How it Feels When You’re Done (But Not Done) Having Babies

In two weeks time, my husband is booked in for the snip.

After seven years and three babies we are calling time on baby making (well, a Urologist with what I hope is a very steady hand will officially call it.)

My husband is cool, calm and collected about both the procedure AND what it means. Me? Not so much. Because though my head tells me that it’s time, my heart? Well it feels differently.

Since 2011, life has been consumed by #allthebabies. Making them. Growing them. Birthing them. Mothering them. My definition of who I am has shifted dramatically. Before children (B.C.) I was a journalist. Wife. Daughter. Best friend. I wore different hats at different times, often taking off one before pulling on the other. That all changed on 17 January, 2012 when I got ma’self a new title; mother. A hat that fitted kind of weirdly to start, was itchy at times, but soon grew to fit. I haven’t taken it off since.when you're done

The last birth

Life became about creating our little family. And we always knew there’d be a tribe of mini-humans. Three was always the plan. I could relax as my first baby grew into a little boy knowing I’d get to do it all again. Then came my daughter and again, I suspected we’d crack on for another round down the track. I savoured the moments, but reminded myself that I’d probably get a do-over at some point in the future. Baby number three took up residence in my uterus and suddenly, all the firsts also became lasts.

The last time I’d grow a baby. The last time I’d feel those tiny flutters that become full on boots to the inside of my belly. The last bout of morning sickness. My last birth. The last fourth trimester/ newborn baby bubble/intoxicating scent of a newborn head.

when you're done

Three kids is plenty

My head knows that three kids is plenty. Pulling on my ‘I’m an adult’ pants and considering the financials and logistics, not to mention the impact another would have on the current three, makes the decision clear cut. Juggling three is a balancing act and many (many) evenings I go to bed wondering if i’ve nailed it, or failed it.

But my heart? My heart is having a hard time with it. My identity has shifted, since 2012, and much of it has been underpinned by growing or having young children. As my third gets older, that identity will be no more and I’m not entirely certain what will replace it.

How can this be the last time?

I look at friends who had their second or third and confidently declared “I am 100% done!” and I’m envious at their certainty. I wonder if I’ll ever feel that way.

Sure, on some days I wonder why I even had one, but come the evening, when the big kids are snuggled up in bed and I’m breastfeeding my littlest to sleep, listening to her sleepy sucks and stroking her soft little head and I think to myself; “How can this be the last time?”

The chaos, for the most part, is balanced out by so much goodness that it’s tricky to see how sweet the future can and will be.

when you're done

I think I’ll shed a few tears in two weeks. The finality of it all seems overwhelming and being firmly ushered off the train, for good, makes me teary. I know we are done and I am so grateful for all that we have, but I’m lying if I say I don’t ever hear the “just one more” whispers from my heart.

Of course, if there’s one thing that’ll put a damper on your urge to breed is when your existing kids are at war with each other. Check out this article on how to get your kids to get along.

Avatar of Naomi Foxall

Naomi is 3/4 latte drinking, peanut butter obsessed former magazine girl who now does stuff with words for a living while juggling 2.5 kids, 2 cats, 1 rabbit, husband and an unhealthy obsession with slow cooking.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar of jess

    Your article is 100% me right now and I resonate with all the feelings you have described. I have three wonderful children. Hubby is DONE. My heart is not ready to let go of the idea that I will no longer grow, nurture, birth and sustain another baby but I know practically it is the right decision (another pregnancy will RUIN parts of my body that are already failing, we’d have to upgrade a lot of things, I’d have to return to work sooner, I’d have to re-gather all the baby items we have given away/sold on). It doesn’t make that twinge any less painful.

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