How will I know?

This past month I went digging around underneath my bathroom sink searching for something I haven’t needed in a long time. A pregnancy test. Although it was not something I was planning, I had this feeling deep down that I could be pregnant and knew that technically it was a possibility. Was I hopeful that I was pregnant? Was I worried? Was I scared? Definitely a little bit of all three.

As I waited for the line(s) on the test* to appear and my future to be revealed, my mind raced with possibilities. I imagined another home birth. I imagined Ava as a proud big sister again and Julian as a big brother for the first time and my heart swelled. I imagined another baby to love and nurture. I wondered how the baby would change the dynamics of our family. I pictured many sleepless nights and years more of cloth diapers. I thought about my health – both physical and mental – and wondered how I would do with another pregnancy. I thought about what my new psychiatrist recently said to me about the importance of finding time for myself and not taking on anything new right now. I wondered if my anxiety would get worse if I was pregnant and if I would need to go off my medication or increase my dose. I thought about how we plan to put our house on the market in the spring and all that we need to do in preparation. And I thought about how my life seems pretty darn great (and full) right now with just my two amazing kiddos.

The pregnancy tests (yes, I found more than one under my bathroom sink) were all negative and, low and behold, my cycle started. The future, for now, has been revealed. I am not pregnant. I will repeat, I am NOT pregnant. See?

I’m a little bit disappointed, but I also feel peaceful about it.

All of this got me wondering, how do you know when your family is complete? I don’t really know. I have thought about the “v” word – vasectomy – and have mixed feelings about it. I know it is technically reversible, but it seems so final and we’d likely only go that route when we are totally sure we’re done. Am I ready to close that door just yet? I don’t think so. I could still see us with one more, just not right now.

For now I think we’ll be a little more careful. At this point in time I don’t think a pregnancy would be the best thing for me, for us. That’s not to say I’m ruling out having another baby in the future, but for right now, as I continue to focus on my mental health and on my marriage, I think we’ll stick with these two wonderful kiddos we already have. And we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it.

* I think it’s kind of funny that all of the pregnancy tests under my sink were actually expired, so who knows how accurate they were. But I got my period so there’s no question anymore anyway. :P

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28 thoughts on “How will I know?

  1. This is too funny…. I did the same thing THIS MORNING!!! I had this funny feeling and someone asked me if I was trying to get pregnant. So this morning I took an expired preg test (exp 4/09) and it was negative. Whew! I admit that I was nervous- not sure how I would feel either way. And although I was VERY relieved, I had that little twinge of disappointment too. I think it is just ingrained in mothers to be a bit let down. But, all that being said, I am not ready for a pregnancy or a baby. I’m not sure if I will ever be again. I’m with you that I am focusing on my own mental and physical health and feel like I can be a much better mother to my boys if I do not add another baby to the mix. I, like you, am not saying NEVER again. Just definitely not now.
    Funny how we both did this this week. :)

  2. Been there! I had my tubes tied after my last son in 07 – and only had remorse over it for a brief time. I felt comfortable with 3, but also, I knew my mental health couldn’t take any more than that. I knew that my body certainly couldn’t. It’s a tough choice, no matter what the choice. I know women who have 5-6-7 kids. They manage – but I know it’s not for me – not now, not at my age. In fact, the other day when we were walking around a store, it occurred to me that it didn’t give me those twinges of “awww” when we passed by some really cute infant clothes. It was just a sort of matter of fact “oh look… baby clothes”. I knew, at that very second, that we’d made the right choice LOL

    Also – my OB told me I definitely should *not* do it again.

    That made my decision LOL

    I’m glad you got a reprieve. You deserve it, and so do your kids :)

  3. I go through this about once a month. We’re not too good at the natural family planning bit. But we can’t have another baby just now. We’re at out upper limit for this stage of our lives. No more space, no more resources, no more time, no more money. Problem is, I do have plenty more love left, to give to a bunch more kids, and it’s so hard. I pang for more babies, but it’s just not practical right now.

    I always end up taking hpts a few days before my period, because I convince myself that I have a bunch of symptoms etc. I don’t know why I drive myself crazy like that.

  4. I definately think you shouldn’t do anything permanent until you “know”. We were not quite sure about 4 being our magic number or not…and sure enough when I found out I was pregnant with #5 I was thrilled! Now I have a peace that I am done, and know that I will make special efforts to relish in the newborn time. Count down, 9 weeks to go!! Good luck to you, and whatever decisions you make.

  5. Awwww… can I say I was a little bummed :)

    As I am done having children… (at least until I finally decide to adopt).. so my friends having kids makes me happy.

    I am glad you came to the decision you did about your family. Everything happens for a reason….

    Have a wonderful Fall!

  6. Last month, you sold off all your baby clothes & toys for Ava & Julian. This month, you think you might be pregnant. lol! I see your subconcious is hard at work ;)

    Also, I’ll put in my two cents for an IUD as a wonderful, effective, easy, but impermanent method of birth control. I’d just do research into the best kind for you as there are different types on the market.

  7. Hubby and I always talked about having two children. Sure, I would love a baby now that my little guy is two already. The reality is we can not even think about it. Our house is small and we could not find room for another little one. In addition to this we are living on a decent budget. Another mouth to feed, cloth and take on vacations would put us over the edge.

    Soon after I had my little guy I had a Mirena IUD put in. It was a no brainer for me because they work so well to help with endometriosis (which I have) and prevent pregnancy in a non permanent way. Another perk is that I barely have any sort of period each month and that is a nice thing for me. Good luck with your decision.

  8. I did the same thing earlier in the week. In our case, we’re not planning anymore, and hubs has been talking about the V word,…well…since we found out we were pregnant with number 3. ;)
    I used to want 4, I came to this place right before we learned about #3 where I was completely content with what I had, regardless of whether or not we had any more children. And then about a week later, I missed my period. =)
    But now, I’m feeling REALLY FULL with three, and whereas I’m sure that I could handle a 4th, that you would do what needs to be done and God would provide what I needed… I don’t feel the NEED to have another.
    Or do I? When I thought I might be pregnant I mostly hoped the test was negative (homeschooling three is really hard, finances are too tight, I’m 50 pounds overweight, and so on and so on), but there was a part of me that was disappointed. I suppose there will always be at least a tiny part of me that is hopeful and excited at the possibility.
    Perhaps it is an in-built motherhood gene. =)

  9. I haven’t even had our first child yet (any day!), but I would highly recommend “Taking Charge Of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler. It teaches the Fertility Awareness Method, once you learn it you can completely avoid conception indefinitely if you do it correctly, without hormones or surgery! I was totally in love with it, and it also works great for working on conceiving!

  10. I go back and forth on this one all the time. Do I want more kids? What are the pros and cons? And just how old will I be when I get some semblance of freedom again? There are no easy answers.

    For now I have an IUD. Because whatever the decision is, I want to be in control of it. And I’m happy with that.

  11. i struggle with this because i love babies and i love kids and i love being a mother so much. but THREE is SOOOO MANY and the thought of another is crazy, but i don’t know if another would make it any crazier.

    i think we may adopt one day, get a little boy. my partner does not make boys apparently and four girls may be just a bit too much goddess-dom, KWIM???

    mb

  12. I think it’s funny that you took a picture of something that you peed on. LOL

    This is something I struggle with too. Having suffered tremedously from PPD after the birth of my second child, it’s probably not in our best interest to take that risk again. We’re probably done and are proceeding as if we are, but not ready to make it permanent. Another vote for the IUD here (although mine is the copper one). When it expires, I’ll be 40 and my H will be 46 and I’m sure we’ll have a better idea then if we are done or not.

  13. I was going to warn you about the expiration date.

    I, too, wonder how we’ll know when our family is complete. All I know for now is that it’s not yet.

  14. I have an IUD, so don’t get periods. But whenever I feel like throwing up I worry. So I have bought a bunch of pregnancy tests from the dollar store. :)

    For me, I KNEW we were supposed to have a third baby. I had a nice big gap (5 years) between #2 and #3, but it was perfect for me. Those 4 years before I conceived #3, I KNEW he was coming at some point.

    Now I wonder, should I have a 4th? I would be open to it. #3 is almost 4, so it would be a great time. But DH does NOT want another baby and I don’t KNOW that we are supposed to, so at this time I am fine not having any more.

    I don’t know if I would ever want something as permanent as a V. It seems so final. BUT I have had 2 friends get pregnant even after their DH had a V, so I suppose if it is meant to be, it will happen!

  15. I periodically (pun intended) go through baby longings especially when I see or hear of friends and acquaintances with newborns. But then I remember that another baby right now would mean having to get a bigger house, bigger car, less chance of doing things like holidays away from home etc etc. I’m mostly settled with two. But I haven’t closed the door (using Mirena) on another just yet.
    I think part of my regular longings are more about the experience of being pregnant – which I loved – and having the amazing feeling after giving birth. Not so much for the child itself IYKWIM. And the former 2 reasons are not good reasons to have another child. ;-)

    I must say having a family of 4 is very convenient in terms of doing stuff e.g. family passes to places are for 2 adults, 2 kids. We want to travel a bit as a family and having another would tip it over the edge into the too hard/too expensive basket.

  16. I had to laugh (in a nice way!) when reading this because I’m such the opposite. I didn’t even want kids until I got baby fever at age 35. Then we had 1. And I was done. I love my daughter more than life itself but I have absolutely no desire for another. If it were up to her we’d have more but I keep hoping our lab will fill in well enough.
    My husband had a vasectomy when she was 2 and we are both really happy with that decision.
    I think your body just tells you when you are done. I just knew our family was complete with our daughter and I couldn’t imagine life with another child.

  17. I still don’t know. I know that right now I’m done with the whole pregnancy thing. But having so many friends who have adopted, I’m not sure that I feel like our family is done yet. Its at least on pause.

  18. I know how you feel- it’s not in my future to have another baby, but my mom says, “never say never.” LOL.

    If it doesn’t happen, you eventually accept it. It is saying good-bye to that part of your life, but I think everything happens for a reason.

    I think it is smart if you aren’t in an emotionally ideal place right now to wait. Perhaps this is the Universe’s way of telling you that it is OK to get yourself healthy, and after that- if it is meant to be, the pregnancy and baby will happen.

    Lots of love!

  19. I’d love another baby.. but just not right now either. In one way though.. there is never a “perfect” time to have a baby.. and at 41 i can’t wait too much longer!

  20. I can relate to your experiences with anxiety… I was already on the road to recovery shortly before I became pregnant. I had weaned off Zoloft several months before the pregnancy. Interestingly, I never once had an anxiety attack while pregnant – despite all the worrying I did! Just my anecdotal experience.

  21. I’m struggling with this right now too. We have one son. I’ve always had in my head that I wanted 2 children. I thought I was ready for #2, got pregnant, then miscarried at 12 weeks. We’ve just been cleared for trying again, but now I”m not sure what I want. Part of me is happy with my life now and feels complete. Part of me wonders if I will regret it later if we don’t try again for #2. I’m not sure how you decide….

  22. I’m right there with you. I’m pretty sure we’re done. With my midwife’s passing I can’t imagine another home birth without her. Or maybe just can’t imagine it with someone else.

    But nothing permanent in the plans!

    Steph

  23. This seems to be a popular subject lately on a lot of the blogs I read. I have 4 kids 13,10,7 and 4 and at 43 I am done. My life is very full and very busy. I will, however, always want to have one more baby. I love babies and everything that goes along with them like breastfeeding, cloth dipers, baby carriers ect. ect. ect. Until I go through menopause there will always be a little part of me that wouldn’t mind becoming accidentally pregnant. That is why I have an IUD. As much as I want another baby I know that it would not be the best thing for me and my family.

  24. I was you three years ago but my test was positive. She is wonderful but was very unplanned. We are one bedroom short. I drive a car not a van, and my big guys have a baby sister they adore. Life would be easier without her…but she makes us all laugh alot.
    My husband had made an appointment for a snip- for three weeks after we got preggo.
    She sneeked in and makes us all very happy.
    Wish me luck putting my house on the market and finding something bigger!

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