I’ve been growing and delivering babies for thirteen years now. After each one, people asked me expectantly, “So, are you done?” and I replied, “Yes, we plan to be done” with a nervous laugh. But deep down, despite all logic, I longed to do it all again. And so, we now have five little wonders. After my fifth was born I felt different, though, and it’s been a new, and welcomed, experience for me.
So, how do you know if you’re done having babies? Here are five signs you just might be done:
You are no longer envious of pregnancy announcements
For many years, even if I had a newborn baby in my arms, I would feel a sting of jealousy when I saw a pregnancy announcement. I loved all things pregnancy, baby, and birthing that much. I wanted to experience all those baby kicks and rock the cute baby bump forever. It is such an exciting time! But now? My body remembers the aches, the heaviness, the hormone driven moods, and the morning sickness. Now I can congratulate my pregnant friends and support them in ways I’ve loved being supported with my babies and leave it at that.
You are okay with never experiencing birth again
Call me crazy, but I absolutely loved the challenge and thrill of birth! After each birth, I couldn’t wait to do it again– and I did. Every two years like clock work! It was like a roller coaster ride that was terrifying at times, but once I was on the other side of it, I wanted to relive it once more. It felt incredibly empowering. This time? I’m good. My last was one of my hardest births and had a scary ending. We made it through with both of us healthy, but I have no desire to do it again.
You can let go of baby things easily
For many years I’ve held on to our baby gear “just in case.” I think, deep down, I knew we weren’t quite done, even when we had a chaotic house of four kids under the age of nine. And sure enough, number five did come along! This time, though, I’m ready to regain my storage space. I’m handing out baby gear, clothes, and cloth diapers left and right with no tears shed. I couldn’t have done that two years ago. I do still keep the really sentimental things though, like the first outfits they wore after they were born at home, or that dress from a special friend.
Your family feels complete
Truthfully, we have planned our family on whim, but I still knew each child of ours was meant to be in the time they came. After each birth, there was always this little longing within my heart whispering, something is missing, and maybe just one more? I honestly never thought I would reach that “done” mark in my heart meter. I would ask my mom friends how they knew they were done, and many of them told me, “You just know.” At the time, I thought, I have four kids at home, where is my feeling of completeness? Logically, we should feel very complete! But this time, when number five arrived, I finally had that mythical feeling. It was real, and it was true. You just know.
You look forward to a new season of parenting
This is my favorite part of finally feeling done. I feel excitement for what is ahead! No longer am I looking back wishing I could experience pregnancy or the newborn phase just one more time. I’m only looking forward to a new phase of motherhood– one that includes more freedom! I’m excited for no more diaper changes, less carseats to buckle, not having to carry a giant diaper bag with every necessity possible, and being able to take a weekend away without having to worry about a nursling back home. My husband and I have never had a time where it was just us, so I look forward to growing our relationship even stronger as our children become older and less dependent on us. I look forward to the blossoming relationships with my kids as they grow, as well. They’re pretty great, and it’s neat to see the people they are becoming.
And more sleep. Please let there be more sleep.
Sure, it can be a little bittersweet at times to close one chapter and open another, but from where I’m standing now it’s way more sweet! I finally feel very at peace with moving on from this phase in life.
The seedlings have been planted, and now it’s time to flourish what we’ve grown as a family.