The Ambiguity of the Last Child

I have four children ranging from 1-19. They’re all great, well behaved kids, but I’m done. I think.

I’m a normal mom. At least, I like to think I’m a normal mom. I put my mom jeans on one leg at a time all while stepping over the Legos that I told my kids to pick up ten million times the night before. But when thinking about having another child, I have to wonder if there’s a switch that flips that tells you to stop, or if there’s no switch and I’m destined to turn into Michelle Duggar with 19 kids.

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I have four children ranging from 1-19. They’re all great, well behaved kids, but I’m done. I think. Before I got pregnant I thought I wanted at least two more children. Then the pregnancy happened, and I thought, “now I remember why I didn’t want anymore.” My husband and I talked about not having anymore kids, especially once the terrible back pain started. After the baby came, then came that high you get when you smell a newborn. Someone once equated it to a hit of heroin. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, as I’m not an avid illicit drug user, but I can definitely tell you there was a high. That new baby smell went straight through my olfactory into my brain and I swear to you it lit up like a Christmas tree. Right then, I told my husband I wanted to do it again.

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Here I was, still healing from my C-section. I wasn’t even completely upright yet. My boobs were huge, and painful. My hair was an absolute mess, and I hadn’t showered in at least 4 days. There I was in all of my stinky glory, holding my two week old dose of mommy crack saying I just couldn’t wait to do it all over again. This is insanity. I think back to this moment and plead temporary insanity. I was not having rational thoughts as I sniffed my newborns head. I just wasn’t. Thankfully, within a couple of months I snapped out of it. I’m assuming this likely had something to do with the many sleepless nights, and having my offspring literally sucking the life out of my body every two hours.

This was it. I knew for sure I was absolutely done. Four children is enough. My house is organized chaos seven days a week, we simply cannot add another child to the mix. My kids moved to the next grade in school, birthdays passed, and the baby started to move through stages quickly. Before I knew it he was moving on to solid foods, sitting up unassisted, and starting to pull up and “cruise” around furniture. Then it happened again. That familiar pull. The conversation of “maybe baby” started happening. Thankfully, most men seem to be immune to this drug like chemical that babies exude that make a good portion of women contract baby rabies. He continued to be my anchor.

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We decided the best way to handle this situation was for him to “handle the situation” at the local urologist. I paid the deposit for the consultation, and left the scheduling to him as he is the one that has to answer all the questions and go through with the procedure. A few weeks went by, and nothing. No appointment was scheduled. No questions were answered. The not so baby, baby started walking, signing a few words, and saying a few words. My anchor cracked. My senses have gone all swimmy again. I say, “you know, if we do the baby dance at the beginning of my fertile window we are more likely to have a girl.” His ears perked up, “really?” He said. “It’s what I read.” I replied. He just responded with a “umhum.”

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That was it. We are here. Three months later. No vasectomy. No birth control. Just the rhythm method and our ambiguity. Will we have another baby? No. Well, I don’t think so. Probably, definitely not, but I don’t think either of us are truly ready to close the door. The last child is so final. It’s your last everything for parenthood. Last time seeing your baby for the first time. Last time finding out what you’re having. Last time sorting tiny baby clothes. Last time looking at your newborn trying to figure out who’s nose or eyes they have. It’s the last of everything new parent related when you say done deal on children, and I think until we can say for certain we are comfortable closing the door, we will welcome the ambiguity.

By Jacalyn of

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15 replies on “The Ambiguity of the Last Child”

What a poignant post. I teared up at the end. Most days I am completely fine with the fact that my last baby is my last baby. Other days it makes me a little sad 🙁

I have three girls + my baby (1 year-old) is my last baby. At least that’s the plan. We have a similar story in that my husband was supposed to get a vasectomy too + when the time came he started to hem + haw. Here we are, a year later with no vasectomy + no birth control 🙂

We have four kids ages 7-1 and I can relate to the chaos you’re talking about!
I also don’t think we can hold another child. We have the love, yes, but everything else is exhausting me.
I am sad, for sure, but also excited to move out of the baby stage and onto what’s next.

I love this.
I talk about this with my mom all the time, she says she knew the last one would be her last but honestly I don’t know if i could ever fully close the door.

Kin Unpluggedsays:

it must be hard to decide. especially if you’ve had the one of the smoothest journeys as a mom.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this well-written article about being a Mom and then some. Look forward to reading more.

Kin Unpluggedsays:

thank you for reading!

We were done after two and two miscarriages. Then we had an accident, one missed pill and there was a third child on it’s way. But he wasn’t to be, born at 20 weeks he will always be our last baby. Husband had the snip 6 weeks later because we simply couldn’t cope with the prospect of another disastrous pregnancy or the monthly fear that we’d get there by accident again.
There won’t be any more babies in this house, but somehow I’m not able to clear out the cots and clothes and push chairs and so on either. I’ll do it when I’m ready.

Kin Unpluggedsays:

wow i can’t begin to imagine the pain of that kind of loss. i can see how you both needed to put an end to the possibility of experiencing it again. hopefully this post was not too painful for you to read.

As a father I wasn’t sure what to write here. My wife and I went through something similar, and I guess we still are. But for the moment two is perfect for us. Although, as you say, ambiguity is, at times, a wonderful thing.

I have 3 grown children and until they started having their own children I was feeling the same way. Now when I get those feelings I just have my grandchildren over for a couple of days and then I am good to go….lol But, I truly do understand what you go through. Thanks for your story and keep up the good job~

You are much braver than me! But I love the story and understand the sadness of the last firsts. Best of luck on whatever your family’s future holds!

oh yes, the feeling of want to expand our family is real.
but, when it comes at the expense of your exhaustion, its not needed.
thanks for sharing.

I can definitely relate! It’s all so true! We are done, but haven’t “closed the door” so to speak either. Because there’s always that thought about what if we change our minds, like you said. I can’t imagine having another child right now though!


I knew we were done after 3 rambunctious boys who are now 10, 7, and 5. I wasn’t sure enough after baby #2 so the hubby didn’t make that snip appt. Good thing cause we had #3! I knew i was done. I didnt want anything to do with any of it. Didnt want to be pregnant, didnt want to be a zombie for 6 weeks, didnt want to breastfeed, didnt want any of it! And if I’m honest, as much as I adore my boys, I knew I couldn’t take the heartache of having a 4th boy. I do miss that baby smell and I loved the baby stage when my 3 came along but it nice they are relatively self sufficient now and in school. So after baby#3 was 6 mths old hubby made the appt. It was a hard door to close cause I almost doubted our decision to be done but it was the right one for us. My heart still aches for not getting a daughter but my brain tells me your still done. But we are entering the stage of being able to do more things with the kids like traveling, cool parks around town, zoo trips, ect. So its good 👍

Kin Unpluggedsays:

Hi Cal! It must feel great to be that sure and even more amazing for your kids to be at that self-sufficiency stage – I so look forward to that!

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