How Do You Know When You're Done Having Kids?

Updated on May 11, 2018
G.A. asks from Ann Arbor, MI
13 answers

It's becoming clear that I should be asking these questions on an IVF board because people who conceive naturally don't get what it's like to have leftover embryos after IVF treatment. I wouldn't be asking myself this question at my age if I hadn't done IVF. This actually isn't about gender, it's about changing one's vision of how they thought their family might be. We only wanted two kids. We got 4 embryos by some stroke of luck. It's hard to let them go. Since no one who conceived via IVF answered I think I'm barking up the wrong tree with this website.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I fulfill my need to be around more kids by volunteering at a local organization that provides residential care for kids in need. I'm part of a small group that hosts family game nights for kids who don't have any family nearby to visit them. The joy they give back to me with their smiles and laughs is far more than I give to them.

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answers from Washington DC on

sometimes perfect peace and harmony with all decisions don't happen. it's not the answer anyone wants to hear, but there it is.

for me the fact that your husband is done means you're done. i get wanting another baby, but if it's not a joint decision, the default is always no. that is, unless you're willing to ditch this husband and find another who will be okay with both of your current kids, and this husband's embryo, and the emotional upheaval of breaking up your current family.

long shot.

you've got two kids, and that's two big reasons to be happy and grateful. your second is still very young, and you may well be having some post-partum.

but whatever the case, you need to refocus on the tremendous blessings you have and come to terms. counseling is always a good option if logic doesn't work (and logic doesn't often work with emotions, does it?)

i sympathize with your call for more babies. babies are wonderful. and should always be wanted desperately, by BOTH parents.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You received lots of great advice in response to both of your similar questions in February. Read those answers. Get counseling for yourself (and your husband).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My second child was born very sick and was placed on hospice so we could bring him home from the hospital. When I had my third child, who was healthy, I felt nothing but gratitude. Initially, I wanted another child but I was approaching AMA and decided to just count my blessings. Now my youngest is in 9th grade, my oldest away at college and my husband and I are really enjoying ourselves with friends, dinners, outings etc.

My advice is not to live in a fantasy world and think about what could have a life of gratitude for what you do have.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

G., I can tell that this question is really weighing on you, because you asked it in February and now you're asking it again. While the passage of 3 months might seem like a long time, it's really not in the grand scheme of parenting and dealing with an infant and the changes in hormones.

As was said before (and as you will see if you search other questions on this subject on Mamapedia which will give you helpful input), you and your husband have to be on the same page. You aren't. But maybe that's just now. You aren't giving him a chance, and you aren't giving yourself a chance. And if your longing is still for a daughter (as it was in February), that's another big hurdle to get over.

My advice hasn't changed - get some counseling. It will help to clarify your wishes, your husband's wishes (and your goals and dreams for your family, what aspect of your personality or psyche is not yet satisfied and which feels incomplete), and how you will go through life if you disagree on so vital an issue. You risk being alone (either in reality or at least emotionally) if you do something different from what your husband wants (and vice versa - he will be alone if you are unhappy and unfulfilled). A marriage counselor can help you navigate this and other major issues that you both face.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

We have two kids. Girl and boy. When our son was around 3, my husband said he would like to have another. I did not. I was done. My husband traveled about 75% of the time so the primary parenting was on me. I was working full time and with 2 kids. I didn't think I could handle a third and honestly our finances couldn't have handled another.

I am very glad he did not pressure me because that would have damaged our marriage. I asked him a couple years ago if he regretted not having another and he said at the time he did but now was so glad we didn't. Our kids are grown and out of the house. We are having so much fun together just the two of us.

If your husband doesn't want more, you are done. Please don't pressure him or guilt him. That isn't fair. He could be looking at the finances and age of you both and the kids. He may want to retire someday and is looking at that as well.

What might help is talking to a therapist about your feelings. That could be of benefit to you. Enjoy your boys. Don't look at what you don't have but look at what you DO have. You are very blessed!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I wanted a third, my husband did not, so we did not have a third. It is my belief that no-one should ever be forced or guilted into becoming a parent, it is simply too big a responsibility and finical burden. I dealt with my feelings of wanting another for a coupled of years, mourned a little for the child I would never have, and focused my attention on the kids I did have. Now that I am a few years past that point and my boys are getting older I am honestly glad we did not have a third.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Read Diane B's answer carefully and take her suggestions. I know that it took me over 2 years after our first was born for me to decide I was ready to try for a second. I knew I was done with our second, being 40 when she was born and the primary income earner for our family. My husband probably would have wanted more (he was one of 9 kids), however not strongly enough to campaign. Yes, you may hear your biological clock ticking because you are already past the 40 year old line, however I just can't imagine you and your husband making a good decision about this question when you are hormonal and both sleep-deprived with a 6 month old. Don't make any permanent decisions yet, get counseling, and work on trusting that you two will ultimately make the right choice for the whole family. Good luck with it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I am guessing you wanted a girl.

Here's the thing. For most people, having babies the regular way, you would just be done with it - end of discussion at 41.

You'd be so thankful for your healthy baby. If I had brought up another baby to my husband at 4 months, he would have gotten in car, and driven off.

I am guessing you want a girl because you brought it in previous question. Am I correct? I'm not judging, I just think you'd get more helpful answers on here.

Here's how it worked here for us.

My husband was asked by the doctor if he wanted to be on the vasectomy wait list (because I did not ask to have my tubes tied and they do that so you have time to think about it - they just make it off in the distance). So he said sure. When his call for appointment came up, I said "I don't think I'm ready to make that decision" and he said "Ok" and he cancelled it. Didn't mean I knew for sure I wanted more kids. We just agreed we wouldn't shut that door.

So that's how we handled it.

Can you not just shelf the idea for the next while? I get you're 41 but why not wait for 6 months or so? Can you do that? I couldn't make this decision at 6 months after having a baby. I was still getting my baby to sleep.

I knew I was done when I had no interest in being pregnant any more. I was enjoying the raising our children phase and had no desire to go back to the infant phase. We (as a family) were ready to move on fully.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You both have to agree you want more kids otherwise it's a no go.
Having one more embryo to try doesn't always mean the pregnancy will take.

We have one - and we like it that way.
We can afford to spoil him and send him to college - and still be able to retire.
There's no bickering and he never has to share our attention with other kids.
Siblings are not necessarily a blessing (my younger sister is a nightmare).

It might take awhile for you to get over baby fever - but I think it will feel right after awhile.
You are not even done with the hormone fluctuations you are experiencing from your 6 month old yet.
It will settle down a lot right about when you start getting more sleep.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I, personally, made it a rational decision. It had to do with what we could afford, could we still travel, could we offer the music lessons, sports, camps, stuff like that. I did go through a period of a few months after I had my 2nd where I really wanted a baby again...but the feeling passed. I'm pretty sure it was hormones! Good luck with your decision.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

At 41 I would count your blessings that you have 2 healthy children, and I would hope you would put your baby desire energy into cherishing the precious 6.5 month old baby you have now, instead of already thinking about having more.


answers from New York on

i wanted a boy and a girl, but set a limit of 3 kids. so if the first 2 shared a gender i would try once more for the other gender. if i was able to have one of each i would be done. i was lucky enough to get one of each. and was able to be done after 2. me and my husband had this discussion before we were even married. we both knew how it was going to be kids wise before tying the knot

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