I am kind of stuck at the moment. Stuck with knowing if Alice is our last baby, or if we will go on and have another one (or 2). If you ask Nathan he will irrevocably declare “yes she is and we are DONE”! But for me it doesn’t feel that clear or easy even…For someone that has spent so long longing for another baby it seems so odd to ever feel like I wouldn’t want more kids. I always imagined myself as a mum of 6 kids. I don’t know why 6, it seems like a crazy mad number, but its an even number, and a number big enough to justify driving a mini bus!

There really is no greater feeling than that of holding a precious new baby, but then you quickly realise that being a mother/parent is far more stressful, and much more hard work than cooing over your new born all day.

You never imagine when you say how many kids you would like that you may face child loss, illness, financial struggle, or just realise how blumming hard and soul destroying raising a family truly is.

Of course it is wonderful too and there are lessons I have learn’t that only my kids and being a mother could teach me, (and the highs most definitely outweigh the lows).

I am now 32. I am a healthy woman who has thankfully had no struggle with getting pregnant. But then on the flip side of that, pregnancy has always being a massive strain for me. I have had hyperemesis, diabetes and undiagnosed SPD, along with one c-section, 2 bouts of PND and then a stillbirth. The toll on my body and mental well being has being evident and I could quite easily say “I’m done now” for all of those reasons, but somehow I don’t feel it yet.

I have brought 4 babies into this world, my body is not what it once was and with the cheek of my now 6 year old, I don’t know if I could cope with any more. But then there comes the growing up of number 4 and the packing away of baby things… the moments when there is so much joy and harmony in our family and I wonder – Could I do it again? Should I do it again? Another son would be nice… a little playmate for Alice would be lovely.

I seem to have had so many conversations and read a lot of blogs recently about “The final member of the family” as being the phase people all around me are in… its the “now our family is complete” phase, and planning the future minus babies, and every time I hear it, I ask myself “how did they know?”, “When will I know?”!!

The A-Z of being done!

I know that having a family is a very personal choice and between each couple. The number sometimes is as much a surprise for some as it is a choice for others, but thankfully some of my fellow bloggers have kindly shared their experiences of family planning and together we have come up with an A – Z of knowing when you’re done!! (Its a bit of fun really so hope you enjoy!).

 

A is for “Age” and realising that your child bearing years are a thing of the past!

Deborah from Country, heart and home

“We had six before deciding we were finished and after having really bad SPD with my last 3 we realised that hitting 40 meant it was time to call time on the baby factory!”

B is for Broody and not feeling it anymore

Chelle from chellemccann.com

“I knew after Jude – I’m so over babies and don’t coo at all anymore!”

C is is for “Complete” and knowing your family is just that

Zoe from Mama Geek

“When we had Lydia we just knew that our family was complete, and we haven’t changed our mind since. No regrets! I always wanted three but just had an overwhelming gut feeling that we were done once we took Lydia home. Both Georgie & Lydia’s pregnancies and births were difficult and the problems would likely to reoccur (and be worse) with a third pregnancy so it’s probably for the best anyway! My husband said he couldn’t face seeing me go through another pregnancy & labour”

D is for  “Doctors” and them advising it

Jen from Mum in the Mad House

“We were forced to be done due to a medical issue. We wanted four – ended up with two and those two took ten years, 3 miscarriages (twins at 20 weeks which was horrible) and a molar pregnancy.
There are only 14 months between the boys so it can be challenging and more children would have helped with their dynamic. I see this more and more as my best friend has four boys.
I have to say that there are days when I long for another child, however, realistically it will never happen. The husbeast is now in his 50’s and he would hate to go back to the baby stage.”

E is for “Everything baby” is now sold/gotten rid of and you are okay with that
F is for “Fate” and it deciding more or less than you planned/hoped for

Collette from We’re Going on an Adventure

“Dave wanted three until we’d had one and then decided we’d stick at two>
Fate won out in the end”

G I thought would naturally be a “Gut Feeling” (Which is covered in J&K) so another that came up was  “Guilt” & “Gratitude for Gods Blessings”

Lizzie from The Mother Diaries 

“I personally would love to have another but the biggest reason I wouldn’t is because I don’t want to upset the apple cart. God blessed us with two healthy babies and I feel lucky enough to have these two. My second reason is because whenever we consider it I feel guilty to the two we already have. My final reason is cost. Children are so freaking expensive! We want to tour the world with our babies and if we had any more children, it’d fill our hearts of course but it’d empty our pockets and our dreams to travel may not be possible”

H is for “Health” reason which are numerous (Physical or Mental)

Lucy from Real mum reviews 

“I know that my second baby will be my last baby. Before she was born I would’ve quite happily had more, but after getting Sepsis after her birth and being in hospital for 4 weeks I have decided I can’t risk my health again and need to be here for the two I’ve got!”

Kate from Family Fever 

“After 4 very difficult pregnancies and 4 C sections, my body is definitely done with growing babies. To have more would be risking my health, and that isn’t fair on the children we have already. My youngest was the only one of my babies who wasn’t whisked away to SCBU at birth, and that helped me to feel ‘complete’ and come to terms with the fact there would be no more babies.”

I is for “IVF” and not wanting to do it again…or not being able to afford that road

Amber from Meet The Wildes  

“We’ve had four so far – two sets of twins within two years. I don’t think we’ll ever be ‘done’ but we’re going in for one last baby this summer and then we’re going to focus our hard-earned pennies on something other than IVF for a bit; we just can’t afford more than five.”

J  is for when you “Just Know”

Jade From Raising the Rings

“I’ve had two and I just know I’m not done. I’ve always said I’d love three so I think mentally I’d feel like I was finished then although Jamie would be happy to have no more children. It’s one of those things when you ‘just know’ “

K is like J – you “KNOW”

Angela from Adventures in Websterland  

“You just know it in your heart I think. I had a 12 year age gap between having my 2nd and 3rd because I knew deep down I wasn’t done. After my 4th I just knew he would be the last it’s hard to describe the feeling.”

L is for “Limit” and reaching it (mentally/physically).

Hannah from Budding Smiles

“Essentially Toby destroyed my soul and Martha destroyed my body, but on a serious note, I look at photos of the four of us and I know that this is us, forever more. I love that.”

Louise from A Strong Coffee to Go 

“To be brutally honest if we had waited longer to have our third, we may have come to the conclusion we were done at two! I know some people find it easy, but I find three draining and expensive. I am too tired and broke to want anymore and I am happy with my little of band of boys and feel very lucky to have them.”

M  is for “Money” and feeling the burden of the cost of raising them

Mary- Kate from mummymemories

“I know that we are finished having children because we simply could’nt afford to have anymore, we want to be able to give the two children we do have the best possible life that we can afford to and treat them to football, ju jitsu, cricket clubs, ballet tap dance ect. If we had a third we would need a bigger house, a bigger car and we couldnt afford to do any extras, to be honest we couldnt afford a bigger house!!. I feel very lucky to have two children and even luckier to have 1 of each. Plus its hard having kids, my mum had 8 so I think that put me off having a big family. Second labour went all wrong with a cord prolapse and its not something I would want to do ever again. We have just got married and if one more person asks me if Im having another child I may scream at them. Its a stupid question that shouldnt be asked. Im looking forward to others having babies I can cuddle and give back!”

N is for when you get to your “Number”. Be it 1,2,3 or 10. You always just know that is the number you want and will feel complete at.

Colette (Again from Going on an Adventure blog ) 

“I always knew I was going to be mum to three but my husband wasn’t convinced. I never felt “done” after we had our second and though our third wasn’t planned and it took us a while to get used to the idea, I knew it was right. When she was born I just knew I was done, it was like someone flicked a switch. I don’t get broody any more, I love other people’s babies but have no desire to add anymore to our family. Three is our number.”

O is for your “order” is now complete

Beth from Twinderelmo  

“We always wanted three so after one boy – we had twins! This definitely signalled the end of our baby days!”

P is for when your “Partner” says no, and so unless you have one with someone else, it looks like your “done”!

Katie from Mummydaddyme

“I said that my second baby would be my last baby. She wasn’t. I said my third baby would be my last baby. Sadly I think he is going to be unless we a} win the lottery or b) I have one with someone else according to my husband.”

Clare from Mudpie Fridays

“I would love one but hubby is not keen now we have two (plus I have an auto immune disease which makes it difficult to conceive leaving to miscarriage and a whole host of issues in my last pregnancy). So despite being desperate for a little girl its not going to happen… sob.”

Q is for when you no longer “Question” it

Chermaine from Chammy IRL

“I didn’t expect to be done at one. I originally planned two or three and we tried for almost 5 years for a second. I then realised I was content with what I had, I didn’t NEED another and we worked well as a family of three.”

R is for Risk and not wanting to take it again (usually after a loss, complication or health issue)

Laura from Five little doves

“We knew that our last was our last, because although my family would never be complete, I knew that I couldn’t put my family, or my body, through the risk of having another”

S is for knowing it is “Sensible” to stop at where you are at

Chloe from Sorry About the Mess

“I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to tell when I’m truly ‘done’. I’ve called my third baby our final baby since the early days of pregnancy with him, because that is what my partner and I agreed. That was the plan. But I know in my heart I could always have space for more children, and I feel gutted to think that he is the last baby. We just had to draw a line under it, according to what was most sensible for our family”.

T is for Time… You’re in a new time and phase of life now

Mandi from Hex mum Blog

“I knew about six months ago that we were done, there has been 2-3 years between each of our seven children, so this is now the longest time I haven’t been pregnant in nearly 20 years! Our eldest is about to venture off to university and the youngest will be 4 in September, so no longer needs mum as much, our life stage has moved on and I certainly don’t miss the sleepless nights!”

U is for “uno” and that been your world

Rosie from Mummy and Boo

“I often get lynched for this but… I knew I was done the minute I had Boo, people often assume that because I have one child that I must want more – but the truth is I can’t imagine it ever being anything more or less than me and Boo”

V is for the “void” and knowing it has been filled

Hannah from The Simple Things 

“We have four little ones aged between 7 and (almost) 2 and when we had three I felt like a part of me was missing, even straight after our third Amy arrived. Now we have Ava I don’t feel like that anymore, I feel like our family is complete (that or I know I just couldn’t cope with any more chaos!)”

W is for “Work” and wanting to progress careers?

Laura from WaffleMamma

Whilst Laura still isn’t sure something she said stood out to me –
“There are so many reasons to draw a line under our baby days and move on as a family of four, like my bad back, anxiety, not being able to buy a bigger house, wanting to progress our careers again, start our own business and get some us time back. But then there are all the things we could have again like that exciting feeling of knowing you are creating a whole new person.”

X is for the years of  seeing a “X” telling you you aren’t pregnant and it just being too hard

Victoria from Verily Victoria Vocalises  

“I don’t think I will ever be done wanting babies but the one I am pregnant with now is definitely my last as I cannot see any other way. It has taken us nearly 4 years, 2 losses and 2 rounds of IVF to be able to complete our family plus I am nearly 46. Another one is so very unlikely.” 

Y is  “You” – You hate pregnancy and you aint doing that no more! Or like some of my friends maybe you want “you” back.

Michaela from Adventures of A Yorkshire Mum 

“After having my third baby (and also two miscarriages), I just couldn’t do it anymore. All of my pregnancies were horrendous – I hated every minute of being pregnant as I suffered with HG most of the way through each one. I ended up in hospital a lot due to dehydration and high blood pressure too. So for us we just knew that we didn’t want any more”

Z – zzzz You get used to sleep at night and never wish to go back to anything else

I have heard this said amongst other mum’s before and thought of it again with Mandi’s comment for “T”.

So there you have it. Where are you on the scale?

I would say that I am possibly at “P” but then who knows with time how either of us will feel. I don’t like to think that this is it but then like I say, some days I am at my limit! One thing that did stand out to me and resonated was that a lot of the mum’s I spoke to said that they don’t think they will ever be done, and some, although they had many reasons to be done, they couldn’t quite accept that either. I suppose health and Age will play a huge part for us all?

I also realised that with reading Gemma’s blog “Somewhere after the Rainbow” and Laura’s comment from Fivelittledoves (A couple of my faves), that in all of this that I could quite easily reach any number of these points and never feel my family is complete or ” done” because there will always be a member of our family missing from our home, pictures, and life.

Nathan says “No more” but I am not so sure. I am hoping that like the way I have always “felt” something about big choices, that with this one too I will just know!!!

How did you know?

 

My Petit Canard
Follow:

Since being little (or rather littler), both Ethan and Megan have loved and embraced rock climbing. We used to go most weeks after Pre-school and it was something they adored and looked forward to. We would play games, have fun, explore, but mostly they would learn how to boulder and climb in a safe way.

The two of them are both natural climbers…inquisitive and built to explore almost anything above ground level! I found that rock climbing was a way for them to let it out, and a way for me to allow them to channel this away from our home, kitchen cupboards and windowsills! From the top of the climbing frame in the park, to cliffs at the seaside…these two are fearless little climbers!

Yesterday we visited a local manor house and Estate for a lovely nature walk around the grounds, bike ride and play in the park. As usual the kids ran off the beaten track to explore and find the perfect trees to climb. They ate their lunch beneath its branches (in their “den”) and then together climbed and explored. Higher and higher, laughing and chattering, and I never had a second thought. It is an ordinary part of their relationship, an ordinary part of our nature outings.

I forget some days that not all kids are like this, and it wasn’t until yesterday, when a couple passing looked up into the tree in a concerned manner, that I realised their confidence with climbing isn’t across the board!  They kept saying how high they were (like we didn’t know), but I put their mind at rest by saying its all normal! The tree wasn’t as high as the nets at the playground, and If they can get up there, then they can usually get back down.

I love that all kids are different. That as parents we are comfortable with different things, and therefore are raising variety in this world!  For us it is definitely all about heights, an adrenaline rush, a little risk, and climbing up things. Perhaps I am a little slack in this area compared to some, I am not an overly cautious parent when it comes to adventure and I don’t feel uneasy with them tree climbing or climbing generally. It is an ordinary part of childhood, and ordinary moment for our family that fills us all with joy and awe!

I love their confidence, their agility and mostly their bond in these things. I love to see my little playmates, my little risk assessors and little nature lovers. They are my little climbers and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Ordinary Moments
Follow:

This week I have been mostly housebound with a spotty, chicken poxy baby! As a result I haven’t had huge opportunities to get out and hunt for the bargs! Frugal living is a way of life though, and whether in or out, there are always thrifty choices to make.

“Make do & Mend”

The phrase “Make do & Mend” to the younger me used to stir feelings of missing out and being cheap. To the adult thrifty me, I love it. I love that I can sew, and I love that I can see passed a rip or hole and make something wearable again. Make do and mending means saving money and living less in the trap of disposable fashion… though I do love Primark still!!

This week I mended a sweatshirt, blouse and summer trousers, and am excited to have them back in my wardrobe! I still have some trousers of Nathans and a dress to mend – saving the pennies!

Left Over Lunches

Another way I have cut down on spending and food shopping this week has been to eat leftovers for my lunch. It’s so easy (and tasty) to fall into the trap of buying lunch for convenienve when out and about, and I often do. I see it as a little treat for myself but those 2 and 3 pounds a pot soon add up!

This week at home I have enjoyed Tuna salad with the salad left from dinner, Beef stew from Sundays dinner and Chicken fajita salad from dinner the other night… it was all GORGEOUS!

Reductions

I always love a good haul from the reduction section of the supermarket. These days it seems to be luck as opposed to pre-planned back in the day. On one stint I picked up yogurt drinks for 50p (12), fresh juice for 65p and fresh tortellini for 55p. On another it was asparagus for 20p each, courgetti for 5p, kid soups 10p, and a tex mex dip for 10p! Bargain!

Follow:

Last week I had forgotten that May day meant a bank holiday, and so it suddenly felt like such a bonus on Monday to have Nathan home for the day. It was so exciting to realise Monday meant no rushing but an opportunity to be able to spend some extra time as a family. So of course we made the most of it and got the kids cleaning up!!!

After a morning of tidying up and swapping around ideas of what we should do in the process with this bonus family day, we finally settled on a visit to the National Railway Museum in York. It’s been ages since we all visited there and it was great to see that the kids still loved it just as much.

Trains to most kids are an exciting concept, and more so for ours since loosing their grandpa.  They were a great love of his and it’s a place he would frequently visit with each of his grandchildren, and so they are something that ties them to memories with him. We told stories to the kids of their visits there with him it was nice and so natural to take time to reflect on memories of the past with Grandpa there.

Another exciting feature to our visit (aside from all of the amazing Trains) was that the museum also have a crime/mystery theme going on at the moment (until September) where the kids were able to use typewriters, make finger print badges and solve some mysteries for themselves! It was the perfect opportunity to get involved and get to grips with history (which is awkward seeing as though we grew up with them), and for Ethan to develop a new obsession he would later torment me with by whining for one! They also spoke to police officers past and present about crime on the railways and then went nuts dashing here and there to see all of the marvellous things on display!

They both loved letting off steam (lol) and exploring, wandering, snooping and riding on the trains – it was really nice to chill out together and I too really enjoyed myself. I felt all day that it was actually a really cool museum I have never properly appreciated and felt pretty chilled out and had a lot of fun with the kids. Now when I think back and look at my selection of pics I am feeling thankful for our bonus day of time together in a place our whole family associate with someone very special. It was just a lovely day spent together making memories in an exciting museum of all things trains!

During the visit we noticed Alice had a few red spots on her and by the end of the day we realised she most definitely had chicken pox! Its been a bit of a struggle and she looks so sad even though she is actually handling rather well. I am just so grateful we got out on Monday for a little train adventure, and were able to have a good laugh all together…because now I am going nuts with a spotty, clingy, can’t sleep properly baby!

Run Jump Scrap!
Follow: