When people see me walking with my 3 children running circles around me, a preschooler skipping beside me while holding my hand and a toddler in my arms, you can just see them counting the kids. The most common question that I am asked is “are you done having kids?” I generally don’t mind this question, I shake it off. I probably hear it at least 3-4 times every time I leave the house or meet someone new so I have become VERY used to hearing it. I smile and laugh and say it’s chaos and yes, we are done. Most people think we have made a conscious choice to not have any more children, but that is not the case. Don’t forget to pin this post!
Yes, I am done having kids, but it’s not what you think!
What people don’t know is that I would have had at least 2 more children. I could have seen myself with 7, 8, 9 kids! I wasn’t aiming for 20 (in fact, I was praying that would NOT be the case) but I was genuinely excited about the prospect of more children. I think every child God has given us is such a phenomenal blessing. And as chaotic and crazy and stressful as our life was with 3, God gave us the grace we needed to handle 4. And when we were terrified at the prospect of 5, we had JUST enough strength to handle that too. I know that if God had given us more children, He would have been faithful to our family.
When my 5th baby (my last) was born, I had ongoing complications. In fact, the same complications that occurred when I nearly died with my fourth (read the full story on how a hospital’s prejudice against homebirth nearly killed me here), happened again. I was somewhat terrified when we found out we were pregnant with our fifth and we decided to drive 4 hours to the largest, most well-equipped hospital we could find to have a proper assessment and make sure we were prepared. When the ultrasound showed that I again had placenta accreta, this time with suspected increta (growing INto the uterine wall), we were forwarded to a specialist. Every month I drove the 4 hours back and forth to the hospital to be closely monitored as the baby grew. We went through tests and ultrasounds, MRI’s and appointments to discuss our options. We knew that a hysterectomy was the safest option and there was a very good chance that would be the outcome. We grieved, and yet we hoped for a miracle.
When the day came we prayed and tried to be upbeat. We were really more focused on the risk of me not making it through the surgery than what we may lose. After my C-section, my doctor poked her head over the curtain and said that she had to remove my uterus. I was devastated, I still am, but my goal was to make it home to raise these kids of mine. When I woke up in recovery I was first and foremost happy to be alive. Placenta Increta doesn’t always come with a happy ending and my outcome was better than most. They pulled out all the tubes and balloons and wheeled me to the NICU to see my daughter for the first time. My recovery was long and hard, but I had this beautiful baby girl to hold in my arms, to smell her sweet baby hair and feel complete.
As she grew, the reality of what happened that day has hit me a little more each day. By now we would have been pregnant again for sure. I have an emerging toddler in my home, and each little piece of babyhood she gives up is a piece I will never see again. We sold her crib, we gave away all our baby clothes, that part of me is done and I wasn’t ready. There’s no going back, no use questioning if we should have gotten more opinions, what is done is done. All there is left now is learning to be content with the beautiful kidlets God has given me.
The other day, I held a newborn babe for the first time since Janiah was born, I excused myself to the bathroom and I cried. Never again would I be pregnant or breastfeed or see if our little one looked more like Jonathan or like me. Never again would I feel a little one kick inside me or the joy and wonder on my kids’ face as we explored the miraculous changes as their baby sister or brother was growing. It hits me here and there, unexpected. At times I feel less than. I feel like part of what makes me a woman is gone. I feel robbed. When I was only 26 years old, my fertility was removed. I don’t know if I will ever fully recover from it.
So when people ask me if we are done having kids, I know what they mean and I laugh with them and move on, I don’t let it fester. But it is a reminder, it is painful, there is so much more to my story that I don’t want to tell every stranger I meet at the grocery check out or walking down the road with my kids. That simple, seemingly innocent question breaks my heart a little bit each time. Yes, I am done, but only because I have no choice.
The problem with these harmless questions and sayings about people’s families.
I think we say these things because it is part of our culture. Somewhere along the line, we were all programmed that it is a funny thing to say or a good icebreaker. It’s just what you do, right? Even I catch myself saying little remarks about people’s family size or asking questions. I want to spark conversation, I don’t assume there’s a huge backstory. But the problem with this is that we all have a story. I would say more often than not, that happy family has a miscarriage or fertility problems or medical issues or unwanted pregnancies or, or, or. The list goes on and on. We live in an imperfect world and rarely is the image of that happy little family you see going to be a perfect story. When we ask these things without knowing someone, that puts the person in one of two positions. They are either forced to say what you want to hear or they are forced into reality; which is awkward and often painful and definitely not what you want to hear if you are just making an offhanded comment!
We REALLY do need to stop using these little comments and jibes and questions in our conversations with people we don’t know. I’m sorry but fertility, family size, and family dynamic conversations are OFF the table unless you have some personal relationship with that person! When you really think about it, you are essentially getting up close and personal with a complete stranger’s sex life. No! I don’t want to tell you if my husband and I plan on fertilizing my next egg! It is not an icebreaker, it is not funny, it is essentially not appropriate. So the next time you run into a family, keep your comments and questions to yourself and instead say they have a beautiful family and move on! Let’s try a little positivity and encouragement instead of callous questions and remarks when we don’t know the whole story or the person behind it! Nothing can sum it up better than this hilarious graphic I found from Alyssa Geltz’ Facebook, you can find it by clicking here or on the image below!