Tuesday, 28 July 2015

How Do You Know When Your Family is Complete?


*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Durex.

They're universal parenting questions aren't they?: How do you know when your family is 'complete?'
"Are you finished having kids?"

I am faced with these queries constantly and it is asked by both myself and those who gaze in awe at the size of my family. Being a Mum to six children means you are a kind of 'public property' wherever you venture. Everybody is curious about large family life and most don't hold back asking about it either!

Back before I became a Mum, I was adamant that when the time came to start a family, I would be more than content to have just two children. Ideally I wanted a girl first, followed closely by a boy and then that would be that - Back to the career and whatever joys life held for me down the track.

While I did get my pigeon pair and in the desired order too, this initial plan clearly wasn't to be.

I really adored being a mum of two. Two was a perfect little nuclear family and I was truly bowled sideways when the pangs for a third child began to grow from a barely perceptible passing thought into a fully-fledged mission. Anyone who has ever wanted a child knows just how strongly and deeply those desires are felt - they're all-consuming.

Sadly, our third pregnancy turned out to be ectopic and emergency surgery was undertaken just 12 hours after I discovered that I was pregnant at two months. It was a tremendously disappointing and sad time but it was also a defining moment for me.

Post surgery at the hospital that night, as I gazed upon my two, quietly concerned babies who were visiting me in the ward, in that moment, I felt many things but most of all, I felt cheated.

Was I really destined to be a mum of only two children?

Did I really want only two children?

It suddenly all felt wrong and I mean, wrong at a soul-level.

From that point on I became determined to have more children and quickly I conceived my now 10 year old son just 33 days after my ectopic surgery left me with only one fallopian tube.

 
From my third child onwards, my new desired number of children (whatever that was to be), kept me crazy-busy and with each successive pregnancy I would think to myself "This one has to be the last..."
 
I was always quite certain that each subsequent pregnancy would provide the final addition to our family that I craved and found myself feeling equal parts of frustration, surprise and even embarrassment (while secretly being overjoyed) when that old 'clucky' feeling came creeping back to nip at my soul once more...
 
So how do you know when the door to children has closed for good?
 
For years I asked this same question to both myself and to so many women, especially those that were adamant that they had reached their 'magic' number of children.
 
How did they 'know?'
 
Why hadn't I experienced this feeling?
 
Why the hell was I still going?!
 
It seemed for many to have been a mixture of reasons to 'close shop.' Some sensibly looked at the financial side of things entirely - they didn't want to stretch the family funds too thin. Others were led by external forces such as living too far away from supportive family and friends. Some were stopped by ill-health or just a partner who had decided that enough was enough. There were so many justifiable reasons that either didn't or hadn't yet applied to me.
 
What fascinated me most though, were the many who said they felt finished when their heart said no more.
 
When I became pregnant with my sixth child, for the first time ever, I felt different from the moment she was conceived. I felt this sixth baby was to be my last - and I mean, I properly felt it with a stronger conviction than I had ever experienced and not surprisingly, it has stuck.
 
Finally I too could say what so many women had explained to me over the years:
 
"I am finished."
 
That's not to say that my heart no longer desires babies: I still feel very 'clucky,' but I have accepted that I will probably always feel this way and I am honestly fine with that. When I look at the bigger picture now though, I see the stretched funds, the full house and car, the enormous work load involved in raising my beautiful six and I am finally, completely and utterly content.
 
For me, knowing my family is complete has been a mixture of heartfelt knowing as well as a practical decision.
 
Experiencing this contentment has been my second most defining moment as a mother. That's where I am at right now and I am ready and willing to carry this attitude and my freedom from reproduction into the future, with the family that I already have by my side.
 
Whether you've finished your family or are still on the fence about it, make sure you're protected and that you know how put on a condom! Visit the Durex website to learn more.
 
So how about you, have you finished your family?
Did you 'feel' the moment when you were done having babies too?
What reasons did you choose for completing your baby-making days?
 
Recent posts on Six Little Hearts you may have missed:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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50 comments:

  1. I think you nailed it.. I feel complete and "done" but that's not to say my heart no longer longs for babies. The cluck factor for me is a forever thing, and I am okay with that. I would love another baby. But I don't want another child.

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    1. "I would love another baby. But I don't want another child." Oh my goodness, I think you just answered the question for me! I think this is exactly how I feel!

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    2. Babies grow so quickly, it's a shame we're always too tired to remember every single second of their infancy. I often fantasize that I'd love to rewind time on each of my kids to experience them as babies again just for a week - long enough to appreciate them and not feel the killer exhaustion.

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  2. I am firmly on the fence, with one and half legs on the 'done' side. I sit up there watching as my husband tries desperately to pull me down to the 'done' side because he is well and truly done. The practical, logical part of me is too. Two is a good number, and there are many more things we'll be able to do with just the two, that neither Dave or I did growing up in families with 5 children each. Financially it will be easier, and as my youngest turns two I'm enjoying the freedoms not having a baby brings.

    But at the same time, there is still that little part of my heart that yearns for just one more. I'm hoping that once my first nephew/niece is born (any day now!) I will be able to indulge the baby yearn vicariously through her without having to endure the sleepless nights and cracked nipples too!
    #teamIBOT

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    1. It can be a very hard thing to come to but I am glad I finally experienced the complete so that I no longer have to worry about whether I am done. My heart yearns for that just one more still (it's why I have six) and I will always feel a bit sad that I didn't make it to 8 or 10 which would have been wonderful! But I am happy and happy is good. Hope the new family addition irons things out (either way) for you. x

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  3. Definitely finished now and even if I changed my mind it's too late. I'm too old! I knew our family was complete when I was exhausted, we had two boys and a girl, and the car was full! We had all our children close together. Twin boys first and when they were just over 2, we had our daughter. It was busy and exhausting back then. There were moments when I thought it would be nice to have a baby with older children to help a bit BUT when our kids got to high school and we were paying school fees + the rest of the expenses, I was glad that we stopped at three. :-)

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    1. I know that exhaustion! Oh boy, I feel it every day! I do love the baby with the older children part and I think having a four year gap between my last has been really special. I have been able to concentrate on the baby and I have adored watching my older kids mother their little sister. Expenses are a kill-joy aren't they?!

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  4. I'm so not done. The plan for now is 3 although Trent constantly jokes that I could have my own 19 kids and counting show because I love kids so much so who knows. One day I may even have 6 like you {although I doubt I'll go past 3 if we're even lucky to get to 3}.

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    1. Ah yes the Duggars - I envy the size of large families and feel a little envious when I meet a family with more kids than my own! I would have love 10 quite seriously and I also would have loved twins. Not to be.

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  5. I am finished now and sometimes wonder if we were a little quick at making our minds up. My second was 13 months and I was going through a rough time with my Dad sick with cancer and not coping with my girls. While I get clucky when I see a little bub I know it was the right decision. :)

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    1. I think the wonder factor is common and like you, I still wonder too. But the wonders will have to remain daydreams. You say you 'know you made the right decision' and I think that is what counts in the long run.

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  6. Thank you for sharing this, it was a fascinating read for me. I have four now (inc twins) after being hell-bent on the third child. I should be done now, because that is the rational, sensible opinion, but I crave another baby. But as has been said, there is a difference between having a baby and having a child. It still makes it hard though. My ovaries are so noisy!

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    1. I think too, the more you have, the easier it seems - you get used to the work load, the hand-me-downs (you've already got all the equipment), it's easy to think - why not? Yes, ovaries are hard-wired to keep us yearning it seems. I have met grandmothers who have told me it never goes away!

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  7. This is such a tricky question, and one I go back and forth on... we have two, do we want three? Could we cope with three? What if it was four?!? And back again...
    At the moment 'we're sticking with two, but we'll see what happens!

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    1. Sounds like you might end up with three...or four! (Just saying! :D) I've met so many mums of 2 who juggle this thought for years. Good luck with it either way!

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  8. Wow. Great post, Jody. I loved learning more about you and how your family grew. Look, we have two and a large part of me wants another. I feel like I'm a little too old now and have chronic pain with my sacrum and tailbone, plus a non - existent pelvic floor. I don't know how I'd even carry another one. Anyway, I've made up my mind. No more :/

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    1. Oh I love that you're too old! I have met plenty who thought so! Good on you for listening to your body anyway. I suffer chronic pelvic instability (pelvic pain) from all those pregnancies and it will never go away. Some days it feels so sharp I limp! Very painful. But it was all worth it and I'd do it again in a heart beat because I am crazy like that!

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  9. I think if we had started earlier would have had more, we have 2 girls and they were quite close together, if I had time on my side I may have had a gap and then at least another but we are most definitely done now, still very clucky around babies though

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    1. It is so easy to add to your family as the kids get older isn't it. If my partner were keen, I'd have another again but he's so over it! My eldest is 15 now and I could just continue no problem and I would have a proper babysitter too!

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  10. Someone once told me, you know you are finished when you can ask yourself, will you regret not having another one, and the answer is no.

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    1. Yes, perfect and so true. I asked myself this at the 5 mark. I was content but I still felt like someone was missing to the point that I'd often have a slight panic attack when doing a head count when we would be out somewhere. I'd suddenly say "where's...?" and then realise that there was no 6th child and this was really haunting me! Interestingly, since having my 6th, I stopped doing this altogether.

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  11. I'd love another but it's just not financially viable :( Ah well.

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    1. I know that feeling too. New car, new bed, perhaps a bigger home? It all adds up.

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  12. This was such a fascinating read, and I really enjoyed reading through the thought processes of your 'when am I done?' journey. Sometimes the universe steps in and tells you you're done...and then that decision is taken away from you entirely.

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    1. Thank you and yes, that is also a true reason too.

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  13. I think if we started earlier and we had good sleepers we would of had another. We have 2 happy and healthy boys so we feel very lucky indeed. I do get my clucky moments but my husband reminds me of my last labour growl - I insisted this would be the last (picture Teenwolf growl - Give me a keg of beer! haha)

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    1. So many people stop due to sleep issues, they can be a very real reason for finishing your family. That cluckiness just won't pass!

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  14. It's an interesting question, isn't it? We originally wanted four but have made the decision to stop at three (after deliberating for quite some time about going from two to three). With special needs in the mix we knew we could not operate well with any more kids. I love my three desperately and feel that we are complete - I love my family x

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    1. Totally understand you there on both points. It's hard being a parent but special needs would make things a whole new route. It's great that you feel complete. x

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  15. We have three sons. I'd love another, my husband will take some convincing. Oddly i doubt I'll ever feel 'done'! We'll see what happens.

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    1. Keep working on him! Mine was adamant that he was done after the first - I really nagged! Good luck. :D

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  17. Hi Jodie, I haven't read your blog before - fascinating (I can't imagine having six kids!) We were pretty clear before getting married that we would love two, and no more than two, kids. But after having #2, and once the gloss wore off, I remember looking longingly at littler babies (and dreaming that I was pregnant) - this wore off about a year later, and I realised it was because #2 was quite challenging, and my dream of the perfect last experience of a little baby. By then, she'd started to sleep (and so had we) and her beautiful personality shone through. Meanwhile, my husband always remained a two child person, so that was all good. (Interested that you don't mention your husband / partner in this - was he happy to go with the flow?)

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    1. I love that your desire wore off!
      My partner was happy to end it all at one but agreed two were best. Then of course those hormones kicked in and then there were six. If I were honest, I'd have more but I am happy to stop for the sake of all the reasons I have outlined in this post. It's time to kick-on into a new direction for us - sob, sob! No, rally, I am content. I am glad you are too. Thanks for stopping by too. :)

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  18. I thought I was done, mainly because I hated my marriage (domestic violence) and my children have both needed extra assistance. I even asked for a hysterectomy (dr said no because of my age.) I am also not a fan of the pregnancy or baby stage. I have terrible pregnancies with complications.

    However, I am in a great relationship and my feelings of being 'done' have changed. I never expected to want another child and while I don't want one now, it would not surprise me if we had one together in a few years. It's been discussed, but definitely not yet and it is not a strong need for either of us. He doesn't have any of his own and I know he would like one.

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    1. I am so glad your doctor refused to intervene! This is exactly why I am not into permanent birth control methods. There are so many people out there who do a complete about-face on such a big decision and I personally know so many of them.
      So happy you escaped a violent relationship too and that you are happy with your life now. Good luck to you whichever path you choose. x

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  19. My tap turned on when I was 24 and I always describe it as my tap was turned off after I birthed our second child. Literally, just like that I was finished. I ended up with 2 more kids after my sister passed away and boy that took some getting used to, I cope but I would never say being a mum to four comes naturally to me, but we get by. Glad your tap is turned off and your family is complete. Mel xx #ultimaterabbithole www.melaniegreenhalgh.com

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    1. I like the tap turned off metaphor. That's exactly the comment that used to fascinate me prior to feeling the final switch myself. On the large family front - I don't think anyone could ever get used to so many kids, especially if you gained them suddenly as you did. Bless you!

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  20. I don't think you ever know - we were done. And then we weren't. Sometimes it's as simple as that.

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    1. I can so agree with you on that. I hold out hope that my husband will one day say OK - not that I'd ever ask again seriously. I know he'll never want another!

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  21. I totally feel like I'm done....however hubby doesn't seem so sure...! Ekkk!

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    1. Give it a couple of years! You will be right again to go!

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  22. I didn't feel done and thought of the possibility of a third until I thought I was pregnant again recently. We now know we are definitely done. :)

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    1. LOL! Now there's the ultimate test of your thinking!

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  23. I was lucky to experience that 'done' feeling and just 'know' that we were complete. Many don't get that opportunity. Often nature takes the reins and tells us we are done before our heart really feels ready. x

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    1. Indeed we were lucky to feel that. I know so many who had that decision robbed from them. x

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  24. This is such a beautiful and honest post. I don't feel done as yet but I might have to get a move on as 40 approaches. My SIL is expecting and I am so clucky!

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    1. Good on you Kaz! I will always encourage everyone to go again if they have that feeling. Definitely worth it. x

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  25. اعمال شركة تنظيف بالرياض متميزة داخل المنطقة التي تعمل بها لانها تعمل علي تقديم كل ما هو جديد في عالم النظافة لتقديم خدمة متميزة للعميل فتعامل مع شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض ستلاقي فريق من العمال لدك مختصين في اعمال نظافة الفلل وهذا يحدث ايضا مع شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض
    والتي تعمل علي نظافة الخزانات وتعقيها للقضاء علي الاوساخ والبكتريا الصغيرة التي توجد بها معكم ايضا شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض التي تعمل علي الصيانة والتنظيف بواسطة اثنين من الفنين المختصين في مجال المسابح واليك خدمة اساسية تلبي لك العيش في بيئة خالية من الحشرات الصغيرة من خلال قسم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض الذي يعمل علي القضاء علي جميع الحشرات المنزلية كما يوجد قسم اخر في مجال مكافحة الحشرات وهو شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض التي تقدم خدمة الوقاية والقضاء علي هذه الافات بواسطة مبيدات طبيعية

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