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We all have different journeys and naturally, our definitions of what makes our families ‘complete’ varies wildly, too. Some mamas are quite content with one child while others surround themselves with large families.


There is no right or wrong answer in this scenario.

Regardless of whether you are able to control when you deem your family to be complete or not—declaring ‘no more babies’ is a bittersweet decision even for the strongest mother.

It’s quite possible that you will feel confident and sad about your decision. I know I did.

Thing is, it’s okay and perfectly normal to feel conflicted. You’re only human.

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I am speaking from experience as someone who is 110% positive they don’t want any more children. I have all I want and need. And probably all that I can handle as far as my sanity is concerned. (If I had any more children, you’d probably find me wandering around aimlessly in fuzzy pink slippers in Target…?).

Yet there are days when I look at a new mom and all those familiar brand-new-baby feelings wash over me. I hold a friend’s newborn and that baby scent transports me to a magical land far, far away. A land I will only be able to visit and never experience first-hand again.

My mind wanders to what it would be like to have a third child. Maybe I’d have a boy? Would I be a good ‘boy mom’? Would he be tall and into sports like his daddy? And so on. I call these hypotheticals a case of the ‘what ifs’—except I don’t have the option to change course and explore a different path.

I am faced with the finality of my decision and that can be a little sad sometimes. A door has closed for good. That chapter of my life is over.

Though I know in my heart and mind that our family is complete, sometimes the realization that my ‘babies’ are no longer babies hits me like a speeding freight train. They are growing up so fast, and there won’t be another baby to divert my focus away from that fact.

There is a tinge of sadness that bubbles up at the most unexpected times. Like when a memory shows up in my Facebook feed from eight years ago or when I sort through my kids’ clothing or when they get out of the car without demanding hugs and kisses like they used to.

Sometimes I find a baby picture in a random spot—my beaming, chubby little girl performing at her first dance recital—and the sweet memory is followed by the inevitable realization...I won’t have another chubby little toddler running around. That little girl has transformed into a waif-like ballerina in what seems like the blink of an eye.

And then a lazy Sunday rolls around and I find myself sleeping in until past 9 a.m. (gasp!) after a late night. The girls have gotten themselves breakfast, let out the dog and now are happily taking advantage of their weekend TV privileges cuddling with their pajama-clad dad by their side. Life. Is. Wonderful.

I gratefully accept that days like these would be a distant dream if we had another tiny human in the house. I am reminded of the many, many, many sleepless nights that come with babies and congratulate myself on making the best decision for me and our family.

So as you can see, mama, it is possible to feel both confident and sad about the “no more babies” path.

I will always miss the special moments like breastfeeding, my babies falling asleep on my chest or flashing me their first smiles. But I also celebrate the freedom that comes with older kids. I watch them grow and marvel at the people they’re becoming.

It’s a whole new chapter in our story together.

So, when you’re feeling sad...see the joy in the family you have now—the family that’s around you. (Oh, and those lazy Sunday mornings and uninterrupted nights of sleep. ?)

When you’re feeling guilty...feel confident in your decision. You know in your heart what’s best for you and your family.

When you’re feeling relief...don’t feel bad about that. Think back to those newborn days and appreciate how far you’ve come.

When you’re feeling conflicted...be gentle with yourself. It’s not always easy knowing you won’t feel the warm newborn cuddles again from your own child. Allow yourself to feel any real pain in the confliction—and remember to show yourself grace.

When you’re feeling grateful...know that it’s okay to feel good with what you’ve got.

And when those rare sad feelings do bubble up, I remind myself that my girls will always be my ‘babies’—whether they like it or not. ?

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Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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