The Future By Thirds

November 3, 2008

“What would you think,” my husband asked, “if I got a vasectomy?”

I put down my magazine and stared out the window. “I think,” I said carefully, “that I wouldn’t know what to think.”

“We’re done, though, right?”

“I think so.”

“But you don’t want to get pregnant again, right?”

“I don’t want to be pregnant again, no. Or at least, I don’t think so. I think. No. I don’t know.”

That wasn’t entirely true. I do know. I don’t want to be pregnant again. And I certainly don’t want to go through childbirth again. And I could do without ever going through another exhausted-depressed-anxious-boobchafed tour-de-newborn again. But do I want to ensure that I never get pregnant again, that I never have another child? I don’t know. I don’t think that those questions are the same. Do you want (or not want) to go through the process of having another child? is a different question from do you want (or not want) to have another child? in the same way that do you like the work of motherhood? is a different question from do you like being a mother? or do you love being mother to your children?

I don’t like pregnancy. I don’t like childbirth. I’m not super crazy about the work of motherhood, and I’m especially not crazy about the 24-7 boot camp nightmare that is the work of being a brand new mother to a brand new baby who stays up all night and chomps boobs and shits everywhere. But I love my children. I adore my children. They are the most precious, most delightful, most amazing things in my life. So if you ask me, do I want more mother-work, the fast and firm answer is no. But if you were to ask me whether I’d want another one of these incredible little beings, I would say that I can’t bring myself to say, firmly and finally, no. And if you were to ask me whether I’d accept further burden of mother-work in order to have another one of these little beings, I’d have to say, I just don’t know. I don’t think so, but I don’t know.

All I know is that I don’t want to say no. Not with any kind of finality. Not in a way that closes off any possibility of yes. Or even, oops. (Because oops is a yes of a sort, is it not?)

(yes is a world/and in this world of/yes live/(skilfully curled)/all worlds)

(feel free to roll your eyes at me here)

My hands are full. Emilia is hell on wheels, a brilliant and beautiful tempest that blasts her way through every day, wreaking full havoc and leaving us, her parents, stunned and enchanted and weary in her wake. Jasper is a great, hulking, grinning cherub of a baby, big and strong and determined to catch up to his speedster-demon of a sister. They thrill and delight and exhaust me. I adore them more than I thought it possible to adore any other living beings, but they keep me at the very razor’s edge of my wits. I don’t know that it would be humanly possible for me to manage another child. Ever.

But the idea of closing off any possibility of that third child… that seems, somehow, inexplicably, wrong. I’m not a big believer in destiny – that is, I don’t think that I am – but if there’s a future for us in which a third child figures, do I want to refuse that future? I think of those friends of mine for whom the third (or fourth) was unexpected, a shock even, and I know that if they had it to do over, they would not want to turn back the clock and refuse. But turning back the clock to change the past, and settling upon certain choices for the future are two different things, of course. I have already made innumerable choices that have closed off innumerable futures; I do not, for the most part, mourn the loss of these futures. They just simply are not to be.

Am I ready, though, to close off entirely the possibility of this future, of a future in which our two are our three, in which we four who once were we three become we five?

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

(How did you know? DO you know?)

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    { 126 comments }

    Robin November 3, 2008 at 10:53 am

    I don’t know. What’s more, I don’t know how you know. We’ve been waffling for years already (my younger child is already five). I guess the not knowing is an answer in and of itself. I’m just not ready. Yet. Maybe.

    becky w. November 3, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Oh Catherine. Thank you for this post. It speaks to me like you cannot even know, but then you do because you wrote what I am feeling! We had an oops (3rd pregnancy) earlier this year that ended at 9 weeks in a miscarriage. http://nooniebug.blogspot.com/2008/10/today.html
    My husband is on the verge of having a vasectomy and I still keep hoping for another “oops” before he actually schedules the appointment. Because then I can have my 3rd baby without having to actually have to say “yes” to going there again. But we’re done, we decided together, so why the longing?

    WaltzInExile November 3, 2008 at 11:06 am

    I’m with Robin. I don’t know, and I don’t know how anyone knows. I can’t make myself do that final “no way no how” step yet, either. Which, considering we already have 2 birth control babies, is pretty much me saying “we’re not done,” I suppose. I don’t see me ever explicitly saying “let’s have another one.” It’s weird. I’m a control freak about most stuff, but this I cannot make myself impose my will upon. Probably because I have no idea what my will is. Let me know if you get an answer.

    Sarah November 3, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Lately, my husband and I have been asking ourselves this EXACT question (well, over a 4th, we just had our 3rd in June). I think we’re pretty close to making that appointment with the urologist but still … it’s the idea of closing that baby-possible chapter of our lives. It’s SUCH a difficult decision. The idea of “never again” is sad and intimidating. Except the idea of doing it all over again, out numbered twice over, in our tiny home kind of makes me want to run shrieking down the street.

    … not that THAT helped much …

    LawMommy November 3, 2008 at 11:10 am

    My first child was born to me. My second child, adopted under fairly unusual circumstances, by choice (which is not to say that anyone could adopt by accident, but, rather, we adopted a child instead than attempt to get pregnant again, even though it was not the getting pregnant that was difficult for me. It was the aftermath, the ppd, the crippling post partum anxiety, that had us choose to find another way to bring another child into our family.) Lana was four when we adopted her, which is not the usual way of making families, but, it’s what we did.

    Anyway, the minute our adoption of Lana was finalized, the minute we were four instead of three…I told my husband I wanted to make an appointment for him to get snipped. And he said, “please do” and I did, and he did, and it was done. We were done. I knew. I knew I couldn’t do it again. I think I knew I couldn’t do it again (i.e. pregnancy) the moment I pushed Gabe into the world. It was a one time thing for me. It was just too painful (not just childbirth, but, the aftermath, both physiologically and pychologically, for me to do again.)

    Anyway, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt. (I guess it did occur to me that there is no way to say “I will never adopt again” in the same way that one can say, “I will never give birth to another baby.” But, I doubt we will adopt again, the option isn’t exactly cut off.)

    If you are not sure, how do you feel about in IUD? It’s pretty effective, all things considered.

    Goldfish November 3, 2008 at 11:18 am

    I don’t know. We did it. We had our third and called it quits (vasectomy). It made me cry. I’m with you– I hate being pregnant. I’m not a real “mommy” mother. I love it, but sometimes reluctantly. And after we had our third (almost a year ago), after a very difficult pregnancy and delivery and horrifying neonatal stretch, and PPD, I thought maybe (just maybe) I wanted more. But my husband didn’t. And I said okay. I’m a sometimes reluctant mother. And a sometimes reluctant not-mother…. I don’t know.

    The Dalai Mama November 3, 2008 at 11:20 am

    I can’t speak to the issue of getting and being pregnant again–as I am infertile, but I do have two amazing and precious children whom we adopted as infants.

    After our most recent adoption (I hate to refer to is as our last adoption), my hubby and I decided we were done with babies. I cannot deal with another baby–emotionally. But on the flip side, I know that my family isn’t complete. I have always wanted four kids and I feel lucky that I can have that without having to get pregnant four times.

    We plan to adopt an young sibling group when our oldest between 5-6 so about 3 years from now. I think deciding you are done is hard. We decided that we would not pursue further fertility treatmemt options because we do not see us having another baby. But, I can say that if you’re not 100% sure–then the chances are you are either not done–or you aren’t ready to say that you are done. Either way–wait on the snipping until you are sure.

    I just wanted to say that I love your raw and open honesty. It has given me the courage to be open and honest about my own feelings during this transition to a second child and new baby. Thank you.

    April November 3, 2008 at 11:24 am

    i SO dread the day when my husband comes to me with that question. i know now that i’m not done having (wanting?) babies, but i don’t know how i’ll know when i AM done… and it stresses me out just thinking on the topic. good luck!!!

    Mrs. Schmitty November 3, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Mr. Schmitty had a vasectomy. I know at 41 I don’t plan on giving birth to more children. However, I still have that ache. I think it’s just a woman’s heart. Think with your head because the heart will confuse you.

    Ms. Moon November 3, 2008 at 11:30 am

    We KNEW when we had our fourth, who was completely unexpected and who is one of the true bright lights of this planet and my heart now.
    But yes, we were certain then. I went with my husband and our newborn and I sat by his side with the baby on the breast and MADE SURE THAT DOCTOR DID IT RIGHT.
    And he did.
    And God bless the vasectomy.
    But only when you really, really KNOW that’s what you want.

    Redneck Mommy November 3, 2008 at 11:41 am

    When Boo had his vasectomy I was wearing a cheerleading outfit and shaking my pompoms. We were 25. Three kids, one handicapped, and a heart condition of mine meant there was no way we wanted to try our hand at a fourth child.

    For years we celebrated our new birth control and the sweet freedom to fornicate without consequence.

    Then life happened and suddenly, regardless of what health risks it would mean, or boob chomping or what have you, we’d both sell our souls to walk the path of pregnancy once again.

    Do we regret it? Yes. Would we do it again? Most likely. At the time it was the right decision for both of us and for our family.

    But what I would give for the ability to expand our family with out bureaucrats and politics and adoption case workers.

    Of course I could just be saying this out of frustration for our current position. Because I freaking hated being pregnant.

    Once I have a small child to call my own I’ll be celebrating the fact I did it without ever damaging my nether regions or having my boobs chewed on.

    It was the right decision for us. And we both were absolutely positive of it. Still are. It’s just sometimes the mommy yearning is stronger than the common sense.

    Damn hormones.

    Jean November 3, 2008 at 11:42 am

    For us, we had discussed having one and I was totally ok with it. Pregnancy was not easy nor fun and I had some PPD after DS was born. It was a horrible, trying time, I don’t have a ton of fond memories of the early stages of infancy (like the first 6 weeks). AFter that, as he grew and got bigger and I began to understand my precious boy, things got better for me too. I was also getting more sleep which seriously, people totally underestimate the value of sleep. So, I began to, in the back of my brain, think about one more.

    When my son was about 18 months old, I had a pregnancy scare. And I was DEVESTATED!!! Seriously, totally, completely freaking out with no thoughts to “maybe this would be good”. Of course, a day later I got flo and the relief was palpable. So at that moment, I knew for sure, that I was done.

    That’s how I knew.

    tallulah November 3, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Even when you KNOW that you are done, you don't really know. That's the terrible twisted reality of deciding and planning a family.
    We adopted 4 children and then got pregnant. My pregnancy was a complete surprise & awful and actually dangerous to our baby. We decided before Izzy was even born that my husband would get a vasectomy..which he swiftly did. But I can't tell you how many times between then and now (5 years)that I wished I were pregnant again. EVEN with the Mommy duties and five children. It's very hard because you know that your love can just spread wider and wider with each child. That you can love all of them so completely.
    It's a tough decision.

    Lori November 3, 2008 at 11:43 am

    I had a very, very hard time deciding. In my head I knew I was done at four, in my heart I really wanted another one. But, I just knew that I couldn’t do it. We made the decision to do the big V and I was really, really sad for awhile. So was my husband. But, as the youngest gets older we’re more at terms w/ the decision. It’s nice to be able to do things as a family instead of one parent sitting off to the side w/ the baby. It’s nice for them to all have some independence now so that I can be me again. But, every now and again I get the feeling that I still want another one. My mom says that she had that feeling for years after they were done. I think it’s just a mommy thing.

    Anonymous November 3, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Do it. It doesn’t have to be permanent. They can be reversed. Yes, there may be problems (like clogged pipelines) that may make a reversal pointless, but you have a few reasons to do it:

    1) You seem pretty overwhelmed right now. Another baby would really make it worse.

    2) You can adopt later if you decide that you must have another baby. Lots of babies need good homes and their mothers need the option of adoption rather than the alternative.

    3) If you are destined/meant to have a third, you will get pregnant, vasectomy or not.

    4) Children are wonderful and it is time to start enjoying the ones you have instead of delaying that enjoyment for another pregnancy/post partum period that consumes all of your lives.

    Best of luck. Being due any minute with #2, I am not sure if we are done. I’m about 90% sure. But this is girl #2 and the door is now open to try again for a boy. But man, if this was a boy, the vasectomy would be scheduled the day the baby turned 1 (or pretty close thereafter). :)

    Super Ninja Mommy November 3, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I thought we were done. Then when Beastie was four months old… oops! So now I have four children, and now I know we *aren’t* done. It feels like someone is missing from our family. No more babies 13 months apart though, thank you very much.

    I don’t think we could ever choose permanent birth control. My SIL did with mixed feelings, but after a year or so has completely accepted it and his happy with her decision.

    Amy November 3, 2008 at 11:50 am

    How about a Mirena – more effective than a V, totally reversible, and cheaper. Plus, you don’t have to put up with two or three days of DH whining on the couch. :)

    I don’t know when you know, either. Maybe when you hear a baby cry in the store, and instead of thinking, “Awww..” you think, “Suckers!”

    If I ever figure it out, I’ll let you know!

    Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

    red pen mama November 3, 2008 at 11:50 am

    I have been over this myself.

    We still haven’t definitively decided.

    I know I don’t want DearDR to have a vasectomy, though. Part religious reasons, part “just-no” feelings.

    I’ve heard tell of people who have that one, two, three baby, and think “I’m done.” So maybe people do know. I know I don’t know. And I’m okay with that.

    If you don’t know, and if your husband doesn’t know, I would suggest holding off on anything permanent.

    Good luck!

    ciao,
    rpm

    Tricia November 3, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Mother nature decided for me. No children, sorry, none. And I’m okay with that.

    I think it’s sweet of your husband to offer – most men have to be coerced to have a vasectomy. I know my BIL went under duress – they knew they wanted no more kids but he would have been fine with my sister having invasive surgery rather than having his boys snipped in any way. Thankfully he is not a selfish man and saw the error of his ways. :)

    Heather November 3, 2008 at 11:57 am

    We are done. My husband is going for the V on friday. I’m sad that there will be no more babies, but we have no space, no money and my body will likely not take another c-section anyway. Our third was born in May and immediately after her birth I felt done. As friday draws closer I feel less sure, but it’s probably just the finality of it that bothers me a bit.

    When our #2 was born, I did NOT feel done. My husband did. He wanted to get the V then. We discussed it for a year or two then decided to try for 3. She took us 2 years to conceive and I was beginning to think that I would have no choice but to be done. Thankfully she came along.

    I think if you’re not sure, you’re not necessarily done. If you have no medical reason to not have more, I’d leave the option open, just in case. He can always get it done later, if/when you’re sure.

    You only regret the kids you don’t have, never the ones you do.

    fidget November 3, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    I tried to be done at 3. I dont do pregnant gracefully and require a lot of medical guidance (which i hate) but after 3 when it was time to make the big V appointment, I lost my shit and just ugly cried.

    We have 4 now and I still dont feel done. I think my body may say NO MORE before my heart does. I’m a masochistic sucker though… hence the new puppy.

    Mimi November 3, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    You may remember I spent some time obsessing about this last year. We called a halt at one kid, two parents. Like you, I would have blanched at the thought of sterilization for me or for Pynchon, though, for the same idea of not wanting to permanently foreclose hopes or possibilities.

    Maybe this is something you drift into: for us, the decision becomes firmer every day, more right and more real, as we live it. In the daily choosing-not-to that is also, in its way, a choice, if not so grand as the grand gesture of surgery. You know? You get there by degrees. But you can still turn that ship right back aroudn if you have to …

    LAVANDULA November 3, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    catherine really you will know when you are done. there will be no question.my last pregnancy was high risk and extremely difficult with complications for both baby and myself and ijust knew i was done. i love my precious angels more than anything but no more…my husband had a vasectomy when little one was just under 1 years old and it didn’t take…

    paper napkin November 3, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Our 3rd was a surprise. I DID NOT WANT him. I kept telling him in-utero that it was nothing personal, I’m sure I would like him once he got here.

    That said, 3 is easier than the transition from 1 to 2. And yes, I’m so glad he’s here.

    Am I done? I am so done. I do not like babies, though I adore them once they hit about 18 months and from then on I’m smitten. I would not go back to baby land for a million dollars. Well, maybe for a million, but not one cent less. 3 is enough– financially, time wise, labor wise. I’m definitely through.

    Syko November 3, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    I never did know. Even at 36 years of age and divorced, and working to support three kids on my own, I still thought that just maybe I’d fall in love with someone terrific and want to have a child with him. So I never did anything, left tubes intact, uterus in place – and nature took care of it for me. Even now, 10 years post-menopause, it makes me sad to think I may never hold a snuggly warm sweet newborn again. Even my grandsons are big hulking teens now and when I ask plaintively for a granddaughter, each of my kids points to another and says “his/her turn”. Every newborn still makes my shriveled ovaries ache. I don’t know how you ever know.

    Jenera November 3, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    We are going to be having our 2nd baby in a few weeks. We know for a fact we are done. We have only talked about two and no more. When I think of our future, I have always pictured two little ones and a dog. Some people picture more. My hubby will be having a vasectomy around the first part of the year.

    If we had an ‘oops’ or something, I would welcome another child but I really think two is all we will have.

    Anonymous November 3, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    This may not be the most popular answer…

    Here’s how you know you’re done. You look at things REALISTICALLY…can you afford a third, will you outgrow your house and have to move, will you have to go back to work even if you don’t want to, do you have the tolerance for it, what about when they’re all involved in different activities and you’re being pulled in three different directions and your husband is out of town? Seems to me that everyone who isn’t sure still has young-ish children or babies at home. Although things seem difficult with babies, they get much more complicated with older children. Think of the future; not just how you’re feeling right now. I have two boys, three years apart. I’d have loved a girl, but financially it would have been a burden, I was getting too old (vowed not to have any over the age of 35), and I worked (and still do) fulltime. I’m happy giving my boys the best I can and I’ve gotten over the no girl thing. I think women have to stop being selfish about what THEY want and look to their and their children’s lives in the FUTURE, and see if it makes sense. I agree with the commenter who said you should stop now and start to enjoy the children you have instead of thinking of children you might have had.

    Having said that, it took us two years till my husband finally got a vasectomy. Not because I didn’t want to, but he was one of those who had to be pushed into it. But he did it and we’re both glad. We pretty much decided after #2 that we were done and a family of four suited us just fine.

    Rosemary November 3, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    I know what you are going through here.. and my wise doctor said that you never do something like that until you are sure.. and then you wait a year and if you are STILL sure, then you do it. We followed that advice.. and still felt that little pang when my husband had the vasectomy. But that was eight years ago now, and it was the right decision for us. Waiting that year helped us know that.. but I don’t know if you can ever be 100 percent sure.. and since a small percentage of vasectomies fail, I figured if it happened after that — it was meant to be (it didn’t).

    Take care.. and take time to ponder. Love your site, by the way.. had to de-lurk to tell you this!

    Anonymous November 3, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    I have three sons and can say that the third one slipped into the family so, so easily. It is not much of a transition when you already have two, ages 3 and 5. He was the baby I enjoyed the most. I was a very relaxed mother at that point. If you are unsure, then don’t do anything yet!! There has been too little time since you had the 2nd.

    Alexa November 3, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I just had my first baby. I can say that I don’t want my hubby to get snipped for a very long time. My mother regrets not having a third to this day. She was going to have one when I (the youngest) was 8. She didn’t for some reason for another, and still has regrets. I would go by that old saying, ‘don’t do something you’ll regret’. You do have other options which may be a pain, but may be worth it so you don’t have regrets.

    Kyla November 3, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    We haven’t decided, thus, we are on what I call indefinite reproductive hold.

    Rae November 3, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    I didn’t know before, but I’m pretty sure I know now.

    I’ve had five pregnancies in the last seven years, one of them was an ectopic that had to be removed surgically, all the rest became fighting, laughing, adorable, exhausting children, and I’m only twenty-eight. There was also that 40 hour labor this last time to encourage the vasectomy route.

    The only question- are we brave enough to get it done here in India?

    Reesie November 3, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Oh, I KNEW. I have PCOS, so neither conception was straight forward. I am an only child (not by my parents choice, it just worked that way). I always said, if we have one we will have 2.
    Husband knew I wanted 2, so was supportive, but could have been fine with just one. We tried for 3.5 years for #2 and I finally said UNCLE. I’d had enough of the doctor visits and them pressuring me to pursue medical intervention I didn’t want. In August of ’03, I reluctantly said “We’re done”. I made career commitments, we bought a smaller car, life went on. 6 weeks later . . . yeah. I was pregnant.

    The pregnancy was uneventful, but I was having a tough time keeping up with an active 3 y.o. and I just knew I couldn’t do it again.

    After 60 hours of off and on labor #1 was still a c-section. When we made the birth plan for number 2, I signed the papers for tubal just in case #2 ended in a c-section as well.

    After 18 hours of labor it was decided that DS was not coming out the old fashioned way. He was posterior and we would later learn 9lbs with a GINORMOUS head. When the mid-wife consulted the M.D. I knew where we were headed, but didn’t care. I was at the end of my rope. The M.D. said “you’ve signed the papers for a tubal ligation, is that still what you want?” In my labor haze, I turned to my husband and said “is it?” Poor man nearly keeled over on the spot. Then what the doctor asked me sunk in. “OH GOD YES!!. I am Done I never want to do this again. Please yes tie them.” Husband regained his color and everyone laughed.
    I got the 3 for one that night, the baby was born, they took a nagging cyst and tied my tubes. I’ve never regretted any of it. The kids are 8 and 4 and we are really enjoying the groove of two kids that can function at a higher level of independence. No naps, no diapers.
    If you are uncertain, then hold off, but set a date for further discussion.
    Wait 6-12 months then go seek out someone with a newborn. If you can hold the baby and give it back without longing. You’ll know you are done. Best of luck.

    ewe are here November 3, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    I feel this post more than you could possibly know. I think I couuld have written most of it.

    Greatly dislike being pregnant. Hate giving birth.
    But want another wee one…

    growingapair November 3, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    We gave ourselves two years after #2 to think about it, because I felt like you felt. During that time, I started to want another child more and more– and he less. Getting to where we are now (expecting #3 in March) was 50% long, intentional discussions filled with tears and conflicting thoughts and feelings– and 50% getting a little carried away once my libido came back after removing my IUD.

    Jury’s still out on the wiseness.

    KD @ A Bit Squirrelly November 3, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Vesectomys are sucessfully reversible. Just wanted to throw that out there. My two cousins are proof of that.

    My husband had a V after the birth of our second child. In my mind I knew we were done, but the finality of is was hard. However the possibility should we change our mind was always there.

    Unfortunately I ended up having a hysterectomy shortly after his V. I was devastated, even though we had already made the decision to be finished. There is something so special in the knowing that you can always have another should you choose…

    Good luck with your decision. Make it carefully! :-)

    Mommer November 3, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    We’re done, and it was the right decision, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be 100% happy about it.

    For me, “morning sickness” entailed 23/7 nausea (I got an inexplicable hour off every night from midnight to 1 a.m.), daily vomiting, IV fluids, and weight loss well into the second trimester. I had difficult recoveries and PPD the second time. I still wanted one more and we tried for six months, but we gave up out of sheer tiredness and he got snipped.

    I know we made the best decision in practical terms, especially since my youngest was diagnosed with autism right about when I would have been giving birth if our third attempt had been successful.

    But I’ve never quite gotten over the little space I’d made in my heart for that third one … Jack, or Catherine if it was a girl.

    I think that the faint phantom pains of the babies-that-were-not are just part of the mothering experience for many of us.

    carrie November 3, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I don’t know, honestly.

    My husband had the big V right after our third, which I’m fine with — and physically it is not a good idea for me to carry any more babies (too many surgeries) but I LOVED being pregnant and part of me is really, really sad that my body can’t safely carry another child, be it for me or someone else. :(

    Good luck friend.

    tv November 3, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    We chose to make this decision based entirely on reason, not emotion. I knew I’d never be emotionally ready to relinquish the possibility of another child, but intellectually, I knew were done at two kids.

    I still have wistful moments and an ache to hold another newborn, but it passes and I concentrate enjoying the next phase of parenthood. The mother-work is always there, but so too is the intense joy and love

    No Mother Earth November 3, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    I am exactly where you are – can’t say yes, but can’t say no either. Sometimes I think a third would take away what little sanity I have left, and sometimes I feel like there is somebody missing. It’s hard, because I always thought I would have two, and the world is made for families of four (tables, cars, place settings..)…but then – three is the new two. You know?

    I’m rambling.

    Mac and Cheese November 3, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    We’re stopping at two. I would love to have another impossibly cute newborn, but I just keep reminding myself that it will turn into an adult that probably won’t leave home until age 25 or so.

    Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer November 3, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Interesting post. I have a son that I adopted with my ex 13 years ago. After our divorce (he left when my son was 1 1/2 yrs old) I was on my own for along time. Therefore my memories of being a mom to a baby/toddler/young child weren’t the best. It was really tough as a single Mom with no local support (my family lives a couple hours away).

    I didn’t remarry until my son was 8 years old and it felt to me like it would be SO hard to start over again with another child. I asked my husband his thought and told him that if he had his heart on another child, I would consider trying. He said that having me and my son was enough – he later adopted him.

    Now our son is going on 14 years old and we’re talking about my husband getting snipped. Even if we had another child now – there’d be 14 yrs between them. It just feels to me like too much time has passed now. I go back and forth on, “is it selfish” and “is it sensible” all the time. We had the first apt for the consult and had the date scheduled, but there was a glitch in the schedule and we don’t have another apt yet. Now I’m also thinking … uh … was it a sign? haha.

    So I don’t know how you know for sure. I think it’s a personal choice based on personal circumstances. For us, it’s a matter of resources to give our son right now – he’s got lots of things ahead of him including college and we are working on being able to give him the most that we can.

    Anonymous November 3, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I can't get over the number of comments saying that men have to be pushed into a vasectomy! It seems like all of my friends' husbands want one & the friends are saying no. And it is all b/c they think they may want more even when their husbands flat-out say that they don't. I don't understand why a wife would push for another baby when they know that their husband doesn't want another one.

    mothergoosemouse November 3, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    A reminder to commenters suggesting IUDs – that’s the compromise I accepted after two kids, and now I have Oliver. Just sayin’.

    My two cents – if either you or HBF isn’t sure about closing a door that can’t easily be re-opened, don’t close it. Not yet.

    DivaDunn November 3, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    We had been told we couldn’t get pregnant w/out at least IVF due to my scarred-up ovaries – so my daughter was a happy surprise. Before the pregnancy though, we’d always planned to adopt an older child out of the foster system, and I had this feeling that when it was time “our child would appear” (I do volunteer work w/several agencies.)

    So when I had to have a c-section, I had them tie my tubes. After going through tour-de-newborn HELL, I soooo don’t regret it. It’s been two years since I gave birth and I’m just now getting where I can be around other peoples babies without having an anxiety attack! I love being a mom – but my talents are definitely with children – not babies.

    With the history of adoption in your family, is it something you would consider?

    Her Bad Mother November 3, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    re: comment to the effect that I should enjoy the children I have – that’s the problem (to put it badly). I enjoy my children tremendously. Even through the fog of PPD and exhaustion, I adore them. They are joy itself. Which is why I find it difficult to say, outright, NO to the idea of ever having another of them. I may not groove on the work of motherhood, but I DO so fully enjoy my children that it’s hard to not think, however ambivalently, that another one would be a joy as well.

    But then the exhaustion kicks in again and I think, WHATEVER. NOT.

    *confused*

    TeacherMommy November 3, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    I’m with y’all there. That’s why I went the Mirena route–wanted to make sure there wasn’t an “oops” if I could help it, because Oh God that would be a problem right now, but didn’t want to completely eliminate Possibilities.

    Badness Jones November 3, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Hubs and I decided on two before we even had one. Our first came a little earlier than we had planned (meaning, oops!) but we adored her, and when she was 2 we decided to try for another. We got pregnant the second month, and had a beautiful little boy. Hubs went and had a vasectomy. He loves our kids, but he did not, does not, ever, want more. And I? Will probably always feel a pang when I see someone pregnant, when I hold a precious newborn….but. I hated being pregnant. I was sick. And I find the first year exhausting, to the point that it overshadows all of the magic. This morning, my son (almost 2) kept waking me up crying, “mo(re) mil(k)!!!” And as he was grabbing me, and I was struggling to keep my temper, I realized that another would have pushed me permanently over the edge. I could not be a good mother to another. I would drown in a sea of depression and exhaustion. My first responsibility is to these children I already have. And there’s a lot of joy to be had in other people’s babies….

    worldmomma November 3, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Have you thought about adoption as a possible way to add another little being to your family without the pain of pregnancy and childbirth (I hear you there!)? Adopting a child that’s not a newborn would also allow you to skip that phase. And there is the bonus of providing a home to a child who needs one. If we’d ever go for a third, I hope it would be via adoption.

    wyliekat November 3, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I had the decision made for me by the fact that my now partner had a vasectomy years ago. It’s a done deal. In a way, it’s a relief, because the question of “why not a third?” would’ve haunted us for years.

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