This story is part of our End of the Childbearing Years series, exploring the experiences, decisions, and feelings of Mormon women around this pivotal transition. Each story is a generous and vulnerable offering. We ask that comments be sensitive and nonjudgmental toward any woman’s choices or beliefs.
The decision not to have any more children was supposed to be clear and definite. At least that’s what I had been told. “You will just know” kept resonating in my mind. After having four children and then realizing I should have another, I “knew” I’d be done once that fifth child joined our family. Yet, after our fifth child came, I wasn’t so sure. For a couple of years, I was not interested in holding or engaging with other babies. I would observe them from afar and pretended to care more than I really did, I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings just because I was going through a weird stage. Sadly, I truly felt no “motherly instinct” to hold a baby and didn’t feel grand joy in their cuteness. I figured this was my telltale sign that I was “done.”
But I soon found myself contemplating having another child. My husband and I discussed it and when I was considering it, he was not. When he was considering it, I was leaning towards being done. This yo-yo effect went on for at least a year. Friends told me to pray about it. I didn’t want to. I was afraid the answer would be “yes, you should have another child.” After a while, I finally was able to bring myself to my knees and pray for guidance. After much prayer, the answer I felt was, “if you want another child you will be blessed with one, if not, then it’s okay; you’ve done enough.” To be honest, I was relieved. I wanted to fulfill the Lord’s will for me and my family, but I didn’t feel like I wanted another child. I didn’t want to be pregnant again, nurse again, go through sleepless nights again, potty train, etc. My sanity level had hit its peak.
I love my five children and enjoy caring for them. My enjoyment of seeing babies has returned. Though to some, the knowledge of knowing it’s possible to have another child and yet not desire one may seem selfish, the process in coming to that conclusion was not clear and definite. Turning to the Lord for confirmation, combined with Him allowing me to make the final decision—that final decision being based mostly on my lack of desire to nurture an infant—has aided me in my confirmation and given me peace in choosing to end my childbearing years.