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The other day, my 4-year-old asked, "When are we going to
get another baby?" I looked at him and his 6-year-old brother and felt that
familiar twinge of longing for a sweet little infant to snuggle. But that was
quickly replaced by the memories of sleepless nights, constant exhaustion,
endless diapers and the knowledge that two children are enough for my husband
and me. I'm done having kids and our family is complete. I've known it for
some time, but it took a while for my heart to catch up with my brain. (Which
may be why I still have two boxes of maternity clothes sitting in my closet.)
If you're like me and you've had your last sweet little bundle of joy and you're sure your family is complete, here are a few things you (ahem, we) might need to do:
I know, they're comfortable—especially those
stretchy camisoles and flowy shirts. Trust me, I know. But it's time. If you have a particularly
sentimental piece, consider saving it and turning it into a pillow or fabric
squares for a quilt. And if you still have maternity underwear, throw them away!
2. Ditto the baby gear
Isn't it amazing how one (or two) little babies can accumulate so much stuff in
just a couple of years? The crib in the garage that you keep bumping your shin
on. The high chair that hasn't been used in a year. The Boppy, the Baby Bjorn,
the onesies and pacifiers and baby bottles. It's time to let them go, too. Save
a few favorite things to pass down to your kids and find good homes for everything else.
3. Unsubscribe from all of the maternity mailing lists and
Aren't you tired of clicking
"delete" on all of those emails geared toward pregnant women? You won't be
needing maternity clothes or infant gear anymore, so take an hour and remove
your name from those endless mailing lists that you signed up for during your
first pregnancy. And if you have any subscriptions to websites or magazines
that you no longer need or read, cancel those, too.
4. Schedule annual exams with your gynecologist and general
If you haven't seen a doctor since your last postpartum visit, now
is the time to schedule those appointments. Your health is important even if
you aren't pregnant or planning to be come pregnant. (And if you're over 40, schedule your mammogram.)
5. While you're at it, schedule vision and dental exams, too
My eyeglass prescription changed while I was
pregnant with my youngest, but I was too busy being pregnant and taking care of a toddler to see the optometrist. Get your eyes and teeth checked!
If you have a birth control method that works for you, by all means keep doing that. But if you're not happy with
your current choice, or it doesn't seem like the right option for the rest of
your potentially fertile years, talk to your partner and your doctor. A
long-term or permanent solution might be the best (and cheapest) option for
7. Commemorate your perfect family
Schedule a professional portrait or go the DIY
route and create a piece of art that reflects your family. Or treat yourself to
a special piece of mother-child jewelry, whether it's a charm bracelet with your
kids' birthstones or stackable rings with their names and birth dates. Whatever
you choose, it will be a beautiful symbol of your family as it is now—and as it
always will be. At least until you have grandchildren.
Even when you're sure your family is complete, it can be
difficult to accept that you will never be pregnant again, never feel the kicks
and flutters of another baby or the anticipation of a new arrival. Let yourself
feel all of those emotions and realize it's completely normal to have mixed
feelings about it. (It's also OK to feel nothing but relief and joy!)
And who knows, maybe you will change your mind in a yea or
two. And that's fine, too.