One of the harder decisions we’ve had to make as a couple is whether or not we were done having kids. Since I was young, I was convinced I would have four. I had come from a Catholic family of three. Whenever we ended up in the balcony of the church, I would count the kids per family in each pew. It seemed four was about average. I loved babysitting and loved the boisterousness of families with more children. Stopping at two kids didn’t seem like an option.
Then real life happened.
And when I say “real life happened,” I mean our timeline of life events unfolded at a very expedited rate. We met, were engaged six months later, booked our wedding venue for one year from the date, bought my dress, and then, BAM! We were pregnant. Then, six months after having our first and one year after we were married, we were expecting again. Parenting two under two has an unbelievable way of making you take a step back and reprioritize.
My plans to have a large family seemed really unrealistic. By the time I had my second child, I had spent over 70% of my marriage pregnant.
It wasn’t until three years after our second that we could finally make a decision to have our third and final child. The entire process: weighing of finances, family dynamics, and resources got me thinking about how each family’s decision-making process is so unique. As such, I took to my facebook to ask friends, family, and other bloggers to shed light on how they knew they were done having kids or why they remain undecided.
How Parents Knew They Were Done Having Kids
Done Having Kids: One and Done
I knew that we were ‘one and done’ almost immediately. My pregnancy consisted of five months of bedrest and 72 hours of labour. Following delivery, I had postpartum psychosis. All of those were signs enough for me! Though I always thought I would have several kids, it just wasn’t in the cards. I’ve learned to be at peace with the amazing little guy we have. – Tiffany Austin, Good Enuf Mommy
I always thought I wanted three. However, most days, I feel overwhelmed with one. And, as a result, I worry I couldn’t handle more. Still, I’m left with a gut feeling that [my daughter] needs a sibling. It’s something I struggle with almost daily. I’m not sure if I’ll ever have the courage to “try” again because I hate pregnancy and had a scary delivery. So I’ve prayed to God that if I’m meant to have a second, let it happen. And if not, it’s okay. I’ll then know I was just meant for one. – Sue Parke, SueParke.com
It all comes down to lifestyle for me. My hubby and I love to travel and dine out. Both of us love our jobs (well as much as one can love work). So, having more than one kid would totally put a strain on those things. It’s not hard coming up with the cash to travel with one, but two, three?! That almost make travelling multiple times a year impossible without winning the lotto! We know we can afford to do the things we love with only one kid. Some people think it’s selfish, but I don’t want to put my life on pause to do the things I love. We can experience all of those things now with our daughter 🙂 We were a one and done family. – CourtneyLynne, The Trophy WifeStyle
We have one child. My daughter is from a previous relationship. We talked about having “our own” baby but by that time, [my daughter] was 6-years-old. We thought the gap would be too big. A few years later, when my sister had her first baby, I got a bit of baby fever. We then revisited the topic. [Our daughter] was 8-years-old. We realised that we simply didn’t want to give up our time and relative independence. Also, we both felt lucky to have such an awesome daughter and didn’t feel we needed another. – Margie, mom of one
Done Having Kids: Two and Through
We have two. When we went on our first trip as a family of four, we knew we were done having kids. It was “easy.” Flight and accommodation costs were manageable. Adding another body would have been more costly. Travel is important to us. With two kids, we are still able to do what we love. Also, activities and daycare are so expensive that the thought of paying for another child would mean limiting what [our existing two] could each do.
In addition, our kids are four years apart. We found that we really started over once [our second] was born. I couldn’t imagine doing that again. We know we would love another child, but we already feel spread too thin. I know I wouldn’t have the patience to share more of myself with another human being. And that’s not fair – to them or me. I value my sanity and the relationship with my husband. For us, adding more chaos wasn’t worth it. Also, we have two girls. I don’t have a sister. Potentially adding a boy in the mix was daunting to me (to us really). We may have considered a third if we’d had one of each, but for the above reasons, it’s unlikely. – Allison, mom of two
Wife died and I figured it would be a bit of a challenge doing it by myself. Then, I got my life back and could not remember why I had any to begin with. 😉 – Kyle, dad of two
I always thought I’d want a lot of kids. Now that we have just two, I feel like I wouldn’t be able to give them enough of me if we had more. I love being able to do so much with them. I feel like in having more, I’d be leaving someone out. And with sports and dance classes in the future, I look forward to being there for all of it. If I had more I might miss something.
Also, my son has autism. And, as a result, he demands a lot of our attention. Our schedule is so busy with him. I like knowing I have the time I need to support him. With another baby in tow, I don’t know if I could manage it all. I definitely love babies. And, I have days where I think it’s a great idea, but I know only two is what a can handle. – Alyssa, mom of two
We’re two and through. Our children are so beautiful and perfect. We just feel blessed. Plus, our ages and finances aren’t really conducive to a third child. Although I’m sometimes tempted when I see a little baby! I think reaching 40 was a milestone. Our family is complete 🙂 – Meredith, Mommy A to Z
We have two that are 6 years apart. Still, I honestly have never had that “done” feeling. Logically, everything tells me we should be (finances and age). But, it’s hard when those are the reasons to make you feel “done.” – Nicole, mom of two
We figured one kid per adult and obviously there’s two adults so two kids. I was going to have my tubes tied but it turned into an emergency hysterectomy during delivery so kind of bonus for me! – Christy, The Choosy Mom
I knew we were done after surviving the two under two stage. We thought we would be one-and-done after having our son. Then, our daughter surprised us! Having little ones close in age is a lot of work and a ton of fun at the same time. But now that they are both walking, talking, sleeping through the night, and (pretty much) potty trained, I think we’re pretty content with what we have. I secretly daydream about having a third from time to time, but to be honest, I am terribly afraid of another bout of postpartum depression — which by the way, is pretty wicked. I have considered adoption or foster children when mine are a little older, though. – Erika, My Life with Littles
After having a girl and a boy, my husband felt done. I wasn’t sure. We decided to wait for a year before making any big decisions. We took some family pictures one day and when I looked at the picture later of the four of us smiling together this overwhelming feeling rushed over me like a tidal wave. My family is complete. I was surprised I hadn’t realised it sooner. It was so obvious! When I gave away the tiny baby clothes and enjoyed the new feeling of peace. It’s been six years and I still feel sure about being done. That moment was very important for my inner self and I feel blessed to have two awesome kids. Yay to all of us who have had the chance to go through the journey of motherhood with all its twists and turns!
When I gave away the tiny baby clothes, I enjoyed the new feeling of peace. It’s been six years and I still feel sure about being done. That moment was very important for my inner self and I feel blessed to have two awesome kids. Yay to all of us who have had the chance to go through the journey of motherhood with all its twists and turns! – Jana, How to Run a Home Daycare
I have two little girls. I’d love another baby (babies are easy) but I’m totally done with toddlers and preschoolers. Considering you can’t have one without the other we won’t be having any more. If we had started younger, I probably would have had a third. But my age and energy level is quickly going downhill. Being a mom is hard work, especially when they are young. I have a new appreciation of my mother, grandmothers and aunts. Cheers to all the moms out there, you rock ladies!!! – Melissa, mom of two
We planned on having three. But our second did not sleep through the night for almost three years – and that was it! [My wife] and I were so sleep deprived that we both thought – “Two is enough!” – Dave, dad of two
Done Having Kids: Third and Final
Ever since I was little, I wanted three kids. When I started trying to have kids, I had several miscarriages. At that time, I didn’t even know if I could have a baby so three seemed impossible.
I took Clomid and had my first two. Having a girl and boy was great but I always still set on three. I told myself that, if God wanted me to have three, I’d get pregnant on my own and gave myself a timeline of the end of the year. That time came and went and I thought I was done. However, God taught me patience. Come mid-January of the next year, I was pregnant with my 3rd. It was by far my toughest pregnancy. I was on bedrest. And, it ended with pre-term labour.
After my third, I instantly had that sense of completion. Never have I ever regretted not having more and I have never had that “itch” for more after that. – Phyllis, Verified Mom
I thought I was done after two busy boys. They needed lots of attention. The craziness in every day was what helped me come to that conclusion. But then, we were blessed with a third beautiful surprise and knew it was meant to be. After that, I knew it was time to get my tubes tied ! – Ana, Mommy’s Bundle
I thought we were done after two, but I always had that lingering desire for one more baby in the back of my mind as much as I tried to convince myself otherwise. Getting pregnant the third time was a bit of a surprise but as soon as he was here I knew he was meant to be and completed our family. I have no thoughts about wanting any more kids this time, I am secure and at peace that our family is complete. – Christie, mom of three
I think you know you are done when you are just too tired physically and emotionally to add anything more to do in your life. Especially if your partner works long hours in their career and isn’t home to help you as much as you need them to. I believe everyone knows what they can and can’t handle emotionally and financially. But I also believe things happen for a reason and sometimes that turns out to be your greatest joy. – Christine, mom of three
Our third and final came down to logistics and a gut feeling. Our income could handle another child. Our older kids were independent. And, we had settled into a good community as well as owned a home. Furthermore, in my gut, I always knew I’d have two boys, so when our first child was a girl (so exciting and shocking), I knew in my heart we’d have two more and they’d be boys. I wanted to finish having kids by age 30. When we got pregnant with our third when I was thirty, we knew it was time to shut it down. – Keri-Lyn, mom of three
Done Having Kids: Four, No More
As the mother of four boys, I am asked DAILY if we are “going to go for the girl” next. My standard reply to the awkward question is an equally awkward answer: “I had a hernia repaired, so I think we are done!” That normally ends the conversation before it even takes off. The real answer is: I am 42 and we have four kids who keep us busy. If I had a few more hours in a day and a couple extra dollars in my pocket, then I might go for a 5th… but I had four c-sections – and let’s not forget the repaired hernia – I think this is as much as my body can handle. But – there is always fostering/ adopting – and I am not closing the door to that! (Just don’t tell my husband just yet!) – Tove, Mama in the Now
I knew I was done at four when my last pregnancy was way too hard on my body. – Kim, Tales of a Ranting Ginger
Done Having Kids: Over Four
With each baby, I thought I was SO DONE for different reasons. I’m not sure if I ever knew I wanted to be done or if I just thought I should be done. Life took me on a totally different path than I had expected. But now that we have six, WE ARE SO DONE! Still, in my heart, I probably could have another one or two. But I’m creeping up on 43 years old. We don’t fit into our house or our cars. Vacations are nearly impossible. And, our schedules are crazy to keep track of. So , we just HAVE to be done. I always wonder how people just know too – because even when I thought I did, I was obviously wrong. And I love these six more than anything! I can’t imagine having any less. – Heidi, We are Loving This Life
I “knew” I was done at four. But after a series of random events, there I was, pregnant with number five. I had terrible perinatal and postpartum depression. It was a very difficult time for our family. We are at our limit as far as what my body is able to do. My mind is at its capacity to handle all that is on our plate. It was a very easy and clear choice to get me tied up. I am so thankful for the family we have been entrusted with and these kids that we have the gift of raising. They are each unique and I can’t imagine life without each of them. We have also always had a huge heart for fostering/adoption, so I would not be surprised if more kids pass through our home in the future. We just know that my body is done. This shop is closed!! – Christy
Undecided & Why
I always thought I would have three kids. However, I was diagnosed with breast cancer when my youngest was 1.5-years-old. After being on my medication and okay after two years, all of my doctors would support me trying to get pregnant. I just don’t know. My heart says that I’m supposed to have three kids. But my mind goes back and forth. There isn’t enough research and data on women having babies post breast cancer. Although the research that is out there seems to support it! So to answer your question, I’m in limbo. Waiting for at least another year and then I’ll see how I feel! – Renee, My So-Called Mommy Life
We aren’t sure if we are done yet. Lack of sleep is the only thing keeping me from wanting more right now!!! I have three that think bedtimes and their own rooms are way overrated. – Katie, mom of three, Views from a Step Stool
I can’t let go of all of our baby clothes yet. This tells me we aren’t entirely done. I will know we will be done when I don’t hesitate at the idea of donating them.
My [second son]’s fast and painful delivery almost did me in. I swore we were done for the majority of his first year. But I’m still not ready to make a decision quite yet. – Jules, One Ruud Mom
My husband and I go back and forth a lot between wanting to have another and wondering if we really want to add another few years to our lives raising kids. We especially find ourselves wondering this when our 2-year-old throws a tantrum! We’ve had our kids young. And, as a result, we want to travel and take full advantage of our 40s kid-free. So, although I often feel I want to have or even adopt our third and final, my husband and I both struggle with whether we truly want to take that on. The newborn stage is my absolute favourite, but it flies by so quickly. We’ll just have to see what happens . – Tessa, mom of two, Homemade Experience
We have two crazy boys and undecided. Well, I’m undecided on a third child. My hubby is so done. Logically, I tell myself it’s not a good idea to have another, but in my heart I can’t let go of the idea. With [my husband’s] work schedule and no grandparents around I’m often alone. So, I think of doing that with three. I think of this especially in terms of when my kids start hockey or any of us is sick.
The fact that we produce offspring that are so busy, willful, and don’t like to sleep makes it tough to go back to that again. Also, the thought of three boys really scares me. I guess our urge to reproduce doesn’t always work with logic. I don’t think I’m ready to give up on the idea of having a daughter. So we shall see, we’ll revisit it once the kids are sleeping through the night and maybe both are in school so it’s more manageable. – Jessica, mom of two
I’ve never felt done. Perhaps after this baby? After we had [our daughter], I tried to tell myself we were done. It seemed logical & practical to stop after two. My heart felt differently 💕 and here we are pregnant with baby number three. I imagine if I don’t feel done after this baby that my husband may take matters into his own hands 😉✂ – Vanessa, mom of two and one on the way
If you are undecided about whether or not you’re done having kids, hopefully this will have helped <3