Let Me Know When I Am Done

January 8, 2009

I think that, maybe, I am done having children.

I think.

Maybe.

Very possibly almost certainly.

I’ve been thinking about this for weeks. I’ve been thinking about the fact that our family of four comprises a tidy little unit. I’ve been thinking about the fact that my daughter and my son make such a lovely pair, and about the fact that even though he is still so small they are becoming fast friends and about the fact – the fact – that this is just so lovely. I’ve been thinking that our happy little foursome is so balanced. There is something about us, it seems – it seems – that is complete.

And that completeness is bittersweet. Bittersweet because, I don’t know, who’s to say that we wouldn’t be even more complete with another member to love? I can imagine – albeit in only the vaguest, fuzziest outlines – a future that includes someone else, another girl or another boy who would throw her or his weight into our tidy little apple cart and knock our happy unit delightfully off-kilter, out of balance, wonderfully, joyfully askew.

But then I look at my boy and my girl and my husband – I look at us – and feel something that I imagine is a feeling of completeness and I ask myself, isn’t this enough?

Of course it is enough. Of course.

I don’t want to go through pregnancy and childbirth again. That is, at least, I think that I don’t. Bringing Jasper into the world scarred me, literally and figuratively. You don’t want to go through that again, says my mother when I say – ill-advisedly – that I’m not one-hundred percent sure that we’re done. You can’t go through that again. You just can’t. But she’s wrong, in part. I could go through that again. I don’t want to, but I could. If you’d told me before Jasper came along that his gestation and birth would be so difficult, so emotionally and physically difficult, I would certainly have said that I didn’t want to do it. But were I then to grasp Jasper in my arms and press his soft, chunky self against my chest and feel his little hands explore my hair, my neck, my cheeks, feel his breath on my face, hear his giggle, his coos, I would say to you, I would do it all again. I would not hesitate to do it all again.

And I would not. Hesitate, that is.

But I wonder: do I lie to myself, when I tell myself that I do not want to close off the possibility of a different future, a future with a third? Do I lie to myself when I concoct stories of some hypothetical child, some ghost child, some spirit waiting to be given life and welcomed into our family in a future that I cannot yet comprehend but am loathe to disavow? Do I hold out the possibility of that third child as a means of forestalling my own future, a future that I’ve lost touch with in this, my tenure as a new mom times two? Am I stuck in this identity – this identity that I both love and resent – as a mommy, to the extent that I am compelled to suggest to myself, over and over and over again, that this is who I am, all that I am, all that I can do? By which I mean: am I holding out for the possibility of a third child for the simple reason that there is some part of me – some deep and vital part of me – that is afraid to let go of the mantle of Mommy and march forward in life as me first, Mommy second?

Obviously, I haven’t lost my sense of myself as Catherine – I do identify myself beyond ‘Mommy;’ I do have (fragments) of a life that is not defined by my care of and love for two small children – but my ‘mommyness’ has been a lodestone for me. It has been the thing that directs the compass of my life, that which points here, there, hither, yon and tells me where I am and where I should be headed (building a life with and for my children; building a future with and for my children; changing a diaper; looking for diapers; shopping for diapers). What will I do when I am no longer essential in meeting the minute-by-minute needs of these creatures? What will I be?

There are things that I want to do, versions of myself that I want be, all of which have little or nothing to do with being a mom. It is possible that I am afraid of leaping headlong toward these things, unencumbered by diaper bags and swaddle blankets and slings. It is possible that I am afraid of trying. It is possible that these diaper bags and swaddles blankets and slings are so much security for me: I cannot jump, see, because my hands are full. I would jump, but I can’t. Oh well. C’est la vie.

(It is possible that this is what happens when you go without sleep for over half a year. You start to believe that there are no other worlds beyond this one. You start to fear that you could not not survive in any world outside of this one. You start to go a little – what’s the word? – crazy, and you become attached to your own craziness. Maybe.)

I have a seven and a half month old baby and a three year old girl. I’m going to be ‘Mommy’ for a while yet. It is silly to be nostalgic for this stage of my life, this stage of their lives, when we are still so very much in it. And it is, very possibly, sillier still to fetishize the idea of more children as a means of clinging to this stage. I will, we will, have to be done with it sometime. I can’t be Mommy forever.

So, am I done? I think so. I don’t know.


How do you ever know?

******

Still hoping for contributions to this. It won’t save my nephew, but it will, someday, save some other child, some other nephew, some other mother’s son, and that will make all the difference.

Also, if you’re so inclined, I wouldn’t – as I explained here – object to nominations for one of these. If you’re so inclined.

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    { 118 comments }

    Mr Lady January 8, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I only had one planned pregnancy. #1 and #3 were both actually quite prevented, and yet here they are anyway.

    I’m going through this right now, just about a 4th. Color me insane, I know. The thing is, #3 was an accident. I was done when I was 24, and then at 29 and 3/4, whoops.

    She is the best mistake I’ve ever made.

    I didn’t ever want three, I didn’t try for three, I didn’t plan for three, and three is infinitely harder than two, three has ended Shannon as I know her, three is expensive and exhausting and hard on everyone, and it is the best thing that ever happened to all of us.

    Well, except maybe the middle kid. He had it pretty dang good being the baby. :)

    My point, get an IUD. Don’t cut, not just yet, not while they’re so little. Or do. That Frankenvulva made me want to superglue my cootch shut permanently.

    Issas Crazy World January 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Maybe you don’t ever know for sure. Maybe at some point you decide, okay it’s too late to start over again, so now, now I am for sure done. Maybe Emilia and Jasper are it, but maybe there is room for one more? I’d say, don’t go for the big V yet. Give it a year, then maybe you will know for sure.

    My girls are seven and four and a half. We so easily could have been done. (Everyone thought we were.) We were at the point, where things like traveling to Europe would have been easy. Where flights from San Francisco to New York and back were not done in fear. Past the baby and toddler phases and into school ages. But life without my tiny (ish, dude is a chunk) boy, man I just can’t imagine it now. He’s only 3.5 months and I won’t lie and say that he was planned, because he wasn’t. But I’d never in a zillion years give him back. Before him, I’d have told you we felt complete, now I feel that way again. But who knows? We may go for number four.

    Ashley January 8, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    I knew I was done when the tubal was performed during my last c-section. Of course I decided it ahead of time, but once I got my girl (after having two boys) I just knew.

    No one can tell you what is right for your family. But you’ll know. You will know.

    SP January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Spoken so much more eloquently than my post yesterday. This does however seem to be on a lot of women’s minds.

    P.S. I’m not an often commenter but your words have carried me through many a day. For that I say thank you.

    Joy January 8, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Am I finished having children? The answer for me is yes, certainly, but…

    We have three children – 2 brilliant, difficult boys (almost 7, almost 5) followed by a brilliant difficult girl (23 months). None slept, none sleep particularly well now, although putting them to bed takes an hour, collectively, rather than an hour and a half, each!

    I had decided after the first two that I would bear one more child. Not because of the difficulties of pregnancy (because mine were easy), or because of the difficulties of childbirth (only the first was very very difficult… the other two were almost orgasmic in comparison, lol!), but because I did not (do not now) sleep. My babies did not sleep. They did not sleep as toddlers, either. I have had maybe a dozen uninterrupted nights of sleep in the past seven years. This includes nights away, because I am so used to waking that I have forgotten how to sleep the night through.

    My emotions during my last planned pregnancy were ones of joy (this was the last one, and it was going well) and relief (this was the last one), and some sadness (this was the last one). But the freedom that I felt as I birthed my last baby, my girl, was empowering. I knew that I could survive this last 3-4 year sleepless phase, because I wouldn't be doing this again. I did not resent the time that nursing takes because this was the last baby for me (and this is also the part that I miss the most, the sweetness of nursing a beautiful infant, and the power of that bond. Mind you, I don't miss the mastitis!).

    My baby is almost 2, and not sleeping nights through yet, but I know that within a year or two, she will be, and I will surely start to regain some brainpower, and sanity, and some time alone. I will be able to start to plan for those few parts of my life that will (hopefully) not be consumed by all things children.

    I am not planning any more babies, and DH has made his visit to ensure that this is so. But I can't quite say that I never never would accept another baby, because, oh, to hold that sweet new baby, and learn another personality that is a curious melding of DH & I, oh, that is magic. But it is a magic that I can safely say that I will not be planning to encounter again. And in saying that, typing this, I feel liberated and FREE once more…

    ewe are here January 8, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    I know these questions well… and we’ve also answered it here.

    In case you haven’t visited in a while, we’re expecting our third, our last one. While I’m looking forward to meeting our new wee one this summer, I also know this will truly be the last one.

    growingapair January 8, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Welcome to at least 1/2 of my blog posts. I kept “accepting the fact” that we were done, but there was mourning going on that I just could not deny or define. And for us, that ended in a third pregnancy. I feel definitively done, #3 being due in mere weeks. I don’t know that I will feel so done in a year, but I am planning to take measures that make changing my mind impossible. I had an IUD after #2, because I THOUGHT I was done. I am so glad that I did, even though my IUD was less than ideal. Because had my husband finally sacked up and had the snip (hee hee) I would not have the beautiful little dude that’s kicking me in the bladder.

    Only time will tell us whether I was just nostalgic for those baby days, or meant to grow our family. The point is moot now. Because it is done.

    Walking With Scissors January 8, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    I have been told that you will just “know” when you are done. If that’s really true, then I most certainly am not. Done, that is. Unfortunately for me, my husband is. I am in the position right now that you imagine yourself to be in the future – imagining life with a third ghost-child, always feeling unfinished, like there is yet another little soul to bring into the world. My kids are 6.5 and 4 years old. It would be infinitely harder to have another baby now than it would have been two years ago, but I still can’t shake the wanting. It’s torturous.

    Cynnie January 8, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    I’m almost 50 and i still yearn for just one more :(

    I think as long as you’re a woman you’ll always miss the children you could have had… all while being perfectly happy with the ones you do have ..

    I will say my biggest regret is not giving my daughter a sister..She’s 24 and its too late on many many levels.
    but i have 4 sisters and I have so many great memories and even now as we’re all trodding into middle age, we are THE Shoe sisters.

    Every girl should have one.

    Jana January 8, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    I knew we were done before Alex was born. I could name a dozen reasons why, but they’re really not great reasons to not have another one. When he was born, I knew I’d do it all over again *for him*. For another one, though? No way, Josesito.

    Now, I could be persuaded to adopt another child with a teensy amount of coaxing, but I don’t have that longing for a newborn that a lot of women get.

    Ami January 8, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Maybe some people know when they are done. They know 100%, all the way through their bones, THEY KNOW. I never got that giant finality resonanting from my uterus. My husband and I have three children. And for us, three is so much harder than two ever was. Plus, we are discovering that it does not get easier. It gets less messy and there is more sleep. But, the stakes are higher as they get older. The decisions are tougher as they get older. The kids require just as much attention as they get older.

    So we weighed the pros and cons, we discussed, we prayed, and we decided. We are done. Is part of me sad? Definitely. There will always be that “what if” whisper. But that whisper is there with every decision. And, in the interest of full disclosure, most of me is glad. So all you can do is decide, or decide to decide later.

    Michelle January 8, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    There seems to be a particular “Shock and Awe” element to having a baby. The sleep deprivation, the constant use of your body. I know we’re supposed to say it’s wonderful, and it is, but keep in mind these same techniques (OK, maybe not breastfeeding, but you get my drift… and it would be effective…) are used for torture. I remember the 6th month of no sleep. Thankfully my torture ended after close to 9 months. I don’t think I would have made any decisions back then. Give it some time and some sleep and then see how you feel.
    Oh dear… ::debating whether or not to post the comment:: … what the hell…

    Amber January 8, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Oh, I am right here. I have an almost 4-year-old, and a 5 month old, and I can’t make up my mind. Right now I have an IUD, because I’m pretty sure I want another baby, but my husband is pretty sure he doesn’t.

    I remember my mother having a pregnancy scare when I was 5 or 6. She wasn’t pregnant, and she was so relieved she cried. That’s done. I’m not there – but I can also see the merits of a family of 4.

    Michele January 8, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Reading these posts are like putting a mirror to my very own thoughts. (except you put it so much more eloquently). My children are roughly the same age as yours and I, too, am wondering these very same thoughts. How do you know?

    Mimi January 8, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Of course you’re already nostalgic. Academics are all about retrospection (and, worse, instrospection). Occupational hazard.

    Have you read _Stumbling on Happiness_? It was kind of a revelation to me, all these psychological and neurological quirks of being human that render us so incapable of really imagining a future that’s different from our present. Have faith that you will be like everyone: happy where you are at in your life and your self, wherever you will be at whatever moment you are in.

    Let it go ….

    Mimi January 8, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    [AHEM! As if I quite manage to do it myself any where near half regular ...]

    Chicky Chicky Baby January 8, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Get out of my head. Get out get out get out.

    No wait, don’t go. The company is nice.

    Maybe it’s the age? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

    Rachel January 8, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Aww.

    I’ve been tossing this around.
    I’m done, I’m not. I’m done. I’m not.
    the what if.. the possibility, the hauntingly sweet memory of the subtle first fluttering movements, the sync of my body with another and the hellaciousness of birth. It’s all sweet and wonderful and am I really done? gah.

    Yes. no. yes…

    Sarcastica January 8, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    I don’t know when you know you’re done..I’ve never thought about it before.

    I don’t think anyone really knows when they’re done.

    But even if you’re unsure, you know for a fact that the ones you have ARE enough :) a 3rd would make you feel just as complete.

    I’m probably not helping lol!

    Her Bad Mother January 8, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Chicky – isn’t your hubs scheduled for a snip-snip? (Mine is angling for an appointment)

    LSM January 8, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    I’m in the “wait a while” crowd as well as the “you’ll know” group. Nothing too original to add other than that I was sure I wanted another one after our second and almost as sure I didn’t want to add further after our third. We waited until our youngest was four to do anything permanent, and I’ve always felt good about that. When we did make a final decision, it was the right one for us, and I haven’t regretted it.

    egm January 8, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    This post nailed the conversation I’ve been having in my head for the last year as my husband and I stopped trying not to have a third child. Then we started actually trying. Now I’m starting infertility testing.

    My children are 8 and 4. My husband works around the clock and cannot even begin to do his fair share of caring for the children we have, much less a newborn. My body has evidently decided that it’s had quite enough, thank you, but I’m still. not. done. And if all that doesn’t make me crazy, then the little voice in the back of my head that says, “Hey, maybe you’ll have to take Clomid and end up with twins–then you can have 4!” certainly does. (The only thing that might excuse me for this is that I’m from a big family–the oldest of five–and I cannot imagine life without any of my siblings.)

    But whatever the outcome with the fertility issues, if I’m lucky enough to have another baby, he or she (or they!) will be it. After that, I have to face the world again and figure out who I will be in it.

    Olivia January 8, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    For me, two things: Age and Finances. (Sadly it’s not about wanting or not wanting).

    I recently had my first. I’ll be 35 this year. Hopefully I’ll have my second by 37. I do not want to be 40 and trying for a third baby. (Risks, etc…) Financially, the cost of day care alone is enough to scare me away from having more children.

    Heather January 8, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    I had that struggle more with my husband than with myself. I knew I wanted another baby the moment my son was born. Two years of convincing my husband, then two years of trying and we have our #3. Husband has the snip and I have been told by my doctors anyway that I am done so that is no longer an issue for us!

    mothergoosemouse January 8, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    What Mr. Lady said. Get an IUD. If you end up with #3, you’ll know it was meant to be. I know of which I speak. ;)

    Seriously though, now’s not the time to make an irrevocable (or nearly) decision. You’re not certain, and you need at least a month’s worth of decent sleep.

    Anonymous January 8, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    I have a daughter on the way (six weeks to go!), and she’ll most likely end up being my only child. If we do decide for another one down the road, my husband and I want to adopt. I wouldn’t feel right without being able to guarantee a precious child enough of my time, energy and money, and I worry that I would be spread too thin if I ever had more than one or two. (Plus I think the world might be a better place if people limited themselves to a smaller quantity in the offspring department, but that’s a touchy subject.)

    wherewiller January 8, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    I don’t have any wisdom to impart, because I don’t know the answer myself (even though a financial planner told me recently that you’ll NEVER be able to retire if you have more than 2 kids!) – but I just wanted to say that your writing lately makes me think that all that death-of-the-blog crap and all-hail-140-characters as the new blogging is a bunch of garbage. As much as I love tweeting, I’ve loved your nice long wordy wordsmithed thoughtful blog posts much more.

    FishyGirl January 9, 2009 at 12:02 am

    We thought we were done after two. I wanted a third, hubby didn’t, and we were just beginning the discussion when our surprise happened. Then he started lobbying for #4 while I was pregnant with #3. I said no for a long time, that I was done, but we didn’t do anything permanent, because I was willing to keep an open mind, and frankly, I wasn’t sure. #4 is two now, and I’m sure. We’re done. It’s a good thing I’m sure, because my tubal was done during the last c-section. You’ll know. If you aren’t sure now, you aren’t done.

    Momily January 9, 2009 at 12:14 am

    I find it so interesting that so many of us are on the same page, “don’t know if we’re done. maybe one more . . . how do you know if you’re done” — and so many of our husbands know that they’re done and ready for the big V! I think i could be persuaded to have a third, i often want a third, i sometimes think the last thing on earth that i want is a third . . . my husband is 100% content and happy with two.

    The comment from one of “The Shoe Sisters” about giving a daughter a sister is really resonating with me . . . i have a wonderful sister, but my daughter may never have one.

    Anonymous January 9, 2009 at 12:32 am

    I’m 35 and my two children (a boy and a girl) are 6 and 4 yrs old. My husband is 10 yrs older than me and says he is “done”. I have a thriving photography business and am finally starting to have a “life” again now that they are beyond the baby stages. EVERYTHING in my life logically points to the fact that I am done. I had an IUD put in last year. I’m done. I should be done. I should be enjoying this new stage. And yet, baby cravings frequently enter my psyche and I spend many a night lying in bed trying to justify how we could manage a third. How we could try to afford a third if we cut back on the other kids activities and so on, how the kids could share a room, how I can’t believe that I will never be pregnant again, never nurse again, never smell that sweet baby smell of my newborn nuzzling up to me… sigh… For all intents and purposes I should be done and accept that our family is truly complete. But……
    It’s complicated. That feeling of “just knowing” has not materialized for me. I am very ambivalent. I go back and forth constantly. Sigh……
    Pascale

    CP January 9, 2009 at 12:48 am

    I’m 38 now and have 3 kids- the youngest of which is 7. I have been moving into the life past being primarily Mommy for some time now. I can’t say I went out and conquered the world. I live in a constant tug and pull of being mommy to 3 school age kids (aka as the driver and bank) and life as a corporate lawyer where my partners and clients expect me to put them first. Essentially, for me, right now, no one gets put first and everything seems to me to be half-assed. Sigh. This was of no help to you at all. Sorry. The point being is that time marches on and we do move on and sometimes not all of us are quite ready.

    And as for knowing if I was done? I had a boy and then a girl, 18 months a part. Thought I might be done but then I held someone’s newborn at a party and I KNEW I was not done. After the 3rd, my heart is sure we are done, complete.

    kittenpie January 9, 2009 at 3:45 am

    I find myself thinking that if there was any guarantee of getting a sister for Pumpkinpie, I might consider it. But then, if there was a guarantee, I would have had one already, because much as I adore the Bun, I would have had that girl. And now I think that even if I had another in fairly short order, she and that girl would be too far apart to be really close anyhow, so I think I missed the window on that. Meaning that because of that rational thinking, I’m done. But even though I don’t want three, there is a teeny, tiny, hidden part that wonders a little bit. Not enough to go there, but a little, so I get this.

    vic January 9, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Never say never while you’re still unsure. Leave your options open because in 5 years time your world could be a totally different place.

    SciFi Dad January 9, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I have similar thoughts. My biggest concern is the pregnancy and delivery of the third; our second was very hard on my wife (the pregnancy that is) and I don’t know how much more she’d be able to handle with two little ones.

    However, the question that begs the most introspection from me is this, “Would you want a third if the first two were the same gender?” THAT is an interesting question.

    red pen mama January 9, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I would do it again, even given the stress that is my pregnancies (anxiety-stress, not actual physical hardship.. er, a lot of physical hardship. it ain’t easy). But we haven’t, um, pulled the trigger yet.

    That’s an interesting hypothesis — I am Mommy, so I can’t yet be [fill in the blank]. I never thought of that.

    If you’re not sure, don’t do anything permanant.

    And, that picture! I just want to gobble them both up. What’s one more?? :)

    good luck,
    rpm

    pandorican January 9, 2009 at 10:50 am

    It is hard to move past the mantle of “Mommy”. It IS hard to find yourself again when the youngest has gone off to school and does not need you as much anymore. But, when you are ready to do it, the internets will be here to listen and help you through the transition. And if you aren’t ready, then, well, we will be here for that too.
    Either way, follow your heart, because regrets suck.

    Miss Britt January 9, 2009 at 10:53 am

    If I can get all “let me tell you about yourself” for a minute here…

    I don’t think you’re done.

    I always heard you “knew” when you were done. And I will tell you the same thing now.

    As a 29 year old woman with two kids who is done. done. done. – you’re not done.

    You’ll know when you’re done.

    Anonymous January 9, 2009 at 10:58 am

    You clearly need to get some sleep as you are repeating yourself. You asked this question awhile back, and it elicited the same answers. Since most of the people who read your blog are mothers, then of course they’re going to tell you not to close the door. Because that’s how they identify themselves.

    I’ve been reading your blog since your daughter was a baby and you went to the first BlogHer conference. I was enthralled with your writing. I still think you’re a great writer, but you’re really sounding like a broken record these days. I follow you on twitter, and I wonder what you do all day besides take care of two small children (I know, I know, not easy, I’ve done it AND worked full time since my kids were infants) and whine about how tired you are.

    I think that when you’re a blogger, when you decide to blog and want readers and rely on readers to get advertising dollars, then you have a responsibility to them. For example, did you EVER take any of the advice you were given by so many people about how to get the baby to sleep at night? Did you ever go to a hotel for one night by yourself like you said you might? You throw all kinds of stuff out here, but you don’t often follow up. Especially with the sleep thing, which makes me crazy because you’re so. damned. tired.

    I read quite a few mommy blogs, and many, not all, go on about how difficult it is but they LOVE it and it’s wonderful and having that third child is the best mistake they ever made. I know that being a mother is a very emotional thing, but for chrissakes, all that comes to mind lately is “Methinks she doth protest too much.”

    Exactly who are you trying to convince that you would do this again and again (even though it’s been sleepless, exhausting, and physically and emotionally draining)? Your readers, or you?

    I think that this is probably more me than you. My kids are older, and I realize that this whole infatuation with babies fades quickly, whereas most of the mommy bloggers’ kids are younger and they aren’t there yet. I’m done with it. However, I encourage all of the mothers of young children out there to at least entertain the idea that your children will be older sooner than you think, and if you don’t find yourself again, you’ll be sitting around wondering what the hell happened to your life while your kids are growing apart from you and becoming more independent.

    So my advice, not that you want it at this point, is to get some sleep and tell your husband to get snipped. I don’t think I could handle your blog if you had a third child…

    Syko January 9, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I never was sure that I was done.

    Two girls in rapid succession. Several early miscarriages. One boy. Dalkon Shield IUD, then although not practicing birth control (except possibly abstinence as the marriage went into its downward death spiral), never pregnant again.

    Cut to: divorced mom of three, two in their teens, and I still could not consider myself done. What if I would meet this really terrific guy, and remarry, and want to have a child with him? I was only in my late 30s…

    Fun spending Dalkon Shield settlement check in class action lawsuit. Dating, working, raising my kids.

    Suddenly I was 55 and finished with menopause. That was 11 years ago and I am pretty sure now that I’m done.

    But I have to second everyone else. Don’t do anything permanent unless you are totally, 100%, irrevocably, absolutely sure you are done.

    Her Bad Mother January 9, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Anonymous – I started this post thinking that I was going to say that I’d finally come to terms with being done (that earlier post was about being really unsure) and in the course of it I got cold feet. It’s not the same post. It’s the same issue, but it’s a different take on it. In any case, it’s my blog – all due respect to my readers, but I write it primarily for me.

    I am tired. And very possibly repetitive. I don’t follow up on a lot of things for the precise reason that it WOULD get repetitive. We can’t get the baby to sleep – we try all the suggested things, and he won’t sleep. If I wrote that, someone, I’m sure, would think that I’m whining and repeating myself.

    As to what I do all day – I mother, and I write. If you want the less whiny, less repetitive content that I churn out, check out MamaPop or BlogHer or WeCovet. Guaranteed no mention (or little mention) of my issues.

    Loralee Choate January 9, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Dear Anonymous:

    You clearly are an asshat.

    Oh, and cowardly. Don’t forget that.

    Rita Arens January 9, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Part of the fun of being a mother is getting to repeat yourself all the time. SIT UP AND EAT.

    I knew I was done about a year after my only child was born. It’s an unpopular decision in today’s culture, but it was right for me, and I’ve found a few other one-and-done parents who just knew then, too. But I remember struggling with it, and it’s a painful existential quandary. Best of luck finding peace.

    Parent Club January 9, 2009 at 11:27 am

    After #2 – we were done. Modern life is built for a 4 person family.

    But. now. 2009. we don’t think we’re done. I’ve always kept the window open (keeping clothes, lending out cribs with the full advisement they have to come back)

    We’re not done.

    Karen Sugarpants January 9, 2009 at 11:28 am

    You know, I know we had planned on being done after Thomas (Daren got fixed after all), but now that I’m staring permanent infertility in the face with whatever this is attacking my body, I’m SO torn. I dreamt not two nights ago that I had a baby girl and named her Rachel. And she was beautiful, Catherine. Her face is in my thoughts constantly now — maybe it’s the thought that I may not have a choice, maybe it’s the fact I will never have a daughter, I don’t know. But it aches. I feel your pain, your ache.

    Deb on the Rocks January 9, 2009 at 11:29 am

    I am very happy my younger son is 15. But I have never stopped wondering if I was really done with two.

    HeatherK January 9, 2009 at 11:30 am

    We are so DONE with three and I had feelings like you had now. I had an emergency C-section with henry which I’m sure nudged me closer. I knew for sure after two that I wasn’t done. I saw five of us and it felt right. *hugs*

    kgirl January 9, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I don’t know, I dont’ think that anonymous is an asshat. I think she has some real, decent points, but they apply to pretty much all of us bloggers with small children.

    So, you know, I won’t take it personally if you don’t.

    Redneck Mommy January 9, 2009 at 11:37 am

    I knew with Bug I was done. Done with biological children that is.

    I knew my tattered twat would never be morphed into a Frankenvulva again and that was before Bug was birthed.

    I just knew.

    And then life struck and catastrophe happened and you know what? Everything I knew went topsy turvy.

    I’d give my right leg to get knocked up now.

    So I’m no help.

    Get the I.U.D if you don’t really know. Less permanent.

    And anonymous, why? Why be like that? It’s Cat’s blog and she’ll write what she wants. If you don’t like it, feel free to not read. Why waste everybody’s emotional energy posting such a useless comment? Especially since you hide your identity. Any credence to your opinion is negated by the fact you hide behind a cloak of invisibility. If you truly wanted to be heard, you’d step up, grow a set of testicles and identify yourself before you spout off.

    Her Bad Mother January 9, 2009 at 11:38 am

    kgirl – I don’t think she’s an asshat either, but it doesn’t make the comment sting less. And as I said – this post was meant to be a different take on the same subject that I worried over last fall (tho it may have failed at being different), so although I’m well aware that I can get repetitive about exhaustion, etc (which is why I don’t follow up on that subject anymore), I hadn’t regarded this post as being that.

    ANYHOO. Tired girl can’t handle criticism all that well.

    Major Bedhead January 9, 2009 at 11:39 am

    For whatever it’s worth, I don’t think you should stop blogging about this issue. It’s one that a lot of parents have, both the lack of sleep (for you and for the baby) and the am I done yet issue. I like reading these posts, even though they make me cringe in sympathy sometimes.

    I have four kids and there are days when I see a new baby and wonder “Hmmm, what if?” But I’m 42, my husband had the big snip and there’s no way in hell we can afford it. Still, that longing is there. It will most likely go unsatisfied, but it’s there, nudging me in the heart every now and then.

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