All Done?

Much to my delight, Lydia has stopped the crazy crying bit at bedtime. We think it was too dark in her room. Yes, I feel like an ass. But mostly I am grateful for night lights.

As we returned from the park a few days ago after feeding ducks at the pond and chasing the kids around the playground, and as we each removed one of our children from the car and carried them in the house, a crazy, unexpected thought crossed my mind: maybe two is enough.

In light of my last entry, anyone reading this is like, “dude, you should’ve stopped after the first two miscarriages, abusive crazy woman.” But Brandon and I are in agreement about spankings and disciplining our kids this way, when needed. Though the fact that I feel like I need to justify myself says something about how guilty and miserable the whole bedtime screaming event made me.

Back to my bizarre, out-of-left-field pondering. This is so not me. I have been battling for months about having more children. And before that, I had fantasies of four to five babes and then teens and then married children with hoards of grandkids visiting constantly, eating my homemade chocolate chip cookies and sneaking extra pieces of pie when moms and dads aren’t looking (I’m taking notes from my parents and in-laws on grandparenting). Stopping at two has never crossed my mind, even been a considered possibility, until now.

I don’t think it is just the difficulty we had with Lydia sleeping, or Elvis’s teething, or Lydia’s emphatic NOs. In an unexpected turn of events, the miscarriage I thought would fire up Brandon’s desire to have more children made me do a bit of reevaluating, to the point of actually saying something to Brandon about being done. “Just let me know, and I’ll call the doctor.” Nice.

I am a worker. I love my job. I already feel like I don’t have enough time in the day to sufficiently love on my two kids and husband let alone add in a third or fourth child. Sure, if we were to get pregnant a third time, we would make it work and we would love that child unconditionally just as we love Lyd and Elvis. But I’m not built for staying at home and taking care of a large family, and we both agree that the husband isn’t built for it either, so what on earth am I thinking?

Besides the job thing, I love to serve at church and have just taken up a few new responsibilities at church. My job and my duties with church fulfill a part of me that is essential to my soul. Not that spending time with my children and tending to their needs does not fulfill, but it fulfills in a different way – meets a need and swells my heart in such a significant way that is complemented by those activities I perform with work and church. These experiences make me whole.

There’s also the physical aspect of pregnancies that is becoming a greater reality after every c-section and miscarriage – my body does not do pregnancy well. I know it is highly unlikely that I will deliver vaginally ever. I just don’t have the hips to do it, apparently. And two c-sections have left my abdomen’s muscles loose and severed (though not to the degree of early- to mid- 80s c-sections), my skin numb and sensitive around the scar. With every pregnancy the risk of miscarriage increases, and as much as I feel at peace with the causes and complications of miscarriages and what that means for me spiritually, it isn’t an experience I wish to go through over and over again. I wouldn’t mind being done with the stretching, weight gain, morning sickness, etc. that accompanies pregnancy and such.

It’s also nice to be able to be paired up with our kids. There’s never a third person waiting in the wings for attention, though they often battle for the attention of one parent. In some ways, the desire to have more than two kids for me is selfish – if I’m honest, would I really give them the time of day? Would they resent me, my career, and my commitment to the church? I am conscious of this question already – Lydia knows where I go during the day and routinely asks if I’m going to work. They miss me, act differently when I’m gone than when I’m here. With so little time to give to my kids, who am I benefiting, inviting a third/fourth into the house?

I don’t know – maybe this is all a surprising backlash from miscarriage. Maybe I’m coming to this conclusion rashly. But I think I could be done. I think I wouldn’t mind this being it.

How did this happen?

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

3 thoughts on “All Done?

  1. Some things just happen. No matter which path we end up choosing, God has a way of working things out in the end. About the Lydia nightime situation. You don’t need to explain yourself. There are always ups and downs in parenting. It is definitely a learning experience. Yeah, yeah, what do I know? Probably nothing, but I was a nanny, and it really taught me a lot 🙂 You are doing a great job, I can tell by the smiles on those two babie’s faces.


  2. Everybody has a bad day parenting here and there. Kids are freaking stressful. Consider also that you have had at least one very stressful event lately, and on top of that the sound of a crying child is like nails on a blackboard. 🙂If you want to have more kids, do it. No child would choose to not be born rather than have a mom who works. I certainly don’t resent my parents for working and not spending more time with me, and they were gone tons more than you and the hubby are. (I still don’t see my dad for 75% of the year!) You know what I do wish though? That I had more than one sibling.It sounds like you’re having a case of Mommy Guilt combined with stress from the miscarriage. Give yourself a couple of months to think about it. If you decide to have another one, you can get back on the TTC wagon with me. 🙂


  3. I just have to say that I have run into many gals who have said the same thing to me as you when I was on my OB-gyn rotation. Usually they are mothers of children about the age of your children. But anyway, you don’t have to decide now whether or not you are going to have children in the future.. there are lots of cool things that On-Gyn docs have (IUDs for instance) that can post-pone the decision for years (and are completely reversible).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: