How do you know when you’re done?

when you're done


I’m writing this post one handed on the couch while my sweaty babe sleeps restlessly on my chest. Helloooo from ‘stuck’-ville! (Pretty happy to be here actually!)


There’s a question that has been playing around in my mind since Rory was born and I thought I’ve been interrogating everyone else about it so I thought I may as well as you as well.


How do you know when you’re done?  Am I done? Are we done?


I remember all the questions about having a second child being asked mere minutes (at least that’s what it felt like anyway) after Eamon was born and I remember feeling so shell shocked by the birth and motherhood that I could barely form an answer. Not a politically correct one anyway.


I guess at that stage I had the vague idea that I’d have more than one for sure, but I wasn’t set on any definite number, nor was I rushing back in for round two. It always amazes me when people say “we’re having three” before they’ve even had any.


I always want to ask “But… HOW do you KNOW? What if you feel one is enough (or maybe even too much). What if life takes you in a totally different direction?”


Of course I don’t ask these questions. I just smile and nod and agree that yes “three is a nice number”.


Of course the ‘so are you going again?’ questions came up milliseconds after having Rory as well.  This time I’m even more stuck for an answer. I usually just go with I don’t know which seems to be the only way to answer without launching into a huge explanation of my conflicting feelings on the whole topic (which I’m sure most people are grateful I spare them).


How do I tell them I mourn every passing baby stage that Rory leaves and yet still not be sure I want to go through them again? How do I explain how excited I am to feel my body slowly returning to ‘normal’ and yet how I feel on the verge of tears when I think about never carrying a child again?


In many ways I’m not even sure I’m sad about not doing it again.  I just feel sad that these days, and those already gone, seem to be slipping through my fingers so fast that each time I catch glimpses of the boys (and men) these two will become my heart aches to hold them again as newborns, when we still had all of our time together in front of us.


I’ve found myself asking others the question to see what their answer is and whether I’m the only one who has no flipping idea how I feel about another. So far I’m not having much luck.


People seem to either be certain they’re done because they ‘just know’ their family is complete or becertain they’ll have another.  Which makes me question whether my uncertainty is a sign I’m not done – because shouldn’t I know? Or a sign I am done because shouldn’t I know? Or a sign I need to get some help because shouldn’t I know! 


So right now we’re sticking with.  I don’t know what will happen. Because no one really does, do they?


So tell me… Are you done? And how did you know you were done?!

4 Responses to “How do you know when you’re done?

  • Michelle
    8 years ago

    Hi Bettina 🙂
    We’ve been in this same limbo for the last 2 years. I wish I had some words of wisdom to share but sadly I feel exactly the same as you.

    Generally, my cons list is all about practicalities and my pros list seems pretty emotionally driven. So being a fairly left brained type of girl, for the most part, the practical argument wins. But every now and then (mostly when I’ve had a few drinks and that only seems to happen at the occasional wedding…) all that emotional unrest just bubbles to the surface… Actually, more bursts through the surface. Suddenly, I’m asking anyone who’ll listen, and probably even those who won’t… How did you know???? What should I do?

    My husband seems to be having the same internal struggle. Being an only child, he always hoped for a big family and wonders whether our family is complete… Then at the same time, he really likes sleep!

    I feel that the decision needs to be made in the next 6 months. I’m not getting any younger and I know once the kids are both at school/kindy – no way I’m going back!

    I have already shed myself of all maternity wear and all baby things. My oldest is 3.5. My 2.1yo has been in a bed for about 8 months, out of nappies for almost 6 months and stopped bf about 5 months ago so baby stuff is starting to feel pretty distant.

    I’ve been thinking about it more lately because suddenly my children have started to weigh in on the issue. My 3.5yo son is always suggesting that we need another baby and even provides name options. And just yesterday my 2yo daughter put her hand on my belly and said ‘Mummy, I love a baby in your tummy’. So here lies my biggest concern, ‘Am I denying them?’ Ugh! Let me know if you work it out xx

    • Bettina Rae
      8 years ago

      It’s so tough! I don’t think Andrew is having any internal struggle. He suggests a puppy! I think I’ll leave it another year and then re-evaluate. I’m glad I’m not the only one conflicted. I’m not sure if it helps but I usually choose to follow the heart when I can’t decide. 😉

  • If you find a way to make me feel “done” I would be forever grateful. Logic tells me I am too old. I am lucky to have had the two that I have. I remind myself that I am a grandmother. That after seven miscarriages I need to not hurt my heart any more.
    however, each month, I still think, I still wonder, I still dream how amazing it would be to be pregnant again.

    • Bettina Rae
      8 years ago

      Oh Julie. I can only imagine how hard that is. I guess you keep focusing on the blessings and the child you want so much will show up in your life in
      some way? Whether it be yours or another grandchild? For the record a LOT of responses to this post say they are NEVER done. So maybe it doesn’t happen for everyone?

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