The Grief of Being “Done” Having Kids

My husband had a vasectomy. I was overwhelmed with four kids under six and I knew even though I’d keep having babies forever, it was time to be done. My anxiety was  through the roof and I was hanging on by a thread. I didn’t think I’d be the best mom to my other four if I added more to the madness.

So we decided to do it and I was only a little sad. That moment of holding a new baby on my chest felt like nothing short of an encounter with Heaven, but I thought, my arms are full and so is my heart.

I thought it would be easy because I had four already; our family was complete.

My mother-in-law told me how she ached for another baby until my husband was nine, and my aunt warned me that no matter when I was done having kids, I would grieve the end of a season.

I thought I understood, but I really didn’t.

My husband came back from his vasectomy with a pale face and his sweatshirt hood pulled over his head. A part of me was giddy that it was his turn to have his business probed and prodded. He told me about having the operation while a nurse in her 20’s observed. The doctor pinched him with an instrument that looked like salad tongs and asked her if he seemed numb to her. Her eyes widened and she nodded like a young fawn in the headlights. The husband tried to comfort himself that she’d seen a thousand taped up penises, but found out this was her very first. I laughed uncontrollably; PAYBACK.

For two years I was fine. I had plenty of baby happening in my life. I still had sore nipples and dirty diapers and toddler tantrums. Everything was as wild and crazy as you’d imagine. I had no time to miss pregnancy or late night feedings.

But then the baby got older and a familiar alarm went off that said, “time for another”. I watched my friends get pregnant with their seconds and thirds and my heart began to ache.

I did not expect how deeply and painfully my heart would ache.

My baby just turned five and sometimes I still go through all the stages of grief in a day.

I get mad that I can’t begin that season all over again, I’m in denial that it’s really over. I beg my husband to get a reversal even though I know it’s probably more likely to have a 1 in 1000 miracle baby. I switch to begging God to bypass the surgery because we need to show the husband that he doesn’t know what he wants.

I didn’t know how DAMN HARD it would be to be done.

It turns out that even though my butt and arms and cheeks got pregnant, and I felt like a sweaty whale who was carsick all the time…I miss it. It turns out that even though my boobs were swollen and leaky and bleeding, I miss it. I even miss the long nights stumbling to the edge of the bassinet.

I know this isn’t everyone’s experience. I have friends whose husbands suggest another, and they’re like, “how about a puppy?”

I don’t want a puppy damnit. I want a baby.

I don’t know if I really do, or if this is just grief. Whatever it is I feel it strongly, so strongly. I have so much to be grateful for, but still I’m sad.

So, to my Mamas who are done and grieving…I see you. What my aunt said gives me comfort: “it doesn’t matter when you’re done, whether you have one or ten, you’ll still grieve”.



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14 responses to “The Grief of Being “Done” Having Kids”

  1. I got my tubes tied after my daughter. It was a very hard pregnancy after my twins basically destroyed my body and I didnt think my body could handle one more pregnancy. My youngest is now 8 m and I regret it some days already but I also have 4 kids under 6 (6yr, twin 2 yr olds and 7m) and I don’t think I could handle anymore right now. Maybe adoption later on.

  2. shannonjpickard Avatar

    My husband got a vasectomy that I begged him to get after our second. Life, our marriag, etc. felt much too overwhelming for more kids but now my youngest just turned 5 and I’m longing for another baby. It helps to hear I’m not alone in feeling this.

  3. I hear you! We have 4 and the youngest is turning 3 in a month. My hubby wants to be done and I beg for one more. I was ready to be done but we had a surprise pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage and my heart and soul ache to hold my lost baby or any baby to be honest. Everyone I talk to says they moved past their miscarriages when they had their next child but what if there is no next child? I just want to not hurt any more. Thank you for this tribe it helps so very much to know I am not alone!

  4. My baby, #4, will be two soon. We haven’t taken permanent steps but my husband tells me we’re done and he’s talked to his doctor about a vasectomy. I knew this day would come, I knew I would be upset… but I’m still not prepared. I’ve been ugly crying my way through baby clothes, in denial that my baby is in the throes of terrible twoness, bursting into tears when I hold him or rock him to sleep. I also don’t think my sanity could handle anymore… but there is nothing like the magic of being pregnant, then having that new baby in your arms. SIGH Knowing the possibility isn’t there? So hard. I try to remind myself how blessed we are… but I’m feeling all the feels. <3

  5. We never did anything- couldn’t decide what to do… thought menopause would take care of it… but then I got pregnant… at 47. I suppose it won’t help if I say, best thing that ever happened to me. And she was #6, born 25 years after #1…

  6. This aches my heart to its core! Maybe I’m old school, maybe I’m in denial, maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m a lot of things, but my husband and I left it up to God. We left the ‘number’ up to God when we got married. He knows I live with chronic pain, but He is my father and would never give me more than I can handle. Thanks for sharing your story. Blessing to you! 🙏🏽

  7. Awe I’m SO sorry. I can totally understand that. I had two miscarriages in the middle and I can see how that would be so hard not to redeem it with another birth. Praying for you sister!

  8. YEP I completely get all of this!!

  9. Awe that’s amazing!

  10. Thank you! My little sister is struggling to get pregnant with baby number 1 and I feel so guilty having four and grieving the fact that it is all I can have. I felt silly for having such jealous responses to my friends having their thirds. It helps to know that I am not alone in this feeling. You are so talented at normalizing the ups and downs of parenting. Thank you.

  11. Adoptive mom here. Grieved not being able to conceive and then only being able to adopt once. Grieved when she outgrew size 1 diapers, and when she walked at 9 months. She’s 30 now, with three of her own. The grief isn’t raw and new, but will always be there. It’s okay.

  12. I totally relate to this!

  13. Awe thank you

  14. Annette Naranjo Avatar
    Annette Naranjo

    My husband and I have 2 and some days we want one more and others day we aren’t sure if we can handle one more. We don’t have much help from family so we tag team and help each other out. We are leaving it up to God in prayer to give us that peace.

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