Yep. I’m committing heresy. This is pure girl blasphemy. I’m saying OUT LOUD to all the Interwebs that I’m glad I’m not having more kids.
I realize that – by some people’s definition – mothers are supposed to be all “Oh, babies are just the best and I could totally go for another one!” anytime a friend shows off their newborn, but I’m perfectly content to coo from a distance and be happy snuggling the two I have. As the younger of two kids, from parents who were an only child and the elder of two, respectively, I’m used to the concept of a small family. Meeting DH’s family for the first time, and seeing that the extended family was A) large, and B) around each other on a regular basis, was overwhelming. I swear it took me a good six months just to learn everyone’s names.
When we talked about kids, DH really wanted four. His mother is the second of four, and he really liked the idea of a big family. Until I met DH, I’d figured I wasn’t going to have kids at all; it was never really something I wanted to do, and I never thought I clicked well with kids. We waited for me to finish graduate school before we really started trying to have kids, and it seemed to take forever before I finally got pregnant. I’m actually pretty sure I had a miscarriage right before I got pregnant with dd. It was early, though, so it just felt like a horrible period.
I remember lying in bed one night when I was pregnant with dd, wondering aloud, “What if I don’t have a maternal instinct?” DH assured me that everything would be fine, and I just hoped for the best. While some parts of the early parenting experience were rough – like exclusively pumping for six months because of physical issues that made breastfeeding hard and my stubborn refusal to give up – it turns out that I do have a maternal instinct. That part, at least, is comforting.
At some point during my pregnancy with ds, my OB/gyn asked me if I wanted to have a repeat c-section or a VBAC, and it took me a while to think it through. DD had been in full breech, so c-section was the way to go for my first delivery. There was some risk with VBAC, and I gathered info from my doctor and other sources before making my choice about how I would have ds delivered. Ultimately, I decided on a repeat c-section. When I told my doctor this, she immediately countered with, “Would you like your tubes tied?” I think I blinked a few dozen times and let that sink in.
“Can you do that?”, I asked.
“Of course. They’re right there,” she said, cupping her hands in the air as she mimed holding my fallopian tubes.
I called my health insurance company and they said that “voluntary sterilization” was a covered benefit, and they thought it was great that I would be able to consolidate things into ONE hospitalization and ONE anesthesia and ONE recovery.
It sounded so…sterile.
And so it was, that on August 11, 2009, after giving birth to a healthy baby boy, I was voluntarily sterilized with a tubal ligation. In normal people-speak, that means, I shouldn’t get pregnant ever again. That doesn’t mean I can’t, since I know that there is a minuscule chance that I could get pregnant. One of the former teachers at the kids’ daycare center is a tubal baby, so I know it’s possible. But still, as much as I hate the creature with the rusty knife that attacks my abdomen every month, I’m secretly happy. It means I escaped one more month closer to the point when babies are simply no longer an option.
It’s not that I don’t love kids – I adore my kids. They are the light of my life and there is no way that I would want to know what my life would be like if I had never had them.
But knowing what it was like struggling with breastfeeding that never worked and pumping that I made take over my life, remembering what it was like to juggle life with infants who couldn’t tell me funny stories, and thinking of what it was like dealing with blow-out diapers and strollers and high chairs and baby food and pacifiers and and and…I’m happy never to go back.
I love my babies. And though I know that it probably makes me a freak in some people’s eyes for saying that dd and ds are enough, I don’t want more babies. I want the kids I have and I know I was meant to have only them. I’m more than content with that. They are all that I wanted and never knew I needed until they were in my arms. And each time I get my period, I say a silent thank-you to my body, for keeping me at just the two that I adore. I have an abundance of awesome in my two sweet and wonderful kiddos, and that’s all I need. Anybody who thinks I should ever want more doesn’t know me and doesn’t know my babies. I truly have all that I need.