The decision to "do" is difficult. A personal question. The one that often lets people judge or wonder, no matter what you decide. We remember the thoughts of a mom who was real and vulnerable to us.
–A guest post from a mom who wanted to remain anonymous–
I have five children and five children, which is a lot in these modern times. Five kids is a bigger car, hard and expensive time to book vacation accommodation, and mountains of laundry and food. That means four take-out school meals each morning and busy nights leading the kids to soccer, ballet and swimming lessons.
Five children is also a lot of love, a lot of fun and a lot of friends, as we connect in the small social circles that each child creates as their own.
When people find out that I have five children for the first time, their eyebrows go up and cry out in astonishment / awe / wonder. Then comes the inevitable next question: "So, are you going to have more?" I can barely go a day without being asked, suppressing the urge to respond - "Isn't that five years enough ?!"
My oldest is fifteen, the youngest two. And since the birth of my youngest, my answer to that question has been a pretty solid “NO”. Life is busy, very busy and I feel overwhelmed with everything I do in my role as “mom”. I recently started a small business, where I discover a new part of myself and enjoy that kind of recognition that money brings.
I always wanted six children. I love having a big family - the hustle and bustle, and the organizational challenges that I thrive on. I love being a witness and a companion as my children grow up on their own. And for fifteen years, when a baby wakes up at about two years old, the next baby is welcomed into our hearts and soon after into our arms. You could say that birthing and raising babies has been my career: I started at 23 and now it's what I do best.
Now that my youngest is almost weaned, I find myself at a crossroads. My mind can think of a million reasons why our family should be as complete as it is now. But my heart and body yearn for another baby: a longing that seems to come from deep within me, a longing over which I have no control.
After so many years in the cycle of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, sometimes I wonder if my body is now wired this way, caught in a loop. Or is having another baby the easy thing to do, the comfortable choice? Moving my business forward and launching into the world as a professional would be the most difficult thing I can do in life right now - it's the area with the most potential for personal growth.
My husband doesn't like having another baby, and now that our youngest is a toddler, life just got a little easier. We can go out at night. We can make more commitments and start working more resolutely towards our goals. We appreciate the extra freedom, I appreciate it. Then there is the financial pressure from another mouth to feed themselves, and the social pressure which despises large families as the resources of our planet are gradually depleted.
Deciding whether to finish having children and to formally “complete” your family is an important one. This is a question that should be discussed at length with your partner, especially if you are not on the same page. There is no formula that says, "Ok, when I meet 4 out of 5 criteria, that means I'm done having babies." Everyone is different, and everyone's reasons for having finished having children are different. For some, it may be age. For others, it is health, physical or mental reasons. For some, it's financial. For others, they may just feel like their family is complete and they're ready to take the next step in their life. And for some, while they may feel strong in their decision to stop having children, the desire to have another newborn in the home may never leave their hearts.
One thing I love about some social media apps is that they show us what happened “that day” so many years ago. I see these pictures and I think of my children as babies, and how much they have grown. And I'm like, "I could never have another baby in this house." I think it's important for those who are considering quitting having children or trying to decide if they should add one more to remember that you will always miss the time when your children were babies. You will always miss their squishy thighs and big belly laughs. But when you have another child, and this one grows up, that hole of their absence at this point will still be there - it will be just another hole. So having another baby to cure your baby's fever might not be the best thing for you. Or it could. The latter can convince you that you are really done. No one knows except you and your partner.
If you are looking for a special formula, there may be several ways that you will know you have children, in addition to a physical, mental or financial decision:
- You are no longer envious of pregnancy announcements
- You are no longer envious of big pregnant bellies
- You can easily get rid of your baby's belongings (clothes, strollers, toys, cribs)
- Looking forward to a new season of life
- Your family feels complete
Of course, you can still feel envious of pregnancy announcements or a fat pregnant belly, even if you know deep down that you are done having babies. For some of us, it's just about remembering a special time in your life and thinking about what it was like for you. A time when you were younger and more energized, and ready to embark on a new life in this world. But if a part of you is glad that you didn't wake up with a newborn baby overnight, then you might be done having babies.
But my heart, and this urge that turns on like a switch but seems impossible to turn off. I am between a rock and a hard place - afraid to shake the boat and the balance we have achieved by giving in to my deep yearnings, and afraid to live one day with regret for not following my heart.
Until I have clarity in my mind and heart, I take it one day at a time. I snuggle up to my daughters at bedtime, drinking their present and their purity. I take a moment, every day, to count my blessings, the beautiful children I already have who bring so much light into my life.
Image by: bogonet
MotheringMothering.com is the leading online community for natural-minded moms. We believe that by providing you with the perfect blend of inspiration, practical advice, expert advice and up-to-date information, Mothering.com empowers women to make informed choices that meet their family's unique needs. .
If you thought that being pregnant was a one way ticket to frumpsville - think again ! It’s time to embrace those extra curves and rock your bump. This is your opportunity to get creative with your clothes, and to create a look that will take you right through to the birth of your little one.
You may not remember the last time you saw your feet, but trust us, right now you look amazing, and it’s time to show the world !
Your changing body shape gives you free reign to try out a whole range of styles that you would never have considered BP ( before pregnancy ). Of course, it’s important to balance feeling comfortable with looking totally awesome, but by getting the basics right you’ll be rocking your own pregnancy style before you know it.
In recent years many more retailers have started stocking maternity ranges, so you can still site your favourite brands such as H
The great thing about your bump is that you don’t have to spend a fortune, a few key pieces will provide the foundation of your pregnancy look, and you can then build it up from there.
A comfortable pair of maternity jeans - there are some great ones on the market right now, choose from types that go under your bump, or ones that go over it – these may make you feel like Simon Cowell, but you’ll be super comfortable, and no one else will know ! Darker coloured jeans are great for both daytime, and for evenings out.
Maternity vest tops – these are worth grabbing in a few colours as you’re sure to wear them again and again throughout your pregnancy. As they keep your bump covered, they’re perfect for layering with favourite non-maternity items such as blazers and open shirts.
Put together an effortless weekend look by combining your maternity pantalons with a black vest top, and then accessorise, accessorise, accessorise ! Add pops of colour with accessories such as circle scarves and chunky necklaces to sweat your look together. Pair this with a blazer and pumps if you fancy looking a bit smarter, or stay casual with an open shirt over the top and your favourite trainers.
If you’ve always run scared of stripes, now’s the time to embrace them, they’ll look amazing on your bump. This is the time to show off your bump, and a tight, striped top or dress will do just that.
So that’s your causal wardrobe sorted, but how about work ? If you’re starting to panic on a Monday morning as you try on every item in your wardrobe to find something to wear that not only fits, but is also suitable for work, we can help.
Pencil skirts are your new BFF, well at least for pregnancy anyway. These beauties will keep you covered up, complimenter your bump, and you’ll look amazing wearing it. Simplify getting ready for work even more by opting for a pencil dress, that way you don’t even need to worry about matching it with a top – sorted !
Wearing wrap dresses, and jumper dresses is also a great way to allie looking smart at work, but staying comfortable.
Planning a night out, but have no clue what to wear ? If in doubt, keep it simple. In the photo above Giovanna Fletcher is off to meet Prince Charles, and styles amazing in a black dress and black pumps. As stunning as her outfit is we’re pretty sure it must be very comfortable too, and if that’s good enough to wear to meet royalty, it’s definitely acceptable to wear on a night out with our friends.
Of course, one of the most important parts of your pregnancy wardrobe is an item that won’t be on display, that’s right it’s the humble maternity bra. The importance of this essential bit of kit is not to be underestimated, especially as it’s not just your bump that will be growing bigger !
A well fitted, comfortable maternity bra will keep you supported, without digging into you. During pregnancy underwired bras are not recommended, so having the right support is even more important. Don’t forget to get measured regularly, as your bra size is likely to increase a few times during your pregnancy. Whatever your maternity style, the main thing to consider is how you feel in what you’re wearing, if it makes you feel good, and it’s comfortable then go for it.