How do you know you are done?

Our reasons for having three children are as follows:

* we wanted a larger family, but since I had my first at 33, we knew we were a bit limited by the ticking of time;

* I was 37 when I had my son (#3) and I didn’t want to be pregnant or nursing after 40 (no good reason; I wanted to go away drinking with my girl friends);

* my body was done, done, done after #3’s birth. Also, mentally, a fourth would have sent my high-strung, Type A personality over the edge.

So, once we knew that our little guy was healthy, Fairly Odd Father made sure that there would be no more bambinos. He’s a good guy to have taken care of that.

Four years later, I can say that this was the right choice for us. I know a few people who have had babies lately and, while I love, love, love being around them, I don’t wish I had a baby of my own right now. For one, I’m finally getting a decent night’s sleep and, also, (drum roll) we have ended the Era of the Diaper.

Plus, I’m ready for a dog. And probably another kitten (sorry, Cally—my 17 year old deaf cat—just thinking ahead a bit). Oh, and then there is my slight obsession with chickens.

So, are you done or not? Or not sure? Do you think you’ll ever be sure? (and, I realize that this choice isn’t always in your hands. If we had wanted a fourth, I don’t think I could physically done it, which bums me out a bit.)


  1. It’s funny you should mention it since this has been on my mind a lot. This summer I had my third child. My water broke at 23 weeks, I was in the hospital on bedrest for 6.5 weeks before having a c-section. This is the second time I’ve had a premature baby and I am definitely not risking that again!

    Part of me is glad to be done with the babies and part of me is sad that the choice isn’t mine to make, even though we were *probably* done with this one, anyway.

    After a little more time I think I’ll be able to look forward to what lies ahead and enjoy what I DO have. Nothing is ever simple, though, is it?

  2. ~Swankymama says

    I knew I liked you! I think we are soul sisters. :o)

    Drinking with the girlfriends is so much fun in your forties.

    We are done, done, done too!

  3. colleenfelz says

    This very topic has been talked about over and over in our house! It is such a tough decision for us as it is for many families. I recently wrote a post about trying to decide whether or not to have another baby. Check it out:

  4. I always thought we’d have 3 or 4, but starting at 34 didn’t help. I had a miserable pregnancy with #2 (high-risk due to #1 being 6 weeks preterm, struggled with hyperemesis throughout the pregnancy.) After my son arrived 5 weeks early, I knew I was done tempting fate with any more bio kids.

    And his subsequent developmental issues have pretty much sealed the door on adoption, too – I can’t imagine disturbing the rare delicate peace we have reached now that everyone is school-aged.

  5. SuburbanCorrespondent says

    We left ourselves open to having more babies because we realized that, while we were able to anticipate all the work and stress that having another baby might generate, we never were able to guess just how much love and joy each child would bring into our family. No regrets here! And, oh, I do so miss having a baby around!

  6. Subspace Beacon says

    When I went for my first prenatal check up with the second child the doctor said I either had a very large uterus or was carrying TWINS. And my first reaction was, “BUT I ONLY WANT TWO CHILDREN! I DON’T WANT THREE!” And that was a pretty good indication that I was done.

  7. Like you, I find it such a relief to know that my family is just the size I want it to be. Sometimes I do question if I am just being selfish and wanting more time for myself – another baby would put that off for a few more years.

    Now, the big question is, how do I convince my hubby that he needs to go under the knife?

  8. mothergoosemouse says

    Well, I think you already know my story, but with #3 we were done.

    I was afraid that I couldn’t handle a third, mentally or physically (I’ve had three c-sections), but surprisingly, my recovery with him has been the easiest of the three.

    However, we’re out of bedrooms and damn near out of money. 😉

  9. Yes! No! Maybe! Aaaaahhh!!!

    We’ve been waffling in indecision for over three years now, not ready to be done, not ready to be not done. I think we’re getting close to a decision though.

  10. We are happy with our boys. It took us 5 years and many doctors to conceive the baby.. We are DONE!!

  11. I’ve had the discussion with a number of friends who are really struggling with it because OMG BAAAYBEEEEZ!!!!! I think when it comes down to it you have to set emotion aside and look at the practical reasons for having or not having another. For many of us it is hard to just flat out say I will never WANT another baby. Because even if the pregnancy and first year sucked high holy hell some of us (ME) still love babies. But for me, realizing that physically the pregnancy was just too hard on my body and mentally a whole year of colic/newborn fussiness was just more than I could handle. I am so happy that I will not be pregnant again, even though I get the twinges every now and then I know that we have made the best decision for my health and sanity and if we decide to have a third one it will be via adoption (which I recognize has it’s own hassles and stresses).

  12. This will be our last. I’m pregnant with #4 (3rd pregnancy. Had twins the first time) and I keep getting the rude comments (“Are you done yet?” “Do you know what causes that?”).

    We wanted 4, but didn’t know if we could get pregnant after the last time. First pregnancy was a c-section which left me with some secondary infertility issues. Second pregnancy wound up being another c-section (planned homebirth, but it really was necessary) which left me with more complications.

    Dh and I discussed stopping with 3 and he would have been happy to do so, but I wasn’t. He’s a few years older than me and worried that he’ll be “too old” for a baby. We took two years, did our research, talked it over and decided to try for #4 a little earlier than planned. It was a compromise that worked for both of us.

    After the baby is born, dh will get snipped, although he can’t think too hard about the procedure or he’ll wince and run away. 🙂

    I hate to say, “The forth and final,” though, because you just never know. I really do feel like this is it and we’re done. 95% of me is certain this is it. But there’s a tiny piece that says, “You never know.”

  13. Mindful Mama says

    I want more, but my partner doesn’t. Both pregnancies were so hard on me (and my partner) that even I don’t want to bear another, but I would really love to adopt or foster. My partner wants our relationship back (you know, the kind where you can finish a sentence or do something other than fall into bed every night exhausted?), and I totally understand and want that too, but I feel like we have time for us later, but not time to have more kids. I am hoping she will join me in wanting more eventually…. Don’t get me wrong, these 2 are great, but as I see other larger families with more sibling interaction, I wish that my kids could have more sibs. There is a certain magic to a big family that 2 kids just can’t capture alone. You know?

  14. You would hear the cry of anguish all the way at your house should I ever find myself pregnant again.

    I sometimes wish I hadn’t waited so long in between my two kiddos but I never wish for a third. Do I miss some of their baby snuggles and the fun of having a pre-schooler? Absolutely. But not enough to want a new baby.

    My best friend just had a baby two years ago (when her youngest was 11) and while she is a beautiful girl and a joy to visit with…I never leave there thinking “aw, what if…”
    So that’s how I know.

  15. Another personal subject with me. I never thought I’d want more than 3 but I just don’t feel done. The risk of a 4th c-section is scary though. If it weren’t for that, I would have another. My pregnancies have not been easy though. But then sometimes I see you and other of my Mom friends, just sitting and watching the kids play or whatever while I’m chasing around a toddler. Sometimes I think I’m ready to move on to that next stage. I would like to adopt but that is so expensive. I’m looking into adopting from DSS but that can be risky.

    So basically…I’m just not sure. No final decisions have been made and I think I have a couple more years to decide. Either way, I’m not ready for another yet. I feel like Noah still needs me a-lot.

    I think about this all the time.

  16. When I was pregnant with #3, I would say,, “third and last” then the hubby said, what about 4?
    First I almost fell out of my chair, then I wondered, then got an appt for a sterilization procedure…
    Could we have 4? sure…
    SHOULD we??? absolutely not….

  17. Issas Crazy World says

    I am not done. We take it one at a time. There is a four year span between our two youngest and I know I won’t do that again. If there is to be more, it will happen in the next couple of years. I started young though. Had my first at almost 22; on purpose too. We wanted to have ours young.

    I am not sure how I’ll know we’re done, but I’m betting I will. What I know for sure, is this boy, my little perfect number three, he’s not quite the last one.

  18. DysdHousewife says

    Oh yeah. We are done. I actually just blogged about WHY we are done, and why I am thankful for Preschool.. LOL

  19. Indeed I am done. We have one child (I was an only child, too) and I have never wanted it any other way.

    I, too, have a lot friends around me who are having babies and although they are cute & I enjoy lovin' on them…I cannot imagine having to diaper anyone or wipe spit up on anyone's chin again!!

  20. I had one, by in-vitro. When she was only 15 months I left my husband. After that I knew I was done. Unlike my mother, I know my limits and yes, one was the limit.

    Someone asked me “but if you met someone, wouldn’t you even consider it?” The answer is no. I’m happy. One and done.

  21. I just got to spend the evening with our friend’s baby girl. At seven weeks, she’s still so tiny that she weighs what my babies did at birth. I dressed her in one of the kid’s old PJs and felt my uterus skip a beat. Sigh. I hope our pals keep having babies so I can enjoy them without wanting another. That or we’re getting a snake.

  22. Oh, my God, that is so funny you’d bring up chickens! Me, too! (I actually did try another cat first, but broke out in hives at the shelter…) But I think we should hold the line. They may not need diapers, but they are MEGA-poopers.

  23. I’m definitely done. I’d like to be able to pay off college one day…

  24. meg duerksen says

    i am coming over from your comment to me. 🙂
    my girlfriends and i talk about this subject a lot. i had five babies. my husband and i weren’t very good planners so all of our babies just happened when God saw fit. so after five my husband took care of that. i would have had more. i wish he woud have wanted to have more but since he didn’t then it was time to stop. so more than wanting another baby…i wanted him to want another baby with me.
    i still would have another if i could but i can honestly say…five is plenty. HA.
    that is an understatement.
    i loved being pregnant and loved babies. it’s the teenage years that i don’t enjoy. so it’s best we are done because one is a teen and several more to come. i need to brace myself for that.
    great post.
    nice to meet you. 🙂

  25. Mrs. Chicken says

    I’m just emerging from Newborn Hell and now I am …. thinking about No. 3.

    I’ll be 38 in July.

    I’m crazy, I know.

  26. Trenches of Mommyhood says

    Like you, we’re done at 3. I’m resigned to not having a little girl. We knew we were done after Baby, but it no longer became “by choice” after my 3rd c-section when they told me that my uterine lining was too thin to withstand the risk of going into labor on my own and that they’d have to take the baby at 36 weeks regardless, if I decided to go for #4. So that sealed the deal for us and Hubby got snipped.

    But now that Baby is almost 3-1/2 and we’re thankfully (pretty much) done w/ the Era of Diapers, I get twinges of Baby Desire. That are instantly repelled when the 3 boyz are causing chaos. Which is usually.
    (sorry for the novel!)

  27. IF I’d had my first child soon after we’d starting trying, we might have had more than one. As it is, we didn’t have a child until I was 42, and it took an awful lot of work and money to have her, and so we were done. But not necessarily because we wanted to be.

    On the other hand, I like my one child quite a lot.

  28. We thought we were done with 2, but I was only 98% sure, so we didn’t do anything about it. About 9 1/2 months after that conversation, (among incredible odds that said I could not get pregnant) we had number 3, and I had a tubal at the same time. Several months later, he was snipped as well. We definitely knew three was it for us, and I’ve never regretted it. I enjoy babysitting for friends little ones, and I really enjoy sending them home. Next year, I will have a child in high school learning to drive, one starting middle school, and one in first grade. No more…I might just go crazy.

  29. First, let me say I’m so thankful for my two girls. That said, I would love a bigger family but our last pregnancy was complicated, high-risk, and nearly gave my husband a nervous breakdown. If we were to try again, we’d face big odds that the baby would die in utero and we’re just not willing to risk that. I would love to adopt a child in a few years or be a foster parent. We just don’t have the room at this point though.

  30. Gray Matter says

    I never wanted more than my one kid (and honestly, 2 years before he was born I didn’t want any.) But now I am sprinting towards 40 and looking backwards at the “drunken late night” years and then I look forward at (not to) the “early bird special” years, so I find the thought cross my mind…hmmmm, what if I had another? At which point I devolve into hysterics and think, another what? Another glass of wine. Yeah, wine. Good.

  31. I hopped over here from a comment you posted on Mrs Mogul about homeschooling and that family of 17 (!) What a great find you are!

    We have two children right now, and we would like a third in a bit.

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