Her Bad Mother

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Future By Thirds

"What would you think," my husband asked, "if I got a vasectomy?"

I put down my magazine and stared out the window. "I think," I said carefully, "that I wouldn't know what to think."

"We're done, though, right?"

"I think so."

"But you don't want to get pregnant again, right?"

"I don't want to be pregnant again, no. Or at least, I don't think so. I think. No. I don't know."

That wasn't entirely true. I do know. I don't want to be pregnant again. And I certainly don't want to go through childbirth again. And I could do without ever going through another exhausted-depressed-anxious-boobchafed tour-de-newborn again. But do I want to ensure that I never get pregnant again, that I never have another child? I don't know. I don't think that those questions are the same. Do you want (or not want) to go through the process of having another child? is a different question from do you want (or not want) to have another child? in the same way that do you like the work of motherhood? is a different question from do you like being a mother? or do you love being mother to your children?

I don't like pregnancy. I don't like childbirth. I'm not super crazy about the work of motherhood, and I'm especially not crazy about the 24-7 boot camp nightmare that is the work of being a brand new mother to a brand new baby who stays up all night and chomps boobs and shits everywhere. But I love my children. I adore my children. They are the most precious, most delightful, most amazing things in my life. So if you ask me, do I want more mother-work, the fast and firm answer is no. But if you were to ask me whether I'd want another one of these incredible little beings, I would say that I can't bring myself to say, firmly and finally, no. And if you were to ask me whether I'd accept further burden of mother-work in order to have another one of these little beings, I'd have to say, I just don't know. I don't think so, but I don't know.

All I know is that I don't want to say no. Not with any kind of finality. Not in a way that closes off any possibility of yes. Or even, oops. (Because oops is a yes of a sort, is it not?)

(yes is a world/and in this world of/yes live/(skilfully curled)/all worlds)

(feel free to roll your eyes at me here)

My hands are full. Emilia is hell on wheels, a brilliant and beautiful tempest that blasts her way through every day, wreaking full havoc and leaving us, her parents, stunned and enchanted and weary in her wake. Jasper is a great, hulking, grinning cherub of a baby, big and strong and determined to catch up to his speedster-demon of a sister. They thrill and delight and exhaust me. I adore them more than I thought it possible to adore any other living beings, but they keep me at the very razor's edge of my wits. I don't know that it would be humanly possible for me to manage another child. Ever.

But the idea of closing off any possibility of that third child... that seems, somehow, inexplicably, wrong. I'm not a big believer in destiny - that is, I don't think that I am - but if there's a future for us in which a third child figures, do I want to refuse that future? I think of those friends of mine for whom the third (or fourth) was unexpected, a shock even, and I know that if they had it to do over, they would not want to turn back the clock and refuse. But turning back the clock to change the past, and settling upon certain choices for the future are two different things, of course. I have already made innumerable choices that have closed off innumerable futures; I do not, for the most part, mourn the loss of these futures. They just simply are not to be.

Am I ready, though, to close off entirely the possibility of this future, of a future in which our two are our three, in which we four who once were we three become we five?

I don't know. I just don't know.

(How did you know? DO you know?)



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128 Comments:

Blogger Robin said...

I don't know. What's more, I don't know how you know. We've been waffling for years already (my younger child is already five). I guess the not knowing is an answer in and of itself. I'm just not ready. Yet. Maybe.

9:53 AM  
Blogger becky w. said...

Oh Catherine. Thank you for this post. It speaks to me like you cannot even know, but then you do because you wrote what I am feeling! We had an oops (3rd pregnancy) earlier this year that ended at 9 weeks in a miscarriage. http://nooniebug.blogspot.com/2008/10/today.html
My husband is on the verge of having a vasectomy and I still keep hoping for another "oops" before he actually schedules the appointment. Because then I can have my 3rd baby without having to actually have to say "yes" to going there again. But we're done, we decided together, so why the longing?

10:04 AM  
Anonymous WaltzInExile said...

I'm with Robin. I don't know, and I don't know how anyone knows. I can't make myself do that final "no way no how" step yet, either. Which, considering we already have 2 birth control babies, is pretty much me saying "we're not done," I suppose. I don't see me ever explicitly saying "let's have another one." It's weird. I'm a control freak about most stuff, but this I cannot make myself impose my will upon. Probably because I have no idea what my will is. Let me know if you get an answer.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Lately, my husband and I have been asking ourselves this EXACT question (well, over a 4th, we just had our 3rd in June). I think we're pretty close to making that appointment with the urologist but still ... it's the idea of closing that baby-possible chapter of our lives. It's SUCH a difficult decision. The idea of "never again" is sad and intimidating. Except the idea of doing it all over again, out numbered twice over, in our tiny home kind of makes me want to run shrieking down the street.

... not that THAT helped much ...

10:06 AM  
Blogger LawMommy said...

My first child was born to me. My second child, adopted under fairly unusual circumstances, by choice (which is not to say that anyone could adopt by accident, but, rather, we adopted a child instead than attempt to get pregnant again, even though it was not the getting pregnant that was difficult for me. It was the aftermath, the ppd, the crippling post partum anxiety, that had us choose to find another way to bring another child into our family.) Lana was four when we adopted her, which is not the usual way of making families, but, it's what we did.

Anyway, the minute our adoption of Lana was finalized, the minute we were four instead of three...I told my husband I wanted to make an appointment for him to get snipped. And he said, "please do" and I did, and he did, and it was done. We were done. I knew. I knew I couldn't do it again. I think I knew I couldn't do it again (i.e. pregnancy) the moment I pushed Gabe into the world. It was a one time thing for me. It was just too painful (not just childbirth, but, the aftermath, both physiologically and pychologically, for me to do again.)

Anyway, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt. (I guess it did occur to me that there is no way to say "I will never adopt again" in the same way that one can say, "I will never give birth to another baby." But, I doubt we will adopt again, the option isn't exactly cut off.)

If you are not sure, how do you feel about in IUD? It's pretty effective, all things considered.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Goldfish said...

I don't know. We did it. We had our third and called it quits (vasectomy). It made me cry. I'm with you-- I hate being pregnant. I'm not a real "mommy" mother. I love it, but sometimes reluctantly. And after we had our third (almost a year ago), after a very difficult pregnancy and delivery and horrifying neonatal stretch, and PPD, I thought maybe (just maybe) I wanted more. But my husband didn't. And I said okay. I'm a sometimes reluctant mother. And a sometimes reluctant not-mother.... I don't know.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous The Dalai Mama said...

I can't speak to the issue of getting and being pregnant again--as I am infertile, but I do have two amazing and precious children whom we adopted as infants.

After our most recent adoption (I hate to refer to is as our last adoption), my hubby and I decided we were done with babies. I cannot deal with another baby--emotionally. But on the flip side, I know that my family isn't complete. I have always wanted four kids and I feel lucky that I can have that without having to get pregnant four times.

We plan to adopt an young sibling group when our oldest between 5-6 so about 3 years from now. I think deciding you are done is hard. We decided that we would not pursue further fertility treatmemt options because we do not see us having another baby. But, I can say that if you're not 100% sure--then the chances are you are either not done--or you aren't ready to say that you are done. Either way--wait on the snipping until you are sure.

I just wanted to say that I love your raw and open honesty. It has given me the courage to be open and honest about my own feelings during this transition to a second child and new baby. Thank you.

10:20 AM  
Blogger April said...

i SO dread the day when my husband comes to me with that question. i know now that i'm not done having (wanting?) babies, but i don't know how i'll know when i AM done... and it stresses me out just thinking on the topic. good luck!!!

10:24 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Schmitty said...

Mr. Schmitty had a vasectomy. I know at 41 I don't plan on giving birth to more children. However, I still have that ache. I think it's just a woman's heart. Think with your head because the heart will confuse you.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Ms. Moon said...

We KNEW when we had our fourth, who was completely unexpected and who is one of the true bright lights of this planet and my heart now.
But yes, we were certain then. I went with my husband and our newborn and I sat by his side with the baby on the breast and MADE SURE THAT DOCTOR DID IT RIGHT.
And he did.
And God bless the vasectomy.
But only when you really, really KNOW that's what you want.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

When Boo had his vasectomy I was wearing a cheerleading outfit and shaking my pompoms. We were 25. Three kids, one handicapped, and a heart condition of mine meant there was no way we wanted to try our hand at a fourth child.

For years we celebrated our new birth control and the sweet freedom to fornicate without consequence.

Then life happened and suddenly, regardless of what health risks it would mean, or boob chomping or what have you, we'd both sell our souls to walk the path of pregnancy once again.

Do we regret it? Yes. Would we do it again? Most likely. At the time it was the right decision for both of us and for our family.

But what I would give for the ability to expand our family with out bureaucrats and politics and adoption case workers.

Of course I could just be saying this out of frustration for our current position. Because I freaking hated being pregnant.

Once I have a small child to call my own I'll be celebrating the fact I did it without ever damaging my nether regions or having my boobs chewed on.

It was the right decision for us. And we both were absolutely positive of it. Still are. It's just sometimes the mommy yearning is stronger than the common sense.

Damn hormones.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Jean said...

For us, we had discussed having one and I was totally ok with it. Pregnancy was not easy nor fun and I had some PPD after DS was born. It was a horrible, trying time, I don't have a ton of fond memories of the early stages of infancy (like the first 6 weeks). AFter that, as he grew and got bigger and I began to understand my precious boy, things got better for me too. I was also getting more sleep which seriously, people totally underestimate the value of sleep. So, I began to, in the back of my brain, think about one more.

When my son was about 18 months old, I had a pregnancy scare. And I was DEVESTATED!!! Seriously, totally, completely freaking out with no thoughts to "maybe this would be good". Of course, a day later I got flo and the relief was palpable. So at that moment, I knew for sure, that I was done.

That's how I knew.

10:42 AM  
Blogger tallulah said...

Even when you KNOW that you are done, you don't really know. That's the terrible twisted reality of deciding and planning a family.
We adopted 4 children and then got pregnant. My pregnancy was a complete surprise & awful and actually dangerous to our baby. We decided before Izzy was even born that my husband would get a vasectomy..which he swiftly did. But I can't tell you how many times between then and now (5 years)that I wished I were pregnant again. EVEN with the Mommy duties and five children. It's very hard because you know that your love can just spread wider and wider with each child. That you can love all of them so completely.
It's a tough decision.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Lori said...

I had a very, very hard time deciding. In my head I knew I was done at four, in my heart I really wanted another one. But, I just knew that I couldn't do it. We made the decision to do the big V and I was really, really sad for awhile. So was my husband. But, as the youngest gets older we're more at terms w/ the decision. It's nice to be able to do things as a family instead of one parent sitting off to the side w/ the baby. It's nice for them to all have some independence now so that I can be me again. But, every now and again I get the feeling that I still want another one. My mom says that she had that feeling for years after they were done. I think it's just a mommy thing.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do it. It doesn't have to be permanent. They can be reversed. Yes, there may be problems (like clogged pipelines) that may make a reversal pointless, but you have a few reasons to do it:

1) You seem pretty overwhelmed right now. Another baby would really make it worse.

2) You can adopt later if you decide that you must have another baby. Lots of babies need good homes and their mothers need the option of adoption rather than the alternative.

3) If you are destined/meant to have a third, you will get pregnant, vasectomy or not.

4) Children are wonderful and it is time to start enjoying the ones you have instead of delaying that enjoyment for another pregnancy/post partum period that consumes all of your lives.

Best of luck. Being due any minute with #2, I am not sure if we are done. I'm about 90% sure. But this is girl #2 and the door is now open to try again for a boy. But man, if this was a boy, the vasectomy would be scheduled the day the baby turned 1 (or pretty close thereafter). :)

10:45 AM  
Blogger Super Ninja Mommy said...

I thought we were done. Then when Beastie was four months old... oops! So now I have four children, and now I know we *aren't* done. It feels like someone is missing from our family. No more babies 13 months apart though, thank you very much.

I don't think we could ever choose permanent birth control. My SIL did with mixed feelings, but after a year or so has completely accepted it and his happy with her decision.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

How about a Mirena - more effective than a V, totally reversible, and cheaper. Plus, you don't have to put up with two or three days of DH whining on the couch. :)

I don't know when you know, either. Maybe when you hear a baby cry in the store, and instead of thinking, "Awww.." you think, "Suckers!"

If I ever figure it out, I'll let you know!

Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

10:50 AM  
Anonymous red pen mama said...

I have been over this myself.

We still haven't definitively decided.

I know I don't want DearDR to have a vasectomy, though. Part religious reasons, part "just-no" feelings.

I've heard tell of people who have that one, two, three baby, and think "I'm done." So maybe people do know. I know I don't know. And I'm okay with that.

If you don't know, and if your husband doesn't know, I would suggest holding off on anything permanent.

Good luck!

ciao,
rpm

10:50 AM  
Blogger Tricia said...

Mother nature decided for me. No children, sorry, none. And I'm okay with that.

I think it's sweet of your husband to offer - most men have to be coerced to have a vasectomy. I know my BIL went under duress - they knew they wanted no more kids but he would have been fine with my sister having invasive surgery rather than having his boys snipped in any way. Thankfully he is not a selfish man and saw the error of his ways. :)

10:55 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

We are done. My husband is going for the V on friday. I'm sad that there will be no more babies, but we have no space, no money and my body will likely not take another c-section anyway. Our third was born in May and immediately after her birth I felt done. As friday draws closer I feel less sure, but it's probably just the finality of it that bothers me a bit.

When our #2 was born, I did NOT feel done. My husband did. He wanted to get the V then. We discussed it for a year or two then decided to try for 3. She took us 2 years to conceive and I was beginning to think that I would have no choice but to be done. Thankfully she came along.

I think if you're not sure, you're not necessarily done. If you have no medical reason to not have more, I'd leave the option open, just in case. He can always get it done later, if/when you're sure.

You only regret the kids you don't have, never the ones you do.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous fidget said...

I tried to be done at 3. I dont do pregnant gracefully and require a lot of medical guidance (which i hate) but after 3 when it was time to make the big V appointment, I lost my shit and just ugly cried.

We have 4 now and I still dont feel done. I think my body may say NO MORE before my heart does. I'm a masochistic sucker though... hence the new puppy.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

You may remember I spent some time obsessing about this last year. We called a halt at one kid, two parents. Like you, I would have blanched at the thought of sterilization for me or for Pynchon, though, for the same idea of not wanting to permanently foreclose hopes or possibilities.

Maybe this is something you drift into: for us, the decision becomes firmer every day, more right and more real, as we live it. In the daily choosing-not-to that is also, in its way, a choice, if not so grand as the grand gesture of surgery. You know? You get there by degrees. But you can still turn that ship right back aroudn if you have to ...

11:10 AM  
Anonymous LAVANDULA said...

catherine really you will know when you are done. there will be no question.my last pregnancy was high risk and extremely difficult with complications for both baby and myself and ijust knew i was done. i love my precious angels more than anything but no more...my husband had a vasectomy when little one was just under 1 years old and it didn't take...

11:17 AM  
Blogger paper napkin said...

Our 3rd was a surprise. I DID NOT WANT him. I kept telling him in-utero that it was nothing personal, I'm sure I would like him once he got here.

That said, 3 is easier than the transition from 1 to 2. And yes, I'm so glad he's here.

Am I done? I am so done. I do not like babies, though I adore them once they hit about 18 months and from then on I'm smitten. I would not go back to baby land for a million dollars. Well, maybe for a million, but not one cent less. 3 is enough-- financially, time wise, labor wise. I'm definitely through.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Syko said...

I never did know. Even at 36 years of age and divorced, and working to support three kids on my own, I still thought that just maybe I'd fall in love with someone terrific and want to have a child with him. So I never did anything, left tubes intact, uterus in place - and nature took care of it for me. Even now, 10 years post-menopause, it makes me sad to think I may never hold a snuggly warm sweet newborn again. Even my grandsons are big hulking teens now and when I ask plaintively for a granddaughter, each of my kids points to another and says "his/her turn". Every newborn still makes my shriveled ovaries ache. I don't know how you ever know.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Jenera said...

We are going to be having our 2nd baby in a few weeks. We know for a fact we are done. We have only talked about two and no more. When I think of our future, I have always pictured two little ones and a dog. Some people picture more. My hubby will be having a vasectomy around the first part of the year.

If we had an 'oops' or something, I would welcome another child but I really think two is all we will have.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may not be the most popular answer...

Here's how you know you're done. You look at things REALISTICALLY...can you afford a third, will you outgrow your house and have to move, will you have to go back to work even if you don't want to, do you have the tolerance for it, what about when they're all involved in different activities and you're being pulled in three different directions and your husband is out of town? Seems to me that everyone who isn't sure still has young-ish children or babies at home. Although things seem difficult with babies, they get much more complicated with older children. Think of the future; not just how you're feeling right now. I have two boys, three years apart. I'd have loved a girl, but financially it would have been a burden, I was getting too old (vowed not to have any over the age of 35), and I worked (and still do) fulltime. I'm happy giving my boys the best I can and I've gotten over the no girl thing. I think women have to stop being selfish about what THEY want and look to their and their children's lives in the FUTURE, and see if it makes sense. I agree with the commenter who said you should stop now and start to enjoy the children you have instead of thinking of children you might have had.

Having said that, it took us two years till my husband finally got a vasectomy. Not because I didn't want to, but he was one of those who had to be pushed into it. But he did it and we're both glad. We pretty much decided after #2 that we were done and a family of four suited us just fine.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Rosemary said...

I know what you are going through here.. and my wise doctor said that you never do something like that until you are sure.. and then you wait a year and if you are STILL sure, then you do it. We followed that advice.. and still felt that little pang when my husband had the vasectomy. But that was eight years ago now, and it was the right decision for us. Waiting that year helped us know that.. but I don't know if you can ever be 100 percent sure.. and since a small percentage of vasectomies fail, I figured if it happened after that -- it was meant to be (it didn't).

Take care.. and take time to ponder. Love your site, by the way.. had to de-lurk to tell you this!

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have three sons and can say that the third one slipped into the family so, so easily. It is not much of a transition when you already have two, ages 3 and 5. He was the baby I enjoyed the most. I was a very relaxed mother at that point. If you are unsure, then don't do anything yet!! There has been too little time since you had the 2nd.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Alexa said...

I just had my first baby. I can say that I don't want my hubby to get snipped for a very long time. My mother regrets not having a third to this day. She was going to have one when I (the youngest) was 8. She didn't for some reason for another, and still has regrets. I would go by that old saying, 'don't do something you'll regret'. You do have other options which may be a pain, but may be worth it so you don't have regrets.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Kyla said...

We haven't decided, thus, we are on what I call indefinite reproductive hold.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Rae said...

I didn't know before, but I'm pretty sure I know now.

I've had five pregnancies in the last seven years, one of them was an ectopic that had to be removed surgically, all the rest became fighting, laughing, adorable, exhausting children, and I'm only twenty-eight. There was also that 40 hour labor this last time to encourage the vasectomy route.

The only question- are we brave enough to get it done here in India?

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Reesie said...

Oh, I KNEW. I have PCOS, so neither conception was straight forward. I am an only child (not by my parents choice, it just worked that way). I always said, if we have one we will have 2.
Husband knew I wanted 2, so was supportive, but could have been fine with just one. We tried for 3.5 years for #2 and I finally said UNCLE. I'd had enough of the doctor visits and them pressuring me to pursue medical intervention I didn't want. In August of '03, I reluctantly said "We're done". I made career commitments, we bought a smaller car, life went on. 6 weeks later . . . yeah. I was pregnant.

The pregnancy was uneventful, but I was having a tough time keeping up with an active 3 y.o. and I just knew I couldn't do it again.

After 60 hours of off and on labor #1 was still a c-section. When we made the birth plan for number 2, I signed the papers for tubal just in case #2 ended in a c-section as well.

After 18 hours of labor it was decided that DS was not coming out the old fashioned way. He was posterior and we would later learn 9lbs with a GINORMOUS head. When the mid-wife consulted the M.D. I knew where we were headed, but didn't care. I was at the end of my rope. The M.D. said "you've signed the papers for a tubal ligation, is that still what you want?" In my labor haze, I turned to my husband and said "is it?" Poor man nearly keeled over on the spot. Then what the doctor asked me sunk in. "OH GOD YES!!. I am Done I never want to do this again. Please yes tie them." Husband regained his color and everyone laughed.
I got the 3 for one that night, the baby was born, they took a nagging cyst and tied my tubes. I've never regretted any of it. The kids are 8 and 4 and we are really enjoying the groove of two kids that can function at a higher level of independence. No naps, no diapers.
If you are uncertain, then hold off, but set a date for further discussion.
Wait 6-12 months then go seek out someone with a newborn. If you can hold the baby and give it back without longing. You'll know you are done. Best of luck.

11:53 AM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

I feel this post more than you could possibly know. I think I couuld have written most of it.

Greatly dislike being pregnant. Hate giving birth.
But want another wee one...

11:56 AM  
OpenID growingapair said...

We gave ourselves two years after #2 to think about it, because I felt like you felt. During that time, I started to want another child more and more-- and he less. Getting to where we are now (expecting #3 in March) was 50% long, intentional discussions filled with tears and conflicting thoughts and feelings-- and 50% getting a little carried away once my libido came back after removing my IUD.

Jury's still out on the wiseness.

12:00 PM  
Blogger KD @ A Bit Squirrelly said...

Vesectomys are sucessfully reversible. Just wanted to throw that out there. My two cousins are proof of that.

My husband had a V after the birth of our second child. In my mind I knew we were done, but the finality of is was hard. However the possibility should we change our mind was always there.

Unfortunately I ended up having a hysterectomy shortly after his V. I was devastated, even though we had already made the decision to be finished. There is something so special in the knowing that you can always have another should you choose...

Good luck with your decision. Make it carefully! :-)

12:06 PM  
Blogger Mommer said...

We're done, and it was the right decision, but I'm not sure I'll ever be 100% happy about it.

For me, "morning sickness" entailed 23/7 nausea (I got an inexplicable hour off every night from midnight to 1 a.m.), daily vomiting, IV fluids, and weight loss well into the second trimester. I had difficult recoveries and PPD the second time. I still wanted one more and we tried for six months, but we gave up out of sheer tiredness and he got snipped.

I know we made the best decision in practical terms, especially since my youngest was diagnosed with autism right about when I would have been giving birth if our third attempt had been successful.

But I've never quite gotten over the little space I'd made in my heart for that third one ... Jack, or Catherine if it was a girl.

I think that the faint phantom pains of the babies-that-were-not are just part of the mothering experience for many of us.

12:21 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

I don't know, honestly.

My husband had the big V right after our third, which I'm fine with -- and physically it is not a good idea for me to carry any more babies (too many surgeries) but I LOVED being pregnant and part of me is really, really sad that my body can't safely carry another child, be it for me or someone else. :(

Good luck friend.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous tv said...

We chose to make this decision based entirely on reason, not emotion. I knew I'd never be emotionally ready to relinquish the possibility of another child, but intellectually, I knew were done at two kids.

I still have wistful moments and an ache to hold another newborn, but it passes and I concentrate enjoying the next phase of parenthood. The mother-work is always there, but so too is the intense joy and love

12:36 PM  
Blogger No Mother Earth said...

I am exactly where you are - can't say yes, but can't say no either. Sometimes I think a third would take away what little sanity I have left, and sometimes I feel like there is somebody missing. It's hard, because I always thought I would have two, and the world is made for families of four (tables, cars, place settings..)...but then - three is the new two. You know?

I'm rambling.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Mac and Cheese said...

We're stopping at two. I would love to have another impossibly cute newborn, but I just keep reminding myself that it will turn into an adult that probably won't leave home until age 25 or so.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer said...

Interesting post. I have a son that I adopted with my ex 13 years ago. After our divorce (he left when my son was 1 1/2 yrs old) I was on my own for along time. Therefore my memories of being a mom to a baby/toddler/young child weren't the best. It was really tough as a single Mom with no local support (my family lives a couple hours away).

I didn't remarry until my son was 8 years old and it felt to me like it would be SO hard to start over again with another child. I asked my husband his thought and told him that if he had his heart on another child, I would consider trying. He said that having me and my son was enough - he later adopted him.

Now our son is going on 14 years old and we're talking about my husband getting snipped. Even if we had another child now - there'd be 14 yrs between them. It just feels to me like too much time has passed now. I go back and forth on, "is it selfish" and "is it sensible" all the time. We had the first apt for the consult and had the date scheduled, but there was a glitch in the schedule and we don't have another apt yet. Now I'm also thinking ... uh ... was it a sign? haha.

So I don't know how you know for sure. I think it's a personal choice based on personal circumstances. For us, it's a matter of resources to give our son right now - he's got lots of things ahead of him including college and we are working on being able to give him the most that we can.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't get over the number of comments saying that men have to be pushed into a vasectomy! It seems like all of my friends' husbands want one & the friends are saying no. And it is all b/c they think they may want more even when their husbands flat-out say that they don't. I don't understand why a wife would push for another baby when they know that their husband doesn't want another one.

1:11 PM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

A reminder to commenters suggesting IUDs - that's the compromise I accepted after two kids, and now I have Oliver. Just sayin'.

My two cents - if either you or HBF isn't sure about closing a door that can't easily be re-opened, don't close it. Not yet.

1:15 PM  
Blogger DivaDunn said...

We had been told we couldn’t get pregnant w/out at least IVF due to my scarred-up ovaries - so my daughter was a happy surprise. Before the pregnancy though, we'd always planned to adopt an older child out of the foster system, and I had this feeling that when it was time "our child would appear" (I do volunteer work w/several agencies.)

So when I had to have a c-section, I had them tie my tubes. After going through tour-de-newborn HELL, I soooo don’t regret it. It’s been two years since I gave birth and I’m just now getting where I can be around other peoples babies without having an anxiety attack! I love being a mom – but my talents are definitely with children – not babies.

With the history of adoption in your family, is it something you would consider?

1:15 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

re: comment to the effect that I should enjoy the children I have - that's the problem (to put it badly). I enjoy my children tremendously. Even through the fog of PPD and exhaustion, I adore them. They are joy itself. Which is why I find it difficult to say, outright, NO to the idea of ever having another of them. I may not groove on the work of motherhood, but I DO so fully enjoy my children that it's hard to not think, however ambivalently, that another one would be a joy as well.

But then the exhaustion kicks in again and I think, WHATEVER. NOT.

*confused*

1:23 PM  
Blogger TeacherMommy said...

I'm with y'all there. That's why I went the Mirena route--wanted to make sure there wasn't an "oops" if I could help it, because Oh God that would be a problem right now, but didn't want to completely eliminate Possibilities.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Badness Jones said...

Hubs and I decided on two before we even had one. Our first came a little earlier than we had planned (meaning, oops!) but we adored her, and when she was 2 we decided to try for another. We got pregnant the second month, and had a beautiful little boy. Hubs went and had a vasectomy. He loves our kids, but he did not, does not, ever, want more. And I? Will probably always feel a pang when I see someone pregnant, when I hold a precious newborn....but. I hated being pregnant. I was sick. And I find the first year exhausting, to the point that it overshadows all of the magic. This morning, my son (almost 2) kept waking me up crying, "mo(re) mil(k)!!!" And as he was grabbing me, and I was struggling to keep my temper, I realized that another would have pushed me permanently over the edge. I could not be a good mother to another. I would drown in a sea of depression and exhaustion. My first responsibility is to these children I already have. And there's a lot of joy to be had in other people's babies....

1:34 PM  
Blogger worldmomma said...

Have you thought about adoption as a possible way to add another little being to your family without the pain of pregnancy and childbirth (I hear you there!)? Adopting a child that's not a newborn would also allow you to skip that phase. And there is the bonus of providing a home to a child who needs one. If we'd ever go for a third, I hope it would be via adoption.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous wyliekat said...

I had the decision made for me by the fact that my now partner had a vasectomy years ago. It's a done deal. In a way, it's a relief, because the question of "why not a third?" would've haunted us for years.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Jo said...

I think you will always long for another baby, as a mother, it's instinctual. I agree with those that say you should use your head and not your heart to make the choice. My heart wants oogles of babies, I would so love a girl... (I have two boys) but yet with two I have time for babyGymboree, and Soccer, and baking cupcakes, and going to the library, I get to stollercise, and put away money for college, and I have enough strength left over to keep my house nice and husband happy. I know I would not be able to do all of that with the energy I put into it if I had another baby. It was sad to close that chapter of our lives so finitely, but I know we'll have a better quality of life because of it.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Amie said...

This is something my husband and I are currently going through. It will be me that gets the procedure done, but the end result is the same.

It's really hard to decide. Right now, yes, we're done. I'm about to have our third child, and the idea of going through another pregnancy makes my toes curl in a bad way. This pregnancy has been the roughest on me of the three and I know, were we to have more kids in the future, with me older still, it would only be a bit rougher that go 'round.

We know we're in for a ride having three kids (and we planned for this third child), and the idea of being outnumbered 2 to 1 if we were to have a fourth really doesn't appeal to us.

And then there's the fact that my husband is almost forty, and wants to be able to enjoy some quiet time traveling and living out dreams we've had together, once the kids are all out of high school and, hopefully, out of the house. Right now, if all goes well, we'll get that before he's 60. If we were to have another child, we wouldn't.

Still, it's hard to actually sit down together and firmly say, "Yes, we're done. Forever. No more. No changing our minds, no turning back. Done."

1:49 PM  
Blogger ALI said...

I am perfectly happy with the two healthy children I have, unless I get lucky enough to get another one! I love having babies in the house as much work as they are, I think I would like another one when my current baby is older. Hubby on the other hand keeps saying we are done, he can't handle any more. So here we sit, firmly on the fence, full of what it's and maybe's. Do I want another one right now? Hell no, but I'll take whatever I'm given..

2:02 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

I've been thinking about the same question, although there's no V on the horizon, just a question of whether we even want to "try" for another child. And unlike most of the commenters here, I only have just the one baby, a boy who's currently 15mo. The very sun shines from his eyes and I catch my breath at how much I love him (most of the time) but I went through brutal PPD.

Somewhat ironically, it's my hubby that doesn't want to go through pregnancy and childbirth again - I had a great time, personally, but it's the tour de newborn I don't think I could survive again.

And yet... stopping at *one* ??? Part of me feels like I'd be chickening out!!

2:21 PM  
Blogger All Things BD said...

After two girls, two exhausting pregnancies, two emotionally wrenching births and post partum dramas, I just knew I was done being pregnant and having a newborn. I did not want to go through that again.

Here's the really morbid, bizarre thought process we went through. If, GOD FORBID, something were to happen to one of our kids, would we want another? Would we somehow want to "replace" that loss with another child? I know, that is beyond creepy and awful, but that's where we were. So we waited.

After 5 years and seeing diapers and sleepless nights in our rearview mirror, it finally changed to, we're done, and even if the unthinkable happened, there's no way we'd even remotely consider another child to try and replace that hole.

Wouldn't you just love to hang with us at parties?

2:33 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

My husband just had a vasectomy a couple weeks ago. Our third was "talked about" but not really planned. In my exhaustion of parenting two young boys 18 months apart, I had a couple drinks one night and miscalculated my ovulation day . . . nine months later came our bouncing little girl.

I sort of do believe in destiny and that things happen for a *reason* . . . so I guess in the big picture I figure it was all for the better good of our family. I did not "feel done" after my second and I felt SO DONE after our third I refused sex ever again if hubby didn't go get his big V.

That being said - I won't lie. I had easy peasy pregnancies and three fast as lightening home births with no complications. I had two average babies and lucked out with my third being pretty easy (ok, a dream) to take care of. I am, however, paying for my easy babies in the form of ridiculously crazy toddlers and one completely stubborn and "spirited" preschooler.

Over time - you'll figure it out. You'll find out through talking, thinking, and just being, what is best and what is meant to be for you all :-)

2:46 PM  
Blogger Karen Sugarpants said...

Easy. We knew we did not want to be outnumbered. I am not even kidding in the least. Thomas would have been an only child had he come first, I might dare to say as well. Daren had the vasectomy the 5 months after Thomas was born. We were that sure.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Momo Fali said...

This was a no-brainer for me. My first was born 10 weeks early and my second was born seven weeks early, with heart, stomach, eye and kidney defects. He had eight surgeries before his fifth birthday, and still needs an open heart procedure. At birth, the two of them spent a combined eight weeks in the ICU. I do not want to have another baby in the hospital. See? No-brainer.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Twinsma said...

In the beginning my hubby and I decided we wanted two kids...then we had twins. Talk about a monkey wrench in your plans. Well, after much discussion, we're now expecting #3, due in April. And you know what, we're still not sure we want to close that option yet. My mother always told me that I would know when I was done. She said she knew, without a doubt that her third was her last. She couldn't handle pregnancy or babies again. I figure once this one gets here, we'll see. If we still aren't sure, we'll wait and I'll keep taking the pill. It worked for us before, I'm very consistent about taking it and it doesn't have all the bad effects on me that it does some women. When the time comes to discuss it again, we'll see.
I wish I could be more helpful, but only you can make that choice and all I can say is if you really aren't sure, don't do anything permanent.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

I have obsessed about whether to have a third child for the last 3 years. I even got pregnant (at the same time you did) had a miscarriage and still can't feel completely confident about making a final decision.

I am grateful for the children I have, cannot really imagine being pregnant again (I hate it), and feel that having another wouldn't be the best thing for our family.

But all that doesn't stop me from questioning a final decision. And worrying that I might forever regret closing the door.

I think it is far too soon for you to make that kind of decision. You are still in the thick of it with a baby. Wait another year or two.

Hopefully you will have more clarity than I do at that time.

3:19 PM  
Blogger ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I am done getting pregnant. I am done giving birth. My body simply cannot cope with the process again without most likely giving me serious issues. My body knows I am done. My mind knows I am done. My emotions have a harder time with that. There are times when I want another newborn, when I want to be pregnant again. But I can't. So DH had the vasectomy.
But we have not closed ourselves to having another child. We considered adopting from China but cant afford it. We are considering doing foster to adopt of an older child (though younger than my 2).
From my own perspective, having been there & done that, now is not the time for you to be making that call. It's too soon. It's too fresh and clear in your mind and you are too overwhelmed with dealing with your son. Let this time pass and wait until you can make this decision with a clear head so you won't regret it later.

3:48 PM  
Blogger The Mrs. said...

I feel the same way. I don't want to go through pregnancy, child birth, sleepless nights again. However, I love my children and I would do it all over again if another one happened to come along. However, I decided to have my tubes tied during my c-section. Now I am not sure if I should have made that decision.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Ernesta said...

Seems to me that if you don't know, then the answer is that you shouldn't get the vasectomy (I mean your husband) - wait and see another year or two and then decide. I am in that boat right now - got 2, should be done, but I don't quite thinks so, so I will wait and see. And that's ok too!!

3:57 PM  
Blogger Tiffi33 said...

Well, I felt alot like you do..not ready for the permanence of sterility..even tho I knew I was pretty done..
the deciding factor for me was my husbands insistence on it..he could not handle a 3rd kid (he has issues relating to providing for a family and felt a 3rd would be too much)and I could handle only 2 (even if I wouldn't have minded a 3rd..my pregnancies were SO easy..as well as the deliveries..however, the postpartum was hellish for me..PPD was nasty)
However, he would not go thru w/ it until I was sure..which was when Gavin was about 3-4 months..
it makes me sad some days..I would love to have another..but then there are days I feel barely qualified to have the 2 I have..
all in all, think on it HARD...
for me, personally having my tubes tied was not an option, but for him a vasectomy was OK..if that makes sense..lol..

3:57 PM  
Blogger Momily said...

I don't know, but I'm agnostic enough to not let my husband get snipped just yet! I feel that I can't base my decision on how difficult having 2 has been for the past 6 months, because of the unrelenting demands of a colicky newborn. It seems wrong to make the decision right now, when i'm just coming out of the fog.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one and I am DONE. I don't know whether it's something to do with being a single parent or not having a man so at the moment it's impossible but right now I cannot ever imagine wanting another child. I love my son, and I actually adored the newborn stage. Up til the age of 18 months I was fine and I'd have had 50 kids. Right now, aged 3? Never again.

My life is getting sorted, I'm at university, I'm looking at careers. I have time in my day that don't involve being climbed or drooled on and it is wonderous.

I love my son, I love him more now I get some time away from him. I have no idea why ANYONE would want to go back through all the crap that comes with small children. I can't wait til he's 5 and even more independant and in full time school, we'll have a ball then me and my little bub! :D

But yeah, I think you just KNOW. I think maybe you need to leave it til you're not hormonal and are in a place where you can make a concious, proper decision and not one that's fueled by hormones.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one and I am DONE. I don't know whether it's something to do with being a single parent or not having a man so at the moment it's impossible but right now I cannot ever imagine wanting another child. I love my son, and I actually adored the newborn stage. Up til the age of 18 months I was fine and I'd have had 50 kids. Right now, aged 3? Never again.

My life is getting sorted, I'm at university, I'm looking at careers. I have time in my day that don't involve being climbed or drooled on and it is wonderous.

I love my son, I love him more now I get some time away from him. I have no idea why ANYONE would want to go back through all the crap that comes with small children. I can't wait til he's 5 and even more independant and in full time school, we'll have a ball then me and my little bub! :D

But yeah, I think you just KNOW. I think maybe you need to leave it til you're not hormonal and are in a place where you can make a concious, proper decision and not one that's fueled by hormones.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

Such a hard decision. We are going through this now. I keep asking myself if I will regret (having, or not having) another.

I didn't want to be having kids into my 40s, but now I'm just not sure.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was pregnant with my first child when I graduated high school. I got pregnant with my second just after I got married (my first was 6 months old). When I got pregnant the third time when the second was 6 months old, I had an abortion. I was 20 years old, and the sole provider for my family. My husband (who became my ex a year and a half later)couldn't keep a job. When I was 21, obviously very fertile, and single with two small children, I talked my doctor into giving me a tubal. It took a lot of talking because of my age, but I'm glad I did it. I was not going to open myself up to being talked into more children by a man. I told myself, that if I met the right person, he would love me and my family the way we are. I found that man, and sure, sometimes I think it would be nice if I had been able to have "his" kid, but he's ok with being a Dad to the kids we already have. Now that my kids are teenagers, I can't imagine starting all over. I love babies, had easy pregnancies, but yep, I'm still done.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

I think I understand how you feel. We have an almost 4 year old daughter who fills our every moment with wonder and well heavy amounts of "mother work". My partner has been adament that we are done since day one, since I think he fears that he cant manage more than one, so we say to everyone "we arent having any more" a part of me kind of wishes that we could, if it wasnt so hard, and scary and expensive. I dont feel like I have enough breath or arms to manage as it is some days, how could I manage with one more. Its hard to watch my wonderful little girl grow up and at the same time wish that she was a baby again.

If I got pregnant by accident I wouldnt be upset. That means I want another doesnt it? I would be very sad if he got a vasectomy. It's a tough decision. I will be checking back to see what others think.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Miss Grace said...

I don't know if I would ever be able to absolutely positively say with a vengeance YES I'M DONE. There's something so final about it, yknow? Right now I have an IUD, which is long lasting and no-oopsing, but it's reversible, if, someday, I change my mind.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Jennifer A. said...

We still don't know how to answer it either.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good friend of mine is literal living proof that even vasectomies are not a 100% guarantee! For some other personal reasons, I'm not a fan of the procedure, but then again I'm a big fan of Natural Family Planning.

I know a very wise man who has an interesting take on contraceptive drugs, procedures, etc. He said it seems as if society treats fertility as a disease - something to be "fixed" or "prevented," when it is the most amazing and powerful gift we have. He was not advocating throwing all family planning out the window, and I TOTALLY understand knowing your own personal limits. His point was just that there's a lot of good that can come to a marriage and a family from working with your body, difficult as that may be, instead of trying to force it to do something it wasn't designed to do.

I can tell you my husband and I have found NFP (NaPro Technology, specifically) to be a really beautiful gift to our marriage and a tremendous asset to understanding my own health. I am the first to say that it is a VERY personal decision that may not be right for everyone, but I do encourage people to give it a shot.

One way or another, you'll know what's right for you!

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deep inside you will know... you know your limitations, be they financial or emotional, better than anyone else. I have one and I am DONE. I love my daughter more than anything but I wouldn't do it again. Even the thought of it makes me cringe.

5:57 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I thought I wanted one, but wasn't sure enough to do anything permanent about it, to close the door. We decided eventually that we wouldn't regret another child, but might regret NOT having another. So we did. But a third? I know I dont' want a third, and I never want to be in a position where I have to decide what to do about an oops, so I had my tubes tied.

5:59 PM  
OpenID aGibby said...

Once my second child turned one, I just knew. I knew I didn't have it in me to have another. Not that I didn't enjoy pregnancy, motherhood, diapers (well, who really enjoys THAT?), but I knew that I wanted to move on. We were blessed with two beautiful daughters, and I felt that it wouldn't be fair to them or to a third to have me stretched among them. My youngest is 4 now, and yes, I miss the baby-stage. But it doesn't mean I want another one. It just lets me remember how much I enjoyed it and how it is time to move on, to enjoy the stages the girls are in now. I have never gone back on our decision, and I am thankful for who I do have in my family, instead of wondering who else may have joined us. Good luck to you.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Trillian said...

There are these lovely things called sperm banks. Husband can simply make a few deposits and put 'em on ice. Still get the vasectomy, which seriously how great a guy is he! And you could still have another baby later. Also, vasectomy can be reversed.....I seriously know too much about this for a lesbian.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Stefanie said...

Hey Cath, I can't read through all the comments but I had to add mine anyway. I think if you don't know then there's your answer. Why? Because I KNOW! Because I knew I was done at two and at the 8-week ultrasound when it turned out I was having three children my first thought was "I'm having my tubes tied." And when it came time to sign the release for the tubal I thought nothing of it. And when I was on the table being cut open knowing that something could go terribly wrong with one or both of the preemies and the doctor asked "Are you positive you want your tubes tied?" I yelled "Yes! Get back down there and do it!" I had no doubt. Then again, I'm 42. But I"m excited at the thought of enjoying the family I have and moving on the the next phase of life. Be sure. You'll know when you are.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Stimey said...

I think maybe that not knowing means you do know: you're not ready.

When I had my last, I knew I was done. I knew I would love to have five or six or seven kids but that (1) I don't want to be pregnant or give birth to them, (2) I can't afford that many kids, and (3) I don't think I could parent more than three kids very well.

Now when I see babies, I think they're cute and wonderful and all, but I feel glad that I'm not having any more of them.

I think you'll know when you know.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Domestic Extraordinaire said...

I knew that we were done when hubby didn't want any more. I had horrible pregnancies that I wouldn't wish on anyone and lightening fast births that did nothing for my nether regions. When he declared that he wanted a vas. I was for it. I figured if another baby was meant to be that something would happen and I would get pregnant. I am very thankful and content with the girls that I have. But if you aren't sure then wait a bit and see. Although vasectomy's are easier to reverse if you realize down the road you made the "wrong" choice. HUGS!

7:58 PM  
Blogger Eva said...

I think it's like weaning. No matter what, people have conflicted feelings about it, but eventually you either decide, or time decides it for you.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I am now pregnant with #2/due in 5 weeks. My first one will be 2.3 years old when baby is born. I am 35. My husband is 43. We live in a tiny house, in a wonderful but very expensive part of the country/neighborhood. I am a SAHM=we are living off one good, but not luxurious salary. I have not enjoyed my pregnancy much although the first one was fairly easy. My patience is tested over and over again just raising our one child. We have very little family help raising our kids. The economy is in the crapper. I just finished my Master's and would really like to get a part-time job at least sometime soon. So, if you add these things up you eventually realize that two is just perfect for our family.
Plus we have this DREAM of retiring on the beach in a tiny little house. And we'd like it to happen before our joints give out completely.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Izababy and KJ's Mom said...

Yes! I knew. But my circumstances were a little different than yours. My first was 13 years old when I had my 2nd and I was 41. She was definitely a blessing, but it was a difficult pregnancy which included 49 days in the hospital and her being born almost 2 months early. She's now 17 months old and she wears me out. When Cactus decided on the big V I cheered him on!

8:26 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

There are hundreds of reasons (or at least 20) that I could list off for why we shouldn't have a third child, but I swear I felt the desire for a third while still in the hospital falling madly in love with my second child. I would love a third child. My husband can't decide. However, we've never discussed the idea of permanent birth control. I think if he brought it up, honestly, I'd cry. I might not end up having a baby after crying, but the idea of permanently shutting down the option is a little mournful in my mind.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Mr Lady said...

I got pregnant with #3 2 weeks after I got my tattoo celebrating the fact that my baby making days were over.

Oops would be a rather large understatement.

I told my husband, "We're pregnant, and we're not keeping it." Sometime in the next 6 hours I changed my mind. And every single day I'm glad I did. That was the best whoops I ever made.

But I'd better not have oops #4. I'll beat my husband with a shoe if I do. :)

10:06 PM  
Blogger SciFi Dad said...

Tonight, my daughter said to me, "Daddy, when are we going to have another baby?"

"Well, your brother is still a baby. Why do you want another?"

"I dunno. I just love babies."

The problem is, her parents feel the exact same way.

In truth, we say we're done, but we both acknowledge that a lot of that is postpartum fatigue. We want more, but aren't sure another pregnancy and delivery is the right answer. In short: I dunno.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Amy K said...

If you change your mind down the road, why not consider adoption as an option? A vasectomy doesn't mean you can't have more children in the future - they just wouldn't be your children by birth.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Callista said...

Hubby and I have 2 children together and he has another one from before but he doens't get to see him sadly. My hubby does NOT want another kid. He gets that feeling every once in a while that it would be nice to have a baby in the house but then he smacks himself and goes back to normal LOL.

I WANT another kid. I want to try once more for a boy (we have two girls) I'll be happy with another girl too of course. I just don't want another kid anytime SOON. I only had 6 months between giving birth to number one and getting pregnant with number two so I feel like I was pregnant for 2 years.

I don't want hubby to have a vasectomy ever because like you, I don't want to have the option of not having kids. Lucky for me he won't have one anyways. He's tried to talk me into a tubal. I'm only 25, there is no WAY I'm tying my tubes this early.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Lori said...

I was 37 when my last child was born - unplanned - freaked me out. He was #6 (combined family - oldest was 18). Best thing to happen to our family. As an older mom I was much more relaxed and enjoyed him so much.

Hubby had a vasectomy before I gave birth. But I have to tell you that when I reached menopause, I grieved the biggest change in my life - knowing that even if I wanted another child, I couldn't give birth or nurse another baby.

This is a tough decision and one you should allow yourself the time and consideration you need to make it. If you have any feelings of ambivalence, wait.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Refinnej said...

It's weird, I had no issue with my husband's vasectomy. I had/have no desire to have my tubes tied, though. It seemed too final.

I know I'm done. My boys are 10 & 6, and I tell people that my younger one "cured" me of baby fever. He has been intense from day 1, and I would lose my mind if I had another child.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Lady M said...

I have never in my life wished more than two children - two was perfect in my imagination. But just last week, I snuggled with the baby's head just tucked under my chin and thought, "to never do this again?" and had a pang. I think two is the right choice for us, but it's still hard to close the door.

Your children are so beautiful - good luck deciding!

3:14 AM  
Blogger Parent Club said...

I'm right THERE. Talking about #3. Actually, more than that. More than just talking. Actually - gulp - trying.

But my confession: I'm still on the fence -- but my dh doesn't know it....

8:22 AM  
Blogger Jaywalker said...

Totally done. And I have looked the 'oops' in the face and taken that decision, so it's not wholly abstract. I see it as more for the kids I do have (two, not particularly hard work, I'm just a bit pathetic I think) than for me, because I'm easily overwhelmed, operate poorly on limited sleep and slide fairly easily into depression. What a great mum! Yeah!

Strange not to have someone small squiggling around and kicking my belly ever again, but still the right thing for us. Now I just pressure all my friends into having babies I can steal briefly.

9:21 AM  
Blogger kgirl said...

Well, I do love pregnancy... and childbirth... and the early, crazy days... and the rest of it.
And that is exactly why Chris had a vasectomy two weeks ago.
We are lucky. We are blessed. We are fortunate. We are done.
My baby lust is tamed every time I think about the roll of the dice that is having a child. I'll just stay happy with the two healthy, happy, beautiful girls that I have, and know that I am not yet overwhelmed (or outnumbered), and that they have the best of me. With a third? Not sure that would be true.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Sage Moonstone said...

We're right where you guys are. I have to lay in bed for 10-13 weeks to have full-term babies (and however nice that sounds, let me be the first to tell you.. it's HORRIBLE!) And we're still not ready to say NO for-sure-no-regrets-no-more-babies.

It's a tough one..

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Not having read through all the comments, I have no idea if I am saying something that has already been said, but...

I am by no means advocating for your husband to have a vasectomy, but should you make such a decision and then decide you do want more kids, there is always adoption. I think too few people consider adoption, an absolutely beautiful choice in giving a child a loving home.

2:43 PM  
Blogger PDX Mama said...

I can definitely relate - it's hard to say definitively, "we're done." When I finally say that, that means this phase of my life is over - the phase of pregnancy, childbirth, babies. That makes me feel old and a bit sad! So, I'm not ready to say that phase is over, but I'm damn close. Things are semi-manageable with the two I have. We're getting out and doing things and traveling, we're getting sleep, and these children are becoming little people who sometimes like to do the things we like to do and sometimes amaze us with the things they like to do. I just can't imagine having another baby. Even thinking of the newborn phase is enough to make me exhausted.

I hope things are going better for you and you're getting more sleep.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Re: adoption - I hadn't really thought about the possibility of adoption, if we changed our minds. That's some very interesting food for thought...

3:06 PM  
Blogger doubleagentgirl said...

I don't think it is ever possible to FO SHO come to that conclusion. I've been down this road too. So many reasons make sense to not EVER do this again, as much as I love them and cherish their every breath.

Even when I can't think of ONE pro to have another child, my womb screams NO NO NO when I think of making a decision to NEVER have another.

That mother nature. She's a crafty one.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Kira said...

I have to second those who said going from one to two kids was harder than two to three.
Then again, I'm currently pregnant with #4 (plus I have a beautiful stepdaughter), and we're all delighted, so I may not be the most SANE person to ask.
I WILL say that if you are in the midst of new babyhood and toddlerhood and the thought of closing that door makes your heart contract - DON'T DO IT. I have good friends who made the choice of permanent birth control when they were in the throes of the early days, and lived to regret it intensely. The fact that you're deep in the trenches and still can't feel ease about the thought...just give yourself more time. That's the sort of decision you should feel pretty darn content about.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this question. When I was debating the third, it seemed to me all I heard were stories from women who had an "oops" third, and those who had two children and knew it was enough. Where were the discussions about being in between? In our case, it was perfect reverse psychology--dh wanted a 3rd (and I waffled SO much), but he then decided against it one day. It took me a week to realize I definitely did want a third. The next day we got pregnant. This is one of the best decisions we ever made. Our baby son is here, he fits right in and he's wonderful. And about a month after his birth, the man-surgery appointment was made and kept.

MLD

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two beautiful and healthy children and a husband who is offering to have a vasectomy....things don't get much better than that. You are one lucky woman!

8:25 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

I know I'm comment nine zillion or something, but I still have something to add.

Maya is so much like Emelia, I've always thought that. But at almost seven, she's found outlets for a lot of her um...what do I call it? Her own brand of crazy? Don't get me wrong, I adore my daughter and I adored her as a bitty person, but she's where all my gray hairs come from. ADHD is the label they placed on her, but there is so much more involved. Once she went to school though, we started seeing differences. Five weeks before her seventh birthday and I can honestly say, she's about 60% easier to deal with. She's helpful and sweet and organized and I finally feel like I might just let her live to become the amazing adult that I know she's going to be. She makes me so tired and insane some days, but it's not the norm anymore.

So now I've got three kids. But there is a reason that Alex is so much younger than Maya, because I knew I wanted more kids one day, but I honestly didn't think I could do it. Then it changed. Maya went to school, Nata to pre-school and the thoughts of maybe one more became, I want another today. I'm getting to enjoy my son so much, because the girls are big and in school and not so needy.

I can't (and I know you didn't ask for that) make a choice for anyone but me. I'm nuts enough to think that I'll most likely have one more. What I will say is this, if there is even a smidge of a question, hold off for a few years in making a huge decision. Making that choice, while you are still recovering from having Jasper and Emilia is three, isn't the best idea. If you were sure, it would be different. But if there is a question, I'd say just wait. Talk about it in a year, two years, hell even three. You have time, you know?

Anyway, hugs to you. Sorry for the novel.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Candygirlflies said...

You NEVER know.

That said, my husband got "snipped" after Wee Three was born...

My heart tells me that I still have reservations about such finality...

But my head insists that it was the right thing to do.

Does that help at all???

xoxo CGF

9:27 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

You know my recent history. We thought, after three, the snip for David. Now, well now we're in limbo. Too raw to discuss another attempt, and too raw to discuss not having another attempt.

If I might suggest some *ass*vice, I'd say wait for a year, then decide on the V or no. Give yourself a chance to get beyond the fresh memories of newborn stage.

Or so says a woman paralyzed by the idea of choice right now.

1:01 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I think you just plain know when you know. And I don't think you know, yet. At least you know that no isn't now.

2:08 AM  
Blogger Karen MEG said...

Another rockin' post, Catherine.

We've had the "V" talk as well, which is ironic given our experiences with infertility.

I suppose for us it was easier, as I wasn't sure we were ever going to get pregnant, and we were blessed twice. The second time I was almost 40. And once you're in your 40s and you've got two young kids and you're totally exhausted all the time as it is...it's a lot easier to say ... uh, no way, we are totally exhausted and so, so done.

(So nice to meet you BTW...hopefully get to actually chat more next time. Jasper is the most adorable cherub)

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Oh. I knew. I was sure.

1) My pregnancy was miserable.

2) I got a boy and a girl.

3) Two came out the first time. Who knows how many would have come out the second time. What if I ended up with five children in two shots?

4) Recurring nightmares about pregnancy.

5) I really always wanted to have two children.

6) If I get desperate for another one we can always adopt a child in need. One who already sleeps through the night and poops in the potty.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous tisha@thehelpyhelper.com said...

You don't know how glad I am to read this post - I feel the exact same way. Like a dog chasing her tail, I just seem to go round and round. My six year old is the best thing since sliced Wonderbread and I would give my left leg to have another one of her. But I can't seem to get passed the same tour-de-newborn issue you discuss. I am linking this post on my site as well as I could not say it anybetter than you have. Kudos....

11:30 AM  
Anonymous tisha@thehelpyhelper.com said...

...and that site would be www.empoweringmomblog.com.

Thanks!

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quick comment about everyone saying vasectomies can be reversed. No wonder healthcare is so expensive! It's that kind of attitude...if you change your mind just go ahead and get it reversed because insurance will pay the thousands of dollars it will cost to reverse it...that has contributed to the healthcare crisis in the US.

And I agree with anon 1:11 -- if your husband/partner doesn't want any more children, why is it okay for you to insist on it anyway. Um, isn't he still part of the equasion? Don't his feelings matter?

12:26 PM  
Blogger Madame Queen said...

If you asked me, I will very quickly say Hell no I don't want anymore children. But when offered the chance to have my tubes tied during my last c-section, I couldn't say
"No more children, ever." I didn't get it done. So, I get what you're saying.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Mamalang said...

I have three children. THe oldest is my stepdaughter. When the second (my first natural) was 3, we thought we were done. We were 98% sure. That 2%...it stopped me, and we agreed to wait one year and discuss it again. I was told it was near impossible for me to get pregnant anyway, so we didn't sweat it. 10 months after that conversation, I gave birth to my boy. And I am very glad that we didn't deny that opportunity. But while they were in with him, they tied. And hubby had a vasectomy. I knew that three was absolutely my limit.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous courtney said...

I would wait to make a decision until you're absolutely sure. Two kids sounds just about perfect for me, but how many kids you choose to have is such a personal thing.

3:21 PM  
Blogger LD said...

I feel the exact same way. I'm so sure we're done and I'm happy and we're complete as a family of four.
BUT
There's just this feeling that I would love another. I mean, there's so much love there.
My husband wants to get snipped. He's done.
But, I'm just not sure.
Our compromise was that I got a merena (IUD). It bought me a few years to decide. And my husband knows that we're safe and I'm not going to forget my pills or anything.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Tracey said...

Is it wrong for me to hope to be "surprised"? bEcause we are done. I guess. We have 3. Husband says we're done. Yet he doesn't want to be snipped. So.... The possibility is always there. Which is killing me...

4:39 PM  
Blogger MamaBug said...

I didn't know what I wanted, but DH was willing to make his appt. with the Dr.after babybug #2 and I wasn't ready. Here we are with #3, and I don't like the idea of being done nor having a 4th baby. I decided to get the Mirena and make that final choice later. (Plus it was so much cheaper!)

7:28 PM  
Blogger karrie said...

If you're not entirely sure, then why make a permanent decision now when there are so many forms of birth control that are nearly foolproof?

My son will be an only for many reasons. I can say this with certainty and have not once wavered. In fact, as he grows older,and hell, as I grow older, my decision feels even more right.

I've found a way to be mostly at peace with the work of mothering, but the thought of revisiting those early years--much as I also adore my son--fills me with dread.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Well, we're 41 - and in his case, almost 42 and we've still not made it final. My second child was truly a surprise. I had wanted another, but not yet. My husband had planned to stick with one. I, too, am not enamoured of pregnancy and the early days are hell (a good kind of hell, but still), though the memory of how rough has faded. My husband planned for an immediate vasectomy right after the second was born. Right after she was born, he said, "They sure are cute" and couldn't go through with it. So here we are, old and probably a bit foolish. We don't really think we want another one, but we aren't ready to close the door. At least it looks like we're in good company....

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still don't know. I'm actually going to show this to my sweet husband. You've articulated what I've been feeling but have been unable to communicate to him.

Thanks.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

I don't know. In fact, I've been feeling the [hormonal] urge to reproduce again. My husband says his answer is no. But the thought of never having another baby overwhelms me with sadness.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

I don't know. In fact, I've been feeling the [hormonal] urge to reproduce again. My husband says his answer is no. But the thought of never having another baby overwhelms me with sadness.

12:31 PM  
Blogger jb said...

actually believe it or not the third one was a breeze. really! i am serious. with a 2 and 4 yr old one more didn't really cause much more work. don't laugh. cause somehow the 4 yr old sticks with the 2 yr old and by the time the newborn is 2---they are just like a package that entertain each other. and the 4 yr old is quite a fantastic help to you. i say always go for the third if possible but then STOP--so you can get your life back. I have been enjoying your blog and laughing. i am 54 now and although my 3 are in their 30's --i remember ALL that u are going thru. but NEVER feel guilty--just do the best u can and if u give them lots of hugs and kisses--they will be fine!!!!

1:20 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Echoing Julie, wait. At least for a bit, it's a might heavy door and you need to be together as you move it.

10:35 PM  
Blogger noemidonovan said...

You've already had so many comments that I'm not sure if you'll read mine, but anyway here goes. I have 3 kids ages 6, 4, and 22 mo. 2nd and 3rd of those three were accidents, mostly happy accidents, however, I will most definitely not allow any further accidents to occur because: 1) my house isn't big enough for 6 people, 2) I want to give my children "Grade A" mothering rather than "Grade B" mothering as much as I possibly can, 3) there are only 24 hours in each day and there are limits to my capacities in terms of physical and emotional availability towards each of the already-existing members of my family. Plus, who's to say life wouldn't throw me a curve ball? What if a 4th child were born with some really terrible illness, or what if some other life circumstance made things incredibly difficult? Like I said, goodwill and motivation only go so far with limited funds, limited hours in the day, etc. In my case, I've got to be practical and say, If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Things are good as they are, don't risk making things more difficult.

8:49 AM  
OpenID blissfullycaffeinated said...

Wait. Just, wait a while. Give it some time. After our second baby I went through something that is very similar to what you are going through, no sleep, insane crying infant, bad crazies, etc. I said , "No way, never, ever again." But, after the crazy baby turned two I started to get a deep yearning for another one and I am glad we didn't make the vasectomy decision during that bad time. We are still waffling, and may still get one, but I'm glad the 3rd baby option is still there for us.

12:32 AM  
Blogger Mommy Mo said...

Hi Catherine. I'm a first time visitor to your blog- I love it and have already added it to my blogroll. I am 36 yrs old (will be 37 in May) and I just had my third child in September. My husband had a vasectomy over the holidays.

Some people know definitely that they are DONE, others not so much (like me). In my head, I know we are done and my husband is completely done with the baby phase but my heart, well it probably has enough room for a herd of children. My sanity, however, would not be able to handle any more. That being said, going from 2 to 3 is way easier than from 1 to 2, IMO. My kids are quite young and I am quite old, lol. They are 5, 2.5 and 3 months. I love all of them with my heart and soul but some days, I'm ready to check-out for a few hours.

I say "wait and sit on it" for now. Is there any rush?

I wrote this post in October in regards to this very thing.....
http://lisatexasmommy.blogspot.com/2008/11/sad-moment-of-truth.html

Good luck! Lisa

9:36 PM  
Blogger Swistle said...

Oh, I know! There's a HUGE difference between "Do we want more children?" and "Do we want to make ourselves infertile?" I don't want to be infertile yet.

But in any case, I think it's really hard to give the issue serious thought when there's a toddler and a baby in the house. That's the hardest combination for me. I have a 9-year-old, a 7-year-old, 3.5-year-old twins, and a 1.5-year-old, and THAT is EASIER than when I had a toddler and a baby.

7:43 PM  

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