#MotherlyStories: How do I know when I’m done having babies?

Adrienne of Stylish Bump talks about her dilemma—to go for another child, or is her family already complete?

#MotherlyStories: How do I know when I’m done having babies?

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By Adrienne of Stylish Bump


This has been on my mind a lot lately. A LOT. In fact, I think about it every day. Running Stylish Bump means that I see lots of photos every day of pregnant women: the magical moment they share their very first scan, first tiny bump shot, first photos of their toes poking out from behind the bump.

I am lucky enough to be sent and tagged in hundreds of those special bump photos—from all over the world—and am privileged to share in this most wonderful part of a woman’s life.

But what has been on my mind lately is this: how do you know when you’re done? More specifically, when I’M done?

I know a lot of women that just KNOW they’re done. I meet them all the time and they are absolutely certain, dogmatic even, that they are finished having babies. So much so that they arrange for their partners to have a vasectomy!

But I keep wondering about having another child. Is our family complete? Will I ever be pregnant again?

It’s probably a selfish thing, but being pregnant and experiencing child birth again is what I think about the most. I absolutely LOVED being pregnant. Every aspect of it. Aside from the first 16 weeks of morning sickness, I had wonderful pregnancies and adored the experience. Even the morning sickness was positive—it gave me that daily reassurance that my baby was healthy and growing. After miscarrying my first baby, the morning sickness was a relief that things were going well.

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I loved the pregnancy fashion, the attention my bump attracted, how I felt more like a woman than ever before, the sense of purpose and responsibility I felt, and so connected with other pregnant women. And I had wonderful labour and birth experiences. Really! All drug free, very quick labours in a hospital and recovered very well, very quickly.

All these factors make having another baby such an attractive idea.

BUT...

I think about how tricky it would be to have a newborn again. The night feeds, the sleeplessness, the exhaustion of recovering from pregnancy yet still having to run the household and look after the other children—it’s a lot.

To have another baby would impact the whole family, not just me. It’s more than just conceiving, being pregnant, going through labour and delivering a healthy baby. There’s sharing a room. Another cot. Another car set —a bigger car! A bigger house. Less holidays. More cooking. More cleaning...

And I already have three children. Three. I’m SO lucky: they’re healthy, happy, adore one another, and with three girls comes a lifetime of hand-me-downs. Easy!

So much to consider.

Of course, my older daughters are all for it. (They’re still young!) My husband is happy if I’m happy. If I’d like another baby, then he’s all for it. Ultimately the decision is up to me.

But how do you KNOW when you’re done? How do you know when your family is complete? And if you feel like it is complete, will the pangs of ‘what if’ ever go away?

I don’t think it ever will go away. Not for me anyway. I think about it every single day—should we have another one? But then I think about my reasons for it. I have three healthy, beautiful, smart, intelligent, articulate and completely different girls. And it’s not about having a boy. Not for me at least.

When I consider another baby, it’s about having another person in our family to love, nuture, grow and enjoy life with—like we do with our girls.

But I think about not having enough time with my girls. Already now at times I do find it difficult to have quality one-on-one time with each of them individually. We do lots of things together, like riding our bikes to the park and going for ice-cream, but spending time with EACH of them doing what they like to do most is tricky. Even though they’re all very close in age, they’re all at very different stages of development in terms of what they like to do. Like, what sort of books they like to be read.

And as they get older I can see they’ll require more one-on-one time to learn to read, write, draw, and do various activities and sports on weekends that they’ll each choose. I don’t want them to miss out on anything and I don’t want to miss out on experiencing anything with them.

So I think about it every day, and I’m torn. I think about the pros and cons and still can’t make up my mind. Some days I am absolutely keeping all my baby things and convinced number #4 is a great idea. Other days, when I’m struggling to get to everyone, the house is a disaster-zone, the washing has piled up and I can’t be in three places at once, I think ‘no way’.

So I guess it will just be on my mind until the time comes that it’s too late. That my time will run out, my baby-years will be behind me and the decision will have been made for me.

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