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May 23, 2012

I Don't Want Any More Children

Disclaimer:  I think I've made it pretty clear before, that I strive to want what God wants for me.  However, I'm also human and sometimes I get the urge to say (or write!) something that betrays my human nature and desires.  This is one of those times.

I don't want any more children.

At first, I thought I should write, I don't THINK I want any more children.  But then I knew...that was not true.

Next I thought that perhaps I should write that I don't want any more children...RIGHT NOW.  And that would be more truthful than I don't THINK I want any more children, but it still might not be completely truthful about how I feel.

I don't want any more children.  I don't necessarily want to be all that open to more children.  I've had five and today I think and feel like that's enough for me.  I'm 38 years old, I've been a mother to young children for 11 years now.  

Today I feel like I need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Today I need to know that the need for diapers will end.  Today I need to know that there will come a day when I will take all my children to the amusement park with no stroller and we can all stand in line and ride the same ride at the same time.  I need to know there will come a day when I can head out for a run and leave the kids at home for 30 minutes (all of them).  Or heck, maybe I can bring them all with me and not worry that someone is going to run out in the street unaware of a car coming right at them.

I know, this is some kind of sacrilege, right? I feel like I sound ungrateful. 

It sounds harsh. Honestly, if you read my blog very often, it almost sounds like the blog has been hijacked or something.  Does it not?

But this is how I feel today.  

But today...I hope we're done. 

I'm nervous to write this.  Ever since Craig and I committed to living our marriage in accordance with the teaching of our faith, we have always remained reluctant to put ourselves in the "we're done" category because...what if?  What if we take a chance some cycle down the road and God blesses us with another baby?  What if things get confusing and we don't know what's going on and all of a sudden, we find out another baby is on the way?  What then?  

Well, here's what then...we do what we've always done and we accept that baby and we love that baby and realize that our family wasn't complete until that baby came along.

Today I realize that it is okay if we are done.  We're busy.  We're crazy and loud and we have a lot of fun.  We'll continue to be all of that if our family grows...or it doesn't.

No, I won't abandon NFP and go get anything permanent done and I won't start pumping my body with carcinogenic hormones or buy out the store's supply of barrier contraceptive products.  

Something clicked today and I realize life will be okay - life may even be very good - if we continue to feel called to avoid pregnancy for the long haul.  Surely there will be days like the one last week when it's hard and annoying and unpredictable.  But perhaps there will be many days like today where it's easy to know the course and I am able to start actively looking for that light at the end of the tunnel.


  1. This is a new concept for me too. I have always felt like I could never imagine being done. But last year I acknowledged that I for sure needed a break of some kind, and those moments of feeling "done" happen more and more. What would it be like to sleep through the night again? What would it be like to be able to volunteer and participate in things as a family without having to split up or juggle naptimes and crying babies. What would it be like to really be able to focus on an older child without being interupted by the unavoidable needs of a baby or toddler? I love each and every one of my children, and I am so happy to have them, but I also have started to feel that I do not want any more.

  2. Having started my family "late" I may never relate to this in my own life, however, I love it when Catholic bloggers write honestly about their own journeys. I don't think we're called to feel like we *want* to have children all the way up until our bodies say "no more!" I think it's totally "Catholic" still :) to say, "Hey, we wanted/want a family of X size." And I think it's quite a witness that you are willing to remain open to a new baby (however remote the chance may be due to NFP) even when you sense you're "done."

    And hey, you never know. This could be God's way of preparing your heart to be happy with 5. As an IFer, I can say it's no fun to long for a child that is not meant to be!

  3. That's the beauty of NFP and the church's teaching, right? One month at a time, always leaving room for the Lord to take our families where He wills. You are brave to speak your soul. And you have a beautiful heart :)

  4. New reader here. I thought your post was lovely and honest. Like so many other choices in life, deciding when you are done trying to have more children is a very personal choice. Some families feel done after 2 and some feel done after 10. One of the most important things, I think, is having the time and resources to devote to each child and that will be a different number for each family.

  5. "No I won't abandon NFP and....products." - I think that is the key. You are done. And you may just stay "done" for the remainder of your childbearing years. But, you are following God's will and keeping your marriage open to life and should He place the desire for more children on your heart, you will follow His will.

    I think that's what matters. Not the number, or the ages, or the when, but that you are open to God's will and aware of your own limitations and strengths.

    Beautifully said friend!

  6. This sounds like how I felt when I suddenly relized we were ready for kids - one day/week/month we knew we weren't ready and then the next I was reading a blog and called my husband over, pointing at the screen and said "I want that" (it was a picture of a family with kids) and I knew I was ready.

    I think it's key that Catholics don't push the mentality that every Catholic family is meant to have 10 kids - it's the openness and willingness that is key. It is absolutely possible that God is sending you a message that you've fulfilled your family potential, perhaps there might be a surprise later on, but that doesn't mean he can't be telling you "it's okay not to try anymore".

  7. Michelle, I just love your honesty. Also, I can totally relate. Although I'm single and not a mother, today being the last day of school, I'm done having other-people's-kids for the next two months...and I'm perfectly content with that. LOL :)

  8. I do love this post! And I love how you posted today.

    I'm only on my 2nd kid in after infertility. But there are days where I literally lay on the floor and think what was I thinking doing this again? :) I can't imagine having 5 kids because it's hard.

    But it's going to end. My mothers kids (6) of us are all grown and she still says to me, if only I were able to have had one more baby.....

    But there are days where I just want to run out of the house! Just moments.....Moments where I'm like where the hell did this uncivilized person come from! LOL :) Then she goes to bed. :) LOL


Thank you for reading. I enjoy reading other perspectives, please feel free to share yours. :)