Yesterday, I posted that my last child was off to PlaySchool and I was faced with the reality that my time as a stay-at-home mom was closing in. I had to laugh at how many people commented that the best solution would be for me to have another baby. I take it as a compliment because #1, my kids are cute enough to spread the genetics and #2 my kids are not a nuisance to society (yet) so people are not begging us to stop producing them (anymore).
Why we had 5 children.
My husband and I aren’t huge super future planners, so for us, our 5 kids kind of chose us. We didn’t get married with a set number in mind. I had 2 kids previous to our marriage, so we were already in the thick of parenthood, but we did want more.
One thing we agreed on though, was that we would have as many children as God intended for us to have. NO that did not mean not using birth control – (Though I respect the bravery of those who choose that), to us it meant really listening to our hearts and tuning out the pressures of our culture to decide for us. We agonize and pray, and seek council for what we should take in college, or what house we should buy, yet we go into marriage set on having 2.5 kids like everyone else. To us, this wasn’t our decision to make alone.
We had our 1st child together soon after marriage because we didn’t want a big gap between the 2 older kids. We wanted our kids close in age. So just having 1 more baby in our marriage instantly bumped us to 3 kids.
18 months later, to our pleasant surprise, we were pregnant with our 4th child.
Boy, did people love to give their opinion on that one! We had so many snide comments about whether we were done or not. Even hours after his birth we received comments like, “You’re done now, right?” or “Is your uterus closed for business yet?” and “When’s your vasectomy appointment?”
We were overwhelmed with 4 kids, our finances were tight, we didn’t have a lot of support, and everyone around us were stopping at 2 we had every excuse to stop. Some people even made us feel embarrassed and ashamed for having 4 as if we had no self control. So we caved and decided to stop.
The moment our son was born, I cried. Tears of joy, but tears of complete grief that this was our last baby. I came home and packed up my maternity clothes to give away, and I sat on the floor sobbing uncontrollably. He moved out of the newborn size (actually that’s not true, he was a 10 1/2 lbs. – so he never did fit newborn) but after he moved out of the first size of clothes I packed them away, crying and crying and crying. I grieved through each stage. When he crawled, when he walked and said his first words.
How could this be so hard to stop having babies, when mothers were slamming the door happily with one child and running for abortions?
But we made that vasectomy appointment anyway, and I cried.
The vasectomy appointment came and went, we HAD totally forgotten the appointment! OOPS
My husband and I sat down, after discussing that we better reschedule soon. We sat in silence, both thinking the same thing, but nobody brave enough to admit it.
We finally looked at one another, “we’re not done yet are we?” “Are we crazy!?” we both laughed.
I had this strange feeling I couldn’t shake. There was one more boy out there for us. We both agreed, that neither of us felt complete, so we didn’t reschedule.
2 years later, after our 4th son was born, we were pregnant with baby #5.
“You’re crazy!” people said, some people even eye rolled instead of congratulating us.
Strangers made comments as I took our 4 kids out with my big belly.
“Haven’t figured out what causes that, hey?” they would laugh.
But it wasn’t funny. It was hurtful, and unsupportive, we felt mocked and alone sometimes.
Society and our culture says that any amount of children over 3 and you must be sex crazed and headed for welfare, but we were determined that God had the number of our kids planned out, and he had a plan for each breath that breathed. We didn’t need a lot of money to raise a happy, healthy, and loved child.
We got through the pregnancy great, it was my most energetic healthy pregnancy. I glowed and growed.
I packed up my maternity clothes, anxious to get it out of my house, incase it began to breed in the box. I boxed up baby clothes and shipped it off, careful to take the baby out of the clothes first. haha
I was done. I was complete.
2 weeks later, we sat in that vasectomy office with our newborn baby in tow.
2 hours later, my husband sat on the couch in agony, I handed him a bag of peas and the baby and went for a nap.
WE JUST KNEW we were done, and we have never regretted our decision. (except on road trips at Christmas when 2 have the flu and the others are bawling because of the puke smell and we still have 3 hours to go.)
Our Family is complete (unless God throws us a curve ball, If that’s the case we will name him or her Curve.) – That’s funny cause my last name is Ball, okay never mind.
Family planning is a personal choice, but it’s not an easy one. Especially in a culture that doesn’t accept children as a blessing, but more as an accessory or a burden easily rid of. I have seen many moms toil over their decisions because of mounting pressure to have more or to not. I want to help.
Tomorrow I am going to share my thoughts on 5 Bad Reasons to Stop Having Kids and 5 Great Reasons to Stop having Children. So make sure you check back in before you make that appointment.
Tell me below, how did you know you were done?