The Bittersweet Feeling of Not Wanting a Baby

Mom Moment 39

Everything about the small, warm bundle in my arms felt deeply familiar to me in a muscle-memory sort of way -- from how I'd instinctively reached to support his neck to the head-to-the-left position I automatically settled into. This perfect little baby boy our friends had welcomed into the world just three days beforehand was a beauty, and the tiny sleepy noises he made were as nostalgic and appealing as the milky-sweet scent of his head.

If ever there was going to be a time when biology might override my decision to be done having children, it seemed like this was it. Sitting in a chair, cradling a newborn, remembering the wild magic of those early days with our boys.

I smiled tenderly down at him, watched his rosebud mouth open into the world's tiniest yawn, and thought to myself, Oh, thank fucking GOD I get to hand you back in a few minutes.

So much for biology.

It wasn't really that I'd expected to feel some baby-making pangs -- it's been five years since my second son was born, and I can't really think of a single occasion when I'd considered having a third. We had always talked about having two children, and our family has felt complete in every way since.

My brother-in-law has an adorable toddler, and he's asked me a few times if playing with my nephew makes me miss the younger years. I always feel a little awkward after the inevitable passion of my response. I mean, "HELL no" seems like sort of an obnoxious thing to shout in someone's face, doesn't it?

It's just that hell no, I don't miss the younger years. I once described life with a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old as a "golden age," and I feel the same now that they're 7 and 5. They're so much fun these days, and while I wouldn't exactly describe life with two young boys as a serene yoga retreat complete with daily hot stone massages and calming Buddhist chants, it would be an understatement to say I prefer things as they are now compared to how they used to be.

Still, there's something bittersweet about realizing that I am, without a shadow of a doubt, past the baby-making years. It's maybe a little similar to what I imagine going through menopause will be like -- a feeling of both acknowledging my increasing age, and saying goodbye to my ability to produce children. Not that I would be physically incapable now if I removed all barriers (although who knows? I'm nearly 40, and it didn't exactly happen overnight six years ago when we were trying), but knowing in my heart that I'm done is still a goodbye in its own way.

Also -- and this is harder to explain -- I feel as though I am no longer part of a club, the community of moms who are trying for babies, have a baby, or plan to have more babies. I can't identify with the people who write "MY OVARIES ARE ACHING!!" in the comments section of adorable baby photos. I think, aw, cute baby ... but that's that. I never think, that baby makes me want to HAVE a baby. It's as though I've left my tribe ... and I'm a little lost in an in-between stage of having young kids but feeling so far past the moms-building-their-families world.

I don't miss having babies. But in some bizarre way, I do sort of miss wanting babies. Does that make any sense at all? I guess it's just that while I'm so glad for where I'm at, it's always a little hard to realize you've forever moved on from something. Life is about forward momentum, and in all things -- but maybe particularly parenting -- there's both comfort and sorrow to be found in the fact that it moves in one direction.

Did you ever have one specific moment when you knew you were done having children?


Image via Linda Sharps

baby first year, time for mom

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Melis... Melissa1508

I think I'm nearly at that point now.  I have a 5 year old and a 10 month old.  I always thought I would want at least one more, but...wow.  I just don't think so.  Two is a good fit for us, especially financially.  I'm like you, though...the thought of not wanting to have any more kids is a little sad.  :)

Amber Wannemacher

I am only 22 and I have my daughter and that is it for us! and people think I am insane but i tried for 2 years with one miscarriage to get her here and not only was my pregnancy emotionally horrible (health wise i did great in fact I look amazing but that is besides the point) I also had terrible postpartum health problem tho I had a retained placenta and hemmoraged then had to have a surgery and then got mastitis from not being able to feed her due to anesthetics.... anyways I shudder when thinking about having more kids due to my experience...however I would consider an adoption LOL so yes my baby making years are over and I do miss it or would like to have changed things with my daughter however NEVER AGAIN and when people bug me about it I want to punch them cause its an emotionally sensitive issue that people shouldnt pry into

Allis... AllisonWD

I wanted maybe one more, and that was a huge maybe. And then colic happened. I got my tubes tied with our second. Sometimes I feel sad, that ill never experience that positive test, first ultrasound, first kick, or birth again, but then I remember colic or teething and how I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. Not worth another 3-5 months of that. Everything is catered to a family of four anyway.

nonmember avatar IslandMomOf4

My kids are 13, 10, 8 and 3. We are done with adding to the bunch! In the last 18 months, I've given away all of my baby carriers and those cutie clothes you save from one baby to the next. I have come to terms with not seeing my 'friends' at breast feeding support group. I'm enjoying a new phase of Motherhood now :-) I have to admit, it is pretty awesome to have diapers forever out of my laundry pile and nursing bras banished from my wardrobe.

nonmember avatar Amy

I used to want 7! After 2 miscarriages, I had my daughter and have felt perfectly content and complete since. She's almost 3 now. I'm sure I'll want more at some point, but I can't imagine more than 1 more. Life doesn't always turn out as planned. I am thankful for the beautiful family I have!

nonmember avatar CrystalMP

As soon as I settled into a routine with my second everything magically felt right with the world and it has every since. Two kids pretty much feels like all I'll ever need. The only thing that makes me sad is that I won't ever get to look forward to another little kick inside there :/ but that's not enough to make me want more lol

Angie... AngieHayes

I have a 2 and 3 year old and I am up in the air with having a third. I like that we are an even number, and we have been done with diapers for over a year now! My daughter was an extremly early potty trainer, but I miss having that little baby in my arms, nursing, cuddling.... but I don't want to be pregnant for a whole year, why can't we just incubate them outside our bodies!!!

peanu... peanutsmommy1

I have a one and only by choice. I kept waiting for the "baby fever" after DS was born and I never got it, so we are happy and confident in our decision to devote all we have to the one we have.

nonmember avatar haskettedu

AMEN! I have one son. One. Everyone looks at me like I'm insane when I say I'm done. I didn't LIKE the baby stage. I also get looks for that one. My sister in law rolls her eyes and smooshes a kiss to her baby's cheek when I say I prefer older kids.

clmr33 clmr33

I am so glad that I am done having kids.

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