“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.
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.
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.
I think that when people ask mothers if they are “done”, it’s just a normal course of action. Whether or not it’s their business. It’s a question that’s going to get asked. Next. Move on from it. I admire women who have resolve either way- resolve to keep having more or that they are done growing their family. I also, however, think that there’s a stigma surrounding women that we were created to have children…so we should “always want more or want at least one”. We’ve also got to move on from this as a society. It’s perfectly fine not to want any children at all just as it’s ok to want 6. The end.