids…) I was adjusting to finished with five, but now I’m thinking I could settle on six… I haven’t ovulated since #5’s birth (he’s just over a year), but yesterday I felt sick and thought there might be just the slightest chance that I might be pregnant… just a tiny, minute chance… and there was a preg test in the back of the drawer with an expiry date of Aug/06, so… I took it. And I sat thinking “no, it’s too son, I don’t want to be pregnant right now”, and then, when it was negative, I was disappointed.

    Oh to be sane!

  21. Kristie says:

    I knew I was “done” when I could walk through the Lullaby Club aisle at Target and not feel anxious about having no one little enough at home to buy any of those cute clothes for. It was more a matter of “geez, if I had anyone still little enough to wear those adorable pink overalls or that cute denim shirt, it would also probably have stains and spit up all over it and I’d be cleaning it up along with everything else in my house that can be spit up on, or pooped on, etc.” Yep, that’s when I knew I was done. :)

  22. Sheryl says:

    You said it.

  23. rachel says:

    oh, I am *so* happy to never be a first time mother again!

    But I’ve never felt “done”. My cousin-in-law is newly pregnant with her 4th, and gosh I wish I was too. My friend just had her 3rd, and I”m deeply envious. As much as I realize I can’t get pregnant now (due to illness and dh’s vasectomy), I’m still wistful.

    Maybe that’s why I treasure larger families - I really wanted to have 4+.

    So glad you’ve reached peace. And LOL at the closets!

  24. madre-terra says:

    My girls are a teenager and a pre-teen. It’s nice to date my husband again.
    Babyhood was a wonderful dear time.
    Childhood was fun and entertaining.
    Young womanhood is intimate and fabulous.
    Getting my husband back is priceless.
    You’ve just hit another rite of passage……a blessing on your head.

  25. Katie says:

    I wouldn’t want to be a new mother again, all the things you don’t know and have to learn, blech. And I was just saying how nice it is to sleep through the night. And then my 3 year old woke me up at 3am this morning.

  26. Christina says:

    Becoming a first time mother was sooo hard for me that I thought they would all be that hard so thought I could handle only one child. I am now blessed with three beautiful children and I can’t believe how lucky my dh and I are. It took us 5 years to get to be parents and I never thought we would be so lucky. But done, yes! My bil and sil just became parents 3 months ago and I was so happy to hold the baby but even happier to give her back to mom and dad.

  27. Darren says:

    Yep, that’s pretty much what I feel when I hold a baby.

  28. Mama T. says:

    We have one and are trying for number two. So we are far from done.

  29. jody2ms says:

    I go back and forth. But I tend to stay at the “We are done” side of the pendulum more often than not. Life is damn good right now, and for this I am so grateful! This weekend was filled with delivering babies, bathing them, rocking them and GIVING THEM BACK at the end of the day. It is a nice compromise for me at this point in our lives.

  30. zookeeper says:

    I had that feeling when my sister had her baby. No ooh, aahhh, I want one, I miss it, etc. It was a first for me. But it meant I was DONE at 4. My aunt, who has 8, asked when we were having more- I said never. With a smile, she just said “never say never”.

    SURPRISE, found out about 9 months later that I was expecting our 5th. I was devastated and cried like you wouldn’t believe. I swore up and down that hubby would get snipped before this baby was born- half way thru the pregnancy I changed my mind, and within a month of #5 being born we both decided we wanted at least “just one more”.

    Never say never.

  31. Brigitte says:

    Now I know what a terrible mommy I am, much as I love my daughter NOW, I felt “done” before I ever even had her!

  32. Jamie says:

    We just found out last night that my husband’s brother and his wife are expecting their second baby in March. My husband literally was doing a little jig at one point while I was on the phone with my SIL and he chanted…”No more babies for us…no more babies for us!” And we only have two! I love babies, but now I love other people’s babies. Two is enough for us. I think we all know what our limit is and when it is time to jump off the baby wagon.

  33. A Maritime Girl says:

    I knew after two. And I’ll tell you the awful truth of that moment. I had just been dealing with baby number two, and adjusting misearbly to being a stay at home mom, and I came downstairs, passed my husband in the Hall…and said point blank “If I get pregnant again I’ll kill myself, act accordingly”. He made an appointment for a vasectomy later that week without even telling me. Of course I wouldn’t have killed myself, but the sentiment was so strong in me at that moment that I was not going to have another baby, I had to express it in this harsh way just so there was no confusion.

    I’m just glad it came to me before I wondered if we should go for a third.

  34. Suburban Turmoil says:

    Well, I’m incubating my second and I’m pretty sure it will be my last. Having two teenage stepdaughters will do that to you. They’re great, but oy, the work!

  35. Susan says:

    *sigh* I hope I get to that point someday. I have a feeling I will always long for one more (since I only have two) and will have to hold out for grandbabies.

  36. Mom101 says:

    I just love hearing your perspective on this. It’s so unique- at least in my world. Not to many Manhattanites who can afford more than a couple of kids!

    Peace in one’s heart is a great feeling, isn’t it?

  37. peepnroosmom says:

    I don’t feel “done” yet. My hubby definitely is, but not me. My baby just turned 1, and I have the 11 yr old, but I feel that tug for just one more. My hubby says “I’ve counted children’s heads and I have counted bedrooms and we have just enough.” If I hear that one more time I will scream.

  38. Rhonda says:

    Oh I know just the feeling you describe. I never imagined after baby 5 that I would ever want another. Then that ache in my uterus started up again and our little girl will be 8 in November ;-) For 8 years I have been able to hold and coo at new little babies without a twinge. It truly is a different feeling and I feel you truly do know when you are done. In a perfect world where we could have all the help possible, and money, I think I would have a few more. But 6, including one severely disabled, has filled my quiver. And it’s a nice feeling!

    So my question to you would be how do you plan on preventing number 8? I understand if that’s too personal a question. I still cannot convince DH to get snipped because he’s a whimp. My latest startegy at preventing number 7 is to not give him any. We’ll see who gives in first! {I have a feeling it will be him!}

  39. marian librarian says:

    I was one of 4 children. Don’t have a ton of happy childhood memories, either. My own mother resented motherhood, but I surprised myself by deciding to marry and have children in my thirties. We had two, and then a vasectomy, because it felt right at the time. But I had NO idea how hard I would be hit with the desire to have a third child. It happened when the younger child was 3. I craved a baby, I wanted to feel pregnant, I wanted to breastfeed again, and I felt like a fool for agreeing with my husband that we only needed two. But I was also a 38 year old woman with a 5 year old and a 3 year old, and not the best track record for labor and delivery. By the time I turned 40, I no longer had the urge for another baby. But wow, was it powerful while it lasted.

  40. lilly says:

    It is amazing how strong the urge to have children can be and then it can diminish and you move into another emotional space where you’re content to not have another baby. …You have beautiful children and it’s wonderful that adorable Miles rounded out your lucky seven.

  41. Mary Tsao says:

    As a mom of two, I think thoughts exactly like these almost every day. It’s good to know when you’re done, no matter how many kids you have.

    And the new mom thing? Hated that feeling.

  42. maria says:

    Funny - we thought we were done w/2 - too much technology to get them - were grateful for them. Then I grudgingly got rid of all the baby stuff even though I ached for another. Surprise, surprise - 6 weeks after I got rid of the crib I was pregnant w/my bonus girl. Now w/3 I know I’m done. The ache is gone and now that they’re all mobile and have opinions - I am often overwhelmed. That said - if I were a few years younger we’d probably go for #4…

  43. Karnak says:

    Know the feeling Chris. after number 3, a long difficult and tiring pregnancy being 39. Was i glad I was done. I no longer had the urge to sit on china doorknobs like a broody hen.

    My husband often mentions he would have liked a 4 or 5 child. He has two options become
    a Mormon or Muslim and take another younger wife or become future man and get pregnant. If the latter was the case, the urge would stop.

    I like holidng babies and then giving them back

  44. Beth says:

    You all are making me feel incredibly sad. We have 4, dh got snipped. Dh got unsnipped. In the past 2 years, I’ve had 3 pg - all losses. I want another so badly, but apparently G*d has decided we’re done, I’m turning 44 and I think time has run out. I just pray one day I’ll get to the point of being happy to hand a newborn back and not cry when I walk through the baby section at Target.