When do you know you're done having children?
I wanted to be a mom from the time I was very young. I remember keeping a list of names that I wanted for my future children and thinking about how much I would love them. I taught preschool for 18 years and was able to work with hundreds of children and families before I started my own. Before we got married, my husband and I decided that two kids would be perfect for us.
Once I got pregnant with my first, I was so excited to become a mom. Everything I always wanted was happening and I was grateful for every second of it. My pregnancy was very easy and I felt great. We had our first son Eli in June of 2011. When my OB came in to check on me I told her "I'll be back next year for the second one". We were very fortunate to get pregnant when we decided the time was right, Eli was 7 months old. My second pregnancy was as easy as my first although it went by so much faster! I remember thinking this will be the last time I'll have an ultrasound or feel my baby kick from the inside. Little things like this would make me sad even though I knew it was what I wanted.
After having our second son Kyle in 2012, I had my tubes tied. This was something that was decided on very early on in my pregnancy. We had our two healthy baby boys and we had completed our family.
After having Kyle there were times that I thought maybe we should have one more. I know for a lot of women the choice to be done having children can be very difficult, I also know that some women don't ever get the chance to make that decision. In making my decision I think I focused as much on the "lasts" as much as the "firsts". It was hard knowing I would never hear another baby call me Mama for the first time, or take first steps or have a first day of school. These thoughts hung around for a long time, trying to sort my emotions on the subject was tricky. I think this was one of the reasons why becoming a doula made sense to me. I love seeing pregnant women, remembering how it felt for me brings a smile to my face every time. So even though my days of being pregnant were over, my journey as a doula keeps me active in the birth world.
How lucky am I that I get to work with expecting families? Help them bring life into this world and possibly fit in baby snuggles. It really is amazing to share in the joy of childbirth supporting expectant parents and working as a team to navigate through labor and delivery. I get to be a part of the miracle of birth and see the sheer joy in a parents eyes the first time they see their child.
Do I still have feelings about having more children, yes. Do my insides react when I get to snuggle a newborn baby, yes. Am I sure these feeling will ever go away, no. I do know that two children are perfect for my little family.
So as hard as it was to make the decision to be finished having children, it's easy to make the decision to remain a part of the birth world. Supporting families who are just starting out or continuing to grow their families is amazing.