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The Emotion That Comes With A Completed Family

Eva Amurri Martino of lifestyle and motherhood blog Happily Eva After relaxes on a picnic blanket with her two children Marlowe and Major

I’ve made no secret of the fact that Major was always going to be our “last child”.  Even when I was pregnant, people would ask me, “So is this it?!” And I would answer without hesistation: “Uh YEAH.  Definitely.  Shop is closed after this!” After he was born, we still felt the same– the transition from one to two kids totally knocked Kyle and I on our asses, and if I’m being honest took until about a month or two ago to finally feel normal and to begin actually enjoying our family of four.  And now, as Major grows older (he’ll be 9 months old this month!) and starts bypassing some of the bigger milestones (standing on his own, suddenly!) I can’t help but feel a sudden pang of mixed emotions.  A panic, almost– about being DONE.  Done with those animal squeaks and grunts of the tiny baby phase, done with the milky smell of newborns, done with the feeling of a little babe asleep on your chest for an hour at a time while you answer emails.  Of course we are done with the other hard stuff, too! The sleep training, the breastfeeding, the pumping, the adjustments to adding a new member to the family, the anxiety that comes with a child who is still so fragile… But for me in this moment, there is a little catch in my throat when I realize that our family is complete– that there won’t be another one coming down the line with more swirling and twirling in my belly, a baby bump to rub, or a tiny human to hold in our arms.  That “new beginnings” part of our lives as a family is done.  Now is the time for raising each other up, grounding each other in love, growing together and exploring all that every other stage has to offer.  But I’m having a hard time letting go.

Eva Amurri Martino of lifestyle and motherhood blog Happily Eva After relaxes on a picnic blanket with her two children Marlowe and Major

Eva Amurri Martino of lifestyle and motherhood blog Happily Eva After relaxes on a picnic blanket with her two children Marlowe and Major

Marlowe and Major Martino lay on a picnic blanket together on the grass outside their Connecticut home

A lot of people ask me why we made the decision not to have any more children.  I’m “only thirty two”, in theory I could try again and add to the family.  Kyle and I always wanted to have two children– but when we found out Major was a boy, it sealed the deal.  Once we knew we were getting lucky enough to have one of each, we thought “Ok, perfect, this makes it easy to decide.” The other thing that made it easy to decide was how utterly grateful we felt to have two healthy children.  When we lost our second baby to miscarriage, it was devastating for both of us.  It took me a long time to get out of the depression that followed, and it wasn’t until Major was born that I was able to come full circle and accept the loss.  I truly don’t know if I could go through that again.  With any pregnancy, there is a risk of miscarriage, of course– 1 in 4 pregnancies to be exact.  With two healthy children, finally, it just doesn’t seem like a risk I am willing or able to take.  I also am well aware that many women suffer much higher number of miscarriage before finally completing their families.  I have friends who have had 2, 3, 4 miscarriages (or more) before finally welcoming their Rainbow Baby, and other friends who have had miscarriages in between each of their living children.  Many women are still waiting for their babies.  I bow down to their courage.

Marlowe and Major Martino lay on a picnic blanket together on the grass outside their Connecticut home

Marlowe and Major Martino lay on a picnic blanket together on the grass outside their Connecticut home

I’m so grateful for the two precious children I have, and they are enough for me in more ways than this.  When I see Marlowe and Major together, looking at each other with such love in their eyes, I know they are enough for each other as well– and that makes my heart so happy.  When I’m with my little family, I know that we are complete.  But there is something about that unknown that makes it hard to let go.  I think in our family there will always be the third departed soul that we hold space for energetically.  The gap between our two babies that holds a tender spot for us always.  Sometimes I wonder whether I confuse that soul, who we will always honor, with the possibility of a third child– that because that baby existed I will always think of one more, in the back of my mind.  The grief following miscarriage (and I’m sure it’s true for all losses) has a funny way of ebbing and flowing.  Just recently, as Major grows and turns more and more in to his own person– as his personality shines brighter every day– I have been thinking a lot of the baby we lost and wondering “what if”.  The “what ifs” were the questions that fueled the fire of the darkness after our miscarriage, and the things that made it the hardest to move on.  But I’m realizing now that What Ifs are the thieves of joy.  What Ifs are fabrications, projections, wishes without sustenance.  Sometimes there is just as much power in deciding to move forward, to trust ourselves and our decisions, and to open our arms to the next chapter.

Eva Amurri Martino of lifestyle and motherhood blog Happily Eva After relaxes on a picnic blanket with her two children Marlowe and Major

Eva Amurri Martino of lifestyle and motherhood blog Happily Eva After relaxes on a picnic blanket with her two children Marlowe and Major

When I look at my children sometimes I have moments of the most pure, raw humility and awe.  These are my two souls that I am lucky enough to Mother, lucky enough to learn from, to teach and to walk through life with.  These two souls are more than what I ever thought I deserved.  They are enough.  Sometimes as a Mom I think it’s hard to walk in to a new chapter with our families– we become so used to the familiar.  The familiar struggles, the routines, the personalities, the comforts.  Truth be told, I’m a little scared.  My babies won’t be babies for long.  After this, there will be a new skill set to learn, new problems to solve, more complicated fears and solutions.  I already have a longing for the days we are living now– when a night light, lovey, or bed time snuggle are the only salves our children need to feel that all is right in the world.  These simple moments that feel so hard when we’re living them, but the ones that I’m starting to realize are actually the most precious of times.  What I’m finally coming around to is the fact that these moments of transition are always emotionally loaded– but that it doesn’t have to mean there is something wrong.  Just because it’s emotional for me to close one door and open another one doesn’t mean it’s the wrong choice.

Major Martino sits on a picnic blanket on the grass outside his connecticut home

Eva Amurri Martino holds up eight month old son Major outside their connecticut home

Eva Amurri Martino of lifestyle and motherhood blog Happily Eva After relaxes on a picnic blanket with her two children Marlowe and Major

I’ve been giving away our baby things, piece by piece, item by item.  It gives me so much joy to look at the items, recall how much vibrant, gurgling, cooing energy is loaded in to each and every one– and to pass them along to others.  To continue the story, in their own ways.  Giving each piece has been therapeutic in calming the questions in my mind, silencing my doubts, in moving forward.  The more empty my arms get from all of the tiny baby pieces and equipment, the more widely they open to accept the change of this new chapter.  We are stepping forward! Here we go!

Eva Amurri Martino embraces eight month old son, Major, in the yard of her connecticut home

Marlowe Martino holds eight month old brother Major on a picnic blanket on the grass outside her Connecticut home

Did you have a hard time accepting that your family was complete? Please share in the Comments below!

 

Photographs by Courtney Ann Photography

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61 Comments

  1. Mel G says:

    Oh yes, it took me about 10 years to finally accept I “was done”, 10 years in which I would have joyfully accepted a pregnancy at any time, until one day I woke up and realised I no longer had the desire. I love snuggling other peoples babies…. and happily handing them over! You forget how much work goes into a little one!

    07.17.17Reply
  2. Kassie says:

    Eva, I’m going through this right now too. Very much appreciate your thoughts on it. Part of me feels like I’m mourning a version of myself as a “young mother.” I feel a bit sad that kel and I are done with the baby phase because it means that we are no longer parents of young ones. This familiar phase is scary to let go of. And as hard as it feels I think you’re right that it’s probably easier than what’s ahead. Thanks for this post!!

    07.17.17Reply
  3. Yasmin says:

    I just had my 2nd baby almost 2 months ago. We have a boy and a girl now. We had a miscarriage in between as well. My husband feels done, but I can’t say I feel the same. I have told myself to wait a couple of years to have this conversation again because right now it’s complete chaos being a sahm with a 2 1/2 year old and a newborn. When I think of myself at 50 years old I see three children, but it’s getting there that’s the hard part bc exactly like you said this transition has knocked me on my ass too. I’m also 32 and if we had a 3rd I would like to try in 2-3 years or not at all. But I also need to find time for myself in between now and when that time comes. Only time will tell.

    07.17.17Reply
  4. Milena says:

    This is my favorite of your posts. My kids are 7 and 4 now and I can say I feel that “panic” you speak of now more than ever sonce they truly have become “big kids” and nothing about them is “baby” anymore. There is a lot I miss about the olden days but I have no reservations about having made the decision when pregnant without 2nd that he would be our last. Life just takes on newer meanings and offers different kind of beauty along each phase of parenting, and I believe that will last for the rest of our lives.

    07.17.17Reply
  5. Glenda says:

    Yes! When I had my second I knew boy or girl I was done. We relocated every 3 years for work. I had a boy & a girl. I felt complete. I knew I was done with babies, but every time we moved forward to a new phase I would feel like oh no! I did the same thing as you did; I gave away the big items and knew this is it. It was freeing. I jumped in and enjoyed each new phase. Our saying was “our circle, we’re in this together” Best to you and your beautiful kids. P.S. Marlowe’s hair is getting so long. I love it! and Major is becoming a little man.

    07.17.17Reply
  6. Jenny says:

    I always wanted to be a mom and thought I’d have 3 or 4 kids. I didn’t get pregnant soon, took almost two years, and then I miscarried. And then again, two more times. My husband and I got to the point where we didn’t think we’d have any kids, which we were going to accept and be okay with. I then became pregnant and gave birth to our healthy daughter almost 2 years ago. We are just so thankful to have her and feel complete. It can be confusing because I never thought I’d have just one. And a part of me feels bad that Lucy wouldn’t have a sibling. But in both our hearts we don’t have the desire to try for anymore or to have the heartache of another loss.

    07.17.17Reply
  7. Ericca says:

    Thank you for writing about this. I’m going through it right now as well. We have an almost 3 year old and a six month old. I’m finding it hard to come to terms with the idea of our six month old being our “last.” We have two girls, so we are always bombarded with the question, “Are you going to try for a boy?” I have so many mixed feelings. I definitely need to give it time, but I’m 31, so I’d like it to happen sooner rather than later. We also had difficulty conceiving with our two. Who knew this would be one of life’s difficult decisions? Your post made me feel like I am not alone!

    07.17.17Reply
  8. Tanie says:

    After my second daughter was born in 2012 I really struggled with being done having babies. I definitely wasn’t ready to let it go, but over Christmas of 2015 my husband and I had a big talk and agreed that yes, we were well and truly done. In early January I started sorting out all my girls’ the tiny little baby clothes to get them ready for donation (except for a few precious keepsakes) and realized that even though we’d made the decision I still wasn’t really to get rid of everything.

    Anyway two weeks later I got pregnant. OOPS. We welcomed our son in September last year and NOW with my three kids I can honestly say I am well and truly done. Thank goodness I didn’t donate all those baby clothes though!

    07.17.17Reply
  9. Sandi tomasello says:

    Just my opinion …. have another 💗

    07.17.17Reply
  10. Libby says:

    Thanks for sharing this candid and beautifully written post. My second baby was born this May and I’m feeling the exact same way. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in struggling with the “what ifs.” Your family of four is so sweet.

    07.17.17Reply
  11. Kimberly Telle says:

    Hello Dear Eva, I am 56 years old now and I did and still feel these same emotions from back in 1987 when my little girl was born to the year 2000 when we finally got our precious son. I have found that to embrace each second, each moment in time is to be courageous and fearless. Fearless enough to let go of our own control sometimes. Everyday is a new beginning in each of their lives and I had to learn to embrace what I was given on a daily basis. We, as mothers are so lucky to have felt life being created within us and the utter joy that comes with all of the phases from restless nights to overwhelming emotions of the deepest love ever experienced. It’s like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and we’ve come to a stop in the yellow brick road that could take us one way or the other. Both ways look clear enough to go through from our view, but one could have some sort of traffic jam that from where we are standing now, we do not see. So, we put our faith in something higher than we are. Our Creator, who can see from a heavenly view and ultimately knows what will overload us or be the best choice. No matter what choice you make, you still reach the Emerald City and along the way you’ve gained these joys, our children, that Our Father intended for us to take the journey with. We just have to not overthink or over plan our lives. When I gave each day to the “traffic controller” in the sky, who can see ahead far better than I could, I would always go to sleep knowing that I was up, I conquered but I completely soaked in the smells, faces, sounds and memorized the whole experience. In my life, I was given two children. A boy and a girl. I am still in love with every smile, sound, scent of their skin and curls. Every second I am with them reminds me that LOVE is all that exist in my world. I am complete with the fact that these two souls were placed in my care and until my time here has come to an end, I will nourish them and all who are around them as a servant. It is my honor. It is an honor to be alive and to have lived this out.
    I guess the moral of the story is that I hope you just breath in and out all that they are. Take in everyday and if another soul doesn’t happen to come along, embrace that which is seen and unseen and know that your souls will forever continue on in how you love.

    07.17.17Reply
    • Lauren says:

      So beautifully put. I needed to read this today. Thank you

      07.17.17Reply
  12. Elaine Dempsey says:

    I am a much older Mom now of 3 teenagers 19 16 & 14 I started at 30 when our first daughter was born I knew I wanted more but not sure how many 2.5 years later we had our second daughter and when she was 10 months old I said to my husband I don’t feel done I would like one more our life was pretty hetic at this point but I thought if we add to the crazy life of two kids it will mean giving our social life a back seat at 34 I had my son we had 3 kids under 4.5 years old the jump from two to three kids was for sure not easy but so worth it now they are the best of friends and I have loved every miniute! It’s not a easy decision when you say you are done I think as Moms the need for a small baby is always there but as a couple you know what you can handle luckily for me we had an amazing support system to back us up! Your kids are awesome and so close in age they will always be buddies and this is important thank you for sharing what is so very private to you and your family! I love your blog’s and seeing what you share you are an amazing Mom xxx 😘

    07.17.17Reply
  13. Cat says:

    I just found out that I’m pregnant with our second – much sooner than we had planned! (Our babies will only be 16+ months apart). I feel so grateful to be expecting again but I’m also emotional knowing this might be the last time I’m pregnant. I’m the type of person who had a 2.5 year engagement because I didn’t want my wedding to be behind me – I liked looking forward to it! I’m struggling with the fact that the pregnancy/newborn phase of my life might be over earlier than expected. I do remind myself how lucky I am because I know there are so many women struggling to add to their families. I’m not firm on only having two children, but I am kind of with you on that if it’s a girl (our baby now is a boy), then our family will probably feel “complete.” As others said, time will tell! Eva, do you plan on ever getting a dog? They add a lot too and are certainly family members. 🙂 Although I am constantly jealous of how clean and pet hair-free your house is!!

    07.17.17Reply
  14. Mrs. Laurent says:

    My Husband and I have a 4 year old. As soon as I had her everyone started asking when the next one was coming. I said NEVER! The shop is closed! Lol!
    As the years went by I got rid of all the baby items. Except the high chair which was given to us by her great grandparents. That’s a keeper obviously.
    Until last year we decided to start trying again. I am 34 at this point and hope to be pregnant before my birthday in December. Then around my birthday all signs point to success. But, unfortunately, just 6 weeks later I miscarry. That was emotionally devastating for both of us. We weren’t prepared for how emotionally invested we both already were in the whole process. It’s been months since then and the scarring is still there. We hope to have another baby but if that doesn’t happen we are content in our completed family.
    We are blessed to have our 2 girls. A 4 year old and 14 year old( my step *Bonus* kid)

    07.17.17Reply
  15. Joanna says:

    After our final two embryo transfers last year didn’t bring us the dream scenario we had hoped for, I had to relinquish the idea of being a mommy to more than one child & the idea that my daughter would be a big sister to another miracle angel. Although I would go through the gut wrenching process that is IVF all over again (we lost 4 babies and I have my daughter) the process proved to be too much for my husband. I respectfully, albeit with a bit of resentment, had to back off and accept what my heart didn’t want to hear.

    This line that you wrote, “Sometimes there is just as much power in deciding to move forward…” was something I needed. Thank you for that, and for the reminder that I am so fortunate to have my baby girl. I can be an amazing mother to her, and it’s ok to harbor those feelings of selfishness so long as I don’t get stuck in that funk. Life goes on 💜.

    07.17.17Reply
  16. Megan Kohls says:

    After I had my first I was unsure about having a second because I was so in love with my son. My husband wanted another one and it took us all of 2 months to conceive our daughter after trying for 4 years for our son. While I was still pregnant with my daughter I knew that I didn’t want anymore. Her pregnancy was totally different than my sons. I was so uncomfortable and had a lot of back pain. I gave away all of my maternity clothes, all of my sons clothes that no longer fit and some of my daughters. My daughter is 15 months old now and I’m begging my husband for one more baby. My desire for a third is as strong as it was for my first. No matter what we decide I am so blessed to have two amazing children.

    07.17.17Reply
  17. Jessica says:

    Omg. You said what I feel perfectly. I have three kids. 5,4 and 2. And I know that we are done but a part of me feels sad. You are such a wonderful inspiration and I love your blog!

    07.17.17Reply
  18. Kayla says:

    I have a two girls, four and two. I always told my husband I wanted four kids because I never had the support of a large family and I wanted that for my kids. He was hesitant to agree to four, so we settled on three. I have been dreaming of that third child, one last baby to close the book on babies and one last chance to say goodbye to that phase, granted I am 27, so that’s a lot of years to add on if we wanted to. However, we’ve been trying for a year or more, and of course we found out there are some infertility issues rearing their ugly head.

    Since we found out that we have this hurdle to jump through to have this last baby , I am filled with this dread, the what if , if you will, that my baby days are done and I’ll never have those moments again, and when I look at my babies and see ,well that they’re not babies , I just cry and cry. I am so blessed, like you said, to have two healthy and wonderful children ,but it’s not easy to give up hope on that last child and so here I am trying different medicines , making myself a stressed out mess , crying from the kids growing , crying for the want of another baby, crying for everything.

    I sympathize with you, I love seeing the kids do new things and grow ,but I miss that special time of babyhood and the cooing and awwing . I miss kicks in my tummy and the excitement of an ultrasound. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to experience all of that again, but if not I hope I can come to terms and accept the blessings I have with more gratitude and ease.

    07.17.17Reply
  19. Kristin says:

    I am also struggling with this idea recently. My husband and I had always agreed on three children but after my daughter was born back in September, we started to feel like our family was complete (we also have a 2.5 yr old son). I’m not going to lie, I love the idea of being done with the baby phase and all the extra stuff it requires but I’m not sure I’m ready to accept the fact we are truly done. I never thought it would be such a difficult decision.

    07.17.17Reply
  20. Lindsey says:

    Oh goodness, how I can relate to your words! My husband and I always wanted two children. We have a son who is two and a half and are expecting a daughter in October. Like you mentioned, finding out that we were having one of each gender made our decision easier but we too have experienced loss. We lost indentical twin boys when they were born far too prematurely four years back. I suppose in some way, I have always seen (and perhaps continue to see) myself with two boys in some form so deciding to complete our family with this baby is absolutely an emotional rollercoaster. The loss causes a longing but also and appreciation for a healthy baby! Thank you for sharing. 💓Wishing you complete peace with your decision!!!

    07.17.17Reply
  21. Christina M says:

    Eva tbis post has hit home for me i so many ways. I have 2 girls ages 3 and 2. I had a miscarriage a few months ago and am currently pregnant. Although it may sound like alot so close together my husband and i tried for 5 years to have a baby before we were blessedwith our girls. So when i lost our 3rd it felt like my world had collapsed. For me to be pregnant itself was a miracle but to then lose the bqby crushed me. And as we now await the arrival of our 3rd child from our 4th pregnancy i also believe that our family will be complete , but am struggling with coming to terms with it. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us and showing us that we are all in this together.

    07.17.17Reply
  22. Damara Wake says:

    My two children as only 19 months apart and my oldest (and really this is true about my youngest now) was a very spirited toddler. Both pregnancies were tough physically and plagued by awful morning sickness. So, all through my second pregnancy my OB told me this should be your last child and even as we headed into the OR to bring Harvey into the world he asked my again if I was sure that he shouldn’t tie my tubes. BUT in my heart I couldn’t get past the fear I would regret it. NOW, nearly two years past Harvey’s birth I know we are done and it does make me sad as I think of all the things I will never experience again you meantioned above. BUT the big picture truth is that we are done and those moments I will miss will just be treasured memories.

    07.17.17Reply
  23. Amanda says:

    Thank you for this post. I always pictured myself with at least two children, but after our son was born 2.5 years ago, I have felt ‘complete’ more minutes of the day that I haven’t (my husband too). I’m surprised that I’m not anxious for another baby, and I don’t know if I ever will be. Part of me is disappointed that I don’t want another, and the other part is excited for the next stages of our lives as a family of three. I never anticipated having a hard time deciding about what family size it right for us. Thank you for sharing your experience with this!

    07.17.17Reply
  24. April says:

    Thanks for your post, it was well-stated and familiar to so many moms. I did not struggle as much with being done because my pregnancies were all high risk, exhausting and emotionally draining. We had 4 miscarriages between our 1st and 2nd. It was brutal. One preganancy much further than the others, we know she was a girl. But we were somehow given our second baby and then number 3 was a complete shock! They are 18 months apart. I think many woman have that sadness or twinge of letting go when you know it will never be again. It was still sad to think we were done, but after all we had been through, it definitely sped that process along. Plus, we had our hands full!😜 I think your other baby will always be a part of you, a part of your journey and story. How could it not be? So, you really are a mom of 3 and even though 2 are tangibly in your living care, your other baby will always be with you in your heart and spirit. Every day is a new day and it’s hard to know what it brings with it! I think we make choices over and over in the direction we feel led, and that’s all we can do and know in the moment. Love seeing your sweet kiddos! They are going to be really neat humans!💕

    07.17.17Reply
  25. Martina says:

    This is a beautiful post. As always thank you for sharing. Our baby days are over, we have two healthy and happy kids (a boy and a girl). Part of me still struggles with this idea. I am sure it will take some time for me to be at peace with it.

    07.17.17Reply
  26. Steph Schroder says:

    I have two boys, my oldest (Connor) is five and Lucas is one and half. We have had the same discussions that you talk about in your blog. We both came from families of four, and my husband definitely feels like he is done. I am having a hard time saying I am done. I just turned forty a couple months ago, and due to my age, it may require more work to get pregnant. But then again, it might not! I am still not ready to definitively say no. Motherhood has changed my life for the better, and my boys are just so amazing, and they bring me so much joy to our lives. It is difficult to think I might be done being pregnant and having another baby. The experiences with the boys were both incredibly!! I think at this point in time we are leaving it up to fate.

    07.17.17Reply
  27. Erin says:

    My husband and I waited until our second was 2 to make the final decision. I had always wanted 3 kids, he was happy with 2. When we started trying in 2006, I got pregnant right away but ended up having a miscarriage at 9 weeks. I was devastated. Luckily, I got pregnant with our son just 4 months after our loss. Our son was born in October 2007 and our daughter followed 2 years later in November 2009. Even though I still would have loved to try for a third, we were just so thankful to have 2 healthy, beautiful kiddos after going through a loss. I still consider myself a mother to 3 babies, even if one is not physically with me. Now that my kids are 9 & 7, I am glad that we decided to be done when we did! I can’t imagine trying to tackle 3 schedules!! Everything, from traveling to just eating out for dinner, is so much easier, for us that is, when it’s just our family of four. Enjoy your beautiful family!!!💗

    07.17.17Reply
  28. Stephanie Allen says:

    Hey Eva, honestly I loved this!!! I follow a few bloggers and have even private messaged them asking for them to a piece on this, just to hear other people’s perspectives….because it truly isn’t talked about enough. We just celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary and the non-stop “when are you having a baby” is basically the main thing people ask me no matter where I am. We hope to start trying at the end of this year and I’m open with everyone because incase Its not easy or we unfortunately lose a baby, I want there to be an open and healthy convo with my friends and family. As we begin to start our family I think it’s such a roller coaster of emotions starting and also thinking about ending the baby train. I totally respect and honestly got some insight I never thought of before so thank you and keep doing what you’re doing giiiirl!!!

    07.17.17Reply
  29. Lorna Sramek says:

    Hi I’m Lorna, I’m 36 years old (37 next week) I have a 13 year old son. On the 5th of this month I underwent a hysterectomy. It was crushing to me to have to get one. I’ve always wanted to “give birth” again. I’ve always wanted another child. I had put of the surgery for years thinking my issues would go away and I wouldn’t suffer monthly anymore. Years went by and no baby was coming and more suffering was. So I finally went through with it and it’s done. I’m still recovering and I’m still emotionally stressed and sad I’m “done” in order to get through the depression I have to think…. my son is a teen do I want to start over? Can I afford another ( oh by the way I’m single) Kids only get more expensive as they get older. Who would take care of a baby for me while I work? So I still think, did I make the right choice? I could eventually find a man that wants a child and I won’t be able to give him one……. but I’ll get through this. Thanks for reading

    07.17.17Reply
  30. Heather says:

    I used to joke that nobody plans a third baby because who would voluntarily be outnumbered? My third baby- all boys- was a surprise and a whole lot of work. He’s 23 now and still a lot of work as he has mild autism and may always need a little guidance. But he’s also the one who sticks with me and carries in my groceries and carries out my trash. I ended up outnumbered anyways because their dad left when my boys were still young. There’s this quote that says something to the effect that the decision to have a child is to forever have your heart walking around outside of your body. It’s even more true with grandkids! Yesterday my daughter-in-law dropped hints that she wants her son to be an only child. It hurts my heart a little for my grandson to not have a sibling but only mama and daddy can commit to the huge responsibility of having a child. You know in your heart what makes sense for your family. Very sweet of you to share it with us!

    07.17.17Reply
  31. Jenn Parnell says:

    I can SO relate to this post.

    I’m sitting here watching my healthy, happy kids (Ada, 4.5, Ryker, 14m in just a few days) and I’m so blessed. I get the boy girl thing too – when Ryker was born and we had one of each, part of me felt like that’s the family everybody wants and we should be happy with that. But my heart wonders if there is another baby in store for us and who that baby would be. I have a friend with four kids and they knew there was absolutely no way they could ever have more for a million reasons and she still grieved shutting the door on the possibility. I know if we had a third, I’d tie my tubes immediately (hubs has seen personally two botched snips and absolutely refuses, and after seeing a sack the size of a football, I feel like that’s not unreasonable – hahaha). But is there going to be a third? Could we survive it? Would our kids love us for it or would we tip the scale and spend the rest of our lives just trying to catch up (more so than even now)? It’s terrifying and overwhelming.

    Thank you for the insightful read. Your kids absolutely have my heart! Marlowe is HILARIOUS and Major is the sweetest little ham. ♡♡♡

    07.17.17Reply
  32. Priscilla says:

    Hi there thank you for sharing your beautiful story, My husband and I, also are blessed to have a boy and a girl, so we figured we’re done as soon as my daughter was born, with him being in the US Air Force we move a lot and most of the time on I’m Single mom when he’s deployed or TDY. But Now that my kids are 21 and 16 I really regret not having more. But with living in other countries moving every 2 to 3 years just seemed impossible at the time. Love watching your family on Instagram you’re a very blessed. Best wishes xo

    07.17.17Reply
  33. Amy A. says:

    Beautifully written post! I personally never once doubted that we were done after our second child (a boy; we already had a daughter so, like you said, it make that choice a no-brainer). Parenting goes in phases, just like marriage, friendship and life in general. You’re gonna love the next phase, too! And the one after that…. Each new stage in your parenting life will have its very own magic, and pitfalls and challenges, that will weave themselves into your heart! And, as you know, your heart is big enough to carry your past, the here and now and whatever the future holds. Be well!

    07.17.17Reply
  34. Esme says:

    Yes, and the hardest part was that cancer made that decision for me and my family. Yet at the same time im grateful to have survived a very hard year and able to enjoy my family of 3. My “What ifs” creep back every once in a while, especialy when I feel sadness and guilt for not being able to give my son a sibling. But this is life, and his smiles and love give me strength to look forward and enjoy my family, living in the now.

    07.17.17Reply
  35. Katie Efferson says:

    This is such a great read. I am going through the exact same feelings right now. Our children are almost the exact same age. My son is about to be 3 and my daughter is almost 9 months. I have a strong feeling we’re done having kids but there’s that little peice of me that keeps wondering if I might want just one more. Thank you for posting this, I love following you!!!

    07.17.17Reply
  36. Maria says:

    First of all, congratulations for your beautiful family, all of you seem to be deeply happy and true to all of us who are following you and keep reading all of your articles which by the way are always so amazing but this one, oh my God, this made me cry!!!!
    And secondly to answer your question, it’s not my time yet to accept the fact that my family is complete since we have only one child and I also had two miscarriages, we definitely would so much like to have one more! We pray for it and we’re trying really hard!
    But I think that it’s very hard desicion to make and when that time comes we must be 100% sure about it!!!
    Thank you Eva for sharing this important part of your family life…!

    07.17.17Reply
  37. i says:

    I am at the same point right now! I am 41 years old and I had my second baby 5 months ago. I also feel so thankful to have 2 healthy babies and I am in the middle of this fight trying to decide if a third one is the best for us. I had a miscarriage 12 years ago and that episode change my life but I realize I didnt deal correctly this loss. My husband and I would like to have a third one but to think about it all the ifs come into my head what if is not healthy, what if I am too old now, what if I cannot give to my children the time and love that they need, etc. So I totally understand your feeling. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us 🙂

    07.17.17Reply
  38. Lindsay O. says:

    I so love reading your blog on motherhood and this one particularly hit home! I am pregnant (19 weeks) with our third child. Like you, I miscarried our second child at 10 weeks. After seeing that little heartbeat at 8 weeks, it was devastating to be told that the baby stopped growing shortly after. I had a hard time wrapping my head around “trying” again and was VERY hesitant to even announce that I was pregnant again. I’ve yet to make it “Facebook or Instagram Official”, because I’m still afraid of a possible loss. This will also be our last baby, as my husband and I agreed a long time ago that two would be the perfect number. We have a three year old son who is absolutely everything I could have hoped for in a child, so I’m terrified this little one will be the complete opposite! I’m feeling much of what you described regarding this being the baby to complete our family. It’s refreshing to hear your thoughts on it and the positive spin you put on the excitement of what is yet to come! I’m sure I’ll be re-reading this post as my emotions ebb and flow in the coming months 🙂

    07.17.17Reply
  39. Michelle says:

    Most definitely!! I’m still feeling the emotion from it all!! But I like you have a boy and a girl! My labour on my daughter (now 3) was extremely traumatic!! I couldn’t go through it again. But even without that! My 2 feel like enough I’m so lucky that I’m here and she’s here. And I’m so lucky that both my children are happy and healthy right now! I love all the new experiences that are happening now. But I do still have a pang sometimes of am I sure I’m done. I want to focus my time and energy now on raising them and enjoying them. For me 2 was always my number. My husband wanted 5 ha! No chance!! It’s a hard decision but we are a family of 4 and I am extremely blessed to say that!!

    07.17.17Reply
  40. Nicole Johnson says:

    Our first daughter was born just after the new year in 2001. Her brother followed in December of 2004. After our son was born, neither myself or my husband could answer the question “are we done?” Fast forward to my youngest in kinder, when I discovered I was pregnant. Sadly, we lost that baby and since it had taken so long to conceive and that I was now 36, I felt that was probably my last shot. Until May of 2013, we had just finished riding the second reoccurence of breast cancer with my Mom, and I was unexpectedly
    expecting! Our daughter was 11 and our son was 8! And it absolutely felt crazy that this could be happening, but wonderful and magical at the same time. Were we scared? Hell Yes! But when she arrived in 2014, she brought with her more abundant love and blessings we never could’ve imagined. The next month I turned 40 and yes, we were finished. I’m so grateful that we never made a firm decision about no. 3. Yes, the structure of my family is completely different then I ever imagined, but we are SO dang lucky to have what we have. Thanks for sharing your story Eva and letting us all share with you.

    07.17.17Reply
  41. Krista says:

    I love this post! Thank you for sharing. I have 3 kids and some days I feel the same way. Even though most days my life is complete chaos as a sahm of a 5, 3 and 18month old I still get sad when I think the chapter of being pregnant, giving birth, having a newborn, etc is done. I remind myself that I’m so blessed to have my healthy kids and I need to focus on that. I’m glad to know I’m not alone with feeling this way.

    07.17.17Reply
  42. Leigh says:

    I have 5 year old twin boys who are my world and happiness but, since my mother and I are so close, I’ve always wanted a daughter. I closed that door after having to do IVF for our twins and realizing the work, exhaustion, and financial stress that comes with having kids. But then a person I work with who also happens to be a medium approached me and said that she could “see a girl waiting to come through” for me. And that I should try for a third because I would be happier in the long run and that it would definitely be a girl. Ugh. So many thoughts and emotions ran through me. I had a long talk with my husband and we both finally decided that our family is complete. Maybe that woman came into my life so I could really examine my choice to be done? I’m not sure. But it sure threw me for a loop!

    07.17.17Reply
  43. Hanna says:

    Thank you for this post! I go through these same emotions on the reg. Mostly I feel guilty for not wanting another. Newborns are hard work, post partum life is STRESSFUL, and don’t get me started on the lumpy body situation. I feel selfish in a way, but at the end of the day, like you, I am just so grateful to be a mom.

    07.17.17Reply
  44. Daphna says:

    I don’t follow celebrities/public figures normally (not sure actually whether you would categorize yourself as a celebrity) but I came across your Instagram and blog and really enjoy your honest voice and perspective. I am a 46 year old mother of a soon to be 3 year old. I got married late so one is it. Every day I think this is so fleeting. This little bundle of energy, sweetness and obsessive love for mommy won’t last and I will miss it so. I actually got out of politics and opened a shop so I could spend more time with him.
    Your blog was so heartfelt and beautifully written and had several insights that I take to heart.
    So thank you for sharing.
    Best,
    Daphna

    07.17.17Reply
  45. Rebecca says:

    This has been on my mind lately as we are about to start trying for our second. Our first little guy is 19 months. Honestly, I had such a difficult time the first 6 months of motherhood (and during pregnancy too), I’m feeling worried about those early days again. I know our second will be our last. My husband is very big on a replacement for each of us and that is all. I’m currently a stay at home mom (my job as a children’s librarian didn’t pay enough to make full time day care worth it), and I also don’t want to put off restarting my career forever. I do worry that I will be disappointed if we don’t have a girl the second time around, but I also know I was disappointed when I found out our first was a boy during pregnancy, but couldn’t love him more now. It’s such a personal and difficult choice. You have a beautiful family!

    07.17.17Reply
  46. Mary W. says:

    I am the mother of 4…We started trying to have our 2nd when our oldest,a boy, was about 2 and a half and it took longer than expected. We were blessed with boy/ girl twins when he was almost 5. Our 4th child, another son, was an unexpected joy born a month prematurely 10 days before the twins turned 1! My husband got a vasectomy when our youngest was 3 months old. Even though I knew I didn’t want another baby it was still sad for me when I knew that that was it. This year my oldest will graduate from college and my twins will graduate from high school and I’m living a roller-coaster of emotions! Time passes very quickly the older your kids get! I loved this “these simple moments that feel so hard when we’re living them, but the ones that I’m starting to realize are actually the most precious of times” this is so very true and you are so wise to “get this” now while your children are so young!! You’ve got this and I’m glad you shared this. Thank you!

    Your photos are precious and beautiful!

    07.17.17Reply
  47. Marcela says:

    This is a beautifully written piece and hit home hard for me. I have a 4 yo and a 1 yo, both boys.
    I too said during my second pregnancy that this was it, but I find myself wondering ‘What if’. What a daughter might look like or what her personality might be like.

    07.17.17Reply
  48. Marci says:

    I started with a daughter (now 13) and then we had our son (11). We thought we were done and well, we added 2 more daughters to our household (7 and 5). My son isn’t happy with that outcome and has been bugging for a baby brother. The guilt–for me anyway to not give my son a brother has bothered me for the longest time. Our family is 100% complete. I lost the rock, paper, scissors game when it came to who would get “fixed”. Some days, I long to be pregnant and feel the kicks and movements of a baby and to be able to have that new baby smell. On most days, especially since my youngests’ leukemia diagnosis, I am happy and grateful we are done. I wouldn’t have been able to be here for my daughter while she goes through these harsh treatments.

    07.17.17Reply
  49. Calley says:

    Yes absolutely you wrote exactly my thoughts. I have been blessed to have three kids and knew that’s what I always wanted and was DONE after our third baby. But now as she is just turning 2 I feel pangs of no more babies and the milestones she is passing it’s hard to know she is the last one to do these things. BUT just like you said there is so much joy in seeing our family grow together. And hopefully we will get to do these baby moments all over again when we have grandchildren some day. Love watching your family grow up together. Enjoy the ride ❤️

    07.17.17Reply
  50. Courtnee says:

    Beautifully written! My second daughter is 7 months and this echoed do many of my own feelings. Some days I miss those sweet, naive days when my first was tiny and we had the last three years of joy and struggle ahead of us. I’m sure I’ll think the same over the next three years. I get excited though to think of what my youngest will contribute to our family as she gets older and passes those familiar, but new milestones. Congratulations on your beautiful family!

    07.17.17Reply
  51. Aaron says:

    So beautifully written! I still struggle with the emotions and letting go of the baby stage, even though my 2 are 9 and 5. Very often I find myself missing those simple days when they were so tiny. Thank you for this message; it has helped me look forward to the next chapter of our journey instead of just grieving over closing the door on that precious time of our lives.

    07.17.17Reply
  52. Christy Jones says:

    Thank you for this! I’m 39 and have a 2 year old. I am still grieving the fact that he will be my only child. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted and I had no idea how intensely I could love someone. So part of the grieving is that my husband and I were in no hurry to have kids and didn’t get married until I was 35, he was 39. When we’d been married 6 months, the topic of kids came up, as it did from time to time and I was feeling (and hearing) my biological clock – which was more of a fog horn. So we started trying. It took 6 months and my pregnancy was brutal. Nine weeks of bedrest, multiple hospital stays, daily vomiting and nausea, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. I was assured it would be the case if we had #2. So I began to grieve but was still sleep deprived and pretty content as a new mom. Now that the fog lifted, I’m more rested and have a gorgeous boy who adores his mama, I find that it’s really a daily or weekly thought of wanting another child. The good, the bad and the extremely challenging. While I’ve resolved that we’re not having another I continue to wonder “what if”..

    07.17.17Reply
  53. Brandi says:

    Just today my husband and I sent off our baby things and my maternity clothes to a women’s shelter. I was in such a rush to get everything completed and it wasn’t until reading your blog right now that I remembered what I actually did today. Although we have known for some time that our little girl would complete our family of five (she’s almost 6 months!), I don’t think I took a moment to honor the chapter I “let go” of today. Thank you for your sweet post! Sending you sweet mama hugs today.

    07.17.17Reply
  54. Jan Calipo says:

    I planned my first and second daughters. I waited until I was 6 years married to start. I was 35 for my first and 39 for my second. My marriage of 12 years broke up when one was 7 months and the other 5 years. I turned 40 at the same time. Three years later I met my second husband and I had my last daughter at 45. I had my tubes tied at the same time. Even though I was 45 I still felt odd that my time was over. I think since you’re are still young you can always change your mind. When one doesn’t have the option that’s when it bothers you more. So who knows how you will feel 3 years from now. My girls are now 22, 18 and 11 and I had 2 miscarriages. The last miscarriage was twins and it happened in a shopping mall

    07.17.17Reply
  55. Cerina Kirkwood says:

    I’ve come to terms with my family being complete. The complete family being just my husband and I, plus our dogs. It took me a long time to come to terms with it, and some days are harder than others. But we have many things to look forward too and it’s what I’m choosing to focus on. Thanks for writing!

    07.17.17Reply
  56. Ann says:

    I filled the earning for one more by getting a puppy. She became my 3rd child. The girl I always wanted. You can raise a dog much easier than a child.

    07.18.17Reply
  57. Alicia M says:

    You are so good at expressing your feelings. Thanks for sharing your personal stories. I had my tubes tied after my son was born when I was 36. I had two miscarriages before him and I have muscular dystrophy, so I didn’t want to take the chance of another miscarriage or a child having muscular dystrophy. The doctors tried to talk me out of getting my tubes tied but I was adamant this was it. ( Plus I had morning sickness for 5 months so that was a nightmare in itself lol ) I was pretty sad knowing I would only have one child but that’s just what life dealt me I guess. Sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to have multiple kids and how my son would have interacted with his siblings.

    07.18.17Reply
  58. Nicole says:

    Your posts are always so timely! I’m not sure how you do it but I appreciate it. 🙂 I’m currently going through this and I change my mind daily about our decision to be done after having our 2 children. Thanks for your insights and your openness!

    07.18.17Reply
  59. Dan Woog says:

    Beautiful insights, beautifully conveyed — and beautiful kids!

    07.18.17Reply
  60. Tami F. says:

    My family was complete after 3 babies in 3 years! However, there was so much chaos at that time I feel I missed out on feeling that empty space feeling of “maybe just one more”. Now, though, with my three closing in on the pre-teen stage I am really missing another little person in our house. I wonder now if I will ever feel complete, despite the fact our family is complete. Thank you for your story, I feel acceptance might be close at hand now.

    07.19.17Reply