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The Simple Way I Knew I Was Done Having Babies

Photograph by Twenty20

When my husband and I got married 12 years ago, we didn't have a set number of children in mind. I thought I wanted three to four children, while he thought more like four or five. But by the time our third baby was born, we were both firmly settled on three or four babies as the right number for our family.

This meant I felt like the clock was ticking to decide whether No. 3 was our last or if we were going to try for one more. If she was my last baby, I wanted to make sure to soak in every moment and recognize it as the last nursing session, the last first birthday, the last time I'd zip up tiny footie pajamas.

Also, if I wanted a fourth baby, I felt like the timing mattered. I didn't want a huge gap between the first three girls and a fourth. So, basically from the moment she was born, I felt like the question of "should we have one more?" was on my mind day in and day out.

I'd get up to nurse my newborn and think, "Can I do this again? Do I WANT to do this again?"

My husband and I talked about it endlessly and, after going back and forth many times, we finally decided to try for baby No. 4.

I haven't ever thought again about having another baby. Not even once.

I worried that after she was born, I'd have that same feeling, worrying about whether I was done or not or if we should have "just one more." But after she was born, almost two years to the day after my third daughter, I haven't ever thought again about having another baby. Not even once.

After that constant mental debate about a fourth, it's been so strange and so delightful to have no tiny voice wondering and worrying about if and when to have another baby. We were done and we just knew it.

I know not every parent feels that clarity about when they're finished adding children to their family, and I worried that I'd have that continued unsettled feeling and unanswered questions about the number of children that was right for our family. Luckily, I didn't. That silence was the strongest indicator that our family is complete.

Well, that and the fact that I'm pretty sure five children would drive me right over the brink into total insanity.

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