August 21, 2010

Schedule

I had to scroll back through a LOT of posts to find the one I was thinking of, the one where I told you Paul and I weren't going to have any more babies and I was not, in fact, okay with that.

It seems like that sort of thing could stand to have an update, and so I will update now: that in August of 2010, close to two years later, I feel like I might be okay with that. Maybe MORE than okay with that. Maybe ready for Paul to make an appointment to have The Snip.

This has not been an easy or simple process. I fully realize how krazykakes it seems for a woman with five children to be having a HARD TIME NOT HAVING A SIXTH, especially in a world bursting with women who would kill their own mothers to have a first. I know, I KNOW---I mean, as far as it is possible for me to know, which is admittedly insufficiently far. But what I'm saying is that I know enough to cringe when I talk about it, because I can at least IMAGINE how it would sound to someone who had none, or one, or anyone who had not as many as they wanted but fewer than five---and I can only hope that the feeling of "wanting a child" is strong enough and clear enough that we can empathize with each other over THAT, even if it feels like I'm the woman sitting on a pile of gold and whining for another bag of coins, while other women are sitting on the bare, coinless floor. Or some other analogy that makes more sense.

Anyway.

The first stage---a long one---involved having tears spring to my eyes any time I thought of it, which was many times a day. I felt as if the sixth child already existed, but that I was not being allowed to take that child home. I felt desperate, like I had to convince Paul not to let our child be LOST, or something. A person's LIFE was at stake, and Paul's whim was KILLING IT. Like that.

The second stage---even longer---involved feeling like I UNDERSTOOD that we PROBABLY would not have any more children, and that I SHOULD be content with what I had---but I still HOPED Paul would change his mind, and I still thought he SHOULD change his mind, and I still felt like it was wrong that he would get to make this decision when really it wouldn't be that big a deal to have just one more.

The third stage involved feeling as if there might be SOME upsides to not having another. It WAS kind of nice to be able to get rid of the clothes Henry outgrew, rather than storing them. It WAS kind of nice to be able to buy a 5-opening frame and put the five newborn pictures in it, without thinking about having to start all over if there was another child. It WAS kind of nice to all fit in a 7-seater minivan. It WAS kind of nice to see the caboose on things such as playpens, choking hazards, and potty training. But if Paul changed his mind, I'd still go with it because I'd rather regret having than regret not-having.

And the fourth stage has just begun: a feeling that, actually, even if Paul changed his mind, I might not want another child at this point. A feeling that things might be good the way they are. A disinclination to start over again. A feeling of fear about accidental pregnancy, rather than a feeling of hope. A feeling that five might already be plenty to handle. A willingness to consider Permanent Options. A feeling of gladness to have the "they're all in school" moment visible on the timeline ahead. A willingness to look forward to grandchildren instead of children of my own.

So. I realize that this schedule might be wildly different from person to person, and that ALREADY HAVING FIVE CHILDREN certainly factors into it, but that's been my schedule: desperation, unhappy resignation, seeing an upside, and, finally, possible contentment. (I think if I had one child, or two, I probably would have stayed in unhappy resignation with occasional seeing an upside.)

I'm posting this in part because I think it's unwise to send Paul to the doctor on what could be a passing mood, and I want to be sure I know how much time has passed since I started feeling like it might be nice to be done with birth control and babies.

(Do we predict an accidental pregnancy this month, or what?)

46 comments:

Michelle said...

I was just thinking to myself.... ooooh is she ever testing the universe. Ha!

We've always said we wanted two and now I'm having some pretty major issues so we might need to be content be at one. I can't imagine handling five, you have to have the patience of a saint!

Becki D said...

HAH! As soon as I started reading this, I thought - just wait! She's gonna get preggo now ASAP!

While I think that WHOA FIVE KIDS, I also think it's wise to wait on the "permanent" options. I mean, permanent ones are PERMANENT. You seem to handle the chaos of TONS OF KIDS happily and with love, so if you think there's a chance you guys might one day want another...well, you should have the option!

IMHO, of course. Hehe how crazy is it for me to be all up in your family-planning business? But that's the fun of blogging, right? RIGHT? :-)

Anonymous said...

i have one, i only want one, we are done and happy and content with one, it was the plan (and both approaching 40, so the winow is closing anyway). HOWEVER. i don't want to do anything surgical or permanent. you never know what is going to happen in the future, and if there is some sort of natural disaster where my husband finds himself ALONE (you know what i mean, i can't even type it) i would want him to have the option of having another family. morbid, i KNOW!

also, i have only been pregnant once (by design) so i think i am pretty good with birth control (tempting fate, i KNOW).

Stimey said...

This is such a happy post considering how far you've come and how much happier you must feel. I think you're really smart to make note of when you started feeling the contentment so you can figure out when you might be comfortable taking permanent steps.

It's so funny that you mention things like frames, because that is totally how I felt when I had two kids, because the third felt like he was ours too already even though we didn't have him, and it seemed like a waste to buy the two-hole frame but then it seemed even crazier to buy a three-hole frame.

I specifically remember the MOMENT when I knew—KNEW—I was done. We're members of, as someone I know called it, the V-Club.

Annika said...

Accidental pregnancy for sure!

Here's a question for you, with some background: I am DONE after two children. If we ever decide to have more (which feels unlikely right now), I want to adopt them. But I am dreadfully uncomfortable with the idea of my husband getting the snip. How did you and Paul decide that would be your long-term birth control method?

donna said...

You have come a really long way in this. I'm glad for you.

And I'll be hoping for no accidents!

Spacebooke said...

1- I love that you post on weekends
2- Good job in getting to this stage...seems MUCH better than stage one and two

Lora said...

Reading this was really helpful for me. I have 2 kids. My husband feels done, I feel like my third (and last) child is out there waiting for me. I'm sort of lingering in the stage before desperation, because I am hoping to convince my husband to have one more. We'll see, but it's nice to read this and know that perhaps even if I don't have any more, I just might be okay with that.

St said...

Ugh, I'm stuck in stage 2.

Anonymous said...

I am finally (after 3 years) in stage 2 with twinges of stage 3 but yesterday took strong steps toward a second child which will involve many things medical. we'll see. if it doesn't work I better get to stage 4 asap but i think this will set me back. Melissa

Beths said...

I was unsure after my first three children, completely unsure, and now I feel completely sure that we are done done done. There was a twinge of uncertainty after #4, but that only lasted for a couple weeks. It's funny because I was really WORRIED that I would never feel this way, that I would always feel like there could be more, that they were just waiting on me to invite them. I felt like there was something WRONG with me that I might not ever feel like this. But now I do. I feel so very done and am so excited that I won't ever do the pregnancy/newborn thing again. But we have yet to take FINAL MEASURES. I think the V is the way we're going too, but I know we're tempting fate not having done it yet. Six intended pregnancies, four babies, zero unintended pregnancies, over 12 years, all while using FAM/TCOYF, no hormones or barriers. Can I possibly go THE REST OF MY LIFE with these great stats? I hope so. But I'll feel much better after the V.

Marie Green said...

I'm definitely in Phase 1- so desperate to have another that I feel like I'll bully and/or emotionally ABUSE my husband into submission. (See also: wishing with every cell of my being that we would just BE PREGNANT, so he nor I would have to "decide").

Also, I DO think you might already be pregnant with #6. I know two other people that reached "contentment" only to find out 10 days later they were pregnant. ;)

Bratling said...

I'm the third of six kids. And my parents were married a bit later--my youngest brother is six years younger than me. I asked once why they had six, and my mom swears that until Jared was born, she felt like someone was missing. Once he was here, she said she had everyone that they needed, and that's when they stopped.

The Hunnicutts said...

I got this message today from a dear friend, "You MUST read Swistle's new post today. It's written for you."

Indeed, it feels like it was written for me. I could have written this post myself, except I wouldn't have gotten as far. I'm somewhere stuck between Stage 1 and Stage 2. If one more person tells me I should be grateful for the two healthy children I have, which I already am, I'm might just go crazy on them.
I'm even considering letting my husband read this, except then he may be convinced if he holds out long enough I'll get to Stage 4.
;)
Thanks for sharing!

Party of 5 said...

I think there are some of us who love our children, love to have children, love to be parents to our children SO much that we'll never feel we have enough. You have 5, I have 3, most of my friends have 2, yet every woman I know struggles with this somewhat. I wish people would understand that it has nothing to do with feeling like the children we already have don't fulfill us. It's just about having even more to give to another.
Thanks for posting.

cakeburnette said...

Hah! My two are 15 minutes...I mean MONTHS...apart, so I got to stage 4 in record speed. In fact, the first coherent words out of my mouth after the pregnancy test displayed the 2nd line was YOU ARE SO GETTING A VASECTOMY.

Jen said...

Those stages are eerily accurate. Granted we have not made the 100% no more decision but I would say we are 85% there with stopping at one. I went through a period of time where I wanted nothing more than to have another one or two or even three more but, quite suddenly, that feeling has passed. And there's no way I want another one without having a 100% on-board husband...so I sort of vacillate between stages 2 and 3 right now.

Swistle said...

Becki D.- RIGHT!

Swistle said...

Annika- It's a combination of three things:

1. Feeling like it's HIS TURN to do some reproductive work.

2. The reversibility of a vasectomy, which is better than the reversibility of female options.

3. That if Something Were To Happen, I would want ME to be able to have more children with a potential future guy, but I would NOT want Mr. No More Children to go on and have children with someone else.

Swistle said...

P.S. to Annika- But I'm not yet sure we'll actually do it. I only know that if we DO choose permanent birth control, HE is the one who has to do it.

Marie Green- YES I know that feeling of thinking I might do almost anything to get that baby---especially knowing, KNOWING, that he would be happy with the baby once it was here!

Anonymous said...

you wouldn't want him to have the option of more kids if Something Bad Happened?

Elsha said...

My husband and I are both at a weird sort of in-between stage right now. We have 2 kids, a 2 year old and an 8 month old, and we're content for now. We both come from big families (5 kids in mine, 7 in his) and love the IDEA of a big family, but are struggling with the logistics of going through the baby phase that many times. I'm guessing we'll have 2 or 3 more, and have the very close together so we can get to that light at the end of the baby-phase tunnel.

Megan said...

Well this makes me kind of sad. I was really still hoping that Paul would change his mind!!! Now won't you both change your minds please?!

Pigeon said...

So funny---I remember reading the original post and knowing exactly how you felt, and now, I'm kind of sort of maybe might be feeling that we are done. Maybe. Or maybe not. I've wanted a fourth for a long time, and I think I could talk the Mister into it if I really really really wanted to...but i've got a 5, 3 and 1 year old...and the one yr old is WORKING ME OVER. She is single-handedly making me reconsider having a fourth.

Right now we are in a phase where everyone seems to be needing much attention--the five year old is freaking out about kindergarten, the 3 yr old is having some issues needing occupational therapy, and the 1 year old is glued to my body 24 hours a day. I have held off doing anything permanent because I think if things calm down I might go back to wanting a fourth, but right now, the thought of one more bottom to wipe is making me run for the hills.

The Mister will definitely be joining the V-club within the next few years, tho. I am done with being the reproductive guinea pig.

Swistle said...

Anonymous- Right!

Swistle said...

Megan- I know, right?? That is how the story GOES!

d e v a n said...

I had to giggle at you tempting Fate. lol
I definitely feel that I reached the last stage after baby4 was born, which is good, since dh had the v months ago.

Amanda said...

Okay, I suppose I am in stage one, because you just perfectly described everything I am feeling! I only have one little guy, I would love to have two more, but hubby doesn't want any more at all. I secretly hope every month for a surprise pregnancy. So sad :O(

Anyways, I also wanted to let you know that I used to work for a urologist, and that while vasectomies can be reversed, it doesn't always work, and 9 times out of 10 insurance won't cover it - and they cost around $10l to be reversed! So think long and hard about everything before making any big decisions! Good luck to you!

Adlib said...

I don't have any children (yet), but it makes me happy to read posts like yours because you must have SO MUCH love to give to a family as big as yours. That is so awesome to me.

I always wondered how parents handled having more than 2 when they start to outnumber you after that. :)

I'm glad you updated us though. Hope all goes well! (and hopefully no surprise pregnancies!)

Kelsey said...

This is really interesting because I used to feel really sad, a lot of the time, that we were told we couldn't have any more... but now I'm shifting more to those moments when, like you, I can see the end of the baby stuff in a really delightful way. Our situation is a little different, I guess, because we really CAN'T decided to have a number three. But still, I think some of the emotional process is the same.

Susan said...

I started REALLY wanting another baby when my youngest was 10. He's now 35 and I'd still love another! But maybe my case was different because I only had two total. Well, and a number of foster babies. Okay, 20.

Whimsy said...

Thank you so much for writing this Swistle! Sometimes you write these wonderful little instructional posts that I know are going to come in handy for me (if not currently, then eventually), and this is just one of those things.

I'm curious: did you approach Paul about the V or did he bring it up initially? I know you said that you still might not go through with it, but I'm not sure I can imagine how such a conversation would even start!

Swistle said...

Whimsy- Hm...I am not sure! I think what happened is that I've always assumed that's what we'd do when done having kids, and made remarks to that effect over the years, which he's agreed with. And we keep having to discuss birth control options after each baby, and so then I say something like, "Well, I'm not ready for anything PERMANENT...*meaningful look at his pants*...so I guess we should use the Pill again?" In our most recent conversations, I brought it up by updating him on my improved feelings about not having children, and then saying something like, "So I guess we should go ahead with...something permanent?"

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I am at stage 3 and a half. I agree with what you've described a lot. And I really don't think that the number of kids you have determines whether or not the baby need should or does go away. We all have our own life stories. No one who is infertile would want to be judged for hoping for a baby so I would hope that they wouldn't judge a person with 1 or 2 or several children for wanting a large family.

I don't think I can fully get to stage 4, though, until my husband actually DOES get snipped. I still have that "Oh my gosh, I'm a little late. Could I be..." And then I get freaked out and then I convince myself that it would be FINE and then I get excited and then I am relieved when I'm not. But there's still that moment of excitement, you know?

CARRIE said...

We have a 6-year-old, an almost 3-year-old, and a 10-month-old. The baby was a surprise "I just weaned, started a new birth control pill and got pregnant" baby.

Hubby had the snip in April, and, like you, if something dreadful happens and I'm left without a husband, I want the option of having more children. Especially since he asked stupid questions when I got pregnant with #3, like "Did you take the pill correctly?" (Um. open mouth, put pill in, swallow).

I wouldn't want him to fall in love with some other gal and reproduce with her, only to leave our 3 kids fighting for their inheritance.

I sometimes think the vasectomy should be a complete genitalia-removal process, but I'm also sometimes nasty-mean (on the inside).

Jess said...

I love that you are ahead of me in this whole game so that I can read along on the whole process. Specifically, we are kind of assuming that when we're done having kids Torsten will also have the big V, but when push comes to shove perhaps we'll start having all sorts of Morbid Wonderings that will prevent us from taking such a permanent step. I am very curious to see how your timeline unfolds from here.

pseudostoops said...

You have such a lovely ability to describe things, and processes, in a way that makes total sense. I'm more in the "it just, like, is kinda, you know, like THAT" camp of self-expression, which is not helpful when trying to explain things to one's spouse.

Saly said...

Oh sigh.....just...SIGH.... I think I'm in between stage 2 and stage 3--closer to 3. I usually think I am ok with being done. What we have is pretty great, and it's fun getting rid of stuff. But I'd still say yes to another one in a heartbeat if Hub just said the word.

jive turkey said...

Ha! Yeah, you're totally knocked up, like, right now. Writing this post is the equivalent to giving away all your maternity clothes. YOUR OVARIES CAN HEAR YOU. AND THEY ALSO READ YOUR BLOG.

Anyway, in seriousness, I'm glad you're approaching a place where you feel settled about the issue. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about #2.

Kalendi said...

Hi Swistle,
I'm one of those women who wanted lots of kids and for whatever reason we could never have any. In my 20's I wasn't worried, in my 30's I was incredibly sad, in my early 40's there was still always that hope but now that I'm reaching 50 I'm ok with it. Blessings abound anyway and sometimes not having children sure makes for easier lifesyle (I guess what I'm saying is that we adapt and your desires for another may be changing as your children grow).
However, I have never resented anyone with children. In fact, I am always amazed and even pleased when someone has over 3 and is happy about it. More power to you! If you want to stop at 5 that's cool too, but never, never, feel guilty about having the number you do because of what others might feel!!

bananafana said...

One of the things that made me feel better about The Snip was that, while it was done for all the right practical reasons and not regretted at all, I also knew that there was a slight (smallsmallverysmall) chance that something could happen and we could end up getting pregnant and if so it would be MEANT TO BE and I would be thrilled to death without having all the wondering about whether another child was The Right Choice For Our Family. Sick right?

Alice said...

HA! "your ovaries can hear you. and they also read your blog." :)

i'm glad to hear that stage 4 *does* come eventually. i'm still at the "huh.. so i guess i DO want kids someday after all" stage, which i guess is like -15 on this scale, but still! nice to know for the future!

CAQuincy said...

Yes. Exactly. I'm slowly slipping from stage 3 to 4. I'm still a tad bit resentful that he promised me four, and I only got three--but that resentment is slowly fading into acceptance. And an acknowledgment that he was right. (Darnit!) And I keep thinking that instead of feeling the loss of the baby I didn't have, I really need to pay more attention to the wonderful children I DO have!

St said...

I spoke too soon. I'm still in stage 1.

Kelly @ Student of the Year said...

It's amazing how much of a process it can be, isn't it?

I keep thinking, one more and I could have that tubal ligation during the c-section. Easy peasy!

larajean1 said...

I always knew that my guy was done at 4 so I was in the unhappy resignation phase when she was born (she's 2.5), I do occasionally feel the "seeing an upside" phase but I am SO far from the "possible contentment" feeling. I'm definitely always hoping for the accidental pregnancy. Why does it have to be so hard? Great post...I hope I get there and it is great to read that someone else feels as I do and understands.