I don’t want more kids, but I’ll never be done

by Janelle Hanchett

There’s something wrong with me. I’ve suspected it before but now I know, fully.

I’m okay with it. I think. I mean there’s not much I can do, really, is there?

My husband, right now, as we speak, is getting a vasectomy. I cleared it with him before announcing this on the internet.

If you’re new here, we have 4 kids. Ava, 12. Rocket (Charles), 9. Georgia, 4 and Arlo, 5 months.

We quite clearly don’t need any more children.

We aren’t like rollin in the dinero wondering which private school we should send our kids to (because none of them quite live up to our expectations).

There is a 5 x 4 foot pile of laundry in the “laundry room” (garage). I haven’t seen the floor of our car in approximately 4 months. It smells vaguely of apples and mold.

But most importantly, every day, at least once, I throw my hands up toward the heavens and cry out “MY GOD WHY ARE THERE SO MANY OF THEM?”

More often, I whisper under my breath “God damnit I’m never having any more kids.” And I mean it, man. I MEAN IT.

Occasionally this sentiment takes new and exciting forms such as “What the fuck were we thinking?” or “Is this really as good as it gets?”

My 4-year-old actually literally frightens me. All of us, really. She comes barreling at us from across the room with this wild look in her eye and every single time I’m sure she’s going to headbutt my groin. I sort of bend over and cover the area and hope for the best. Sometimes, on the way to school, when she sees the donut shop, she demands a donut and when I say “no,” she whines for 10 solid minutes. Then she gets mad and takes the toy from the baby in the carseat as a form of displaced retaliation, so now the baby who was finally not crying is now doing that hold-the-breath-then-squeal thing. Chances are he won’t stop. While he cries and she whines about motherfucking pastries, my 9-year-old makes strange popping sounds and asks about something I can’t follow while my 12-year-old wants to tell me about the new project in history class, which I totally want to hear about, but can’t, because I haven’t slept more than 4 hours/night in the past week and I just realized I forgot Rocket’s IEP paperwork AGAINNNNNNNNNN and the noise the noise the NOISE.

In other words, I have my fucking hands full.

That’s clear, folks. Logically, there should never ever be another baby added to this mix and every single fucking day I am reminded of this fact in seemingly endless forms.

And yet, right now, my husband is getting a vasectomy and all I can think is “Wait. It’s over?”

It can’t be over. I’m not ready for it to be over. I’m 35! I have 5 more years in me! WHAT IF I WANT FIVE????


“Janelle, we barely want 4.”

Mac is right.

On every cognitive level of my brain I know 100% that we are done. But the problem is I just can’t seem to GET DONE. To FEEL DONE. To really deeply in my bones BE DONE.

I realize there are people out there who “just know” when a baby is their last and others who say “one and done” and they’re all stable and secure and confident in that decision, or at least they pretend to be. They seem so grown-up and decided, you know, like “This is right and I am unwavering and there is no gray area for me.”

There is always, always, a gray area for me. I am never sure of any damn thing. It all feels a little right and a little wrong. I kind of do things and see what happens. Not because I’m trying to live on the edge. Rather, I can’t seem to do it differently. I make decisions because they seem vaguely better than the other ones.

IMG_1825Look, I’m not recommending this as a life philosophy. I’m merely telling you what’s up.

I don’t want any more children. I can’t stand the thought of not having any more children.

I told you. Something’s wrong with me.

Please don’t give me family planning advice. I think we can all agree (based on my past experience) that I won’t use it. I just want to talk about the side of me that will never, ever be done. The side that will never be done with the moment your baby is placed in your arms and you feel that warm body and lock eyes with this tiny being you’ve known forever but just met. The smell, the tiny suits and sleeping gowns and tufts of hair. The anticipation. The moment of birth.

And then, a little bigger,  the fists.

The smiles and coos and laughter.

I will never be done with that.

I still have it with Arlo. I won’t have it for long.

I know this because I watched it leave me in the dust with three other children.

The Last Baby.


The end of him as a newborn is the end of me with newborns. He’s through that now. He rolls onto his belly, pulls his legs up, pushes up with his arms. Soon he’ll crawl. I don’t need to go through this list, you know it already.

And I’ll never be “okay” with it. I’ll never be done.

It’s the end. But I’ll never be done having kids.

I don’t need to convince myself otherwise. It’s alright I guess to hover in this nonsense, wanting it to end but never, ever wanting it to end, dying for the day I get my “life back” and wondering if I may die the day I get my life back, encouraging the little fella to do whatever new thing he’s trying, then turning around and feeling a sting that he succeeded.

I’ll never be done with you, kids. You’ll go, and I’ll let go, but I’ll never be done. These are the days I wish would end but beg never to end. The clock is ticking through my series of “lasts.” It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t need to.

He sat up the other day on his own, as they do.

It felt to me like he did it too soon, but I cheered him on anyway and laughed with the other kids, feeling the firsts and the lasts roll on beneath me, carrying us relentlessly right on through, toward the only end that will never quite come, the finish that will never find me.



  • Danielle

    And the elbow dimples! THE ELBOW DIMPLES!!! And their little knuckles and fat knees and spider web lashes. Ugh ugh. I will cry when those are no longer.

  • Courtney S.

    I have two girls 5 & 2. Finally admitted to having depression last year and have been on meds that have helped. A few months after my 2nd my husband had a vasectomy and I was very sure I would never want another baby (newborn phase was tough on my). But now that she’s two I get that longing. And when I see her with babies I wonder “shouldn’t she have a chance to be a big sister?” I think it’s natural to go back and forth. At least we know that our bodies could have another if we really wanted to.

    • This

      My husband did the same after number two. His new born stage was rough. Rough on me. Rough on everyone. About five years later I became insistent there was someone missing from our family. Longest story short, hubby got a reversal. There’s a ten year gap between number 2 and 3. Number 4 came three years later. Yeah! So. People say things. People will. Our family wasn’t complete. Even with our 4, and “at our age,” I still can’t say it’s complete.

  • Danielle

    P.s. She’s dreamily nursing right now as I rub my cheek against her baby chick soft hair and I really gotta fucking poop. Like, I’m going to be constipated but I don’t want to listen to screams of, “Mamaaa” if I put her down. Fuck.

  • tamara

    My baby just turned 13 a month ago. I adamantly say to anyone that asks that I AM DONE. 3 is enough (17, 15, 13) but I wanted 4. But then sometimes, I think and remember. The first car ride home and the first bath. The first solid food. I’m enjoying my 3. Even now, they each are still having firsts. The first car ride but with me in the passenger seat. The first time #3 tried out and made the basketball team. The first time #2 marched in a parade with the band. I don’t have “baby” firsts but I’m still getting them and I’m loving it.

  • P

    This is me today at 38 with 3 & a vas on the horizon for hubs in Jan. But every time I think maybe…I think no no no. Skinny and sleep. Yes. (I know I’m selfish. Yep. I’m cool with that) No mas.

  • Elaina

    This is how I feel so exactly, even though I only have two. I thought I’d want more, and I do, but I don’t. Logic and reasoning may keep me from a 3rd, but but my heart would totally have more. Thanks for expressing this so well.

  • Dana

    Ah yes, that amazing ‘baby fix’. But we we realize the babies grow and do need us so much at each stage for so long- and each stage is wonderful and rewarding (and difficult!) We remember there is only one of us and we get divided w/ each child (our energy, time, etc) But that birth and that new baby is so magical I think it really can be addictive.

  • Kristina

    You just stole this out of my brain. I am so torn about this. I feel done. I feel like I don’t really want anymore, but then I am just not SURE. I love babies and a new baby sounds like a great idea. In my head. Not in reality. I, too, will never be done even if I decide to have a fourth child.

  • Angela

    It has been 4 1/2 years since Ryan had his vasectomy, a surgery I supported. Our family is our family, but all this time later I still haven’t reached that “I’m done” place. I won’t be done, ever, just like you said.

  • Cassi

    I (and my husband) knew we just wanted one –we were 35 when we got married, 38 when she was born. Then, after a few months of having a baby we would look at each other and say “WHY would anyone EVER do this again?!”

    We’re a happy family of 3 🙂 It takes all kinds to make the world go round.

  • Kerry

    Omg this Is so my thought process at the minute. 4 kids aged 19, 15, 9 and 7. I’m being sterilised though as my hubby was done last time then we had it reversed. I know logically I don’t want anymore but the idea if never feeling that baby movement it breast feeding or the gummy smiles makes me want to get pregnant straight away, but my mind says enough.

  • Brittny Wilson

    THANK YOU for writing this today! My husband is scheduled to have his vasectomy in 2 weeks. I’ve been struggling with my emotions around the decision and haven’t had the words to clearly communicate what I am feeling. I just forwarded him the link to your blog post. You clearly articulated what I could not. Thank you! Now I’m going to go hug my 3 month old and breathe in deeply her new baby smell.

  • Ariane

    As I am crying my eyes out and looking at my “last baby”, that is exactly how I feel. I am DONE being pregnant. My body is failing me, it hurts. I am DONE having kids as both the house and my arms are full. Way full. But, as I am enjoying a little cuddle with our ” Last Baby”, I don’t feel done. Having 6 kids is more then enough. But not enough… I can never make choices.. And I will never be done having babies…

  • Sacha

    This is me right now. I have three – 13, 3 and 1 and I just don’t know if I want a fourth. Everyone else likes to tell me that they think three is enough and I should be done but that just encourages the rebel inside of me to want another one (even though I know that’s not a good reason to have a baby). I keep going back and forth – glad to know that I am not alone and that it is ok to accept that this feeling might never leave…even if I do have a fourth baby.

  • Jill

    Oh how I love this! And love you for saying it! I went into organ failure with my first pregnancy. My second pregnancy ended in stillbirth. I’m pregnant again, and we know we’re risking organ failure again for me, risking the baby’s life again…and trusting the doctors to keep me alive again. But I suck at pregnancy. I end up on bed rest, with every problem in the book, and am flat out miserable. And yet I love babies. I even love being pregnant. I want a huge family. But I’m 36 this month and emotionally we just can’t go through this again, physically we probably should have been done after the first. But when they gave the option of getting my tubes tied this time I immediately said “no”. My husband is planning a vasectomy but emotionally I’m just not ready for that either…our bodies are such bizarre, conflicting, amusing things! All I can do is take it one day at a time, and not push myself too hard…I’m not ready to admit this is the last one, even though I’ve said a million times “this is the last one” and I mean it.

  • emily

    I totally relate. I’m 32 with 3. My youngest being 3. We all know that 3 year old are quite clearly the devil. What happens when they turn 3?!? He has me in tears of embarrassment 99.9% of the time. But ya know…the thought that he’s my BABY and he’s in just about no way a baby, really saddens me some days. I’ve had multiple tubal ligations (yes multiple, 2 failed hence my 3 year old) however, the last one they did was a done deal. So, no more babies for me. Many days, I wish for just one more…and I bet that would lead to me wanting even more…I love being a mom…amid my crazy days with kids, and wanted to rip my hair out hourly, I don’t want to give up my mommy-hood. I know though, it’s time to stop (and my husband especially feels as such). Me? I’m just going to be that stalker mom who never lets her kids go, I guess!

  • michele

    Oh. My. God. This… Im in tears…because its like youre in my head right now..i know we need to be done– 2 boys- almost 4 and 3 months…and i go what about the little girl ive always dreamed about…but i know we have to be done becuase my health cant do another…but ill never ever ever be Done….thank you for this

  • Marina

    Oh gosh. I have 2 and my Last Baby is nearly 2.
    Whole sentences. Abstract thought. Probably potty training soon.

    But when I get into the baby-zone, the hair and the nursing and the snuffles and the in-in-in-in-oooouuutt breath as they fall asleep on the boob .. I think about how much my 4 1/2 year old needs me. He needs me to take him to OT and to the behavioralist and the nearly 2y ear old needs me to phone and get his renal ultrasound thingy sorted and …. they need me 100% on my game, not sick and exhausted. Also, I’m a year into a great job and I love it and god knows we can’t survive on one salary. Also, I never want to be pregnant again.
    but oh, a newborn to nurse and stare at for a month or so? Yeah, I’d do it. Maybe I should be a wet nurse?!

  • Cheryl

    I love this post. I’ve got the opposite problem and never really wanted another one and wondered what was wrong with me, or that I was less of a mother for only having one. I envy you guys knowing you wanted more than one and I know that doesn’t make sense, but none of this ever does. If I could pop them out as fully formed 3 year olds, I probably would do it again.

  • Nicole

    …and you will always have these thoughts. I have the utmost respect for you and all those who choose to have more than 2 kids. I stopped at 2 (a boy now 13 and a girl now 9) and I’m holding onto my sanity by my fingernails, most days on just one hand. But there are moments, like today when she had a fever and wanted nothing more than to snuggle on my lap, that I thought, ‘I wish I’d had more.’ I thought it the day I had to have a hysterectomy at 34, when the doctor had already repeatedly asked me if we sure we were done having kids. My mouth said, ‘Oh yes – I have one of each and there’s no way I could handle anymore!’ But my heart kept thinking of baby giggles and sweet clean baby smells and tiny baby booties and that happy baby nursing time. 7 years later I still have those thoughts, but damn – that 13 year old hormone roller coaster makes me want to vomit on a regular basis and I could possibly end up in jail if I give in to the urge to smack the 9 year old sass right out of her. In the end, you learn to live with that feeling…and enjoy the best parts of other peoples’ babies. And my mom says being a grandparent is THE BEST thing in the world. So there’s that to look forward to.

  • Leslie

    Yeah, my hubs had a vasectomy after our third and…well…then the adoptions started. Just sayin’ – we’re a family of seven now…

  • Lisa

    I felt the same way after our third….I wanted more more more because babies nom nom nom need ALL THE BABIES. Even when I was hallucinating from no sleep I still wanted more babies. After the third my husband said “sure! We can have a fourth, but right now is not a good time, we are moving, lets wait a few months…” and then it was some other reason to wait, and then another reason to wait (all good reasons), and then I stopped breastfeeding when she turned two, and the feeling of YES ALL THE BABIES kind of got a little less. Then at three she actually slept through the night and hoo boy once I started sleeping again I was really reluctant to give that up, and I felt that MUST HAVE ALL THE BABIES feeling get less and less. But I didn’t give the go-ahead for the vasectomy until she turned four. There was no dramatic moment of turning off the baby switch. It just sort of lessened until I felt done.

    Now I have the “nope, all done” feeling. But it took a good four years from when I had my last kid at 35 to the “we’re done” at 39. (And to be honest, if by some freak accident I happen to get pregnant despite three forms of birth control including vasectomy, I would happily have that baby. After I took off my shoe and beat my husband around the head, neck and shoulders for a bit.)

  • Jamie

    I am 42 with a 14, 10 and 18 month old. Husband will not have a vasectomy because his health insurance will not pay for it. I got pregnant on my 40th birthday while on birth control! I am terrified of having sex. I can not handle another. the 14 year old has Asperger’s, ADD, OCD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Depression. The 10 year has ADHD and Dyslexia. I have my hands full. At my age, I should have grandchildren not babies.

    • Dana

      In response to Jamie, did your husband thing it would be cheaper (financially, emotionally, mentally) to have another pregnancy and child than to pay for his vasectomy?! Yikes.

      • Alyssa

        She said she was on birth control – why pay for a vasectomy when you think you’ve got it covered anyway? Maybe if he said “contraception is too expensive”, you’d have a point, but that’s not what happened.

  • Russhe

    When my second was 6 months old, nursing all. the. time. and never sleeping, and my first was 2 and a half and had to be peeled off bookshelves every day, and I was working from home from 9 pm to 1 am, and my husband got downsized – I broke and called uncle. He made the vasectomy appointment, and I couldn’t wait. No fear of a pregnancy that would force us to live with parents! No more diapers, no more nursing! No birth control! And then the day came, and my heart unexpectedly broke. I cried. It was the right thing for us to do, and I wouldn’t change it – but even now, 10 years later, I have fantasies that feature an immaculate conception, with another of these amazing kids. Sometimes it’s harder the older they get – these two are so incredible, surely more would just be magical? The heart and the brain – and the wallet – just refuse to all get along and agree!

    • dana

      Russhe, I suspect you are enjoying the two you have so much AND that they are so amazing because you knew your limit and set it!

  • Judy

    I totally get it. At 35 I was pregnant with my 5th, my second surprise in as many years. Hubs and I both knew we were done, so as soon as the drip went in for my induction, hubs was booking his appointment for a vasectomy for the next day. The timing was perfect!He didn’t dare whine about swollen balls when I had just pushed an 8 lb baby out of my hooha without drugs!

    And then the best part: The baby turned out to be the babiest of all of them! She was the smallest, the quietest, the slowest to do new things. And as she got older, she HATED babies!If I mentioned how cute a baby was, she would look at me with disgust 😛

  • Kate

    This. It leaves a giant lump in my throat. I’m reading as my 4 year old gets himself ready for bed. He wants to “surprise” me, so told me to leave the room. I hear him singing to himself while he dresses himself in pj’s. I hear him zip up the sleep sack blanket he has long outgrown to the point that I’ve had to cut holes in the bottom for his feet, but can’t quite bring himself to discard. I always wanted two. Watching him with younger kids breaks my heart. We have lost two babies in the last year. The Universe is telling me I’m done…
    I always wanted two. And I’ll never be done. Or know how to swallow past this lump.

  • Heather Holter

    I feel the same way. I planned for 4 and got 5 when I had twins last but was still sad it was over, the baby stages. When the twins went to kindergarten this year, a yr later than they could have, but I just could not let them go, a part of me died. For 12 yrs I was a SAHM surrounded by kids and in one fell swoop, it was gone. I still think every so often, because all our kids are less than 2 yrs apart “I would have X children by now if I hand’t stopped” and I long for the babies that never were. Realistically I could have 8 (or more, if I had twins again) by now. Logically we should not have any more kids, and it was a responsible decision not to, but my heart and soul don’t know that. I feel so blessed to have the ones I do when so many can’t have any but still, the longing remains.

  • Rachael

    Yes. Yes. A million times YES! You are kind of like a mommy Bukowski; gritty and brutally honest. You have made me laugh until I pee and now this…This post I feel with all of me! The duality of all that is motherhood distilled into this. Well done. Very, very well done!

  • Alice

    I have 5 kids. My oldest is ten. I got my tubes tied last year without a second thought. I’m in over my head. I’m done. My baby is about to be two years old and suddenly I’m heart broken. The last baby is almost 2. It’s over. I’ve definitely lost my mind. Glad I’m not the only one.

  • Katrijn

    I hate the baby stage. I don’t remember much of the first year of either of my babies, and when I do, it’s not pretty. I got help, I got through, but barely with my life intact. So it would be insane to risk it all again.

    Still. I always did want a big family. And we have names for another boy and another girl (I particularly love the girl’s name). I am insanely jealous of my friends with twins, because they did not have to make that choice.

    I think I know exactly what you are talking about.

    Ps. I am the eldest of four myself and I LOVE being part of a group, or a gang, and we all get along well and it’s nice to always have each other.

  • Arnebya

    We are done at 3. Initially, we’d agreed on 4. After the first, though, we said huh. Maybe 3 is good. After 2 we said hey, this is it. And then we decided on the third, six years after the second, nine after the first. I still want the fourth, not so secretly. God, I crave that baby some days. And parts of those days I smile about how I wouldn’t want to go back to those days. Um, hello? I can fucking nap and not have a care because there’s tv and bad for them snacks.

  • caffeine lights

    I’m sure it’s just biology, but damn, it’s so strong, isn’t it?

    You know, I think those mums who “know” they want two, or three, or one, and are then done are just lying. They’re strong enough to let their logical and rational brain override the emotional one. I’m not! Ha!

    And OMG, yes! Why don’t we get to choose if we have twins? I would definitely choose twins.

  • MM

    We just decided to go for it and have a third. My husband said “I will agree to this if you agree this is the. LAST. ONE.” “Definitely. You can schedule a vasectomy if you like.” I kid you not, five minutes later I said “Well…I will get an IUD. That will take you to 40. WE SHOULDN’T BE RASH.”

  • Brandi

    We just had the vasectomy discussion. Trying to strike while the iron is hot, but while I still have fresh recollections of pregnancy and labor as pain and discomfort, my husband still must have delusions of repopulating the earth after a zombie apocalypse. Why else won’t he do it? I’ve already been suckered into #5 from the baby ache.

  • Daria

    I’m due today with #2. It will be our last baby but I think I am of your people. The never 100% sure of anything. Reason dictates this will be ot for us but I am not sure I would shelve the idea of another totally.

  • Jodi

    I swear you and I…I feel like I know you. I say this to people all of the time that I will never be fully done. I just had a baby (3 months) ago. She is my third..I also have a 3 year old and a 2 year old and I lose my mind on a daily basis however, when asked about a 4th I have a hard time saying this is my last baby. I actually don’t want another, but I have a hard time saying I am done. This post helped me to feel that it’s ok…thank you 🙂

  • Natalie

    It’s like you’re in my head. We have 7 and just had this exact conversation. I told him “look, we are just going to have to know that it’s gonna be sad that we aren’t having more while realizing that doesn’t mean we need more.”
    He will be getting a vasectomy soon. Congrats

  • Kelly

    I have three…the third being a four year old who coincidently screams like a maniac at the donut shop on the way to school also. We love him to pieces but he tortures the hell out of all of us. Last week I spotted a police car and told him if he hears him hollering, he would pull us over – now that is spectacular parenting! I never had the “I am done” feeling after my twins (who are now 10)…I KNEW there was a third and wanted one desperately…even while being conflicted about adding to our plate. After my third, I have never had the intense longing for another, I don’t want another and I mentally couldn’t handle another – I am certain of that. But, when I see an infant or see photos of babies (like your Arlo), I get this insane feeling and think – “I want that.” BUT I am done, we are! I have decided that you can have two emotions about an issue – that’s not insane…it’s normal. I can want one and feel horror about that at the same time. I believe that’s also being open to life beyond our own plan…I always need to remember that the universe is not my gig to direct. I can have feelings and be conflicted about major things…that’s normal. At least that’s what I tell myself.

  • Lyndsy

    I think we are soul sisters…..Once again Janelle, you’ve spoken the truths that’s in my heart and caused me to pause for a moment in my sleep deprived state and hug each one of my four a little tighter…
    Lyndsy– mom of Leah 8, Chelsea 5, Claire 2.5 and Emily 6 months

  • Dottie

    I made the same decision after my third. A few years later, I got that feeling again and my husband actually offered to get his vasectomy reversed. A week later I was over the feeling. Now all my children are grown adults and I get to play. I now ride a beautiful motorcycle, go sailing, travel, and do all the things I would not have thought of when I was in the middle of my mommy years. Enjoy the “season” of raising your young ones but know that there will still be lots of love and adventure on the other side.

    • Rebecca

      so glad you wrote this blog. Hubby will get one in next couple of months. I have a 7 week old now and have discussed at length about no more after two. Over last couple of weeks looking into contraception for myself I realised as much as my head says no more my heart says I don’t want it to be the end. It seems so final once it is done. We planned one and two but if there was a surprise later down the track I wouldn’t mind. I am so glad I am not the only one with mixed feelings.

      I know I don’t want to be pregnant, labour or newborn stage but heart says other things. I am glad to here that the feelings do fade. I’ll just enjoy my 7 week old cuddles and baby boy.

  • ChristineD

    We have two – a five-year old girl and a two-year old boy. Our son was a scheduled c-section, and we scheduled a tubal ligation for the same day he was born. We both knew that he would be our last. I was 35 and already felt too old to be a new mom, and the diapers, and the formula, and the laundry, and the never-ending mess. The whining and the attitudes are so hard to deal with when it’s X2; I just can’t imagine it being X3, 4, 5, or more. I can barely hold onto my sanity as it is!

    I do miss being pregnant sometimes. I had two wonderful pregnancies, and I miss that feeling. I miss the feeling of a baby doing somersaults in my belly, and the hiccups, and being able to see the outline of a foot pressed against my stomach. I miss the way my kids both reacted to different songs I played for them. (My daughter really liked Eric Clapton). I miss the way my son adjusted his position based on the way I was moving my hands over my belly. I miss pregnancy, but I don’t want any more kids. I love my kids to death, to the moon and back, but we’re definitely done!

  • Jessica

    Wow, you hit my emotional nail on the head with this one! I want another bay so bad sometimes that it aches and I don’t know how I can stand not getting pregnant right now and then I love my life and the freedom I have with my kiddos having autonomy and me not having to do everything!! But boy I am with you. I will never be done either.

  • Rebecca

    This made me laugh and then it made me cry. I can 100% relate to this post. My husband and I are pregnant with number 4. We were just talking last night about when we will be ready for him to get his vasectomy.. And my thought was I will never be ready, that’s why I couldn’t get my tubes tide.. I will never be ready.. Be ready to give up all of those firsts..and I cried because this new babies firsts will be my lasts. Days are hard, so, so hard. And the noise! That car ride made me laugh, I can’t stand noise! I think I was supposed to read this, maybe to give me comfort that I’m not the only one who wants a fast forward button but a pause and the same time!

  • Angie

    I went straight from second (tried for 5 years to get) baby to menopause…lots of ambivalence about that rigamaroll but started taking care of my brother-in-laws babies so I get the dimples and the raspberries and the tantrums and the poop but with out the sleepless nights and cracked nipples….yay!

  • julia adams

    my husband and I are 45 and we just reached this weird place where we love to entertain other peoples babies, I think this must be the beginning of grandparentness – which we’re not even close too – our kids are 15, 13 and 11…but I sense a change, an adoring that’s beginning that wasn’t there before – so you’re probably not done and you’ll get to have babies again someday, they’ll just be your grandbabies and I’m sensing also that this will be as wonderful as they all say it is.

  • Katreena Schaeffer

    I am that mother, the one that says,”one and done,” and remains confident with that decision. Until, my alter go (or split personality) takes over 5 minutes later and then I am all like, “I WANT TO HAVE ALL THE BABIES IN THE WORLD!” It’s a struggle, and it sucks. How do we ever really know when we are done? We are women. Our hormones are a fucking roller-coaster of insanity. Hang in there, mama. We are in this together! 🙂

  • maggie

    I have four. I was never done till nature said I was. I coulda had 10.

    • Tiffany

      I have 4 10 8 4 and 1 I’m so not ready to make it official we don’t need anymore but omg I get depressed looking at my 1 yr old like today could be the last for him needing me to walk etc I can’t handle it parts of me want another :”(

  • Chronicallysickmanicmother

    I never expected to only have one child.

    Then again…there are days that I am like. why did I have a child? Why did I want this?

    Yes. Done but not done, but yet, done.

  • SunnyBadger

    I have a blended family. Totaling 4 amazing children. When I met my husband and his two kids I was thrilled. After being told by 6 different fertility doctors that I was not going to be able to conceive, I was finally going to be a mother. And best of all I didn’t have to get fat. Then after a trip to Israel with my SO where he proposed, we returned with the greatest of blessings. I was pregnant! Something in the water maybe? So that totaled 3. I was a mother of 3 beautiful children. And best of all, I was fertile. I could have more. So why not? We had one boy (our oldest) and now two gorgeous girls. Why not complete the package and have another, maybe this time another boy? Hooray, we were pregnant again. It’s a….. GIRL! My son said, “I wanted a brother!” My response, “I guess you didn’t pray hard enough.” My son, “Can’t we have another one, a boy this time?” Lol, “If we could guarantee that you’d be getting a baby brother instead of your 3rd sister right now.” Yes indeed, I am done. I love babies. Turns out I hate being pregnant. 4 is enough for me. I just look at it this way, I have grand babies to look forward to. Lots of grand babies! 🙂 I’m happy enough with that.

  • SunnyBadger

    Ask me again when my now 9 month old is no longer a sweet little growth on my hip.

  • Lori

    at the ripe old age of 50, I find it very organic – the feeling of not wanting babies any more.
    Coming to that wasnt organic at all.
    I recall for many years – after my second and last baby, his birth & my tube tying the same instant was one of the ‘worst decisions of my life’. Pretty final.
    But then as time wore on, and i experienced the shrill of a 2 yr old at nap time in Starbucks, or when I helped a mama of three into her car with 2 screaming kids and A load of groceries (God, she looked tired ) I thought, “I’m soo happy that’s over!”
    ….it was then I realized – I was done. Utterly, and completely. 10000% DONE.
    You will arrive to this point my dear- maybe not today, but one day soon. I promise.
    ..and you will be fine with it.
    Then, you will think about grand babies.
    Sending good mojo to you sista! ✌️

  • Joan

    I am 57, yes 57, and still long for the idea of a bigger family. I had 2 children. Two C-sections and the doc said, “You have a boy and a girl, the perfect family.” Did he mean I should be done. After all the boy was 10lb.3oz. and 23 inches long. What if that happened again? I finally okayed the the vasectomy when the youngest was a freshman in high school. How could I have a baby when my youngest was in high school. Seriously, I would do differently. Hind sight, I would have should have had more, so love those babies. You do not have to stop at two.

  • Kristen

    So perfectly said. I have this battle at least once a week. I know we’ll never intentionally conceive another child, as my health would be on the line, but I STILL get that thought of “well, maybe just one more…” Now I’ve been trying to talk the hubs into considering adoption or fostering later on when our kids are a little older… *sigh*

  • Jamie

    I’m staring at the same question from a different vantage point. I have three children, 2.5 really. I had always wondered how 2.5 is even possible and then it became my life. My eldest and would be favorite, if favorites didn’t make me feel horrible, is my .5. She came into my life at 10 months old and while she is 100 percent a whole person we only get to have her half of the time. Hence the .5. She is now almost 15 years old and has since been joined by two brothers who are now 13 and almost 11. These kids have over the years been my greatest joy, as well as my greatest source of stress and grey hairs. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I am 32 years old and about 8 years from being “done” raising them. My husband and I have never let a year go by without wistfully bemoaning the years with them slipping away and thinking about expanding our brood. We keep deciding no, we want that time to just be a couple finally, after all we did get together and make a family because we really liked one another’s company. We still ache for another every time we see the other hold a baby, plus my husband loves pregnant bodies so that comes up every time we see one. I don’t think the decision is ever over but we are nonetheless considering vasectomy because my husband worries I will have stroke from my b/c pills. We are also both commited to not contributing to overpopulation and scarcity of natural resources and I had difficult pregnancies and life threatening complications with one. We’ve made our choice but it is still painful to watch the lasts go by. I console myself with the fact that there are countless children in the foster system in need of the love we might be desperate to give someday. So if we travel together, take naps and get hobbies and our nest still seems impossibly empty, we can fill it with the sound of children’s laughter again. My husbands parents do foster care and have adopted three great kids and didn’t even start doing so until they were on their sixties, and I will have the advantage of relative youth on my side. Don’t worry that just because you won’t make any more babies you’ll never get to experience those firsts again. Even if it is only your grand kids or other members of the newest generation of your family and friends, you will still be able to smell that baby smell, watch them purse their lips as they sleep, and hold them close. It’s not ever really over, even when you stop the biological possibility of making babies. I do miss nursing though, and I doubt that will ever change.

  • themclauchlins

    THIS! I can totally relate and your words brought me to tears. Hubs had his vasectomy nearly 8 years ago. We have two wonderful boys, but can’t get the little girl from my dreams out of my head. Done but not done.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Very well written! I no longer feel alone in my grief and internal struggle to accept that I will never carry another child. Thank you.

  • Merry Welker-Tolla

    I feel this way too, but then I think… “Grandchildren!” That’s my chance for more! And they better give me some damn it!

  • Carrie

    I totally, totally get it! Our situations are pretty different but your words reflect how I feel. I have three – ages 2, 4, and 6. The first 2 were conceived with the help of modern medicine and they were just 18 months apart. I was 39 when we had #2, and I had my hands full, so we were done…even though I had still had the baby urge! However, I thought I would not be able to handle 3, and of course I couldn’t get pregnant easily…but then you know what happened – a very unexpected #3! After #3, we knew logically that we had to be done (I was 41!!) so hubby had the same procedure. I am surrounded by laundry, there is WAY too much noise all the %@Q$@!% time, I am SO tired of wiping butts, etc., but I cried as I donated baby clothes and sold the bassinet because I knew I would never have another baby! Yet I can barely manage 3, I am 43 and I want to hold tiny babies when I see them because I’ll never be pregnant again.

    It’s something that is programmed into our bodies, to make sure we continue the human race. It has to be. You summed it up perfectly, as you always do:

    “I don’t want any more children. I can’t stand the thought of not having any more children.”

    ps – your 4-year-old could be my 2-year-olds twin. It’s almost eerie when I see he picture because they look so alike. Hope that didn’t sound creepy.

  • Charlie

    I am the mother to 2 children but I only have one gorgeous baby that survived long enough to move into our home and destroy our peaceful life in the most wonderful way. I look at other people with 2 or more and think you must all be bat shit crazy. I don’t know how you do it. Yet I wear a bracelet with 4 little faces on it because it reminds me of the children I will never have. I like to carry a memory of them around with me. Yes, I’m bat shit crazy too.

  • Shanna LaBarre

    Thank you. Thank you for being honest. I also think you read my mind and put it on your blog. Thank you for showing me that I am not alone in my crazy. That my craving for newborns is not only my own. Thank you.

  • adelfa

    I have 3, and most of the time I’m done, but very rarely I think “what if”? My youngest is 7, and I’m only 36 years old…but 2 of my 3 have ADHD and life is pretty often very, very hard.

    You know what really helps? Near my house there is a long-term home/shelter for teenage mothers. They always need volunteers to babysit while the girls attend various classes in the evenings (life skills, job skills, parenting skills, etc). I get to hold and care for a seemingly endless string of newborns and infants, and get my fix, then give them back. When your kids are all in school and you have a few extra minutes that you don’t have now, you can do the same. It’s really a joy to help those moms and cuddle those babies….and sometimes you get the colicky ones, which makes you all the more sure that you made the right choice to be done!! 🙂

  • Emily

    I’m loving this right now. We’re not baby people. The baby stages are hard for us, and right now our son is 10 months old (daughter is 2.5) and we’re at a bit of a low point. We don’t have time for each other, and I’ve been making some time for myself but my husband hasn’t and I can see everything wearing on him, but I don’t have any way to help it be right. The minute I found out I was pregnant I was at least a little relieved that this was all going to be the last time, even though I love having kids and my pregnancies were easy and, dare I say, even relatively comfortable. I liked it all but I just don’t feel like there’s a person missing, and I don’t know how we would face all this again. And yet. I am just not ready for either of us to do something permanent (we’ve dealt with infertility, so we’re not too worried about birth control failing and surprise pregnancies). Part of it is the infertility–it’s galling to imagine paying money to do something to one of our bodies that we paid so much money to “cure” in the first place. But I also know that we had a hard time imagining doing it all again when our daughter was this age, but we knew we wanted a second kid, so we did it and by the time we started trying, we *were* looking forward to going through it again. I don’t think I’ll ever want it again as desperately as I did with our daughter, because we’d been trying for so long with only disappointment to show for it, and now no desire can compare to that, so maybe I’ll never feel like I truly want another kid because it won’t be that desperate. I don’t know. But I know we still have the same conversation over and over: “So glad we’re not having any more kids!” “Yeah, I know–I mean, you know, if we had more resources, when Teddy was older, we might have another one.” “Yeah, we might, but probably not. Or, you know, maybe.” We switch roles and still land on “no more kids” but I tell people there’s still maybe 2.5% of us that might want another kid someday, so I know I’m done but I can’t avoid adding a little caveat of *probably. maybe. probably.

  • Noemi

    I can’t have any more, or at least there is very little chance (secondary infertility at age 34) and I thought that would rob me of ever knowing if I were really done, because the fact that I couldn’t have any more would mess with me knowing if I actually wanted any more. I’m so thankful that I did get to a place where I know, deep in my heart, that I wouldn’t have tried for the third kid that I originally thought I wanted (before my family building endeavors went all pear shaped) even if I had the chance. I’m done at two. We can’t afford it (in any sense of the word) and I really am not interested in doing it. Two is kicking my ass. I suspect it will continue to do so. And I’m so thankful that I got to do it all again with a second kid. I really thought I wasn’t going to have that, and then I got pregnant against the odds and I’m still reveling in the joy that I get to have two at all.

    I’m done. And after all I did to get here, it feels really, really good to be past that part of my life.

  • LaToya

    I know what you mean. My son thinks I walk on water. He’s 8 months. My daughter, 3, used to. Now, she barely wants to kiss me some days. I know it’s going to get worse. BLAH.

  • Karen

    THANK YOU for making me feel normal! I tell people we are DONE all the time. I am done. 4 boys in 7 years and the baby will 2 years old in a few weeks. I get the ache to have another even though I can barley keep my sanity with the ones I got. I will always get the ache. Better the ache than for me to completely loss it. Oh yeah and my husband does not want another one. I love him so I would like for him to stick around.

  • Jennifer

    Thanks for pouring your heart out so well. THIS is what I feel. I have 3 children and my youngest is 3. I want another baby but I don’t know if that is the best choice given our circumstances. Like you, I feel like I am not ready for it to be over so fast and want another baby. But maybe I will just always want another baby.

  • Jill

    I say it all the time, I always, always want a new baby, I just don’t want anymore kids. I have 4 as well, I can’t be a good parent to more than that. I try to make time for them all, keep my shit together, that is not happening with 5+ kids, but I always will want another baby. My baby is 2, and it pains me seriously pains me that these two years with my last has been a blink of the eye. I keep looking at him and know he is growing further away from me. One day it will be the last I ever nurse, one day it will be the last I rock him to sleep, one day he will go to school, one day he won’t be a baby, I will never have that again, and it is like a knife twisting in my gut because I love that, I love babies. I love everything about them, and is there ever a more perfect love than a love of a baby. It is not fucked up at all. You haven’t made some stupid parenting move you feel guilty about. They cry, you feed them, they cuddle into you, you melt. Their problems are hunger, and wanting mom, not friend trying drugs at school, or mean kids. You are the center of their world, and they are the center of yours, and your in this love cocoon, just blissed out. Then it comes to and end, and that is great because your tired, and they become a little person you can talk to and know, and it is fascinating, but you want another baby then, it is like a drug. I am like you four and done but never done in my heart, I will always want more babies, but not more kids.

  • Erica Praga

    I have always wondered about the folks who love being pregnant and the babies. I have one and am about 7mo preggo with two, and I am so done. I have never been into the pregnancy/little baby phase. I love my first, with all I am, but I didn’t really fall in love with her until she was about 3-4 months old. I salute the people who are pregnancy/baby people! Even with 2 easy pregnancies (no morning sickness, minimal weight gain, ease of birth) I could seriously do without it-ponderous is the word that comes to mind as I walk/waddle down the halls. 4 kids seems like an amazing feat to me-good on ya!

  • Dawn

    This is such a great post and I think an example of how whacked women are wired! I had 2 kids by the time I was 23, divorced by 30 and spent the next 14 years as a single parent and hating men. I toyed with the idea of “closing down the shop” but that was so permanent. Although I was single and certain that I was done with having kids, I didn’t want to make things that final. Go figure. I always told myself (and anyone that would listen) that I was done having kids, but if I ever met the right guy, at the right time, who knows……Well, fast forward about 14 years. I met a guy (not necessarily the right guy in my mind, but there was something there), we dated, “shacked up”, and got pregnant. 6 years later and we are married, happy and with a large (ish) family. I have 2 adult children, he has 2 children that live with their mom, and we have an almost 5 year old together. For someone who was “done” having kids, I am the proud parent of 2 generations of kids! Why yes, yes I am crazy.

  • Erica

    How are you feeling with everything now? I’m in pretty much the same situation, but my husband isn’t getting a vasectomy. I’ll b 35 in 2 weeks, and we have 4 kiddos (13,7,3,1). I feel that I’m ‘done’. I like where we are at. I like the family dynamics. I like the fact that I will be able to do more with the kids as they get older because it won’t be as hard as it is with a baby in the house. That being said, it makes me cry every time I think of not having another baby. Of never being pregnant again. I guess that’s normal, but it really gives me mixed emotions. This article helps me feel better though. At least I know I’m not the only one.

  • Christine

    I so understand this.