Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When Do You Stop Having Babies?

Lately, a lot of my friends have been having babies. It’s a fairly common occurrence, especially in the military community.  But with all these little ones popping out, I’ve started asking myself, “Are Jesse and I done having kids? And, how do you REALLY know when you’re done?”
Honestly, the biggest reason that I decided to stop having kids was very selfish. My kids had just started to sleep through the night. I was waking up in the morning actually feeling rested. I had gone more than four years without a decent night of sleep. If I have another baby, it’ll probably be another two years before I get my nights back again. It sounds awful when you say that out loud, but it’s how I feel. I can’t apologize for that.
Another reason that I’m ready to step off of the baby train? In a word, Diapers. Again, having two girls about two years apart is a large part of this decision, but I also provided childcare in my home for the last couple years. All my charges were under eighteen months old. That’s A LOT of smelly diapers to change in one day! When I start thinking that I might want another little bundle in our home, I remember the days when either one of my children or charges would have a bellyache and I shudder at the memory. I prefer not to be elbow deep in poo, and my dogs already provide me with plenty to clean up. Ew.
I hate to sound like all I’m doing is complaining and being selfish, but I’m an adult, I think I’m entitled to that. I’ve been a mother for over ten years, and a stay at home mom for the last eight. I’ve devoted my entire last years to my children, husband, pets, and home. Other stay at home moms will (secretly) agree that there are times when you start to lose your sense of self. You start to forget that you’re not just a mom and a wife, but also a woman. You have hopes and dreams and aspirations. Some of us have college degrees that we feel guilty for not putting to use. Some of us haven’t even been to college, but wish that we could.
My youngest are approaching school age. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t looking forward to it. I have no plans to go out and find a job. I plan to stay at home still. Maybe take some online classes? But most importantly, I look forward to having time for myself. I look forward to having uninterrupted time to  sit and write. Blog. Tweet. Whatever. I am lucky enough to be blessed with a husband that still thinks that a woman’s place is in the home. Whether there are still ankle biters running around or not.
Now, not ALL of my reasons for not continuing to reproduce are hoggish. I know, it really seems like it though, doesn’t it? Well, they’re not! When I was pregnant with our youngest one, we learned that my body was producing an antibody that, if counts got too high, was harmful (and potentially deadly) to the baby. My body had apparently produced this with every pregnancy, and started producing higher amounts with each subsequent child. I endured weekly ultrasounds, and biweekly blood tests. At one of our checkups, the specialist told us that we would be tempting fate if we had another child after Abby. Now, how can you knowingly get pregnant when you have been given THAT warning?
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore babies. Really, I love all things itty-bitty. Jesse and I decided, together, that I would have an IUD inserted to give us time to decide whether we are actually done or not. It’s a question we’ve been tossing back and forth for three years now. I still feel a tug in my uterus every time I see a baby, or hear that another one of my girlfriends has given birth. My internal clock is slowly ticking. I’m fully aware that I’m not getting any younger, and soon mother nature will decide for me that I’m done making little ones.
But, I have three gorgeous daughters. They are happy, healthy and the center of my world. They each have their own dynamic personality. Soon all of them will be in school, and it will be my turn to discover my own person, again. I look forward to coffee in the morning with my dogs. Chaperoning field trips. Cleaning the house, and having it remain that way for more than twenty minutes. Helping out at class parties. Typing away on my laptop, without someone asking for a cup of juice. And when my husband decides to fully retire, spending time alone with him during the day. That is how I knew I was done having kids.

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