I can’t remember the last time anyone asked me if I was planning to get pregnant anytime soon.
This might not seem like a big deal. But consider the circumstances: I got married at 28 to a man I’d been dating since we were 23. Before we even got engaged, family members on both sides were asking us if we might have kids one day. As time went on, particularly once we were married, the questions became more and more frequent. For a while there, it felt like I couldn’t complain about feeling sick, or tired, or bloated, without someone asking me if I might be pregnant.
10 years of marriage and three kids later, no one seems the least bit interested in the state of my womb. Which probably makes sense, but that doesn’t make it feel any less weird.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant with twins, I knew that we were done. Three was enough. It was, in fact, more than we’d ever really considered. Our family was complete– perfect– when they arrived.
When our daughters were born, it was at the end of what felt like a long and scary pregnancy. I felt a little like a human science experiment, and a lot like someone who never wanted to see the inside of a hospital again. So I was relieved when my doctor advised that I not get my “tubes tied” during my C-section delivery. I had been through enough, and I really didn’t feel like signing up for one more medical procedure. Still, both my husband and I were confident in our decision. We were done having babies.
In those first few months with our new baby girls, I would find myself sometimes lamenting the fact that each and every day was an ending. “This,” I would tell myself, “is the last time I will ever have a two-week-old baby.” “And this,” I would think, “is the last time I will pack away tiny newborn clothes.” A tiny part of me, one I shudder to think of now, even thought maybe I might want to do this all again. Maybe we should keep our options open. Perhaps it was a combination of hormones, lack of sleep, and general overwhelm. More likely it was a melancholy acknowledgment that I was now moving on to a completely different stage in this game.
Three years later, and neither my husband or I have taken any permanent steps toward ending our childbearing years, but deep down I have long since accepted they are over. For whatever reason, it’s the idea of taking those permanent measures that lend an entirely new weight to the matter. The idea of forever closing a door and walking away from the “what if.”
My daughters just turned three, and my son is in first grade. Our days of sippy cups and pull-ups are nearly over. Each day, it seems, something else is coming to an end. But I also feel like we are all embarking on a new season of our lives. And despite the heavy heart I bear, I just can’t wait to see what the future has in store.