For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to have four daughters. Currently, I have three. Also, I must point out the fact that I failed to bear a son to my husband. This means that his family tree ends with him and his brother. Yes, I feel guilty about this. My husband, on the other hand, could care less. The fact remains, that I always have this nagging feeling that someone is missing from our family. I’m not ungrateful for all I do have, mind you. I’m often in disbelief at how blessed my life truly is. I’m married to a man who’s completely devoted to me and our girls, and I’ve given birth to three of the most delightful human beings in existence. But…
This year I turned 37. With this birthday came a flood of emotions. Yes, I have several years left until I hit the big 4-0, but I’m almost there, and that’s the point. Not only is my biological clock ticking away, but it’s also close to reaching midnight. My childbearing years are coming to a close, my daughters are growing older, and tough decisions have to be made. Will I attempt my dream of having a fourth daughter, or at least an heir to carry on my husband’s surname, or will I put those dreams to rest for good? After a great deal of thought, prayer, and discussions with my friends and family, I’ve come to a decision.
I’m getting my tubes tied. Yep…major surgery. A few years ago, when my daughters were younger and I was worn to the bone from caring for them, I consulted my doctor about this very thing. He was skeptical about performing the surgery on someone as young as I was at the time. I reminded him that my last pregnancy almost killed both me, and my baby, countless times due to placenta previa. He shrugged and told me there was only a 3% chance of that complication reoccurring in subsequent pregnancies. I started to bawl right there in front of him, convinced that my decision to have no more children was entirely due to my misguided fear of enduring another botched pregnancy. He gave me hope, and hope can sometimes be a dangerous thing.
I immediately embarked upon a campaign to reproduce with my husband, whether he was on board or not. And he wasn’t, for the record. He still isn’t. He thinks our house is full enough. He’s completely content with our current arrangement. So why can’t I be? I had even adopted two dogs in the time between having my third baby and my current desire to have another. That meant that there were seven living beings under our one humble roof, a fact my husband points out whenever I bring up the topic of procreation. But in my flights of fancy, I convinced myself that there was always room for love.
So how did I come to a place of peace about the whole subject? I did a little research. Everyone knows that doctors frown upon a woman who is over the age of 35 getting pregnant, but did you know that if they do, it’s referred to as a “geriatric pregnancy”?! Discovering that was a bit eye-opening to say the least. Those two words just don’t seem to go together. Geriatric. Pregnancy. To top it off, I’ve been noticing crow’s feet around my eyes, and experiencing aches and pains just from getting out of bed in the morning. Feeling and looking like a geriatric certainly helps to quell one’s desire to become impregnated.
Meanwhile, I have so many other great options to console me. One is adoption. There are countless children all over the world in need of parental love. Yes, adoption costs money and there can be problems just like there can be with a natural born child, but knowing the possibility of having a fourth child is within my grasp, alleviates any remaining sadness in deciding not to have one the good old-fashioned way. As an added bonus, adoption would allow us to choose the sex of the child, an advantage not afforded to us otherwise.
Aside from adoption, there’s always the hope that I can babysit a niece or nephew, on either a part- or full-time basis. Why, it just so happens that my little bro just got hitched to a beautiful gal who’s ready, willing, and able to have a youngin’ or two! I already volunteered to babysit for them, and they’ve already accepted my offer! The advantage of doing this would be that I’d get my baby fix, while also being able to retain my autonomy, and much-loved sleep schedule since I could give them their babe back at the end of the day. Major bonuses!!
If that doesn’t pan out, I can always work with kids in one capacity or another. Whether I’m paid to do so, or choose a volunteer route, there are plenty of opportunities out there to work with kids. I adore kids, so this option is definitely on my radar. I imagine hanging out with other people’s children all day would also help me to appreciate my own kids a little more as well. And once again, the autonomy/sleep advantage also applies to this scenario.
As fast as my girls seem to be growing up, having grandkids is not too terribly far off in the future. Hopefully, my girls will be sensible and finish college and live life a little before getting married and having babies, but even then, it’s conceivable that that could happen within the next fifteen years. I really can’t think about that too much though, since my kids growing up so quickly is the number one reason why I wanted to have another baby in the first place. One day at a time, right?!
I guess the number one advantage of calling it quits on the babymaking, is that I can devote all the time I’d otherwise be spending on a baby, on the kids I currently have instead. I already feel like I don’t see them enough, with school, church, and extracurricular activities taking up so much of their time, so not adding a fourth kid to the mix would allow me to devote myself to my girls all the more. I know they would certainly appreciate that.
So I’ve definitely found peace about this whole situation. You may be wondering why I’m getting fixed instead of my husband. Well that’s a whole other story, the details of which, may or may not interest you. Let’s just say it’s not an option. He’s made up his mind not to go through with the procedure and that’s that. I’ll be the one going under the proverbial knife. I’m okay with that too. No more babies, and major surgery. Sigh…
Guest Article By: Lauren Connelly