This time last year, I wasn’t sure if I was done having babies, or if our family of four was complete. My thoughts on the topic changed from day to day, and at one point I even tried convincing my husband to adopt a set of six siblings. Clearly, I was going through a thing.
It’s hard to close the baby chapter of the book. As exhausting as that first year is, it really is magical. Seeing your baby for the first time is an unmatched high. I mean, you made a freakin’ person from scratch! You’re basically a superhero. Then you spend the next year trying to figure the kid out, and with any luck emerge from the fog victorious—confident, even. Those first few months are when you learn to fly.
I spent the better part of a year on the baby-making fence. One day I was done, and the next I was jotting down cute baby names. My husband said he would be happy either way, and left the final decision to me. Great.
I embraced the “if it’s meant to be, it’ll be” mantra because I was getting nowhere trying to make a decision on my own. As the months passed, I found myself leaning more towards the non-baby side of the fence, which was a bit of a surprise, if I’m honest. Before I knew it, I felt confident that our family of four was complete.
I was done having babies.
This reckoning didn’t occur overnight. There were several factors that contributed to my no-more-babies decision. Factor one: I suck at pregnancy. Some women love it. They glow, they’re happy, and they’re the picture of motherly euphoria. I’m not one of those women. I hate being pregnant. There, I said it. It’s not fun for me. When I make babies, I spend nine months as a miserable, vomiting incubator. I get that it’s a miracle, and blah, blah, blah, but no. I respect the miracle, and I’m grateful for it, but I certainly do not enjoy it.
Then there’s the issue of diapers. During my year of contemplation, I potty-trained my youngest child. I don’t think I need to elaborate on why the thought of never seeing or paying for another diaper was appealing.
So, there I was with two diaper-free kids, who happen to really love each other. My kids are sympatico, peas and carrots, two of a kind—call it what you want, they share the kind of sibling bond every mother hopes for. I worried how a third child might change our family dynamic. As it was, our kids had finally reached an age where we could venture out in public, and maybe even enjoy ourselves without a child-related meltdown. We were finally doing things again. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed things. It was also nice to leave the house without a duffle-bag full of just-in-case items.
And finally, and perhaps most significantly, my age. I’m not about to divulge it here on the interwebs, but some folks of the medical persuasion might call it an “advanced maternal age.” (Listen, I may not be a spring chicken, but I will flip my lid if someone labels me as a geriatric pregnancy because WTH?) And while it’s mostly a holding-onto-my-youth thing, there are certain risks for myself and my child that increase with age. I just wasn’t sure I wanted to roll those dice.
I have two amazing, healthy, beautiful children. I know what I have, and how fortunate I am to have it. I will always cherish my time as a young mother. While it was as close as I’ve ever come to torture, having babies taught me more about myself than I could have ever learned on my own. I am thankful, and I am done.