I’ve just popped out my third child and the most common question from people during those nine months was, “so, are you guys done now?”
Seriously. This was the most common question.
Not “how are you?” or even “when are you due?” took the proverbial question cake. More people care about how I plan to populate the planet more so than my own personal well-being, or even my favorite color.
I get it.
It’s a curious point to consider, and everyone has their own opinion. I’ve even caught myself asking the same of some family members friends. But just stop and think about it— it’s actually an incredibly impersonal question. The bottom line is that whether you’re next of kin or a stranger off the street, knowing how many kids anyone wants to bear is really none of your business.
But there are other reasons why I don’t feel the need to spill our family’s reproductive goals. So let me clear the air and share what’s behind our baby count.
This is how I would like to respond to this question (and not just because I am hormonally charged):
Pregnancies can’t (really) be planned.
In case you didn’t know, you can try to plan a pregnancy, but life doesn’t work like that. Surprises happen. Sometimes you get pregnant, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes your body sustains the pregnancy, and sometimes it can’t. No matter how far your pregnancy progresses, sometimes, your baby doesn’t come home from the hospital. We’ve suffered through the pain of a miscarriage. We’ve weathered through the birth of a premature child. I’m done planning motherhood and now, I am too busy living it.
My pregnancies haven’t always been blissful.
One might assume when inquiring about future babies that conception and pregnancy wasn’t complicated for them. Actually, for most women, it is. Personally, I don’t have smooth pregnancies. I arranged my third cesarean, but not by choice. I am grateful for the opportunity to conceive and carry multiple children in this lifetime. However, morning sickness, heartburn, swollen limbs, intense pain, and unpredictable prenatal appointments aren’t the picture we always paint of pregnancy, but that’s my reality. I’m not committed to closing the door to future pregnancies, but I’m not waiting by the window either.
I don’t know if my body (or mind) can take it.
I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding for the past five years. Really. Five years. I love being a mother but am still learning my own mental and physical limits. The only one who can truly determine if I am ready to take on another member of the pack is God. So if you’re really interested in finding out how many more bambinos are in my cards, take it up with Him.
Numbers shouldn’t matter (to you).
When I do share how many kids we have, more often than not, there is a wisecrack that follows;“Three?! Oh you’re gonna be BUSY!” Remember, there is no magical number to having children. Whether you have one or nine, it’s a tough adventure. Childrearing is not a competition, nor is it a checklist. Please hold the judgement and simply be supportive.
I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow, let alone nine months from now.
If you were to peek open my planner, you’d see that it’s been pirated by toddler scribbles and jumbled by last minute alterations. Welcome to my life. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, and quite frankly, I’m okay with that. There is tremendous freedom in relinquishing the obsessive control of planning out a life that has no intention of sticking to your schedule. So no, I’m not investing any more energy into dreaming about when/if/how many more babies are on the way!
So instead of asking me if we’re done, ask me about me. Ask me how I’m feeling or what book I’m trying to read in my not-so-free time. But please, don’t ask me if we’re done having kids. Let it go. Let me just work on taking care of the current pack. When (and if) there are more mini-me’s on the way, I’ll let you know when the time is right.