Stop at Four or Have One More?
The question of being done having children never came up until this pregnancy. Eric is more than happy to close up shop--and he's volunteered to have a vasectomy whenever I ask. I don't have a strong feeling either way. We both grew up in big families. Eric was one of 7 children, and I was one of 5. I've always had this magic number in my head of a nice, big (but not TOO big) family. 3 kids definitely seemed way too small, 4-5 was just about right, and 6+ was way, way too many.
It's strange to think of being at the end of my childbearing years. I feel like I barely started! I know some women who absolutely know they're "done" and never look back. I don't know if I'll ever have that strong feeling. Instead, I'm just going to have to decide and go with it, as bittersweet as it might seem. I mean, it's really sad to think that this might be my last pregnancy, that it might be the last baby I ever nurse.
I've really enjoyed the years of not trying and not preventing between Zari's birth and now. After "preventing" for 5 years, we then "tried" for several years before I got pregnant with Zari (up to and including IVF). I didn't mind being on birth control, but I hated those years of trying. My body naturally spaces children between 2 - 2 1/2 years apart, so we haven't felt the need to do anything in particular until now.
But I am definitely not okay just "letting things happen" indefinitely. My mom is turning 60 this year, and she STILL hasn't hit menopause! So I can't assume that my fertility will naturally wane in the near future.
So it might be time to stop. I'm 34, Eric is 38. I don't feel old, but I certainly see the benefits of being a younger parent and grandparent. Eric is ready to move on to the next stage of our life. I'm not 100% certain that I am, but I am willing to take more long-term preventive measures in the meantime.
Here's our short- and long-term plan:
- Have an IUD placed some time before my fertility returns (probably around 8-10 months postpartum). I don't want anything I have to think about: no condoms, no pills, no diaphragms, etc. I'm definitely leaning towards the Mirena over the copper IUD. I really don't want heavier periods & cramps, which often happens with the copper IUD.
- In a few more years, when we're really, truly sure we're done, Eric will have either a vasectomy or--if it's available by then--RISUG/Vasalgel. (RISUG is 100% effective, less invasive than a vasectomy, and reversible. Clinical trials have been going on in India for many years, and they will likely start this year in the U.S.)
So tell me how you knew you were "done"? How did you and your spouse/partner come to this decision? What methods did you use for birth control? Did you change your mind down the road?