Making the Decision to Stop Having More Childrenby Emma Longden
When I was younger, I dreamed of having a big family. I wanted a boy, followed by twin girls, and another little boy last. Obviously, life doesn’t always go to plan, and you can’t generally choose the gender of your baby. Still, I did happen to have a boy first, followed by a girl, and my youngest is a boy, so things didn’t differ too much from my plan, as it happened.
I have no intentions of having a fourth baby though. It turns out having children is tough, tougher than I ever thought and, something I didn’t take into account when I was younger and dreaming of a big family. Having four children is not something I think I could manage.
The decision to stop having children is never a light one. I occasionally wonder whether we should reconsider, times when broodiness sets in, usually after seeing a pregnancy announcement or newborn baby. Then I remind myself why we came to this decision in the first place. Yes, having babies is incredible. That first moment you meet your new baby and they are placed into your arms is intoxicating. But adding another child to the family would mean spreading resources further, when they are already stretched to breaking, it would mean potentially sacrificing holidays, days out, being able to afford a nicer home for our family. It could mean the difference between us being able to help the children with money if they needed us to later down the line, to be able to put money into their savings accounts, to pay towards a car, house deposit or wedding for them, if we wanted to.
The decision to stop having children is such a personal one. For me, there are a number of other factors that come into it as well as our financial situation. I have suffered with my mental health for many years, and I have had both antenatal and postnatal depression with each of my three pregnancies. I do not cope well with pregnancy. I struggle emotionally and physically with all the hormones and changes it brings to your body. I don’t think I could, or indeed should, put my body and mind through this again.
I love my three children unconditionally. I love them so, so much, despite having days when I feel I could pull my hair out and wondering why I had three of the terrors. It is this love for them that makes me know my decision not to have another is the right one for me, and for us as a family.
Having said all of this, neither I or my husband have had surgery to prevent a future pregnancy. This is more down to fear and worry about any complications than doubting our decision. I have the Mirena coil fitted currently, although I am aware no contraception is 100% effective. If this did fail, we may need to reconsider our decision, and that is the chance we take by not going under the knife.
For now, though, I am confident that the decision to not have any more children is right for us. We have three gorgeous children and are happy as a family of five.