18 answers

Coping with Sadness over Last Child

I've got an almost 4-year-old boy and an almost 1-year-old girl and my husband and I have decided we're done. We'd agreed on two kids before we got married (I wanted 2 or 3 and he wanted 1 or 2). For every reason I can think of, we're ready to be done. However, I'm still really sad to be done with being pregnant (even though I was miserable through both pregnancies) and having babies (even though I'm not really a baby person). I don't quite get it. I'm happy that my kids are growing up and they're so much fun, but I just hate the idea of being done with that phase of life. Anyone else have this experience? How did you deal with it?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I really appreciate all the sharing. It feels good to know I'm not alone as my husband thinks I'm crazy. =) It is getting slightly easier as I'm trying to focus on all the possibilities that having older (toddler and preschooler) kids means that weren't options with babies. I also keep reminding myself there are options for getting a "baby fix" without having a baby. Thanks.

Featured Answers

I know what you mean. I think it is important to realize that we just can't have everything we want. I know you know that already, but sometimes I have to tell myself that in the same tone I tell my daughter that I'm not actually going to pay for her to go see Selina Gomez in concert and while I understand that it means the whole world to her, I'm simply not paying for it.

By the same token, I can't imagine paying another private school tuition, college tuition, medical bills, etc. not to mention dividing my time up even more and spending less with the kids I already have. So I talk to myself in my adult voice. I can't have a baby just because I want it. Lol.

You have both my empathy and my support. :)

2 moms found this helpful

Know you are not alone. (((HUGS))). I think many of us go through these feelings. We have always said we wanted two and was even graced to have one of both; but in the back of my mind I always wonder "wouldn't it be sweet." When I sold my crib last year, I actually cried. It is just the maternal instict and the grief of loosing that baby stage. Now let me tell you what recently helped me... LOL !!! I watched my baby great nephew. He is 5 moths old. Getting up in the middle of the night, him needing attention when I was eatting, lugging the diaper bag, packing all of the gear to go, lugging that car seat and lugging that stoller... WOW; I was so tired when we were done. I looked at my husband and said "Gosh, I guess I do agree with you. That is a lot of work and my body must be getting old. I guess it is nice mine walk, dress themselves, get in and out of the car alone, wipe their own butts ;) So now I realize I can play Auntie but like being Mother & Mom rather than Ma Ma. Here is a (((HUG))) to let you know you are not alone.

More Answers

I recall weepy days when I put away my only child's baby clothes, toys, books. But life moves on. Don't get stuck there – you do have a choice.

It's wonderful how we moms are designed, physically, emotionally, hormonally, to really, deeply care for children. It is absolutely essential for the long, challenging work of parenting, and being able to give ourselves wholeheartedly to our children's needs.

What you're feeling is the downside of that wonderful gift. All our systems become attuned to parenting, and it's a huge part of our self-identities. That will change only slightly over the next dozen years or so (unless we choose to be involved in other identity-building activities). So of course it's hard to watch our children keep growing and developing, leaving our arms less occupied. It feels like our hearts have room for so much more – but only because it's true.

Reasons are for the head, longing is for the heart. Don't try to ignore those feelings – doesn't work. But you can redirect them, toward an active investment in the present and your children's future. You might even consider volunteer work with babies – if you have a hospital nearby, they need tender, experienced women to rock drug-addicted babies in the nursery. And you have a future "you" to start building, so you won't become a forlorn empty-nester.

3 moms found this helpful

I know what you mean. I think it is important to realize that we just can't have everything we want. I know you know that already, but sometimes I have to tell myself that in the same tone I tell my daughter that I'm not actually going to pay for her to go see Selina Gomez in concert and while I understand that it means the whole world to her, I'm simply not paying for it.

By the same token, I can't imagine paying another private school tuition, college tuition, medical bills, etc. not to mention dividing my time up even more and spending less with the kids I already have. So I talk to myself in my adult voice. I can't have a baby just because I want it. Lol.

You have both my empathy and my support. :)

2 moms found this helpful

I feel ya on this one! I always wanted another one too, but since my husband and I each have an 8yo boy from previous marriages and we have one "joint" child that will be 3yo soon (another boy, no girls :( ), we had to agree that it was time to stop. It made me SOOOO sad. We both wanted a little girl so badly, but we ended up with all boys.

One of the things that has helped me is to think about how much having another baby would set our plans back. My older son and our little boy both live with us and they're five years apart. This can make some things more difficult. Having another one would really make it even more difficult.

For example: I homeschool and we're all learning the major European languages together because we plan to take the boys backpacking through Europe when my oldest is 15 and his little brother is 10. Having another baby would set our plans back because we want them all to be old enough to keep up and have a good time, and old enough to get something out of the amazing history we'll be learning about. If we had another baby now, my oldest son would be in college before we would feel like we could take the youngest on this trip. That's not fair to him.

The list goes on forever, but sometimes it still doesn't help. Try it at least, and try to start looking forward in your life. Close the chapter and put it in the treasured memories section and move on. It's hard to do and sometimes is never fully finished. But know that you are not alone, many of us mamas feel this way.

1 mom found this helpful

Let yourself be sad! Even if you've made a rationally sound decision, your feelings are your feelings and you're right that you're moving on from that phase of life to another. It's ok to mourn that loss even as you rejoice in what is happening now and what comes next.

Donating our baby gear was something that helped me to say goodbye. We kept a few special items of clothing and the rest want to friends who we expecting, or a garage sale to raise money for a good cause.

1 mom found this helpful

I have 4 and my youngest is 12 years younger than the oldest. Every time he hit a milestone it would bring me tears. Over time I have learned to love and celebrate my youngest's journey through childhood.
I babysit for my friends every so often. It gives me a baby fix but now that the youngest is in 3rd grade I am so much more content. I love the little ones but not any more for me.
I will say the hardest two days of my life were the first day of kindergarten for the baby which was the first day of my oldest's senior year. And the day my oldest went ot bootcamp.
One thing that helped me a while back while we lived in VA, 2003-2006. We were emergency foster care providers. i was apporved for any age but always got the littlest babies and the toddlers.

1 mom found this helpful

I identify with your feelings, and I have 3 grown birth children and two teenage adopted children. The remains of holding that sweet smelling infant and the delight of the toddler's accomplishments may not every really leave. Have you considered volunteering in a hospital, caring for friends or relatives small children, teaching pre-school Sunday School or any other option to be involved with the lives of young children? From my experience, being exhausted after one of those activities makes me happy I don't have babies any more!! The previous posters have wonderful ideas!

1 mom found this helpful

I had a hard time when my younger boy weaned a little after a year. I was very sad and weepy whenever I saw infants and also a little sad thinking I'd never be pregnant again. We had considered doing something permanent but we're pretty young so decided to wait a bit. Thankfully for me, my husband (who had only wanted 2) decided he wanted a third around the time I thought I'd be okay with just 2. You don't have to make a permanent decision at least, which means if your husband feels that way in a few years you might have another. If not, it definitely gets better, but I think we always think about that one more child we might have had.

1 mom found this helpful

Totally! I'm pregnant now with our third, and I'm already feeling that way! Before, I was thinking Oh, I'm not ready to be done, and, totally selfishly, I'm not ready to be done with my childbearing years, I don't want to be that "old". Then, this winter, we hung out with our neighbors, who have three kids--a 7 year old and twin 5 year olds. My boys are 6 and 2 1/2...and we could go ice fishing together, even when it was cold out. Then we went on vacation. The boys were old enough to catch sleep as they could, and still be expected to function. It was glorious. We had so much fun. Now that I'm pregnant again, my almost 3 is getting ready to be done with naps, my 6 year old finished kindergarten...and they're ready to play hard this summer. This winter? This winter, we'll be returning to 3 naps a day. While I'm definitely excited about having another, I like the chaos of family, I also realize that this is probably our last...because we are ready to move on and have our kids be old enough to play like little kids, not be coddled like babies who can't go outside in cold weather or need to be nursed or napped. Being around a family who was "done" was huge for me...all of a sudden, I went from adamant that I wasn't ready to be done to hmm...maybe being done has its perks! Good luck...it's a very emotional thing, I know.

1 mom found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.