How I Knew I Was Done Having Kids
About a week after Christmas, after coming home from traveling to see relatives and getting settled back in our apartment with all the kids' new toys in tow, I started to kind of not feel like myself. Something just wasn’t right. I was exhausted, first of all, and not the kind of tired you get after making sure everyone in your life has the best holiday ever, but the kind of tired like I was jet lagged and just couldn’t catch up on my sleep. And then, there was the overwhelming, painful bloat of my stomach. Not the kind of bloat that happens whenever you sneak and eat chocolates from your kid’s stocking after they go to bed each night and overdid it on alcohol over the holidays, but the painful kind that doesn’t go away for days.
So finally, while my son was in school and my daughter was taking a nap, I decided that it was time to text my husband and tell him what was going on: I thought that I could possibly be pregnant. I had an IUD in for a little more than a year at that point, and I didn’t really feel like things had leveled out with it in my body yet — so there was that. But, it could also be that other thing. The thing that we weren’t planning on.
My husband and I have always been the kind of husband and wife who took pregnancy tests together. I never took one by myself and surprised him — it was always a team effort. So he volunteered to pick one up on his way home from work and said we would take it together that evening. I quickly agreed, relieved, because I honestly couldn’t take anymore putting it off on my end.
I went about the rest of my day, the best way I knew how. I engrossed myself in cleaning, washing the dishes and made sure that everything on my to-do list for work was not only completed, but done with a level of attention that I typically don’t have the ability to give everyday. I quickly realized that I was trying to distract myself from the possibility that I would find out in a few short hours if I would be the mom of three.
Honestly: I was scared sh*tless.
Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion and all of these very raw and real emotions that I had about being a mom and possibly being a mom again, were pushed to the surface.
I didn’t want to be a mom again. Gulp.
It took me a long time after my daughter was born to really embrace my body again, work through all those postpartum feelings and come to a place where I actually felt like myself again. I didn’t want to have to start all over again.
We have two kids: one boy who is 9 and a girl who is 20 months. Our family is complete in our eyes and I can’t imagine adding another child to our crew. But more than that, I think it was about myself. It took me a long time after my daughter was born to really embrace my body again, work through all those postpartum feelings and come to a place where I actually felt like myself again. I didn’t want to have to start all over again.
And beyond that, I was starting to see glimpses of date nights again and more alone time with my husband. It was getting to be time where we started to feel like ourselves as a couple again, separate from being Mom and Dad, and I was really looking forward to that. Yes, I was totally, 100 percent cool with us being a family of four, forever.
I peed on the stick, took a deep breath, closed the cap and waited.
Evening rolled around and I was completely out of it during our walk home and from getting our son from the bus. “Mom, is there something wrong,” he asked me with such conviction, knowing from my responses and the way that I was carrying myself that something just wasn’t right. He was right, I was having a visualization of me having to pick him up from the bus stop in the fall with a double stroller. Yikes.
My husband got home and we crept into the bathroom alone as quickly as possible, neither of us being able to handle the suspense anymore. I had prepared for this moment by chugging a bottle of water and was ready to go — nothing was stopping me from these test results.
I peed on the stick, took a deep breath, closed the cap and waited. I think that the nervousness in the air of our tiny little New York City apartment bathroom could have been cut with a knife, it was so thick. Then we saw it, our test results, starring us back in the face. It was negative.
I cried ugly tears of relief and I knew within that moment that I was done having babies. It was a really big thing to feel and something that I hadn’t yet allowed myself to acknowledge and tap into until that moment, but everything became so extremely crystal clear.