How do you know when you’re done?

I’ve been talking to my girlfriends lately about how you know when you’re done having kids. To be honest, I can’t believe it’s over–the bearing them part. I’ll tell you right now, I’ve never been more happy or sure about any decision in my entire life.  I am officially closed for baby making.

I haven’t talked a lot about how I came to this decision, and consider it kind of personal (believe it or not I do keep a few things to myself). But I’ve been wanting to write about it for some time, so here you go. Please be careful with your comments here, I consider this a pearl.

When June was about six months old I felt pretty satisfied with my life. Two boys, got my girl, I really didn’t see the need to have any more kids. We all know three is plenty of work, especially for today’s demanding world (car seats, school work, 17 thousand team activities). I mentioned to my mom that I was feeling like we might be finished.

“Well,” she said, “that’s a pretty important decision. You should pray about that, see what you come up with.”

About a week later I was in the car all alone, and turned off the radio to talk to God. As we visited, her advice came back to me. I don’t think I got two words into the asking before I was completely overwhelmed with what can only be a Heavenly lecture–I’m guessing it came straight from Georgia.What I heard went a little something like this:

“It hurts my feelings when you talk about not having any more kids, please don’t say that kind of thing any more. I am going to be so much fun, and you are going to love me so much–you need to have another baby…”

It was so shocking and totally overwhelming (and sounded so suspiciously female) that I couldn’t utter another word on the matter but a simple, “Okay, I get it.” And that’s how I knew I needed to have one more kid.

I don’t believe we all have a given number. I think there are some women who can have a dozen kids without breaking a sweat, I’m just glad the Lord knew I wasn’t one of them.

When it came time to make the permanent decision regarding future children, it took me a few months and a really terrible pregnancy to realize that it was okay, no matter what might happen to our children (Heaven forbid), four was our magic number.

(Also, Jason was freaked out at the thought of more children and kept offering to go get himself fixed. He was also freaked out that the doctor might sneeze right at that crucial moment and cut the wrong thing.)

Whether you’re someone who’s in touch with God or not, having kids is definitely something to consult the Heaven’s about. After all, they are kind of in charge of the whole program.


  1. What an awesome experience!! That’s so neat. My mother had a few experiences where she saw her future children. I won’t go into detail but I thinks it’s just awesome. I never had anything like that. For us it’s sort of like, the doctor says, “yeah, you could have another one but you would never be the same physically.” Oh, yeah. Okay. Let’s not have more. (not that we wanted to, anyway. We were both feeling very done.)

  2. Well, as you know, I am super behind the curve. You are done, and I haven’t even started!! Want to be my surrogate?

  3. I agree completely. I just turned it over to the Lord and when I was really done, I knew that was ok. I had a terrible pregnancy with the last one and my husband was terrified something would happen to me and I would leave him with all those kids! (He, He, He). So, it really wasn’t a hard decision to make. I sometimes miss the littleness of them, the way they depend on you, the way they smell, the way the smile at you every time they see you. But, I really don’t miss being pregnant or waking up in the middle of the night, or getting thrown up on, or any of the other millions of things that come with it. I have decided that I just need to have a little faith and love the spot I am in right now. Life is so amazing! Everyday, there are things that take my breath away and bring tears to my eyes. I think the number or kids doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are both comfortable with that decision and that you decided together.

  4. I know it’s been different for most of the members of my family. Some of my siblings stop when they feel like it, others know there are more. When my 10th (yes 10th!) brother was the baby, my parents thought they were done and realized that there were two more kids waiting. (Lucky me, I’m #12). At about age 2 my brother would talk to my mom about the babies waiting to come! His wife just had their 4th child and they’ve had similar experiences with their own kids…where they tell their parents about the babies waiting for them!

  5. Amen and amen. Thanks for the reminder that it’s not about if we need to buy a new car or if we’re comfortable– it’s about us and the Lord. Love that.

  6. One day after church, when Laney Kate was just a little tiny thing, all of the boys were gathered around the table, alternately eating lunch and coloring, and the baby was asleep in her car seat, sitting by the French doors next to the kitchen table. I was scavenging for food (still in my heels, because, yes, I am THAT HUNGRY after church) and suddenly, Craig came in the room with the strangest look on his face. “What?!?” I said.

    “We’re all here.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “I just looked at our family and realized . . . there’s no one missing. We’re all here.”

    And he was right — what a confirmation that was. Hallelujah, thank the Lord, the shop is closed. Now if we can just figure out how to keep someone from showing up unintended, we’ll be in great shape! (We’re leaning towards coordinated vasectomies for Craig and several of his friends right around March madness so they can all sit in the basement — on ice — watching basketball all weekend.)

  7. I’m much too terrified of the answer to that question and have yet to pray about it. But it’s all good b/c my baby is only 2 months old and it’s much too early to be thinking about having another… right?

  8. I always tell my friends, if you’re not sure then you’re not done! I’ve had far too many go back and forth and then find themselves pregnant, planned or not. I think that moment of indecision is telling them there might be a few more spirits waiting to join their family. After our fourth I knew we were done so DH took one for the team. He’s nifty like that.

  9. Would you all like to know how our dear Annie got here???? That I didn’t have the courage to get pregnant for the 6th time so I spoke to the Lord about it and told him I would have another child if he wanted it so but I was not going to do it on purpose therefore it was up to him. We almost gave Anne the middle name of “Foam”.

  10. It’s such a hard decision. Sometimes I feel like I am done, ok most times but then there is a little part of me that thinks what if?

  11. I’ve always felt that the Lord would help us know how many to have and when to stop. That thought was confirmed when we found out I was pregnant with twins.

  12. I’ve always felt that I am supposed to have five.When my husband gave me a blessing during our previous pregnancy, he said during it that he felt I was right, 5 was it. My father in-law wasn’t keen on having five. He wanted to stop at four. Then one night he was in his basement working on family history when he turned around and saw a little girl sitting on the stairs. She smiled at him, got up, and left. He turned the computer off, went up stairs and told my mother in-law that she was right, one more was waiting and it would be a girl. She is my cute sister in-law, Laura. 🙂

  13. I had to read this post after I saw the title..I came from the backordered life. I found out I was pregnant with my 7th a month ago and at the same time I realized this, I also realized this was the last one. It was weird! But a relief because I didn’t know how many we were supposed to have, and 7 biological and 2 step are quite enough, I think! Now to just convince the hubs that it’s his turn to take one for the team…..

  14. I always felt like I would have three children. I always felt that way but when I thought ahead I could only ever see a girl and a boy. As you know I had two girls and one of them went to heaven. I’m almost positive the next will be a boy and that it will feel done. After Megan it never felt done. I was frantic when the hubby wanted to have a vasectomy done, it didn’t feel right even then, right after her birth. Even though we’d agreed that 2 was enough. I’m so very thankful I was able to talk him out of that appt. Now we will just wait and see and pray and hope. Its good to have peace with such a monumental decision.

  15. After the birth of my daughter (& while still in the hospital) I told my Hubby that he either had a vasectomy or we were having one more. Guess what? He scheduled the vasectomy for just after the six week mark (both of my kids were c-sections). The sad thing is that I realized later I really wanted one more but we were done. Now I’m very content w/ the two we have & not very long ago I received confirmation that we were done. (I’d been considering pushing for adoption)

  16. Denys Gallentine (Brumbaugh) says:

    Why do you have to go and write about praying for confirmation right when I’m about to post all my baby things on craigslist?!?! maybe your’re right, darn it! But I really hope I’m done…I am way too old for this stuff! 3 boys, ages 6, 4 and 1 is enough!

  17. That was quite pearlish. Very awesome.

    I haven’t OFFICIALLY asked if we’re done. I know, no matter what, I’m on hold for a few years. But I wanted 5, and 4 just doesn’t feel finished…right now. But then again, if I wait for a few years I can’t just have one more. Then we’d have that whole spoiled baby of the family thing. So we might end up with 6? And the last two will most likely have to be adopted…

  18. Oh Annie, First I miss you like mad! Funny how you comment with someone so quickly and have legitimate separation anxiety. This is the story of my life right now! I’ve been in limbo for over a year and it’s the worst feeling ever! Some days I’m head over heels in love with the idea of one more little babe to love. Then the very next day I’m stopped in my tracks ready to move on and close the shop! I think #4 is the hardest decision of them all!

    Love you!

  19. Good idea for a post! Very interesting and everyone has a different way to get ‘there.’ Seriously, I have no big epiphany coming. Both hubby and I knew there was ‘someone missing’ after two kids. So we had a third and are very happy. Does my family feel content? Yes. Do I feel like someone is missing? No. Do I think I could have another one? Sure. Does my husband? NO!

    So, I think we are done having kids and I am fine with that. Even though we can afford it, we can handle it, and my body can carry another. Truthfully though, it just feels like it’s our decision. Praying about it has not made me feel strongly either way-have more or don’t. Sometimes I wish the Lord would just say for certain, but it is kind of nice to know that either way is fine.

    I loved reading about everyone else’s comments and experiences concerning babies though!

  20. How did I not comment yet? I musta been reading blogs on the sly while I was supposed to be doing something like, oh, teaching a piano lesson.

    I won’t tell you how we knew we were done, but I will say it is so incredibly personal for everyone that I hope people have enough sense to 1) seek direction in making the decision, 2) have the courage to act on the direction, 3) make peace with the fact that sometimes biology gets the final vote, 4) remember that Saturday’s Warrior was doctrinally unsound fiction, and 5) realize that how many kids you have and why is nobody’s damn business but yours.

  21. Two things:
    #1. The optimal number of children is one less than you currently have. Remember when you thought 3 was a lot? Now you have four, you wish you’d really appreciated having “just” three.

    #2. You DO know when you are done – and I knew before I ever had the 4th that it would be my last. Win, lose, or draw, the factory would close forever. Having C-sections helps with making the decision…we were in the Air Force, and everyone acted like I’d committed a felony by have FOUR children! By C-section! From the original marriage! How archaic! Now, number four is is 25.

    Actually, three things:
    #3. Some of the days (and nights) are long, but the years go fast.

    • annie valentine says:

      Here here! I can’t wait to take our circus overseas with the next move just to see the reaction we get.

  22. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  23. Having more kids…a very personal decision, up there with what kind of oj your family buys, birth control, etc.

    But I will say this, “If you love her, say it with a vasectomy.” And, 4 kids later (I birthed all of them within 5 years, including twins), he did.


  24. We have 3 children, it felt fine for a short time then I became desparate for a final child that I was convinced I should have. getting number 4 took over my life, I couldn’t think about anything else, and I struggled to get pregnant. Over the years I had 3 consecutive miscarriages, the last one only a few months ago. Now I know we are done, it feels different. I still crave a baby but know now it will not happen. Accepting it is hard, as I feel the decision has been taken away from me, but we are done, much to my husband’s relief.