“Well, Are You Done?” :: One Mama’s Thoughts on Adding to Her (Already Big) Brood

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“Well, how many kids do you have?”

“I have five girls!”

“FIVE?? Are you done??”

Whether it be when we are out running errands, at church, or if my family merely comes up in conversation, the question as to whether or not we are “done” always seems to surface.

Our announcement for when we were expecting our fifth baby- Our oldest is holding the ultrasound picture!

There is no short answer.

Its such a double edged sword.

After having five healthy, uneventful, relatively easy pregnancies (with two devastating losses in between), I stand here thankful.

Easy babies followed, with only a few bouts of reflux, croup, and scattered ear infections amongst them.

What’s my point? I have only a few negative memories in my many years of pregnancy. Had I experienced any health complications whatsoever, I know with certainty that I would have put the brakes on and definitely not been as “lenient” with our family planning as we have been. I also got married young and we had our first baby two days shy of my 24th birthday.

That being said, I know that I have roughly 2.5 children more than average. Once you have three kids, you get a side eye. But four? Four just makes you a nut. After four, people start asking very blunt questions about religion, beliefs, income, and plans for the future.

“You must be Catholic!”

“What, you don’t believe in birth control?”

“Gosh, how much money does your husband make? How are you only working part time??”

“With five girls, how will you pay for all of those weddings?

And then, the kicker.

“Well, I mean, you have five kids … ARE YOU DONE YET??”

I’ve heard other mothers answer this question with confidence and certainty and zero regret. They are done and content and their families are complete and I truly respect that. Big time. (I often wonder what that feels like …)

However, here’s what flashes through my mind when anyone asks if I’m “done.”

Yes, I’m done.

Done with the nausea and queasiness and exhaustion. Done with the aches and pains of pregnancy. Done with the extra weight, done with not being able to sleep at night and getting up to pee three and four times before dawn.

I’m done with the anxiety of going into labor and the pain of delivery and gigantic pads and mesh panties and bleeding.

I’m done with feeling so bone tired, my eyes cross. I’m done with waking up to soaking wet sheets in a puddle of milk, done with being engorged, done with crying over every little thing because my hormones go so wacky that I will literally burst into tears over choosing what to have for lunch. I’m done with being woken up every hour or so to breastfeed, while the rest of my house sleeps.

I’m done with still having a baby bump 9 months after the baby was born. I’m done with sobbing over my clothes not fitting and not recognizing my own body in the mirror. 

I’m done with bouncing a screeching baby to sleep, done with baby-proofing my house, done with baby food. I’m done with sleep training, teething, blow out diapers and weaning. I’m done with potty training and tantrums. And I am so done with the expense of it all.

I’m turning the page; I’m starting a new chapter.

I think.

Maybe.

And then? Memories flood my mind, and tears fill my eyes. How can I say that I’m done? How could I ever be done with the dizzying feeling of seeing a positive pregnancy test? Two lines that have changed my entire life every. single. time.

How could I be done with waking up one day with a tiny little bump, knowing I’m kissing my jeans goodbye for at least the next year, and pulling that soft elastic panel up over my belly? Rubbing that tummy and talking to the person growing inside of me, while they listen to the thump-thump of my heartbeat as it lulls them to sleep?

How can I say for sure that I am done feeling the flutters of life within me, even after having felt it so many times before? I could never say for sure that I am done with feeling my baby roll around in my belly, “rearranging furniture” as I like to say.

Am I done with the adrenaline rush of going into labor, feeling simultaneously like super woman and also so worn out that I could equally run a marathon or sleep for a week? Feeling drunk with brand new love while laying with this perfect baby on my chest, nursing for the first time – done with the little squeaks and sneezes and yawns?

I could never be done with the romance of it all, the way my husband looks at me, the way he rests his hand on my giant belly, the way he supports and encourages and plays such a critical role next to me when I’m in labor. The way he falls in love with each new baby snuggled close to his chest. The way I fall in love with him all over, every single time.

How would I ever be able say that I’m done with meeting a brand new person, with their own personality, likes and dislikes, yet who fits perfectly in with their sisters? Am I done with seeing my girls meet their new sibling for the first time? Am I done with watching new lifelong relationships and bonds form and grow together?

Am I done with soft blankets and tiny outfits and footy jammies? First gummy grin, first steps, first words?

How could I ever?

So when you ask me if I’m “done” having kids, you should know there are so many things that you are asking if I’m ready to give up.

The truth is, I could absolutely say I feel overwhelmingly grateful and happily move forward into the next chapter of life.

And I could also see myself with that round belly yet again, thrilled to hold another baby in my arms.

You should also know that there is no way I feel like can make that decision. It’s too big, too permanent. It’s above my pay grade.

God knows better than I do, so I’ll just say we’re giving it to Him to decide. Only time will tell.

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Katy lives in Slidell with her husband Chris & their 5 daughters and Boxer Brody. Maggie, Mollie, Adeline, Charlotte, and Lucy keep their lives exciting and exhausting, and their house messy. Katy graduated from Charity School of Nursing in 2007 and works part time as a Labor and Delivery nurse. She began her own small photography business, Firefly Photography, after the birth of her second daughter. After being relocated to the Midwest for several years due to her husband’s job, she and her family realized they missed Louisiana and its glorious heat and humidity more than they could handle and moved back home, this time for good. She loves trying new local restaurants, the four minutes a week her house is actually clean, and watching whichever event her girls are involved in at the moment. You can usually find her dancing to classic country in her kitchen with a glass of wine, while attempting to come up with something to make for dinner.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for putting to words my life Katy!!!! This is absolutely beautiful and such a tear jerker! Here I am at 41 with 5 children on earth and 3 in heaven and somehow still crave that moment of putting a newborn to my face and kissing his/her sweet little neck! It is such a rush and it never gets old! also here I am at 41 helping take care of my sweet momma with Alzheimer’s and thanking God that she was open to life and I don’t carry a single burden by myself. I share every burden of her disease with my amazing 5 sisters 2 brothers and 2 sister in laws, who are really my sisters too. Sometimes I wonder if I have enough children…do they need another sibling to help carry the unknown burdens that life will throw at them? I’ll never know the answer and it’s the reason why I’ll never take that choice away from God and put it into my own hands to mess up! YES, it’s way above my pay grade!!!! Gosh I love this article!!! Thank you!

  2. Thank you so much Amy!! It means so much to me to hear that! And what a beautiful blessing your big family is. I’m right there with you ❤

  3. I have 5 girls as welll. Oldest is 10 and the youngest is 3.
    In August of 2018 we welcomed our 6th child, our son, into this world. We would hear the same comments…I dreaded going to the store because it felt like as we turned down each aisle we would get stopped by a stranger who would ask the same questions and would even throw in, “I feel sorry for their Daddy.” I’m always shocked that these strangers feel necessary to discuss my finances and my personal decisions on whether or not we are having more babies in front of my children. My girls now answer for me…”yes we are all hers” “yes we are all girls”…lol. It hasn’t let up either after having our son….now all we hear is that we just kept going until we had our son, which wasn’t the case at all. I always just tell my girls who seem to take their comments personally that if those strangers feel the way they do about having so many children they are the ones that are missing out on one of life’s greatest joys!! I would have kept going if I could, but after 6 we are done.

  4. Aww I have two girls so far but we are definitely open to more, God willing. The spacing is a topic of discussion in our home for sure but new life is a blessing either way! I teared up reading this. My youngest is almost 6 months old and I just ovulated for the first time since her birth. I was both nervous and in awe of the idea of a new life within me (though it’s unlikely right now). I hope I maintain a sense of wonder and hope about any future pregnancies God wills. It’s such a rollercoaster but I have no regrets and my heart stretches bigger every day!

  5. Yes! This certainly resonates with me as a mom of 4 girls. I often respond to people with, “We’ll see. God knows best.” Sadly, many people scoff at that response. But those are the facts. We walked through years of secondary infertility. Why would we purposely deny another blessing to our lives after going through that?! I often have to pray that God would give me the grace and wisdom to respond in a way that honors him because I know most people are genuinely curious and have no ill intentions.

  6. My husband just sent me the link to this post….I needed it so much today! You articulated so many things that I feel but haven’t been able to explain. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

  7. I’m a mom of 4 girls and 2 more in Heaven. I struggle with this as well. I’m “done” but open to God changing that if He sees fit.
    We were married young, I was 18, our first baby (>9 lbs.) was born 6 days before my 20th birthday. She was a difficult baby and then we lost one. I had placenta previa with our second (9 lbs.)was fairly uneventful with another miscarriage following. Our fourth (>9 lbs.) was born when I was 28 and I can say I am content with our slightly larger than average family.
    There’s things I miss – the fluttering of the life inside me, the gummy smiles – but now I’m doing my best to focus on the fact that I likely only have ~6 years left with our oldest and there’s so much I want to teach all of them. I enjoy entrusting our future to Him and I want to do my best with what He’s given me.
    Very nicely written.

  8. “Giving it to HIM to decide.” Love this so much. We just had our 6th and the miracle never gets old. Thank you for living Gods plan even when it is hard.

  9. This is 💯 my heart! I got married at 23 had my first baby at 24 and I have 5 daughters (8,6,5,3,7 months) ❤️ At this point I tell people I like even numbers 🤷‍♀️

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