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23 Moms Share How They Knew They Were Done Having Kids

Photograph by Twenty20

Deciding to have a baby is a big step in your life. For many of us, it’s just a matter of when to start our family, because we’ve always known we wanted kids. For some of us (me, included), we go years, even decades, thinking we don’t want kids until one day … we do. But as big and monumental as it is to start a family, how do you know when you’re done? How do you decide that this baby is the last baby?

For me, I don’t know that I ever "knew” I was finished having babies. I told a lot of people I was done after one, but I still couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the baby clothes. Good thing, as his baby brother came along before he had even turned 2! We talked about a third, but health issues postponed it and then my age was a factor. Even now, at 49, it’s hard to say, “I’m done,” even though I know I am—biologically, if not emotionally.

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I asked other moms how they knew when they were done having kids. If you’re undecided about whether you would like another baby (or two), maybe their answers will help you make up your mind.

“As a young girl, I wanted as many kids as I could afford to take care of—of course, I had no concept of how much they actually cost. I had four with my ex-husband and believed we were done and I have one with my husband now and miscarried another. I wanted more but I couldn’t deal with (another miscarriage) again. So we haven’t.” – Renee

People kept assuming our youngest was our grandson.

“The youngest got to be too old (in my mind) and I’d gotten too used to sleeping at night.” ­– Fedora

“We couldn’t afford daycare for more than one. I can actually remember the day we sat down and examined our finances. We weren’t willing to short our son in order to have another, and we’d have to. Vasectomy was then scheduled!” – Jackie

“I saw my husband holding our second daughter, and I knew that everyone who was supposed to be there, was.” – Kristine

“Ha! When people kept assuming our youngest was our grandson.” – Karen

“I decided at a young age I didn’t want anymore after 30, but I was 23 with my last pregnancy and it was such a hard pregnancy. We sat down and looked at our projected income and decided we couldn’t afford anymore and my husband had a vasectomy.” – Saranna

“I barely survived diapers and the terrible toddler years. Once my son started school, I knew he was it and I wouldn’t be having any more.” – Audra

“I knew I was done after I found out I was having a second, though hubs would likely say it was after we found out about the first. After our daughter, I wanted another one. Maybe if we were younger I would have wanted three, but not any more than that.” – Tina

“I wanted one. We had twins. Now I am overstocked. (Happily though.)” – Lori

“When my youngest was 2 or so, I wanted another but my marriage and finances were a mess and my pregnancies were all so hard. So my husband got a vasectomy. At this point, it would just be crazy. I’m 45 and my oldest is 24.” – Judy

“I really want one more, but circumstances say no. Since I have done foster care and I may again, it is hard to say when I may decide I’m done.” – Krista

“When I could not imagine a circumstance—up to and including the death of both of my children—in which I would want another.” – Janet

“It sounds really weird, but after our twins were born we joked about being done, but I remember standing in the shower at the hospital and just ‘knowing’ there was another baby floating out there in the ether. And three years later, when we had our second daughter, I looked into her eyes and knew that was our family and I was done. Besides, I hated being pregnant so much there was not a force in the universe that could force me into it again!” – Axie

“When I ran out of hands to kid-wrangle.” – Kathleen

“I had one and wanted more. I loved being pregnant but couldn’t have another. It still hurts, 16 years later.” – Ericka

“When my doctor discovered, in the middle of a C-section with my third, that I narrowly missed a catastrophic end to my pregnancy. I had dreamed of having more. “ – Leah

“When my youngest was 4, we moved into a new house. I didn’t plug up the outlets, I set plants on the floor, I arranged the knickknacks on shelves, and then I thought how I was ready to leave it all that way. I always wanted four kids and I had two. As life went on, I became more and more at peace with that.” – Amy

I saw a new baby and thought, 'UGH GROSS. YOU CAN KEEP IT.'

“When, after one miscarriage, then three sons, and then four more miscarriages, we decided we couldn’t go through another loss and we were so grateful for our healthy three. We didn’t know when we were having that conversation that our fourth boy was in utero, having a laugh.” – Lisa

“I never felt done. I deciced to take measures to not have anymore because I had three quickly and young (at 23, 27 and 29) and I was feeling overwhelmed. I still regret that decision to this very day. I’d have another in a minute!” – Donna

“When I saw a new baby and thought, 'UGH GROSS. YOU CAN KEEP IT.'” – Delilah

“When I was told that if I got pregnant again I’d likely spend the majority of it in the hospital being monitored and away from my existing babies. That was a big old NOPE.” – Chris

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“When I had amniocentesis for one while waiting to hear about potential problems with the one that was already here.” – Treva

“I didn’t want children for a long time. It wasn’t in my life plan. When I got married, I made sure my husband understood that I didn’t want any. Then one day, the biological clock went off and I felt very differently about it. The hubby and I had a long talk and decided that we would try. After I had her, I didn’t want any more. I got the best kid ever and never felt the need to have a second.” – Sarah

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