I remember cracking up at my last OB appointment before the birth of my second son. The doctor was asking me if I thought about what kind of birth control I was going to use. Little miss apparently wasn’t thinking clearly because if she was, she would have seen that my husband and my bodies do not make babies that easily. In fact, our file is over 100 pages of how our bodies don’t make babies on our own. The question, although inappropriate given our history, led to a bigger question. How do you know if you are done having more kids?
The notion of deciding if you are done having kids will obviously depend on the couple. For my husband and I, this would mean forking over tens of thousands of more dollars, likely. For others, this may mean one night of fun in the bedroom and out pops baby number three. No matter where you fall on the scale, there is a lot to consider when making this decision.
Infertility aside, having more kids will impact the finances. For some this may mean that the cost of daycare is more expensive than if one parent stays home or limiting extra spending to account for the extra money being spent. Another aspect to think about is retirement. I know it seems further away, but does having another child mean you’ll be working longer or having less down the road? Do these things matter?
The lifestyle you live will change in the financial realm, too. Things like vacations and family outings will cost more. Would having fewer or less expensive vacations be a deal breaker? Is your dream to pay for college? The idea of having more children should be compared to the costs that will incur and whether or not one matters more than the other. I am not implying you should not have more kids because it will cost more, but do think finances should be a major topic to think about when deciding if you are done having kids.
I am coining Mom Capacity as a thing. What is your mom capacity? We all have one. Some moms are, “one and done.” Others want to give it to higher powers that be and are content with several. We know our limits and even though our love is unlimited when it comes to children, our mental load and responsibilities do have a threshold. It is important to find out what you are able to handle in order to maintain some sanity. I remember feeling like going from one kid to two kids felt like running a football team. Even though my household has even numbers, I still feel outnumbered often times. I love my kids, but know that I am not meant to have a million children (or five). When deciding if you are done having kids, think about what your magic number is.
Ideally you and your partner are on the same page when deciding if you are done having kids. Whomever does the birthing shouldn’t be making all the decisions in households with partners involved. If they really want one child and you want three, could a compromise of two children be made? This is a decision you want to make sure you are respecting one another with so that you both feel heard.
I lost count of how many times people ask me if I want a girl. They don’t know what I have been through to have these precious miracles. All they they see is a mom of two boys and wonder if I want a girl, which I do get. I love my boys and am so happy being a boy mom. Zero part of me feels this yearning for a girl. That is my perspective, though. I know others who want another gender and are willing to have one or more in order for that to happen. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as you realize you may have three more kids without differing genders. When deciding if you are done having kids, really think about how important the gender component is and how many you are willing to have to make that happen.
Whether you want one child or a dozen, there is no wrong or right answer. You need to do you and make the best choice for your family. It’s really hard to know if you are done having kids, but you know what is best and will figure it out. Give yourself grace and keep listening to your heart while weighing your options. That’s all you can do.