My husband is the oldest of seven children. If it were up to him, we would drive a yellow school bus filled with our babies, my husband at the helm (and I thought my mini-van was bad). My husband loves babies, absolutely adores toddlers, and somehow is every child's favorite from the first time they meet.
It felt like we would leave the hospital with one of our newborns in tow, and my husband would turn to my bruised, battered self and say, "We are doing this again, right?" At times, I wanted to chuck hospital equipment at him when he said this- as if I hadn't just pushed a watermelon out of me? And this man was already planning the next go-around?
I never really knew how large I wanted my family to be. There was something about my last pregnancy that made me feel absolutely content in the fact that this was my last baby. I don't know if it was the terrible morning sickness that lasted well into the second trimester, or the all-consuming insomnia that kept me up at night. Maybe it was gaining 70 pounds? It could have even been the fact that I was pregnant with my fourth child in five years.
But if I am honest with myself, I really knew because I felt very peaceful whenever I thought about giving birth to this baby. I felt a lot of clarity and joy, despite the sickness, setbacks, and hefty weight I was now carrying. I remember holding a friend's newborn, and while I wanted to hold my own, that wave of baby hunger never really hit as it once had. Holding that newborn no longer came with an insatiable desire to have my own baby any faster.
I also knew because my body was tired and my mind was so far gone to pregnancy brain that I didn't think I could mentally handle another.
And sometimes, it's like that. Some might call my reasons for being done selfish. It certainly took my husband some convincing that we were done - we were so close to a passenger van, too. The beauty in knowing that we are done having children is that I've gotten to enjoy this baby phase more. I've snuggled tighter. Breastfed longer. Smelled baby freshness with the understanding that it would be done soon - and all the while not feeling too sad about that.
Knowing that we are done having kids and are about to enter into a new season of life has given me appreciation for the hard things my body has done, and excitement for what is yet to come. It's made me antsy to see who these little humans are growing up to be, knowing that I can give them so much more of my time and attention because I'm no longer laid out on the couch with debilitating morning sickness.
So while others might hear my reasons and think I am selfish, or denying my partner the large family he's always wanted, I feel peace in knowing that my daughter has wrapped a perfect bow around our family. There is no aching for another, no wondering if there's one more. We feel complete and whole, even without a school bus of children.