Kids Are Weird, But So Am I
We're Home! Now I Need A Vacation.

On No More Babies

It recently occurred to me — me, Queen of the Obvious, every bit as whipsmart as your average bowl of oatmeal — that I don't have any babies in my house. Nor do I have any imminently incoming babies.

Ike will turn three on June 1st, just some 50-odd days from now. When Noah turned three, he was barely two weeks away from becoming a big brother. When Ezra turned three, he'd already been a big brother for over four months. There was always another pregnancy, another baby, to ease the transition of baby to toddler to boy. 

Despite Ike's insistance that we all still call him Baby Ike, he's all little boy now. His personality has exploded — all of a sudden he went from being a cute little mimicking thing to being himself. He has opinions and observations. He makes jokes and plays games. He's crazy for superheroes — he's firmly Team Marvel, by the way, so please purchase his underwear accordingly —and his favorite color is not just blue, but DARK blue. He sings and he dances, he thinks Happy Meals are the basically the greatest thing ever (whoops, my bad), and he never stops talking. Despite being wonderfully independent ("Do it myself! I do it myself!"), he's still a delicious, reliable cuddler who wants to held and hugged and kissed. 

But he's definitely not a baby. 

Despite "knowing" that Ike would most likely be our last baby, I tried to not think about him like that. I was afraid it would make me sad, or just kind of crazy, to always have "this is the last time I'll ever [feel a baby kicking from inside/nurse/co-sleep/whatever]" thought in the back of my mind. I turned down my OB's repeated offers to tie my tubes during my c-section. For every bag of baby clothes and pile of gear I gave away, I kept a few items that I just couldn't bear to part with. I'd happily load hand-me-downs into people's cars and then have to shake off a feeling of mild panic as they drove away with our infant tub and exersaucer. Come back, baby! Come back!

So when it recently occurred to me — me, Founding Member of the Braintrust of DUH — that I don't currently have any babies, and that the transition happened without a pregnancy or promise of future babies, it surprised me to realize that I am okay with that. I am happy with that. I couldn't imagine being pregnant right now, or contemplating getting pregnant. Because I don't want any more babies.

Boom! There it was. The mythical unicorn feeling of completeness, the one I heard people describe but secretly worried I'd never have. 

I'm just...really enjoying my children these days — not to imply that I didn't before, but as much as I truly loved the baby experience, I love having these three particular people around, who still need me very much, but not in the grinding, eat/sleep/poop/rinse/repeat type of care they used to require.

I used to worry that I had it all backwards — I was a weirdo who LOVED and even EXCELLED at the drudgery of the newborn days, but whose mothering skills weren't nearly as solid and capable when it came to older children. You know, when it started to really count. I worried that I had more patience for a screaming infant with a diaper blowout than I did for a whining preschooler with his pajamas stuck on his head. I worried I wasn't the kind of long-term mom I wanted to be, because I didn't know what to say when someone asked — right before bedtime — about whether kids ever die of diseases or if the sun will ever blow up and destroy the earth.

Um. Can I swaddle you? How about if I just turn on this white noise machine and come back in five minutes? 

I'm not perfect, but I can't deny that when I look around the dinner table at my three wonderful boys, I realize I'm not doing all that badly. These kids are...great. They're happy and funny and unafraid to be who they are, to be both weird and awesome. They get angry at me and I get annoyed with them and I raise my voice too much but then we apologize and move on and the next thing I know they're screaming GROUP HUG and piling on top of me on the couch. 


The other morning, on the way to the bus stop, I gave Noah a little pep talk for the day. Despite so many things being so much better these days, he keeps saying he doesn't like school, so I asked him to name all the things he'd do that day that he DOES like. Not surprisingly, he named pretty much every single aspect of school. Math and science and reading centers and art and music and his teachers and his friends and recess and computers and etc. I pointed out that he sure did sound like a kid who likes school. 

"Yeah," he admitted.

Right before the bus arrived, Noah pulled me aside. He looked very serious, and spoke in a whisper. "Do you know the real reason I say I don't like school?"

I braced myself. Oh God. What? Why? Please don't be anything awful.

"It's just because I miss you and Dad so much while I'm there."

I died. A little. Right there. I told Noah that I missed him during the day too, and that seeing him get off the bus was one of my favorite parts of the day. 

"What are your other favorites?"

"Well, picking Ezra and Ike up from school. When Dad comes home, and we're all together again."

(I meant that, too.) 

He hugged me and snuck me a kiss, then boarded the bus with a big smile on his face while I fought back some strangling emotional-type noises in my throat. 

That same morning, on the way to the preschool drop-offs, Ezra casually told me he was going to draw me a special heart picture that day, "Because I'm so in love with you, Mom. And you're in love with me! Yeah, we're in love together!"

Again, with the throat noises. 

And Ike? Well, I got a quick "BYE MOM!" from him, as he excitedly ran to his classroom door without me, without a look back. Through the windows, I saw him make a beeline to check on a cup of grass seeds he planted last week. When I picked him at lunchtime, though, he shrieked with joy and barreled in for a bear hug, like he does everyday.

And then he pulled away and looked at me hopefully. "McDonald's food? Can we get McDonald's food?"


I don't want any more babies. I got the three best ones already. 



Exactly how I feel about my two girls. Very very nicely put.


My kids are currently 9 and 7. I firmly believe I am in the sweet spot of parenting.


OMG you're killing me over here. My eyes are leaking! (I'm supposed to be working!) My kids are teens now, but when they were younger we would do the "high & low of the day" at dinner. (everyone takes a turn saying their high point & low point of the day) They would always say, "Mommmmm, you can't say the best part of every day is when you pick us up after work!" but it truly was, everyday. =)


Great post ! After 3.5 years of feeling incomplete / not done/ separation anxiety for loaned out baby gear with two small kids at home, I thought I could convince myself that two kids was enough. Then surprise! Pregnant! And for the past 6 months I have finally felt peaceful, not scared of the prospect of three kids, and knowing that this will probably be the last one, and that's okay.


Another one in the sweet spot over here!
9, almost 8, and 6. Independent yet still in need of hugs from Mommy :)


anytime anyone asks me if we're going to have another, my instant reaction is to laugh and ask "why?" in the most non sarcastic, baffled way. there is just no need. we are perfectly happy. :)


That made me cry. I sometimes feel the tug of having one more (we have two beautiful girls), but then I remind myself that my girls are amazing,they're everything I could want.

Thank you for this beautiful piece.


I needed this today. Thank you.


Excuse me while I deal with my own throat noises.

I've got two and my youngest will turn two in 20 days and I think we're done...but don't FEEL done. So yeah...I hope to get to where you are someday.


Please think about the pregnant ladies. You're killing me, that was so sweet.

Jessica V.

Eyes...leaking...dammit! This is such a sweet post Amy. Thank you for sharing. Last night as I was stuck in the middle of a boy sandwich on the couch (both smashed up against me as tightly as they could) I tried to burn the moment into my brain. There is so little time for it these days, it seems - but the dishes, laundry, etc. will all be there when they go to bed or get up and get distracted by something shiny. And I need to remember that more often.

Heather (Laptops to Lullabies)

Loved this post! I wrote something similar, recently, about feeling like we're done having babies and how it sort of takes time to embrace it.


My third is just seven months old, but I have definitely hit the I'm happy with the kids I got phase of my life. You said it perfectly. Loved this post!


I just died right there with you.


I feel the same way right now. I've got a 5 year old and a will be 3 year old (on June 23rd) and I am LOVING them at this age. I loved my babies but I'm really really loving having kids who talk and tell stories and let me in there crazy little minds. If we ended up pregnant again I'd love the new guy, but I am not interested in going through that again on purpose. I'm surprisingly okay with giving all the baby stuff away. But I'm not actually giving it away because my husband is not in the same place and really wants a third... So know what?


*now what?


Hang on, I'll comment in a minute, it's just, I've got something in my eye...




I am crying. Because fucking DMS (during menstrual syndrome) and I'm gonna get all uncharacteristically (I totally sounded that out as I typed) sentimental on you. I still want another. I think I always will. But for me, it's not so much the missing the babyness. It's the feeling that I did so much shit wrong that I want the chance to use what I know now, after three babies, on another, CORRECTLY. I know each baby is different and a fourth might be the opposite of everything the others were but still. That's my reality. I want my I Got This, Bitches baby.


As usual, beautifully written and very moving. I think your boys are great, too!
Someone mentioned being in the "sweet spot" of parenting and I have to say I have thought that at EVERY stage. Every year, I think, this is the BEST, most fun age for the kids. And my kids are now both older teens (16 & 19), so that's saying something. I'm enjoying the teen years more than I ever thought possible--they're funny and interesting and yes, mouthy sometimes, but they have their own opinions and sometimes those opinions are even well-thought-out. Basically, we love our kids and think they're great. And that's how families should be.


I have a four year old and a 19 month old, and they're a handful. I don't want a baby right now, I can't imagine being pregnant now. I can't imagine how we could possibly AFFORD another kid. We don't have room for another kid - we have 3 bedrooms and they are just too small to share. My husband says we're done. And yet. I don't want to take the possibility of another off the table. I don't want another kid, but I don't want to be done being pregnant. This post scares me a little, because it makes me think that, at some point, all this insanity of an active toddler will fade in my memory and we'll think it's a good idea to add one more.


I think we will be a one-n-done family, and I maybe made some strangling emotional-type noises of my own while reading this. I sometimes get a little wistful for another baby, but I am so head-over-heals in love with my kid, with her independence, her quit wit, her general awesomeness (and ability to wipe her own butt), I can't imagine going back to a baby.


With #4 and our last just 8 weeks away I have been so worried about the feelings of this is the last time and reading this has helped so much. It's so nice to know that in a couple years I might be ok with the idea of not having anymore babies around.


I am not crying. There's a lot of dust in here. Gonna have to fire the maid again.


you need a disclaimer with these kinds of posts. here I am 36 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I am bawling at work at my desk. Seriously though, loved this.


i needed this type of post today. Thank you.


Best post!!! So good. It makes me so happy, and yeah I got some of those throat noise things going on too.


I love this. Truly amazing mama.


Read this as "Oh no! More babies!" at first.


All choked up. Lovely post.


Annnnd I'm bawling over here. I'm going to blame it on the Clomid I just started. Yeah, that's it. Stupid hormones. *sniff*


I have a five year old and a two year old and no plans for any more. I thought I might be upset every time we took another step away from having a baby, but there has been nary a year. Every step feels exciting and makes me really happy.


Oh, Noah. Buy that boy a pony. Or maybe some more Lego. Sweet boy.




Awwww this is so sweet! I already feel done - okay, let's say complete - with my two boys who are 2 and 4. I do kind of look forward to when they are a LITTLE older but I try not to wish the crazy toddler/preschooler days away... too often....


Excuse me, I seem to have a cinder in my eye.


So, so, so awesome. Your children are so great.
Thanks for sharing little awesome moments with us.


I'm tearing up before I've finished my coffee. (not allowed dammit).
Your boys are the sweetest. As someone in her mid-30's without a babaaaay yet - well, it's pretty easy to get the waterworks flowing.


I feel the same way about my three boys. I'd love to start over and do it all again, but only if I got to do it again with them! Love your blog, I look forward to it every day.


"I used to worry that I had it all backwards — I was a weirdo who LOVED and even EXCELLED at the drudgery of the newborn days, but whose mothering skills weren't nearly as solid and capable when it came to older children." <---this is me right there, which works right now with a toddler and another on the way. Babies are easy, Parenting scares bejeesus out of me. Although I do find myself getting a little more comfortable with it everyday. It's so nice to hear about the wonderful years we have ahead, and I can't wait to see the people my babies become.


OK, crying now.

(As I snuggle my sleeping thirteen-month-old and let Timmy Time babysit my three-year-old.)


I'm not religious, but your post made me think of this:
"It’s simply the Ache of time passing, because this is what time does, and our souls are noticing the passing of a season, and it’s okay. It’s okay to let it Ache. It means we’re living and it means we’re loving our life as it stands, loving it enough to notice a transition away."


Amy, what are you doing to me on this nice Friday afternoon? Why must you give me all these feelings?

Such love. Sigh. Seriously, thank you for sharing.


Also with the leaking eyes at work here...

I think I knew when I was pregnant with my 2nd that that would be enough - I simply cannot imagine surviving more than two children, and we are content - so much so that DH has FINALLY scheduled the BIG SNIP, and I'm cool with it.

I do feel, though, that I have a brain full of baby-related information that MUST.BE.SHARED with the world; so sorry to my pg and new-mom friends who get long, unsolicited FB messages from me about the pros and cons of Dr. Brown's vs. Born Free bottles, etc. Too bad I don't have a wildly popular advice column to share it all with the world (though considering a lot of my information came from you, it would be pretty derivative!).


I know this is a deeply personal topic, so thank you for sharing. I have a 3yo and a 5 month old... And I don't feel done. I can see us having one more. But I'm worried (like you mentioned your fear) that I won't ever feel done. That I'll secretly want more babies forever. Thank you for giving me hope that one day I'll feel satisfied.


So ditto to all of the above comments, for sure.

But can I also tell you how good it makes me feel to know that you occasionally take your kids out for McDonald's? I feel Iike I'm generally all Whole Foods, healthy meals with the occasional treat, eat as a family, etc. But my kids also love the occasional McDonald's (and definitely Chipotle) and I try not to have too much mom guilt about it when we do!


So good. Noah's confession is killing me, too. Congratulations on getting 3 such perfect kiddos.


I had a 3 year old boy and a 1 year old boy when I got (surprise!) pregnant with twin girls. My whole pregnancy I felt robbed (robbed!) of the chance to do it all again, because while we probably eventually wanted 4 I loved finding out I was pregnant/being pregnant/having a baby and I knew with 2 on the way that would probably never happen again. So for a long time we debated having 5. Until the girls got here, and now I am DONE. Donedonedone. Handing out baby stuff left and right, and enjoying every "last" knowing there are only a few months left of each phase. My husband finally got there too (thank God because no way in hell I was going through another pregnancy) and now we are so so happy just to watch our family grow instead of growing our family.
The girls turn 1 in 2 weeks and I am so at peace knowing they are my last babies and looking forward to the fun of watching them grow up and become more independent.
And I say all of that having totally been one of those who was sure I would never have that "done" feeling. Oh yeah. I have it and I can't imagine ever wanting to be pregnant again. So weird how quickly things like that can change.


My 4yo had her tonsils out this week, and I she lay there coming out of the anesthesia, I thought, "That's it, we are a tonsil-free family!" I love this stage of out lives, love that everyone is out of diapers and we're getting ready to move past the toddler utensils (although, geez, my kids fight that one.) They're both still cuddly, but they're so much more themselves these days. And they generally let me sleep, which is nice.

eliza kinkz

This really gives me so much hope as I'm moving into the toddler years...cause seriously..white noise machine! What will I do without you one day?


I love this. Everyone has their own personal feelings on how many is enough. Just want to say I was fine with one, and then he turned 9 and I 36 and all of a sudden I was hit with 'what if'. 'What if we don't try again?' (We had a stillbirth when my son was one). I had the greatest kid in the world and thought I was done. Flash forward--I now have the two greatest kids in the world. My daughter is now 17 and was meant to be. After an extremely high-risk pregnancy she arrived happy and healthy. Point? Never say never, I guess. Leave your options open, maybe? I would have said I would be the last person in the world to have kids 10 years apart, and yet here I am; and I would do it all again in a flash second.


I love this. I have 3 kids, and my youngest is 19 months. I am definitely done with babies, but life is so crazy right now. I am hoping that someday I will be in a sweet spot of parenting! But I am so looking forward to this next phase!


Your family is so beautiful that I kind of regret you aren't planning a fourth.

I totally get it, though. Have you ever read the Anne series by L.M. Montgomery? In one of the later books, she is watching her six children (!) sleep, and thinks "What a family!" I imagine that's what it is like when you feel your family is complete.


Oh, you covered that delicious transition my boy is undergoing very well with the humor and love and hugs and all of if we could just get pregnant with the next one.

Dawn Meyer

Loved this post. I have 3 boys myself and this was perfect.


I haven't been by in a couple months and this is the first post I've read upon my return. I about started sobbing right here in my new "office." <3

Suzy Q

Oh, my heart.

Lynda M Otvos

...and eventually may come grandbabies.

In the meanwhile I nanny little ones whose grandparents are far away and yet whose needs are very close and real. It's working to keep me blessed with sloppy kisses and more drawings of "us" than my fridge and freezer doors will hold. Love surrounds, we only have to pluck it with gentle hands. Thanks for reminding me of the wonderfulness I have been given.


Man, you have such a wonderful family...*tears in eyes*

jill (mrschaos)

And then my heart exploded. Ooph.


I'm in the exact opposite phase of life right now---2 weeks after my daughter was born, I wanted to start talking with my husband about when we were going to have another baby! She is 4 months now and is love to be pregnant again....pretty sure this is Oxytocin talking, NOT wisdom. But when we have a brood I hope to have one that is loving and fits together like yours. Thanks for sharing the sweet stories :)


Aaaaand once again I am crying at work...just cam back from maternity leave (my Little Man just turned 14 weeks)...and I'm ready to start trying for another. After that, I think we are done.

Mrs. Flinger

I get this. I had the same feeling, I still have that same feeling, every so often. It changes when your tiny one is in first grade and you think, "HOLYSHIT FIRST GRADE?!" and then I am hit with that completeness BOOM that I had when he was in the house and i was so, totally, knowingly, done. We had our kids And to this day, they are the best possible people I am happy to know. I get it. I just love reading you describe it, too. xo

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