I have two great kids. They drive me nuts, but they are the cutest, most delicious little creatures on earth. My boys are about five years apart, and the plan has always been for me stay home with them until they’re both in school. And then be done having babies. Forever.
Shit—the letting go is harder than I expected it to be. In less than two years, our younger child will be in full-time school, and I’ll turn 40. I’m totally thrilled about the freedom I see for myself then.
But once a month, my dumb ovaries start aching. I mean, I want another baby so badly then.
Soon enough, though, my hormones die down, my 3-year-old pretend-punches me in the mouth, and I can get myself behind the no-more-kids thing once again.
There are some very good reasons why I shouldn’t have any more babies, and I’m documenting them here so I can remember them the next time my eggs start playing tricks on me.
1. We’re flat broke.
My husband and I make it work, but our finances are tight—very tight. We can’t afford vacations or other luxuries. We live paycheck to paycheck. I do some work at home, but I really need to start increasing the income I make, and the only time I see myself doing that is when both of my kids are in school.
2. I hate being pregnant.
I was 34 the second time I was pregnant, and maybe for me that is just too damn old, but I was terribly uncomfortable. I was so sick I lost five pounds the first trimester, and by the third trimester, my muscles ached so badly I couldn’t stand up for more than a few minutes at a time. I had to wear one of those belly braces just to keep my body from completely falling apart. I can only imagine what would go down if I had another baby now.
3. My husband doesn’t want another child.
He loves our kids and gets all sentimental when he thinks of not having any more, but he doesn’t go hormone-crazy once a month like I do. He doesn’t long for a mini-human to move around inside his belly or to inhale the incomparable scent of his newborn’s hair.
4. It’s just my hormones talking.
Hormones do crazy things to me. They make me want to have sex with my husband every second for one week a month, but two weeks later, they make me want to throw him out the window. I shouldn’t let those fickle bastards determine our family’s future.
5. My kids don’t sleep for the first few years.
Between kids and pregnancies, I pretty much haven’t slept in a decade. My kids start sleeping longer stretches in the toddler years, but they crawl into bed with us at least once a night until they’re about 4 years old. I’m not sure if I could deal with more sleep deprivation than this, especially when I’m past the big 4-0.
6. I’m too old.
I know plenty of women do pregnancy and birth beautifully in their 40s, but I’m not sure I’d be one of them. I don’t have the same amount of energy I had when I was 30 and started having babies. My bones ache. A few extra pieces of chocolate immediately go to my butt and take forever to get rid of (I imagine whatever pregnancy weight I would gain would stick around for eternity). I’m sure pushing a tiny human out of my cranky old body would be no picnic either.
7. I want my body back.
My kids breastfeed for a long time. They sleep in my bed forever too. They climb on me. They trip and fall on my face 50 times a day. There is always someone on my lap, tugging my hair. Part of me loves all the closeness and cuddling, and I know I’ll miss it when they’re bigger. But I’m almost done having my body be the ultimate comforter (and playground!). I need more space, more room to breathe.
All of this is true, and I really should remember it when my baby lust gets the better of me. But, there’s one reason why it sort of doesn’t matter at all—one reason that trumps the others:
This is my last chance to have another baby, and I don’t know if I’ll regret not having one.
I always look at the big picture of life. What will I think when I’m old and gray? What will I remember about my life? Not whether I had enough money, or whether I had my body back soon enough. No, I’ll remember the people in my life and the love we exchanged.
I still don’t know if a whole other entire baby is what I really want with all my heart. Most of the time, I don’t think it is. But the fact that I am nearing the end of my reproductive years definitely colors the choice in a different way. I’m definitely not ready to have another baby, but I’m also not ready to say never.