When are you done having kids?

I thought that after a year and a half pregnancy in 14 months I would feel different. I thought after the heartbreak of pregnancy loss followed closely by the emotional and hormonal roller coaster of another pregnancy I would feel certain.

I thought after the nausea and the hip pain and the sleepless nights I would hold this baby in my arms, look down at him, and say, "Hello, little one. You are my last."

I tried.

I see the devastated landscape that is my body and I want to feel that way. I think of the months of weight loss ahead of me and finally having just ONE wardrobe and I want to feel certain. I want to pack up all the baby products and pass along clothes I no longer have to sort and organize. I want to stop planning and wondering and living in the what if's. 

I want to feel done.

My husband says he's done... although he's said that before. For the first few days after Felix was born, he would look at me and say, "This is your last three day old." "This is your last four day old. Soak it up!" After every female we know told him how cruel that was, he finally stopped.

I envy him. I envy my friends who just KNOW they are finished having kids. They have their reasons. Their bodies can't take it. Their budgets can't take it. Their marriages can't take it. 

These are all good reasons. The problem is I know they don't apply to me. My body could have another baby. Another child would mean sacrifices, but we could do it. My marriage is strong and my husband (despite his cruel taunts) is a co-parent on the level most can only hope for.

I wonder if I would feel differently if I had a little girl. I know it makes the emotions surrounding this decision more intense. If I were to say goodbye to any more babies, I would also be saying goodbye to ever having a daughter. That's something I never thought I would have to do.

And yet... I still mean the words I wrote in this post. There are so many things I want to do. There are dreams that stand deferred while my house is full of little ones constantly demanding my attention. 

But then...

Then, Felix smiles or babbles and I remember that babies are WORTH it. Then, Amos grabs my leg and says, "Mommy, I LOVE YOU!" and I remember toddlers are WORTH it. Then, Griffin stands proudly and recites a story he created himself and I remember kids are WORTH it.

How can I possibly give up all that? How can I close the door on what has been the most fulfilling and rewarding time of my entire life? How can I say goodbye to the closeness, the intimacy, the MAGIC that is raising children?

Ever since I've started this journey, the universe has reminded me in a million ways - both big and small - that I have to give up control and sacrifice certainty in exchange for that magic. One would think I would have accepted my fate but no. 

Maybe I wouldn't feel through after 10 or maybe I would have felt done after one girl and one boy. Who knows? I still want the bigness of being a mother to fit into a nice little box. I want to know I'm through having kids. I want to know that this is my last baby. I want to know I'm doing the right thing. 

But that's not who I am and that's not where I am. 

Of that much I AM certain.