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How do you know when you're done?


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#1 AmityD

Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:28 PM

The other day a friend of mine posted a request on Facebook looking for pram suggestions for her newborn. I chimed in that I highly recommended my pram and was thinking of selling it, now that we mostly use a stroller for our toddler, so did she want it? However, when she quickly grabbed the offer and agreed to buy the pram, I found myself surprised by my reaction. Rather than being pleased I had found someone to take it, I felt a little sad.

Was I really ready to give up that pram and the idea of any more babies it may have carried? I had thought I was, but suddenly wasn’t so sure.

As one of three children I had always imagined myself having the same. Not consciously, it was just the picture of a ‘family’ I had in my head. Back then I wasn’t thinking about bills and juggling children with my career, it was just about babies and how many I would like to have one day.

Since then I have been lucky enough to have two gorgeous children, a boy and a girl. So I have to admit my first thought when the Obstetrician announced ‘It’s a girl’ was ‘I NEVER HAVE TO DO THAT AGAIN!’

Since then, despite the memories of labour pain fading, that thought has pretty much remained. Whether or not I would have felt differently if I’d had two of the same sex, I don’t know. I think in that case I probably would be going again, but if I found myself as one half of the Brady clan I would definitely have stopped there!

But with my pigeon pair, until recently, I honestly thought I was done. Like I was already so lucky why push it, like two healthy children are already such a blessing, like my heart was full. But lately, as I pack away the baby things, put the tiny jumpsuits into space bags and hold my newborn nephew in my arms, I wonder if I really am ready to close that chapter of my life forever.

I love babies. Love them. I loved being pregnant, loved giving birth, loved those first few days in the hospital, loved breastfeeding and loved spending hours doing nothing but looking at my sleeping child. Aside from the temporary torture of sleep deprivation I could happily have babies forever. So whether or not to have another baby is an easy one to answer, it’s an unequivocal yes.

But what is harder to decide is whether or not I want another kid.

Kids are expensive, kids are demanding, kids need to be driven around places and helped with their homework and taken to the park and they cost you money every time you leave the door. Did I mention kids are expensive?

When I mention this to my husband as one of the reasons two kids might be enough he gets cranky. ‘Money shouldn’t dictate our decision,’ he says. ‘We’ll just find more money.’

He's right, in an ideal world money shouldn’t dictate our decision, but the reality is another child does substantially increase your cost of living. It can mean a bigger car, a bigger house, more spent on groceries, outings, holidays, childcare and school fees. Did I mention school fees?

Now before you all argue that kids don’t have to attend private schools, of course you’re right. Mine will both attend public primary school, but we do want to send them to private high school if we possibly can. However just the thought of having two sets of private school fees makes me break out in a cold sweat, let alone three.

Again, I know some will argue that if you want another child you just cut your costs. Which is of course where you have to make a decision on how much you want to divide up what you have. Do you have one or two children and have the holidays and/or private schools, or do you have a bigger family and perhaps sacrifice some of those things in exchange for a house full of more laughter?

But it's not just your finances you have to divide, it's your time and attention. Right now, between my career and my family, my attention is stretched but manageable. So I’m not sure if the arrival of another child would tip that balance and make things a lot harder for everyone. There is also the fact that the effect of sleep deprivation means my husband and I don’t really like each other that much for about a year after every child. We’re survived this tumultuous stage twice now, but I’m not sure if I want to test that again!

However, despite all these practical thoughts, the one thing that does magically divide is your heart. Just as you can’t imagine you could love another child when you have your second, of course the same thing happens with the third or fourth (or fifth or sixth, eek!) Everyone I know who has had a third or fourth child, planned or otherwise, says they can’t imagine their lives without them. But they also say going from two to three makes life infinitely more busy and don’t deny it’s a lot more work.

Which is why, for now, I know that sticking with two makes sense for me. But in the end decisions like these are rarely made with the head, they’re made with the heart. And children bring so much to your lives, more love, more laughter, more kisses, more chances to watch another person grow, more life experiences. Did I mention more kisses?

Most days I think I’m done. But there is a little part of me that longs to experience the joy of another child, so time will tell. At the moment I have my precious nephew who I lavish all my attention on and then give back and right now that suits me fine.

But I keep the pram. Just in case.

How did you decide how many children to have and what factors did you consider in that decision? Or was the choice made for you and you've always wished you could've had more (or less?) I'd love to hear your experiences...

#2 Hayleymumof3

Posted 13 March 2012 - 05:54 PM

QUOTE
How did you decide how many children to have and what factors did you consider in that decision? Or was the choice made for you and you've always wished you could've had more (or less?) I'd love to hear your experiences...


We haven't decided I did, the though of having more children is enough to send me to have night sweats, the thoughts of breastfeeding, nappies, being pregnant again(and another chance at losing them 2 mc's).  I decided no more.  Dh however isn't so sure but since I have said no more kids or find a new wife he doesn't really have a choice.  Well he does but he loves me to much to divorce me.

#3 Natttmumm

Posted 13 March 2012 - 06:02 PM

DH and I have debated this issue many times and we are now  TTC number 3. Not an easy decision but when we said no more we both knew we would change our minds so the answer was right in front of us.
I think we made the decision with our hearts because if we went with our heads we might have chosen the private schools and holidays

#4 dirtgirl

Posted 13 March 2012 - 06:28 PM

I knew as soon as my 2nd child was born that I was done. We have a lovely pigeon pair, and they are both happy, healthy kids. I have no desire to have another baby...I have given away pretty much all our baby stuff, and it's a relief to be able to look ahead to our future as a family of four.

That said, I totally respect couples who feel that their family isn't complete, and go on to have more children. Although many of us will rationalise our decision-making with our heads, it's really our hearts that make the decision. I just feel sorry for those couples who can't come to an agreement about how many children they'll have .Luckily, my husband and I are on the same page, so everyone is happy with our decision.

Edited by dirtgirl, 13 March 2012 - 06:29 PM.


#5 gilchrist

Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:34 PM

Both DH and I are the youngest of 4, so that was always our number, if we were so blessed.  Well, blessed doesn't begin to describe it.  We have 4, two of each sex and i have to admit that the dynamic of two boys and two girls is absolutely friggen awesome! So for starters, there's no way in hell i'm messing with that.  wink.gif
Secondly, it's bloody exhausting, lol, and i knew the minute DD2 was passed to me that that would be the last time, it was so innate i can't even describe it.  
I don't want to be tired forever and found my fourth pregnancy just knackering.  The only part that didn't kill me was the second trimester.  Before and after that - forget it!
The thing that really did it for me was when i had a dream that i was expecting again and i woke up in a cold sweat and was *this close* to screaming, lol.  That's when you know!
Oh, and all my babies got bigger, culminating with DD2 weighing in at a whopping 4.4 kilos.  I was told in hospital i could expect bigger again - no thank you!!

#6 busymum01

Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:50 PM

QUOTE
How did you decide how many children to have and what factors did you consider in that decision? Or was the choice made for you and you've always wished you could've had more (or less?) I'd love to hear your experiences...


I always looked to my future and imagined myself much older talking to my young adult children in my kitchen - and there were always three children in this picture.

We had a pigeon pair and I wanted to add a variable lol. I wanted to know who this mysterious child would take after, their brother or sister, who's traits he'd share or what kind of personality they'd have.

As for being completed well I prepared myself before I fell pregnant that if we were lucky to hold on to this pregnancy (having miscarried earlier) that it would indeed be my last time. My last pram. My last hospital bag. Last time breastfeeding. Last baby. Last toddler... and seriously it opened my eyes and revelled in being a mum to a newborn third time 'round, loving every minute. I think being prepared from the start (of last baby) it makes you more aware.

*should add my 'baby' is nearly six years old now and having another never, ever crossed my mind*

Edited by busymum01, 13 March 2012 - 09:13 PM.


#7 T2Mum

Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:58 PM

Decided that we would go for number 3, and are now pregnant with twins. Trust me, we get these babies over the line and I am SOOOOO done.

There is no way we could contemplate a 5th child.

It is nice to be pregnant and to feel content about the fact that this is the last time. I definitely did not feel that way the previous times I have been pregnant.

#8 ReadySetRace

Posted 13 March 2012 - 09:06 PM

We always said 3, almost stopped at 2 when we had 2 toddlers who were a handful, but DD2 did not feel like my past child - I was constantly looking forward to the next stage, not enjoying it for the last time. So hence DD3...  An awful pregnancy but sweet, sleepy newborn, and this time am enjoying everything for the last time. Could not stand another pregnancy, and DH is adamant too.

#9 mibi

Posted 13 March 2012 - 09:35 PM

Well, our reactions when we found out we were expecting no. 3 kind of sealed it. I cried and DH said "I'm getting a vasectomy!".

We love DD to bits and wouldn't change anything. We had toyed with the idea of having a 3rd, but had decided no, but then "oops" and she was on her way. I "feel" done - no angst, only joy at passing on our baby things. Our family feels complete. I have no desire to have one of my own when I hold a newborn. I love the newborn stage, but it's not for me anymore.

DH had the vasectomy when she was 10days old - we had the appointent to get the referral while I was in labour, before we headed to the hospital!

#10 Melshanks

Posted 14 March 2012 - 01:36 PM

Amity - I loved this column.

I reckon you should just go for it. What is your kitchen table going to look like in 15 years!

Melina

#11 Mrs Dinosaurus

Posted 14 March 2012 - 03:06 PM

Great column Amity.

We always said 3.

Then we had 2. roll2.gif

Even though we both say "no more" and we have started selling off baby stuff (or giving it to family if it's small enough to travel) we can't part with our beloved bassinet. I really don't think I will have any more, I think it would be a bit too weird to keep a bassinet for 30 odd years in the hope of grandkids, but I just can't bring myself to sell it. I love it. I love what it represents and reminds me of. I just can't say goodbye to it yet.

#12 seayork2002

Posted 14 March 2012 - 04:41 PM

No big light bulb moment, we have just decided we are not having any more than one.

#13 MO4

Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:38 PM

I think hanging onto the baby stuff is a bit of a giveaway- I know I'm not finished because I haven't even considered giving away the 4 babies worth of gear taking up quarter of our double garage!!!  I told myself that 3 was enough, that I'd need a new car etc, etc, but the crave for another baby didn't go away- there is just a 5 year gap between no.3 and no.4 instead of the 3 years between the first 3!!!

With the 4th pregnancy I thought I was having my 2nd boy- and I had my third girl instead.  I was surprised at how disappointed I was!!!  She is absolutely gorgeous,but because I wanted 2 boys the baby stuff will stay in the garage for another year or two.  (By the way, my DH told me when we were dating he wanted 5 kids- I gasped!!!  I can't believe that's where I'm actually heading!!!)  I LOVE having a big family, and our eldest is doing private school, made possible by a scholarship.  It is super hard work though...

#14 2boys2cute

Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:40 PM

My heart says "just one more" but my head tells me it's not such a good idea (physically, emotionally and financially).

With regards to the cost of children, I didn't find the process of having children expensive because I always found there were friends and rellies willing to lend/sell their unwanted items so getting set up for having kids & their ongoing care thus far really hasn't cost us a fortune (although I see how it could if I kept buying them new clothes, toys etc every week).  The biggest financial impact for us was the money I wasn't earning whilst on maternity leave.

#15 red_squirrel

Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:45 PM

You know you done when the first few are a little older and sleeping through the night. Then one of them gets a cold and has you up all night.
It hits you then - at 3am. You think, "there is no way I am having another newborn. There is no way I am doing the broken sleep again."

#16 ubermum

Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:54 PM

I am pregnant with no.3 and we will have almost a 5 year gap. I am done, I am so done. There is no way I am ever doing this again. Five years makes a huge difference at the end of your childbearing years, considering I started in my 30's.  I feel like I am falling apart or being pulled to pieces. It is also hard running two kids to school and activities without the chance of a nap because they don't sleep during the day anymore. No more kids for me. Also, 3 fit into the majority of cars and suit most housing styles in this country without the need to extend.  biggrin.gif

#17 aluminium

Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:58 PM

QUOTE (AmityD @ 13/03/2012, 02:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How did you decide how many children to have and what factors did you consider in that decision? Or was the choice made for you and you've always wished you could've had more (or less?) I'd love to hear your experiences...


I'll admit we considered finances and lifestyle choices when deciding to stop at two. We considered the debilitating depression and anxiety I deal with.  We considered careers and education and wants,desires, hopes dreams. I honestly would love just one more bub. The experience of pregnancy and birth, those early newborn days fill me with so much longing and so many beautiful memories.

But then I turn around and DD#2 has drawn texta all over the wall, DD#1 is crying because it is a work day and Mummy is about to leave, and I realised that i could love another and I could divide my time even more than I already do - but why would I want to? Both of my gorgeous girls are demanding in their own unique way. Not wrongly or rightly, it is just as it is. I want to give each of them as much as I can, and I don't want to put myself under any more pressure.

I sent DH for a vasectomy when DD#2 turned 18-mnths. That was  our cut off (she's two in June). Immediately afterwards, I panicked,  decided to make a last-ditch effort (while cleaning out the pipes as one does after a vasectomy) to try for #3... but then immediately afterwards I changed my mind again and panicked about the possibility,slim though it was, of pregnancy. Aye.

Deciding to stop at two is a decision that stirs a lot of emotion - but it needs to be a rational decision not an emotional one. So, yes, there are days when I wonder what could have been and I get emotional and longing - but then I snuggle one of my gorgeous girls and the feeling passes.


#18 howdoyoudoit

Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:05 PM

We have 4...took till 4 to know...after 3 was iffy but as soon as 4 was born that was it...I dont even really like holding newborns anymore wheras before I wouldnt give them back lol...

#19 me_n_my_kidz

Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:08 PM

My fourth was a surprise baby but we have always felt he was meant to be - we both had always said that we would have 2 or 4 but 3 close together was tough so we said we would stop there due to a fourth meaning a people mover and an extra bedroom etc, not to mention the extra chaos that another child adds (I say chaos in the nicest possible way though! lol). I remember looking at my 3rd child when he had just turned 2 and I had to fight the tears as he wasn't a baby anymore and I didn't feel ready to give that up yet, so when we had a contraceptive failure and number 4 came along, we were shocked but happy but I knew through the entire pregnancy that this was my last so I really reveled in that pregnancy and as he was a very high needs bub I really got the 'babies' out of my system and I know now without a doubt that I am done - I have given my children my 20's and that will mean that my 50's and onwards will be mine and DHs time. DH is getting the snip this year so we aren't taking any risks now as our 4th is almost 2. I do admit it was a little sad packing up all of his little baby things and packing the cot away when he decided he wouldn't stay in it anymore, but I am happy that my family is growing and moving into a new phase of life. original.gif

Edited by me_n_my_kidz, 14 March 2012 - 08:11 PM.


#20 OneMore?

Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:26 PM

My husband is one of three, I am also from one of three. We initially said one child, then said two and THEN totally surprised ourselves with having three.

At two I didn't feel we were done, just a feeling I had. After 3 I knew that was it. I did think in the early stages maybe I could do this again, but it must have been the hormones    biggrin.gif  as I started giving baby stuff away as soon as DD grew out of things. I was happy to part with the baby stuff and get on with the next stage of our parenting journey. I definitely felt our family was complete, a feeling I hadn't felt earlier.

I get a lot of people who ask me how did you decide to go for a third and for us, we could have easily said no more, saved a trillion dollars on pink things   happy.gif  and been happy. We decided we just weren't done, and yes we tried for a girl too. The school fees and costs scare me too - but not enough to use it as a reason to stop having another child.

I feel blessed, I have the best of both worlds I get to parent BOTH sexes and also a same sex sibling relationship too, brothers are cool. I have moments that I think to myself if you could guarantee me a girl 100000% then it would be so nice for DD to have a sister to grow up with too.

Yo are the only one that can say whether or not you are done and the fact you kept your pram I am guessing they may be one more on the cards  cool.gif


#21 Mumof5Monkeys

Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:54 PM

I think you know when you're done and if you are in doubt you're not done...you can choose to ignore the feeling that you want another baby but it will always be in the back of your mind or heart...
I have met many older people with grown up children who have told me that one of their only regrets in life was not having had more children.  Those comments helped DH and I to make the decision to have baby no 5 when we were still tossing up. I had always wanted 4 kids but after number 4 I didn't feel 'done'. As soon as I was pregnant with no 5 I knew that I would be 'done' once I had a healthy baby in my arms.  original.gif

Our household can be a little bit nuts, but I would not be without any of them...you can always stretch the money and you can definitely stretch the love! original.gif

#22 AmityD

Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:57 PM

QUOTE (Dinosaurus @ 14/03/2012, 03:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Great column Amity.

We always said 3.

Then we had 2. roll2.gif

Even though we both say "no more" and we have started selling off baby stuff (or giving it to family if it's small enough to travel) we can't part with our beloved bassinet. I really don't think I will have any more, I think it would be a bit too weird to keep a bassinet for 30 odd years in the hope of grandkids, but I just can't bring myself to sell it. I love it. I love what it represents and reminds me of. I just can't say goodbye to it yet.


Dinosaurus, keep the bassinet. My mum kept ours and I have loved that my kids could use it when they slept at their grandparent's house. It's a piece of history and it's special, so I'll definitely keep mine. I feel exactly the way you described, that it's hard to let go of the beautiful moments and memories all of these things represent.

I have loved reading all your comments, although it's not helping when all of you who have gone again and loved it are making me think maybe I should....that and every time I look at my nephew I'm sure I release an egg!!!! If I do have another one I think he will be solely responsible (with a little input from my husband original.gif

#23 AmityD

Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:01 PM

QUOTE (Melshanks @ 14/03/2012, 01:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Amity - I loved this column.

I reckon you should just go for it. What is your kitchen table going to look like in 15 years!

Melina


Thanks Melina! xx

#24 chrisl

Posted 15 March 2012 - 08:31 AM

The decision for me was made with my head, not my heart. If I were 5 years younger we would probably go again because my husband always wanted 3. But I don't think physically I can do it again. I have given away most of our baby stuff (just to seal the deal in my mind) and got an IUD so the chances of an accidental pregnancy are next to zero. I think about how it would be being in my 50s with a teenager if I had a third, having a child living with us potentially till we were 60 and going back to chronic sleep deprivation (as opposed to just the average sleep deprivation you suffer with a pre-schooler and a toddler!).
I'm sure my children would love another little brother or sister though but the only circumstances in which I would go through it again would be if my husband and I swapped roles and after the first 6 months, he stayed home and I went out to work. Unlikely to happen though! I also have never been able to get out of my head the idea that I've been so lucky with my two, why risk going again. I know lots of people with 3 though and they are very happy.

#25 My4Sunshines

Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:15 AM

QUOTE (Mumof5Monkeys @ 14/03/2012, 09:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think you know when you're done and if you are in doubt you're not done...you can choose to ignore the feeling that you want another baby but it will always be in the back of your mind or heart...

Couldn't have said it better! Thank you happy.gif

I wondered if I would EVER get 'that feeling' and even dh said "will you ever stop?"
I couldn't answer because I just didn't know, I didn't feel easy saying yes or no as I didn't really know how I felt either way

For me I knew I was done when there were more 'negatives' (constantly worrying through the pregnancy, another c/s, sore boobs, sleep deprivation etc..) than 'positives'.
I truly love my kids to bits however I'm done with babies.
I absolutely love the feeling of a baby moving inside me, totally fascinates me though I just cannot ask my body to do it all again.

I gave baby clothes away, sold furniture etc.. and I was glad to see it go, I even asked dh what else we could get rid of that we didn't need huh.gif So unlike what I used to be.

I couldn't grasp the concept when a friend told me "you will know when you're done", in my mind I was thinking 'yeah sure I will rolleyes.gif ' and sure enough I did and do, I am even going to take obstetrics off our phi to make it cheaper laughing2.gif




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Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.