Whenever I’m asked if I would have a third child, I usually laugh it off and say that I couldn’t handle another one, but that’s a lie.
The truth about why I will remain a mom of two is a multi-headed Hydra; I am too old, too tired; too angry; and too selfish to have another child. Imagine sharing that with someone, even another mother.
There would be the usual, “Why, I was 35 when I had my last baby. If I can do it, you can!” Or, “Oh, the sleeplessness passes quickly. They’ll be toddlers before you know it.” And then there’s the most useless platitude of all, “You are a great mother. You could handle one more.”
No, I really can’t. But, how can you argue that with someone? Especially if they don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.
When I was pregnant with my other babies, I struggled with gestational diabetes, hip pain that felt like dysplasia, and cankles that would make Dumbo say, “Whoa.” I will be 35 in a scant two months, which means I get all of the above, and it throws me into a whole poopstorm of risk. I really don’t want to be a beached whale worrying for nine months about how many problems my unborn child could have.
And here is where part of the selfishness comes in. I successfully avoided varicose veins and stretch marks in my pregnancies, and I have managed to lose all of my pregnancy weight. Honestly, I fear that I won’t be able to dodge the bullet again and all of my hard work will all go to waste. I am not Victoria Beckham, and I will not snap back to a model-perfect body moments after having a baby.
“But, once you hold that beautiful baby, you won’t care about the weight or stretch marks,” some moms would say. Yes, I will remember. I have struggled with my body image for as long as my memory holds. Cute babies do not counteract that. They only distract me until I look in the mirror and see my puke covered body.
As every new parent knows, puke is the least of my worries. I would have to deal with leaky boobs, Tucks tacos, a three-inch layer of grease in my hair, and wearing the kid’s blowouts.
Then there is the sheer exhaustion associated with newborns. As it stands, I am ready to pass out before the kids do, and when I do fall asleep, I am a LOG for seven hours. Get up every two hours? Oh, hell no.
“But your husband can help,” I can hear someone say. No, he can’t. I am the food source, and I don’t produce enough to pump and nurse.
Plus, do you know what kind of bitch I am when I’m exhausted? Or, when I am stressed out? My poor children have been on the receiving end of my outdoor voice more than once. Actually, it’s every morning when I am trying to get them to brush their teeth, put on their shoes, and move faster than a snail in reverse. It’s also when they’re fighting, not listening, or being general punks.
Not only would the newborn face a lifetime of me yelling in its face, but the kids would remember me as a bitter old woman, too stressed out to function as a loving mother. While becoming Mommy Dearest would give them plenty of fodder for a tell-all memoir, I’d much rather be remembered as a bumbling mom who tried her best, and gave them just enough neurotic behavior to be funny.
Speaking of funny, I have discovered that I am a witty little writer. Blogging has become very important to me. It’s not an escape; it’s a source of energy. It feeds my soul and makes me feel like something more than a wife and mother.
“But, what’s wrong with being a mother?” Nothing at all. It has enriched my life beyond description. But, I am a multi-dimensional being with needs beyond making sure the tiny humans in the house are wearing pants.
So, when do I find time for writing when I am nothing but a mother? Do I type as I breastfeed and miss out on bonding? Or, do I write in the two hours between baby sleep cycles, becoming even more of a zombie than normal? Or, how about when the kids need help with their homework?
“You’ll find a way to make it work. It all balances out in the end,” I will hear. Maybe it’s true. Or, maybe I will get everything done and it will be even more half-assed than it already is.
Can I honestly say to my husband, “Thanks for the support, but I need to write/nap/shower. Can you sacrifice a doctor’s appointment or fixing that leaky sink I’ve been nagging you to take care of?”
No. Something has got to give, and it will be me. And I don’t want it to be me. Instead of taking on added responsibility, I will take pains to avoid it. I will give my children the attention they deserve, my husband support when he needs it, and my writing the involvement I need to make me happy. If that means facing the judgment of mankind, so be it. Bring it on, you sanctimonious bastards. I tackled the mountain of laundry, and I got seven hours of sleep. I am ready for you.
20 responses to “Why I Am Done Having Kids”
Can you imagine telling someone they have to have a child? Or three? And by the way, the top three things I hear every time I’m out with my four-kids-in-three-years are: you’ve got your hands full!, are these all YOURS?!!, and you are DONE, aren’t you? Because people think four kids is too many (we aimed for two… twins and the mistaken opinion that I was mostly infertile added up to four), and I wouldn’t change a thing. Really. It’s amazing. But anyone who thinks that you should have one or three or eight kids?! Seriously?! They’re the ones who need a martini. And a a pony. And 50 Polly Pocket shoes plus 2,000 Legos scattered all over the carpet. And something bigger to worry about. Sheesh.
Blog on, brave Mama.
You should just tell everyone that you fed the first kid after midnight and it multiplied into four kids. You can toss Legos at them as you walk away.
You’re not selfish, you’re self-aware. You know your limits. Women are not obligated to have as many children as they physically can. I’m past the age where people would nag me about having more kids (plus I have four, so get more of the “You have FOUR?” type comments–no one is going to tell a person with four kids to have ANOTHER kid), but my response to them would be that when I was interested in their family planning advice, I’d seek it out. Otherwise they should back off. Sheesh–the nerve of some people.
I guess unsolicited advice comes from both ends of the spectrum. And you’re right, if I REALLY wanted to know what they thought, I’d ask.
This is me, NOT asking them.
No one should be trying to convince you to have another baby. Of course you’re a great mom- to two kids. Why do people need to keep having more and more kids until they’re so stressed out, they stop being such a great mom?
This was a great post and I enjoyed reading it a lot!
Thanks! And, I don’t understand the masochism involved in feeling compelled to have a bagillion kids either. If you are awesome enough to handle it all, breed away, but if you are going to loose your crackers daily with the kids, just say no.
I love your conclusion!
I toyed with the idea of a third briefly after Littler J was born. I quickly came to the same conclusion as you, for comparable reasons.
Thanks! It really is a tough decision, and I’m sure your two little ones will appreciate it 😉
I don’t understand why anyone would feel the need to talk you into having another child. How is it any of their business?
After I had my second, my husband and I talked about the possibility of a third. Neither one of us felt like we wanted or needed another child; our family felt good the way it was. Almost 13 years later, I still think it was the right decision for us.
I think some people feel that if they know you, even on a superficial level, they have a right to offer their opinion.
Maybe it’s a by-product of social media where you CAN offer your opinion on everything, but seriously, if you’re not asking for the opinion, people really shouldn’t offer it.
I don’t find that selfish at all! If ANYONE would have argued with me over whether or not I should have had more kids…well….much cursing would ensure.
I have two boys. 11 years apart. I had my older son when I was 35. Pregnancy was much harder than at 24.
It’s such a personal decision, we only have one baby, my husband wants a second and I would like another two, but I think you can’t really make your mind up until you know how you cope with the second (bearing in mind I can hardly cope with one…) I had such a terrible birth that I’ve even considered not having a second in case we have the same experience, but that’s something that only I can consider and deal with, even my husband has to understand that. I say down with people telling you what t do!
Aw. No pregnancy /birth posts from you then? Pfft, I’m disappointed. There’s nothing better than living parenthood by proxy, huh 😉
I wanted number four baby and PF didn’t. I got over it and am happy to be in the period of parenting when they shower without needing help or even reminders, dress themselves and even make dinner.
Maybe I’ll do a fake one for you next April Fool’s Day 🙂
And it is really nice to have independent kids; I actually get 5 minutes to myself during the day instead of 2.
… five minutes that generally end with a loud smashing noise, followed by an “oops”? 🙂
It felt like I wrote this. I’m done with two, as well. “One for each arm… I can’t carry any more!” is what I say :). Factory. Is. Closed.
I like that… One for each arm. Although if I had to carry the boy, I’d probably die. He’s roughly 60 pounds.