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How Do You Know When You Are Done Having Children?

By Danielle |

How did you know when your family was complete?   Was it a certain number of children, or maybe a bad birth experience that put the end to your expanding family?

I am struggling with the thought myself. My husband and I basically were done, at least for the time being when I got pregnant with our newest addition Addison.  But we quickly became excited about our family expanding once more. This time around after talking a lot about it during my pregnancy itself, we are done.

But being only 25 I don’t truly feel… done.  We never know what another 10 years will bring in our lives, and we have decided not to take any kind of permanent measures at this point in time.

In two weeks I go in to have my IUD put in, and will keep it in for the next 5 years, and possibly have another one put in after… who knows, as no one knows what tomorrow will bring, but I wanted to get other mothers perspectives to when you really knew you were done having children and your family truly was complete?

One side of me is really scared to have anymore children after the experience of IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction) with Addison, which left me with a tiny, but thankfully healthy baby, but a very scary third trimester.  I am sure most of you remember from reading the constant appointments and ultrasounds.

Moms… when did you know your family was complete?

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About Danielle



Danielle Elwood is a straight-shooting Florida based mom of three and emerging indie author. Read bio and latest posts → Read Danielle's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “How Do You Know When You Are Done Having Children?

  1. Ashley says:

    We decided after our 3rd we would be done. Children are incredibly expensive, we want to be able to pay for college and make sure they have the best we can provide and if we have more children I am not sure we would be able to provide as adequately as we can with 3. I have had a hard time with this decision because I am 28 and I am sure I will still have the urge to have more children. My husband on the other hand is 39 (this year) and he is set on being done. He doesn’t want to be a really old parent and hes freaking out about being almost 40 by the time we have another. I also have had horrible PPD with boy boys and I just assume that I will get it again and I don’t want to go through that again. My youngest is 17 months and I am still be treated for it. We have talked about taking permanent measures, as in he is getting snipped :) I feel like if we do ultimately feel like we want another later in our life there is always adoption :)

  2. Teri says:

    I am 35 (going to be 36 in August) I have 3 children, 17 (boy), 8 (boy) & my baby girl 2!! The boys are to my 1st marriage, my daughter is from my current. He is only 29 (30 in dec) Our daughter is his only biological child, we have been together for 5 years, we had a still born & a miscarriage before her. He says he has always wanted 2 children & now he has 3, I have always wanted 4 children & only have 3. So right now we are in the air about having anymore. I have the need, the urge, that my clock is ticking! Also his sister can not have kids & his older brother still doesn’t have any, he doesn’t even have a GF so it’s up to us to have another child, & hoping for a boy to carry on his name! His Dad just died a year ago so that kinda has us up in the air too! I am clearly not ready to be done yet, I hope one day I will just know we are complete!!

  3. Suebee says:

    I’m 37 and my husband is 40. I’d like to have a second, but if this baby (due in July) is our only, we’ll deal with it. We have to see how we do, money-wise, with this one first. I’d love for her to have a brother or sister, but we’ll see.

  4. Annalisa says:

    I am 29 and I have 2 sons the youngest is 19 months and my husband and I want more kids (a total of 5/6). I am hoping to have another baby (hopefully twins) next year. I am not sure if there is a perfect number that one can say is ideal for each person as every family is unique. It depends on what you and your spouse vision and hope is for the future.

  5. rachael giglio says:

    I think it’s funny that our society looks down a bit on large families as though they couldn’t possibly be acting responsibly. I also think it’s odd that most people talk about how expensive kids are and about how we “have to pay for college” and “provide the best”. While such pursuits aren’t bad they aren’t necessary either. I never had the “best” growing up, we were poor and that was OK. I put myself through college and still see the benefit of it. I worked hard (40 hour work weeks on top of school) and I think I appreciated it (and worked harder at it) much more than the kids who had a full ride from their parents. I’m not saying paying for college and giving your kids the best is bad, I just think it isn’t the most important consideration. Raising them in a loving home is the most important consideration.

  6. Amanda S says:

    Having my kids 16 months (very close to 17) has made me realize, I never want another kid ever again. But we also don’t have help, so that could be one reason. (meaning no evenings out, no one to watch the kids ever)

  7. Melanie N says:

    I can’t add too much… just that I know that we are NOT done yet. We only have two and definitely want more, so we’ll have to see when the time comes. My feeling is that we’ll just know/feel when our plate is full, though we’ll never take ‘permanent’ steps. (Not that a vasectomy is permanent–I know someone who is expecting twins… post-vasectomy!)
    I know that every parent has personal goals that go into parenting decisions and I’m not dissing others’ preferences. For us, we don’t believe that parenting necessarily needs to be an expensive proposition and that the added social and relational blessings of a larger family will outweigh any lack of material blessings.

  8. Melanie N says:

    Rachael–I pretty much agree with everything you said! I think it is possible for kids who are given the best of everything to actually be very ill-equipped to function on their own once they are adults.

  9. Ashley says:

    I was given a lot growing up and my college was paid for. I work my butt off in college graduated with a baby in 3.5 years. I’m not at all ill-equipped to function on my own. I have a good work ethic whether it be here at home with my children or out in the work force. Why is it an issue if the parent wants to provide well for their children? If I can make their transition into life a little bit easier, why not? I am their parent and I feel as a parent my job is to take care of them the best I see fit, and if that includes buying them a car at 16 or paying for their college, or providing insurance for them or giving them the things that they need to have a happy successful life than so be it. As far as my family is concerned we will be done at 3 because we want to make sure that they have everything that they need, which I personally think is a responsible thing to do.

  10. Dorothy says:

    We wanted 4 and struggled to have 4.

    With our son (2nd pregnancy, 3rd baby), I wound up with another c-section (planned homebirth & we transferred when he got stuck). While we were still in the hospital, my husband suggested we not have any more kids and I agreed. I didn’t feel done, but I didn’t want to go through that again.

    We sat down and talked quite a bit in the following years and agreed we’d be done if we had to voluntarily put ourselves in the hospital. We met with our midwives who went over my history and agreed to take me on again should we get pregnant in the future. We still weren’t sure if we wanted another baby, but we had a game plan in case we did.

    We did decide to start TTC and got pregnant with our daughter when our youngest was 2 and 1/2. I went into the pregnancy knowing it would be our last.

    Hers was an easy homebirth and she was a very easy baby. I surprised myself by thinking I might like another baby when she was still very tiny. My husband is very firmly set on 4 and his reasons are valid. Still, I feel like I could absolutely have another baby.

    There was a time when I was upset about not having another baby. Now, though, our youngest is 2 and I’ve had time to sit back and process it all. I could be happy either way. I could be happy with another baby, but at the same time, I’m happy with the size family we have now.

    FTR, I was 23 when I had my twins, 27 when I had my son and 30 when I had my daughter.

  11. Kim Q says:

    I knew after having my first that IF there was another baby, there would only be ONE more baby. I had my first at 29, and my second at 33 (they are 4 1/2 years apart). And I never waivered throughout pregnancy #2 in my belief that I was done. I had to have c-sections with both babies, and I had my tubes tied after #2 was born. Of course, I am a type 1 diabetic so pregnancies are quite “involved.” I feel blessed that I have my 2 beautiful, healthy girls and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER want to be pregnant again!

  12. Fremont says:

    Not really a matter of deciding when the family was complete for us. I would LOVE to have a second kid, and that would indeed feel more complete. But thanks to having a body that decided to throw itself into early menopause, the decision has been made for us. We looked into adoption, but domestic is too expensive and my husband is just barely too old for international adoption requirements. I guess we’ll just accept what we have, and enjoy our only child!!

  13. Sara says:

    This is a hot topic in my home right now. In theory, we’d like a big family. In reality, our fertility, finances and general energy level will really dictate any children past two. I hope that when we’re done, we’ll feel done.

  14. Hollie says:

    Being a single mom at the age of 19 I said I was done after my son was born. However 6 years later my daughter Addisyn was born ( totally planned) but my marriage didn’t work out. So now I am a single mother of two kiddos. During my pregnancy with my daughter I was so set ( again) that I was done. I set up to have my tubes tied right after my daughter was born. However when it came closer to giving birth, I decided that I wasn’t ready to completly close that door yet. I am only 29 and may meet someone one day and decide that I want another. As of right now I’m content with my two. :) But no one knows what the future holds.

  15. Rebecca says:

    We were done after my first… I have 2 teenage step sons that were living with us at the time. My first pregnancy was filled with throwing up, gestational diabetes and pre-term labor. After hospital bedrest, she came 5 weeks early and spent a day in the NICU. I had an IUD put in 3 months after she was born. 2 months later, 1 month after my grandpa had a stroke – I was pregnant. And TOTALLY freaked out. I spent 4 months on bedrest, my mother in law moved in with me and again, I threw up the whole pregnancy, had gestational diabetes, and preterm labor. When I did go into labor, I BARELY made it to the hospital in time to deliver my 2nd, 4 weeks early.

    My husband was snipped while I was pregnant with my 2nd. The 2nd day my mother in law was living with us I called and made the appointment.

    Some days I want more kids, but then I think about bedrest and my mother in law living with me again? Nope. I’m done.

  16. Amanda says:

    I have 2 girls, the oldest is 10 and youngest is 9 months. I had my first daughter at a very younge age and waited till I was really ready to have more. I want another soon so it could grow up at a close age to my youngest daughter but my husband wants to wait 5 years. 5 years is totally out of the question to me seeing it was difficult for me to start over when my first was 9. We have decided that if we can’t come up with a decision to have more by the time the youngest turns 2 then we are done.

  17. Bonnie says:

    I have 2 children and another on the way after a miscarriage. I am in no way finished having children. I will take whatever the Lord will give me because I believe that he knows what’s best. He can see what the results will be and I cannot. I know for most people having a large family is out of the question but I was raised with many siblings and love that I always have them to support me and teach me to be better. I got married young (18) and started my family young but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Having children is hard but it is always worth it.

  18. Tricia says:

    I read all these “I hope I feel done” comments and hope you do, cause I don’t. Better yet, I hope you know and feel done when it’s time! I should. Rationally I think done, but emotionally it may take several years to get over the birthing stage in life! And thats IF I can keep from conceiving in that time because I just did and miscarried. The misscarriage was interesting. I had one six years ago after my first two daughters. Back then I was so sad and lost, but I went on to have two more daughters. So here I am with four daughters, ages 3, 5, 7, and 9. When my youngest was born I was waiting to hear myself say “I’m done” as I have heard so many woman say. I have been having a private disscusion with myself for 3 years because my husband thinks I should make the final call since it effects me most. Done, not done, Not done, Done. Then last week my period was late (using barrier methods, laxed on second half of cycle because hubbs was going out of town and we wanted to :) ) I started feeling pregnant and analyzed my feelings on the possibility. I went from ”oh no” to “Yay” in about four days, then I started passing clots and cramping very hard. I went ahead and took a test knowing if it was + it was probably already lost but wanted to close the case and got a very faint positive. At least I knew why I was so messed up the week prior! I was not completely lost by the loss, it was sad to me and there was a point where I was sitting in the shower crying, and it felt like I just had a baby but had nothing to hold. Obviously early m/c cramps are nothing like labor but it was a minute version to be sure. It was like sad and happy at the same time, I was vividly remembering my other four births and sobbing and feeling like all these moments were clumped up in one happy sad thing, like a present. Even imagined cheesey music playing for effect! Yes, my hormones were off the hook! But I felt like gave I it up, didn’t know I cared so much but saying goodbye felt amazeing and re-realizeing what I have already experienced and have felt amazeing. I cry less each day, it’s sad that I lost this baby, but more to be saying goodbye to this stage. I don’t want to, but I think it’s time! I rushed through this stage of my life, like I do with everything, I started young, so now at 26 look ahead thinking, I don’t want to change my mind in five years and start over. If I have more it would be one or two before I’m 30, not wait till my oldest are nearly leaveing the nest! I have an early empty nest to look forward to, time to enjoy my husband and travel and get a job when my baby( who says she is no longer a baby) goes to kindergarden….sniff! I like the idea of having adventures with my kids, we are going to teach them to snow board this year! Which I could do PG on the bunny hills… hmmm, no. Logic says DONE, I just feel sad. But so it goes with change, I just wish my husband had a hint of the feelings, but if he did we’d be in fickle agreement! I told my husband to get a vasectomy so that it is no longer an option. He said Yes. Sigh.

  19. Mom of 5 says:

    I am also having this dilemma, I have 5 YES 5, but I don’t feel done. We are able to provide a good life for our children and I really think i want 1 more! I thought I was done but my husband has scheduled his vasectomy and I am very sad all of the sudden that this stage in our lives is over! My kids are my world and I think I want 1 more, but I am scared b/c I have not had easy births and so for that reason we should prob be done. Thoughts???

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