How do you know when you’re done having kids? How do you know your family is complete? This is where I’m at right now, on the cusp of saying ‘I’m done, I’m content.’ I’m blessed to not have this position forced on me for health reasons, I’m able to have more children. Should I? Could I?
The one thing I always knew in life, was that I wanted to be a mum. I never had a strong direction for my career or study, I just knew I wanted to be a mum. I’m sure if someone psycho analysed me, it would have something to do with needing unconditional love, not having my mum around during significant times in my life, and so on.
So at 23, I had my first son. It was an emotional turning point, he lit something inside me and I changed, for the better. Then at 26, my second son arrived. He was just divine. My little family was growing. My heart revolved around my boys.
In my heart I knew I wanted 3 kids, my body and my heart was up for 3 kids.
Then things didn’t go as planned. Divorce, autism diagnosis, I was on my own, with my two little boys. Things were tricky, managing the logistics of being a single parent, the needs of a newly diagnosed autistic 5 year old, while juggling the demands of a 1 year old. As things settled, my thoughts turned to the future. Would there be another man in my life, would I have any more children? If I met the right person, I would totally be open to more children.
Then I met my second husband. He came with two kids of his own. Surely, 4 kids between us, all under 7, was enough? We agreed it was plenty. Life was busy and challenging and full of love.
But I wasn’t done, my heart didn’t have its third baby. I was restless, but my head reminded me constantly that this was ok. My family was ok. It was complete. We had all we could manage. My heart didn’t agree.
Only after losing all custody of one of my husband’s children, we both had a moment of ‘Bugger logistics and practical excuses’ our hearts screamed for a child of OUR own. His AND mine, not his OR mine. A keeper, one we didn’t have to give up on weekends. This wasn’t a case of ‘replacement’, but more a realization of what was important to us; kids, family, following your heart. That’s what was at both of our cores.
So at 34, I had Harry, my third son. He is amazing, he is beautiful and he fills my heart. We almost lost him during birth which makes me cherish his existence even more. Having 8 years between my boys, has also given me the ‘space’ to enjoy him completely, not being distracted by a more-needy toddler. My big boys are some-what independent, so Harry is my hands-on child. It’s a wonderful balance.
Having Harry has reminded me how much I love my kids, having my family. I feel like I could keep having kids till we completed a soccer team. Many people close to me know this, they see it in me, in my adoration of babies and kids in general.
So now I’m being asked ‘ Are you done?’ I’m being told ‘Surely you’re done now, You’ve got 5 kids between you both.’ But I’m not sure.
Some days, I agree, others I want for more. Could we comfortably even afford to provide for any more? The thought of another baby, distracting from my time with Harry… I sound like a mum-of-one, contemplating having a second baby – when as a mum-of-three I know there is plenty of love to go around.
Recently I held a friends new little baby-girl. And while my heart melted at the sight of this little being, my heart didn’t ache for another. Even just after Harry was born and I held my first nephew on the day of his arrival, I thought, yep, I could do this again. But today, 8 months down the track, I think I might actually be done.
So how do you know? How do you know when you’re done, when your content or at peace with your family?
Oh, and did you notice my new ink? A little tattoo, 3 little hearts – one for each of my boys.