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I have three amazing daughters. I had two very close together during my late twenties and my third when I was 35. Leaving a large age gap between Baby #2 and Baby #3 (six years) had not been our original plan. Once we realized that time had gotten away from us, Plan B had been to perhaps have two more children so Baby #3 would have a sibling closer to her age. I know now for certain, however, that Baby #4 is most definitely NOT on the way. If we are surprised by a blessing that is another child we will most certainly welcome him or her into our lives. However, I am absolutely not planning on having any more children. And this is how I know:

1. I have given away or thrown away all of my baby “gear”. It’s gone and I’m thrilled. The furniture, carseats, strollers, exer-saucers, high chairs, baby toys, baby books, clothes, bottles, pacifiers—you name it and it’s gone.

2. I have only a little desire to hold another person’s baby and really that’s only for brand new, sleeping babies. This happened soon after my last baby was born. She was so perfect to me and she’s all I wanted. Other people’s babies really didn’t interest me. Today this feeling is even stronger. I really do not want to hold your squirmy, heavy baby. She’s cute, sure, but I don’t need to hold her. I’m good, thanks. I’ll give my family member’s babies a few minutes especially if I can give the mom a break for the bathroom or to get something to eat. But honestly, I’m good. I’ll make silly faces at her from over here.

3. The thought of becoming pregnant again is terrifying. TERRIFYING. I have nightmares about it. In these nightmares I discover I’m pregnant and I bawl uncontrollably. I wake up sweating and panicked. I honestly believe I am more scared of an unplanned pregnancy now than I was when I was…umm…younger. I am finally getting some sleep. My body has done its duty and now I’m desperately trying to get back into better shape. We can do things and go places. All of my children talk, walk, eat regular food, use public restrooms, and sleep through the night (mostly). Parenting has just gotten good.

4. I don’t tear up when I look at my kids’ baby pictures or when I find an old tiny outfit in a drawer. I smile as I remember how little and sweet they were but inwardly I cringe when I think about how exhausting and mind numbing that time was when I had little ones around. I’m so relieved to be through that parenting stage and I’m enjoying this stage of soccer games, sleepovers, school bingo nights, and holiday concerts. I get to watch my daughters practice a sport, develop a talent, and learn so many amazing things at school. Like I mentioned before, parenting is just getting good. Do I wish time would freeze for a little while? Of course. Do I want babies in my house again? Nope.

5. My family has never been as happy as we have been since my third was born. I am placing that beautiful fact squarely on her adorable shoulders. She completed us as a family and we knew this pretty much from the minute she arrived. Our family dynamic is working for us and I do not want to change it. Often when we are out or away doing something fun as a family I’ll find myself gazing silently at my husband and kids—simply adoring the unit we make. I have absolutely no longing for anything else. They are perfect.

So, I’m not having any more babies. That part of my life is…done. I’m so happy I was able to have three babies relatively effortlessly and I know how blessed I am to have these three perfect children in my life. When I think about closing the book on that part of my life I definitely feel a bit old as I ponder the finality of it. I know we are making the right decision, however, and I’m excited for what’s next.