I’m ready. I’m putting it in writing. Lucas is 4-and-a-half years old. We have just the right amount of bedrooms. He’s one year away from kindergarten and long out of diapers. It’s time to make the announcement to friends and family:
We’re all done having kids.
Can we start a Facebook movement, like the ALS challenge, but for people who have stepped off the baby-making automatic sidewalk, and for some reason the world doesn’t seem to understand why? It’ll be called “Stop asking me when I’m having another,” or “I’d rather not talk about my multiple miscarriages whilst having small talk” or “I don’t have to explain why I’m not having a second child, but if you need a damn narrative, here goes…”
The thought of retiring the old uterus has been brewing in my mind over the last year, but I stubbornly hung on to baby clothes, swings, breast pumps, bouncy chairs, and bottles on the off chance I might change my mind. Alex asked me if I wanted a more permanent birth control solution, and I initially balked at the idea. We’re only 30-murmur-murmur-something! Isn’t it a little early to be thinking about that?
Then I realized…hey. We’re 30-murmur-murmur-something years old. If we have another kid now, we’ll be 50-murmur-murmur-something years old before he goes off to college, and considering we’re Italian and Mexican, he probably won’t move out until we’re 70.
As I unpack my house and go through the old baby stuff, I’m not so much struck with nostalgia for the baby years, but with great relief that all this gear is gathering dust and I don’t have to think about it anymore. I’ve slowly started pawning it off on my sister-in-laws, whose kids are still babies. Here! Take this crib mattress! How about all these half-chewed cloth baby books? Take em! You need the swing? I’m not using it!
I send the stuff on its merry way, dust off my hands, and breathe a great, happy sigh. It’s as satisfying as kissing those size 2 jeans that you’ve been hanging onto on the long odds that you return to your high school weight goodbye. Goodbye, size 2 jeans! Goodbye, infant carseat! Mama’s having a reality check.
This is not to say I don’t have moments where I think about having a second child. Sometimes, I’ll spend an hour browsing through baby photos and videos of Lucas and my heart starts to hurt and my uterus starts to glow and I think, well maybe…
Sometimes I take a big whiff of my brand-new nephew’s baby head, and my ovaries start to doing a little “you know you wanna” dance. But then everything else in my body and heart and head kicks in to remind me that I can’t succumb to the baby crack. That’s all smoke and mirrors. The reality is, our family is complete.
What works for my family doesn’t have to work for other families. If you have two kids and you can’t imagine life without a sibling for your child, then I get that. I applaud that.
That doesn’t have to be my life, though.
I have one child because it works for us. We’re happy with the way our family turned out. Nothing is missing.
Is this what we planned? No. No, it’s not. But if life has taught me anything, it’s that hardly anything ever turns out according to plan.
Which is why I’ll probably get pregnant immediately after posting this.