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The Real Reason I Don't Want Any More Kids

Photograph by Twenty20

Ever since my daughter was born three years ago I have been adamant about not wanting any more children. People have tried to sway my mind.

You only have two kids!

You’re still so young!

You make such beautiful children!

But I have remained steadfast. Sometimes I have other moms asking me how I’m so sure that I don’t want to add to my family. They seem to be having a hard time with making that decision and marvel at the fact that I haven’t wavered.

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Usually when people ask me how I know I’m done having kids I tell them it’s because I “just know.” And it’s true. I’m perfectly happy with my family and have no desire to have another baby. It’s just not in me. The feeling of “baby fever” is foreign to me. But when I really stop to think about it, the real reason I don’t want any more kids is deeper than the excuses I tend to give.

Here’s the thing. I love being pregnant. I love it so much that I became a surrogate and helped another couple complete their family. I don’t love having a newborn so I thought being a surrogate would be the perfect compromise. I could experience the joy of pregnancy, but skip out on the sleepless newborn part. It was a win-win in my book. And it really was because I had a great experience with surrogacy.

It was then that I realized that I would very likely always deal with postpartum depression in some way after birthing children.

The couple I helped was amazing and treated me like family. I had an easy pregnancy and a great labor free of complications. I realized, however, that the extreme postpartum emotions I experience after giving birth have little to do with caring for a newborn, and more to do with my hormones just going completely haywire.

I may not have been sleep-deprived after giving birth to the surrogate baby, but I was definitely emotional. The anxiety and depression I experienced after birthing my own children had returned after birthing this child as well. It was then that I realized that I would very likely always deal with postpartum depression in some way after birthing children.

And honestly, I don’t want to deal with that.

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The pendulum of emotions I feel in the postpartum period are not easy for me to navigate. I often find myself feeling out of control. My mood swings from happy to sad to angry and back again. Little things set me off and I find myself taking it out on the people closest to me whom I love dearly. I can try my best to preemptively stop PPD in its tracks—I can go to counseling, encapsulate my placenta, lean on my village—but at the end of the day, I just don’t like how I feel in the postpartum period. I would rather protect my mental health and make it as easy as possible for myself emotionally, rather than work so hard to feel normal.

I already have two beautiful children. I love them and want to protect them. I want to enjoy them and not feel depressed or anxious around them. That’s why I’m done. I never want to experience PPD ever again. I’m going to be grateful for the family I have and focus on making our lives as happy as possible.

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