When Do You Say When? Part One in the Series

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I’ve been mulling this topic around in my head for weeks. Readers have emailed or commented and asked the question in various forms. I, personally, have also wondered about it.

When Do You Say When?

Prior to my last delivery, I thought I was “done” having children. But, by the time my doc came to discharge me, I wasn’t so sure. I don’t have a hard and fast answer, but I’m thinking through it, talking about it with my hubby, and wondering. Since others are asking me, too, I’m bravely venturing forth to broach the topic here.

I gain such good insight from our “from the heart” conversations here. So, I’m hoping we can “talk” about it over the next couple weeks. If you think you have “a hard and fast answer,” I trust that you will kindly and gently communicate it to the rest of us.

No two women have the same history or experience. We cannot really walk in each other’s shoes. That is an understanding I’m gaining as I get older. In my twenties, I thought I knew everything. And I didn’t keep it a secret.

Now, I’m learning how very much I don’t know. Back then I also believed I controlled my life. Hmm….Today I thought I would tell my story of how I learned how much I don’t control.

Our Story

I never planned to have six children. Who does?

In fact, at one point I had sworn off marriage and children completely. Then I met Mr. Right For Me. Building a family with him sounded wonderful — not just because he was strong and handsome. But, also because he listened to me, challenged me to grow, and loved children. He knew how to get down on their level and be gentle. I knew he would be a great father.

When we were newlyweds we debated over whether or not to have two or three children. He said two. I said three. A missions trip to Honduras had him saying four and had me staring with my eyes bugging out. Regardless, in today’s society, any number we were considering was “large.”

But, our thinking was that we got to choose. In our premarital counseling we were warned to double or triple up on birth control. We were to dictate how and when we would start a family.

And with our first child, that is certainly how it appeared. I got pregnant within two weeks of our deciding we were “ready.” My pregnancy was pretty uncomplicated. And we went home with our little bundle of joy in the ignorance that all first-time parents share. Life was moving like clockwork.

A few months after our firstborn turned one, I became pregnant. This wasn’t “planned” in the true sense of the word. But we were excited about the prospect of growing our family. And we shared that excitement with everyone we knew. I found a great midwife and expected that life would continue “like clockwork.”

A red leafed tree in the rain.Photo Source

Unwelcomed surprises

When I started bleeding at nine weeks, I jumped to panic mode. A call to my midwife left me hoping that it was “just implantation bleeding.” However, an ultrasound the next day revealed that the baby had died. I remember heading to the bathroom to relieve my full bladder and seeing more blood.

This cannot be happening to me.

We had left my mom in charge of our son. They came outside as we drove up the driveway. I remember the look on her face as we told her the baby died. And, the thought still makes me tear up. She was shocked.

This cannot be happening to me.

We decided to let my body naturally miscarry, rather than have a D and C. The midwife said it would probably be complete in a day or two. It actually took a week. It was late January, rainy season for California, but also the time of year when you can get the ground ready for planting. I remember heading out to dig in the garden, trying to pass the time, waiting for the nightmare to be over.

No matter what I wanted, no matter how hard I prayed, I could not save this baby. I could not change my circumstances. I could not control this. But as smart as I think I am, it took more than one loss to teach me this.

I lost a baby in January. I conceived again in May and lost that baby in June. I became pregnant again in late September. That baby died in November. Each time I ate all the “right things.” Did all the “right things.” But there were still things that were out of my control.

This cannot be happening to me.

Do we get to have our way?

Let us not be arrogant to think that things will always go according to our plans. You know this. But, we forget it when we think about planning our families.

Obviously, that is not the end of the story. But, I wanted to lay some groundwork in thinking about “when we say when.” Let’s not kid ourselves that it will go exactly our way. Instead, let’s walk humbly as we think about having babies, building families.

The Lord certainly humbled us in 1999 when it didn’t go the way we planned it. But it granted us such thankfulness for our one child, and such great joy for the ones that He later gave us.

Have things not gone according to your family planning?

How have you seen good fruit from that? Please share it in the comments. And, please, due to the sensitivity of this topic, let’s use our “big girl” words. Looking forward to “talking” about it.

The conversation continues…. Part Two,

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  1. My issue has been difficulty getting pregnant as I have suffered from a luteal phase defect. It took 4 months with my first, 1.5 years for the second and 2 years for the third. So far, no miscarriages, but since I am over 40 that possibility is always in the back of my mind.

  2. We planned our first — born Jan. 2008. We planned our second (first try!) — born July 2009. And we announced to everyone that our third would be arriving in Dec. ’10. HA! It’s Oct. ’10 and I’m not pregnant. 7 months in…nothing. But I’ve felt God whispering to me the whole time. Not yet…it’s not time. I’ve watched nearly ALL my friends have babies or get pregnant (literally, 4 of the 5 women in my playground either had a baby or got pregnant in the last 4 months). And God whispers, “That’s my plan for them. Not my plan for you. Wait.” I am okay with this. Truly, I am at peace. I know my time is coming soon. I felt that God was telling me that perhaps Oct. ’11 might be the right time, so…here’s to hoping that, whenever it comes, it is perfect and in God’s timing. 🙂

  3. great post. touch subject (as I said in my latest post) thank you for this! We have 2 under 2 so far and feel convicted to let God plan our family. you can read more at my blog. blessings, katie

  4. I waited (on God) a long time to get married-I was 29. My husband wanted to wait at least a year to conceive. I really wanted children, but I agreed to follow his lead. Used NFP, but broke the thermometer. We basically did nothing about it and I got pregnant after being married 3 months. We enjoyed him so much and he was such an easy baby, we decided to let whatever would be, be. When he was 10 months we got pregnant with twin girls. I do not enjoy pregnancy and especially when there are 2 in there! After labor, I said “I am not doing this again”. Well, God is the one who decides this, because he said, “Oh, yes you are!” We conceived twin boys 10 months later. So, in 2.5 years we had 5 children (the last two against my will, haha). But now we could not imagine life without those two boys. And we are happy our oldest boy has brothers! But being that I spit out two at a time, and I’m now
    38, we felt blessed enough and God gave us peace to have the vasectomy, and He provided it free of charge (whole other story). I appreciate that we are individuals and that God deals with us personally, leading each to do what He has planned-even if we don’t understand it. He is a perfect Father only doing what is best for us and what brings him glory.

  5. FishMama, thanks for your transparency and willingness to host this discussion. It's a hard one for me.

    I'm the oldest of 6 kids, a life which I absolutely loved, despite the financial challenges. I feel that living that way taught me a lot about how to adapt & grow. Plus 6 kids is just super fun! We love getting together now that we're all older. I always wanted at least 4 children, but deep in my heart closer to 6. Your children are so blessed!

    Long story short, in 5 years, I have had 4 losses and 2 children. (1 loss, then my son, then 3 losses, and most recently, my daughter) My dr could not give me a reason for the recurrent miscarriages prior to the birth of my daughter.

    My husband just could not take the possibility of another loss & said "we're done." I have a history of taking a long time to begin my cycles again after a loss, so we assumed we had time to decide if we would do vasectomy, tubal, etc. Well, God had other plans. 6 weeks after our loss, we became pregnant unexpectedly with our little girl who is sleeping in her bassinet next to me. Our miracle baby!

    That being said, it was discovered during my pregnancy with her that i have a genetic blood clotting disorder that "could" have been the cause of the 4 losses and difficult & complicated deliveries. (had a placental abruption among other things, led to c-section).

    Here's the question I am pondering: what to do when the husband & wife do not agree on this topic? I mean, obviously God wants us as wives to submit to our husbands' leadership. But on a topic as important as your family size shouldn't the wife have some say or input? My husband whom I love & respect dearly says he cannot face the possibility of another loss or a definite complicated pregnancy, though now that I am diagnosed & my blood disorder is treated, chances of loss are small.

    I am still praying that the Lord would direct our steps.

  6. Wow, great comments, great questions, great conversation going on here. I’ve been out of town, so that’s why I’ve been quiet. I don’t even need to think of future posts. I would say the comments here have generated the topics to address in the coming weeks.

    Thank you to those who’ve offered counsel as well as those who’ve shared their experiences. Katy F., I would echo JessieLeigh. She’s a wise woman

  7. Katy F.,

    In my opinion, when to start a family is a very personal decision. Personally, I think you’re very wise to want to strengthen the marriage first… people who think having children will FIX a marriage are the ones I worry about.

    I married in 2001 and had my first child in 2005. In my case, it wasn’t so much because of a need to strengthen the marriage, but my overall belief that we should enjoy each stage of life because there’s no going back. I loved being my now-hubby’s girlfriend. And I enjoyed that role for almost four years (we met in college). When I got engaged, I cherished being his fiancee. And when we married, I wanted to fully enjoy my new role of “wife” before adding mother to my list. You can’t go back- once you have kids, you have kids. : )

    For me, waiting a few years was a wonderful thing. By the time I got pregnant, I felt I had fully appreciated being part of a married couple and was ready to move on. And, just for an age reference, I got pregnant at 27, gave birth at 28 with my first.

    I don’t know any details of your circumstances and I can’t offer advice on how to make things more “right” in your marriage… but I think open communication with your husband and with God will be a good place to start.

    Many blessings and best of luck to you…

  8. My problem is “when to say when” it’s time to START having a family.

    My husband and I married in 2005, and I had no idea that I would want to wait as long as we have to start trying. I keep pushing it off, because I feel like something isn’t right in our marriage. I cry a lot, because I WANT children, but I just can’t move forward.

    So, as I turn 29 next week, I’m now starting to worry that my “perfect plan” to have three kids is slowly drifting away. Who knows if I am even ABLE to have children?

    I’d like to hear from those of you who might have waited, like me. Is it worth it to wait and get the marriage on solid ground first? Am I playing God here? Am I setting myself up for failure and heartache?

    I’m sorry if I’m taking a detour from the original topic, but I’m desperate for advice.

  9. Thank you for this topic. It is the very question I have been asking myself “when to say when?” Our planning did not turn out as we thought either. We agreed to be married 4 years then we would get pregnant. It took us almost 2 years to get pregnant, nothing changed or we did different it was just God’s timing not ours. Then I became pregnant when our first was 1 and I lost that baby at 10 weeks. We have had two more beautiful boys since then and I really feel the desire to have at least one more child. My husband is not so sure at least not right now. I had to laugh and remind him it is not our plan. Though I do wonder about whether or not I will have to make myself be “ready” for my family to be complete. I love being a mom and love my boys so much that I think if I did get to plan I would have a lot of children. We will see what God has in store.

  10. I consider myself one of the "fortunate" ones regarding family planning: I really was alright with the idea of a) never getting married & b) never having children of my own. BUT, I wasn't really ever OK with never having children in my life…

    I was 32 at my wedding. Since hubbs & I had known each other for nearly 8 years in a platonic relationship, we were really comfortable with the idea of "trying to conceive" within 6 months of marriage. I used birth control after we got married, but it made me sicker than a dog (should have been a warning to me!!) so after 3 months we chose other methods of birth control.

    We found out we were pregnant with our first child 2 weeks after our first anniversary – woo hoo! And then the next 9 months were filled with puking, more puking, life changing puking – ugh. Pregnancy was absolutely nothing what I thought it would be. The birth experience was terrible.

    Thankfully we have an incredibly healthy now 2.4 yr old boy. During the last year we went through the book "Experiencing God" in our small group & (thankfully) both of our minds were changed in regards to using any method of birth control. I agree with a previous poster, it is a personal decision. But for us, we simply could not justify it in any realm.

    Honestly, it was a load off my heart when we made the decision to simply enjoy each other, enjoy our family – 1 child or many – & to give God the freedom to choose when or if we were to conceive again. Part of the reason it was a burden removed was because I could not decide whether we should move towards adoption, try to conceive another child, or be content with the 1 child we already have (& that keeps us busy enough!!).

    When we decided to let God lead us in the direction He desired, then the decision was no longer ultimately mine. If adoption is in our future, we are trusting God will lead us. Currently, I am in my 12th week of our 2nd pregnancy. After walking through infertility issues & miscarriages with close friends, I now know to take absolutely nothing for granted. But I am so thankful I can trust that God will provide if a storm is to come with this child. That He will be what we need if this is our last child or the 2nd of many.

    I do believe that if I were 26 rather than 36, then the decision to not do birth control might be a bit more challenging. But I also have 3 dear friends who used birth control for years, "told" God, basically, that they were "ready" to conceive on their timing, & His timing ended up being muuuuuuch different. And for 2 of them, they are still waiting to see what exactly God has in store for them when it comes to even starting a family.

    This is such a sensitive topic but one that is so important to discuss. Thanks for listening!

  11. Great post. I have never had miscarriage issues, but I have struggled with infertility. I dreamed of having my kids no more than three years apart. My first son took nearly 2 years to conceive and I was only 23 when I had him. Then I tried for the next three for another child. When I hit the month they would be more than three years apart I said I was done trying. Then I got pregnant the very next month…moral to me…it is God who decides not I. Then my 3rd son took only a year to convcieve. My husband is 10 years older than I and he felt we were done. But he did not want to do anything permanent and I am an all natural girl—-no pills going in me day after day. So we knew we were not preventing it, but we honestly did not imagine it would happen, since I took chlomid to conceive all of our other children. Again God showed that he decides those things….Miracle #4 came.

    I would love to have more, but I truly don’t have the space. We live in a three bedroom home, my husband is 45 and simply feels to old to be having more. He made the decision and had a vasectomy.

    I still ache for anther one, but I have come to terms with his decision. We have said that perhaps some day we will take in a foster child. We both feel if we have the space and can provide a child a home, if even temporarily we will.

    I envy the Duggars. God has blessed them and it is great that they know they are a blessing. So many people today look at kids as if it something they can control. Only God controls these things and we should trust him with it.

    I have lots of relatives who were on birthcontrol for years and now are struggling to concieve. I know if they could go back in time and change those decisions they would in a heartbeat. I am not saying no one should ever use birthdontrol…I feel it is a personal decision. I just feel that the companies and doctors are not disclosing all the information regarding birthcontrol and the effects it can have on ones ability to conceive when they quit.

  12. Wow! What a timely post for me. I feel the heartstrings pulling and babyitis calling. We have 7 children. Our oldest has Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheelchair. One of my 7 year old twins has Autism. We also have 2 year old twins. Yet, here I am knowing with all of my heart that if I could be guaranteed: an easy pregnancy, and the stamina to keep up with the rest of them while pregnant-I would have another baby in a heartbeat.

    I too have had a miscarriage in the past-twins at 5 weeks. I found out that I was having them, and then an hour later found out by another ultrasound that they were gone. No more heartbeats. I lost them the morning of my oldest twins Birthday. Such an empty feeling of blackness afterwards. I never want to go through that again. It was actually in some ways worse then dealing with my special needs children…

    So I’m bartering with God. Wanting things to be perfectly in order or too afraid to try. The baby crib keeps getting moved from room to room. We don’t use it and may not ever again, but I don’t want to give it away-that would be too final.

    My 10 year old daughter said “mom, we should just put this over here-cause you never know.” I said “You don’t think mommy’s done having babies?” She just said “ya never know”. Which made me smile, with 6 siblings, the chaos, the stress of special needs she still must like her family enough to be open minded about more. Why can’t I be like her? Just trusting. Where is my faith as a little child?:) As usual my kids are my greatest teachers. What would I do with out them?

  13. You wrote that post so beautifully. Thanks for offering up a chance to have a healthy discussion about this.

    My husband and I always knew that we wanted a big family, around 6 kids, but we wanted them on our time table. We prevented for three years, then decided we were ready. We tried for 9 months before getting pregnant. Went in and found that there was no heartbeat. We were devastated. We prayed like crazy. Went back in two weeks later and there was a heartbeat! Then, when we went in for our 16-week ultrasound, they told us there was a fatal defect and we would not be able to carry to term. We did carry to term and our firstborn lived for two hours. God really rocked my world and taught me that I am not in control.

    As soon as she was born I was ready to try again. We got pregnant again 3 months later, and our second daughter was born healthy 13 months after the first. I knew we wanted more, so we decided to try again and got pregnant when she was 6 months old. We currently have three healthy daughters all very close together and I find myself still desiring some boys. I pray often that God will provide the boys or help to change my heart to not desire it so strongly. I’m trusting Him to finish my family whenever he sees fit, boys or no boys. My daughters are such incredible blessings that I wasn’t sure we would ever have.

  14. Our family has been blessed with three healthy kiddos and I’m pregnant with #4. I have some back problems (had surgery once) and wasn’t going to have any more after 2. I have been shocked each time I found out I was pregnant again b/c we were trying very hard to avoid, but lest I lose my sanity, I have to fall back on the truth that God loves us and that He will get me through one more pregnancy. If it’s up to me, I am done after this one just for my health. But if we want to grow our family in the future, my husband and I have always been very open to adoption. There’s so many orphans who need parents, and maybe at the right time, we will be able to do that someday. I have no idea how our lives will unfold, but as Corrie Ten Boom said, “His will is our hiding place. Don’t let us go crazy poking about outside of it!”

  15. i was really looking forward to this post all week because this is one of my “freaky thing” on my blog and i’ve been working on my own piece about large families (and i’ve also written about NFP). i loved your honest story. i am so sorry about your miscarriages and elated that you went on to have so many more children. we are sitting at 4 right now and definitely want more, although there are days when i want to scream. i hate when people see me at a low point b/c then they think they can tell you that you don’t “need” more kids. grrr. you are one cool chick, Grocery Goddess.

  16. Thank you for talking about this!! Very timely for me, personally.

    I never wanted kids, ever. I was never one of those girls who dreamed of husbands and babies….then I had two kids, both while using birth control (perfectly using, I might add).

    After my son was born, my husband and I talked and prayed and thought and dwelled. We went back and forth…some days wanting another, many days wanting to be done. Then I got pregnant this time 🙂

    Now I keep having nagging thoughts of just getting my tubes tied this time. I *really* don’t think I want any more….but I said that each time in the past and ended up with beautiful children, who I can’t imagine my life without. The big issue for me is….if I get my tubes tied, I’m basically saying I don’t trust God with that part of my life. I’m trumping his move. And I’m not 100% comfortable making that decision. So I’m really doing a lot of thinking and praying on this subject…

  17. When we got married we knew we wanted kids, but hadn’t really stated a number. Definately 2, maybe up to four…yeah you could tell we were 22 and thought “we” controlled it! LOL! We were told I would need help concieving even before we were married so we weren’t expecting to be pregnant four months later. Then when our son was 15 months we wanted to try for number two. It took us a year to get pregnant with our daughter. Then not trying for a third, we got pregnant with our second daughter when our youngest was 15 months (ironic huh?). My pregnancies are hard. Lots and lots of vomit! I throw up water for crying out loud! I follow that up with c-sections. Oh and this last time I was injecting isulin three times a day thanks to gestational diabetes, and had to be on bed rest for two months. Yeah I hate being pregnant! But I love my babies. It was a hard decision to make, but we are done now. Lots of prayer and time with the Lord showed me that I can’t be the wife and mother I have been called to be if I am always to sick to take care of anyone. We are still praying about adopting someday. I would love more kids. It is so hard not to be bitter when I see women who have such easy pregnancies and deliveries. But I know that isn’t God’s will for everyone. He is writing the story of my life, and I have to trust Him for it.

  18. My husband and I tried for 2 years to get pregnant and decided to go see a doctor to find out whyit wasn’t happening. Turns out I have PCOS and wasn’t ovulating on my own. After an ectopic pregnancy and 3 rounds of insemination we were finally pregnant with our daughter Bella. I had a hard pregnancy and delivered at 34 weeks via emergency c-section. I didn’t really think about trying again because of the emotional roller coaster we had just been on. Howver, I found out I was pregnant naturally when Bella was only 3 months old. My second daughter Olivia was born at 34 weeks also. My girls are 12 months and 1 week apart. I knew I was “done” when I went home without a baby having to leave Olivia in the NICU for a week. I know how lucky I was that she was only there for a week, but it killed me to do so. I felt lucky that I ultimately had 2 healthy girls. I never had the feeling of “I am ready for another baby” since I was pregnant right away. I do love holding other people’s babies, but I feel like my family is complete with just the four of us.

  19. I thought I knew everything in my twenties too! I just recently found out I don’t.

    We tried for a long time to have our first son. They said I would have to have surgery in order to carry a baby. We were going to wait a while to have the surgery, but five years later I got pregnant. The doctor said I couldn’t carry to term since I didn’t have the surgery. My baby was born exactly on his due date. Guess the doctors don’t know everything.

    Then 10 years later I was surprised to find out I was pregnant again. It was a much harder pregnancy. I was older and more overweight. He was born two weeks early. We decided to stop at two, since I had a harder time with this pregnancy.

    I think it’s wonderful that some families can have lots of children. It’s just up to each family to decide if they want to keep trying or not.

  20. We had our daughter 15 months after we got married. I couldn't decide if I wanted to work or not so we kept putting off having a second. When she was 2 1/2 I quit to stay home with her & decided to try for a second 6 months later. We were shocked that it took 7 months to get pregnant since our daughter was conceived on the first try. 11 weeks later the ultrasound showed she had died. My OB recommended a D&C & through testing we found out she had a severe form of Down Syndrome.
    We thought & prayed about what to do next but decided to try right away again. Unfortunately it took several months for me to heal. We had always discussed international adoption & felt God leading us to Ethiopia. 2 months ago we brought home our now 9 month old son!! What a blessing!
    We know we want more. Biological we aren't sure about – will we get pregnant again? Will the baby live? We definitely want to go back to Ethiopia & adopt a sibling group. We just need patience to wait the 3 or 4 years it will take to save up the money again.
    I agree with one of the other comments – families are created in lots of different ways. I love my son the same as my daughters!! And I also wish I could live with the Duggars!! 🙂


  21. I too have lost three babies and it still seems raw doesn’t it, even after 2 healthy boys. I have slowly learned that my plans are not necessarily HIS plans and boy is that a tough one to swallow when it comes to what we want most. hugs for talking so freely and openly….. and thank you.

  22. As my husband and I have recently decided to try for a third, we are not done having children. However, it seems there is a common theme among women who experience a very difficult pregnancy and/or birth and just can’t fathom going through another pregnancy. My parents were married at 19 and started having children at 20, for a total of 8 kids over 19 years. Between each child, (except for the first 2 which ended up being only 13 months apart!) my mom used birth control—she tried different kinds. I remember asking her once as a teenager what made her decide to keep having more children. She said as soon as the “baby” was potty trained, and began acting older, she just had that ache for another infant. She was a hard-working, stay at home mom, my dad is a minister, and they just have such a love for children. Unfortunately, with the last baby when she was 39, she suffered a very serious hemorrhage that resulted in an emergency c-section. It took her months to recover. I believe that was the point they decided that 8 was a perfect number for them.

  23. Before we got married during counseling we both said we wanted 5 kids. My hubby is from a family of 4 kids and I am from a family with 7 kids. Well our first was sort of a surprise…I don’t really have a problem getting pregnant. My pregnancies are VERY ROUGH. LOTS OF VOMITING and it doesn’t stop until I deliver. When we got pregnant the second time we were excited but things went wrong. To make long story short it looks like my second child Jude was a twin and I lost one, but that was a roller coaster of a ride. After Jude I had another miscarriage. This one rocked my world. I like you….weeded and put in a whole front yard landscaping while miscarrying. I needed to do something physical. Through the miscarriage I found out about a growth I have that cannot be removed and can cause future miscarriages if implantation happens there. But I really wanted more kids and I wanted to have Hope to believe the best. God blessed us with little Adelee. Although the pregnancy was rocked with trials and many opportunities to trust God and her whole first days of life (she turned blue the day we brought her home and had to spend some time back in the NICU) she is now our little miracle and joy and blessing. All through her pregnancy my husband kept saying this was it. I never make any promises while pregnant….it isn’t fair when I really hate being pregnant but love babies. So the day she was born I looked at her and said she is not it, I want another. My hubby said we would talk about it.

    Well before her first birthday we became pregnant again (using protection….it was a surprise). We both were excited and coming up with names and such. We went in for an ultrasound to make sure that it implanted in the right spot relative to the growth and it had. Things were looking great and we saw the little peanut’s heartbeat. I was not ready for the next appointment and the blow that the baby had died and I would be facing another impending miscarriage. I too have avoided D and C on my doctors recommendation and due to the high risk with the growth I have. So here I am again. I really want more. I think I would really like 5 but I have gotten my hubby to agree to one more. He says that is it. So I am praying once again. Hoping. But I know God’s plans are best.

    It is hard to know when to say when especially where there are difficulties and problems and you are so right every person and family is different.

    I just wonder to those who have called it quits…(other than those with medical problems I understand their reasons) how did you know? Was it hard? Were you sad but just knew it was time? Or did you know it was time and feel happy or ready for the next season? I am kind of wondering if I will have another baby and still feel like I don’t want to stop. I wonder if I will have to just make that decision against feelings. I wonder if I will have more miscarriages and the pain of that will bend my will to quit.

    I do know the number isn’t that far off for me. I think the Duggar family is great too but no way could my body or my personality ever do that. Plus I live in LA my house and our income could never manage that. HEE HEE. So there is an ending near in site.

    Thanks for doing this post. I really would love to hear from those that are officially done. Their thoughts feelings etc. How they went through the whole process. It is such a big decision. Having walked through it already their wisdom and life experience would be so helpful.

  24. We were four months pregnant with Mr. Dramatic when we were wed. So we didn’t exactly plan for him…but I like to explain it like this: he may have been an unplanned pregnancy, but he was very much wanted. We didn’t use birth control after he was born (naively because we thought that breastfeeding WAS birth control….lol) and when he weaned himself at thirteen months, I became pregnant with Mr. Independent. After him we thought we were done. We didn’t do anything permanent at the time, but we used the birth control every time. At first we were using a diaphragm, which worked great until I got horrible yeast infections…those are effective birth control too…lol! So then we decided to go on hormonal birth control. I didn’t want to, because I am really sensitive to medication of any kind. We chose the low dose Nuvaring. It was like the best of both worlds! Until I found out that I was pregnant and still using the Nuvaring…did I mention that I was bleeding at the same time? After several trips to the doctor for HcG counts, I had an ultrasound that finalized the awful reality…no baby. I don’t even know how far along I was… all I knew was that I had opened up my heart and now it was broken, shattered.
    It was after the miscarriage that we realized that we wanted one more in our family. It felt like someone was missing. No, we didn’t have Miss Precious to fill the void that the previous baby left. She isn’t a replacement baby. But she does bring us so much joy and our family now feels complete. Three on earth and one in heaven waiting for us to meet.
    As I had kidney stone episodes (the last one landed me in the hospital for SEVEN days) with all three pregnancies, we deemed it advisable to not have any more kids. Unbeknownst to me until this last hospital episode, kidney stones while pregnant can induce premature labor. And if the stones are obstructing, it can be fatal for the mother too. We didn’t want to risk it so the day after Miss Precious was born I went in for a tubal ligation. We had prayed about it a lot before actually going through with it. And I feel at peace.
    I am content with my three blessings 🙂

    Fertility treatments are not cheating…God is the one Who gives the doctors wisdom for things like that. We all take medicine…what is the difference? Children are brought into our lives by all different methods. Who am I to judge how God brings blessings into another’s life? 🙂

  25. What a great post. I can especially relate to the “I knew everything in my twenties…” remark. 😉 Funny how the older we get and the more we learn, the LESS we know, huh?

    Our experience started with a painful three-year infertility struggle. We have a happy ending (well… I don’t know that it’s an ending, really) to our story however. We’ve been blessed with three healthy children.

    When to stop? We don’t know. Honestly and without any judging of how others view the issue, we just aren’t too sure that our place is to decide our own family planning. Hmmm… maybe we feel that way because we’ve been there, tried that, and God seems to do what He wants in his perfect time and his perfect way, anyway. 😉

    I look forward to this continued conversation! Thanks!

  26. Whew. This an emotional topic and your post began the conversation beautifully. Thank you for addressing it.

    I could probably write about this all day, but since the conversation will continue for a few weeks, I will answer the question from this week. I grew up in a family of two children and always wished for a bigger family. When I met my husband, we “decided” on three, but as you and the other readers wisely noted, planning and having are two different things entirely.

    It took us three years and a lot of infertility treamtments to conceive our oldest son and subsequently our twins (now 3). I am painfully aware that some people of faith might feel as though this is “breaking the rules” and that if God intended us to have children, he might have provided them “unassisted.” For me, I look at my children and their pure, beautiful, loving hearts and cannot imagine that they were not meant to be here. My journey through infertility tested my faith in the most extreme way…I raged at God and myself, tried promises and bargaining and prayed pretty much constantly that God would make me a mother in the way that He intended.

    Now, a few years out, I struggle with being “done” or not. Yes, I am done with infertility treatments. But I think and pray about a miracle baby, adoption, fostering…so many ways to create a family. I look forward to continuing the conversation, and love gaining insight from you, Jessica, and all of you commenting.

  27. I got pregnant the day we decided to start trying. At 25 weeks, Addyson was born way too early. She’s now 18 months old and we are very grateful for her precious life. Because the doctors can’t guarantee it won’t happen again, we’ve decided to stop at one. It’s actually a good thing for us. Nick only wanted one to begin with and now I don’t have to blame him for the fact that we won’t have more. Addy is a handful, especially with her medical needs, so I really can’t imagine taking on more children.

    Secretly I envy those families like the Duggars who have 17+ children and live very simply. It’s not for us, but I wouldn’t have minded being born into a family like that!

  28. What an inspiring and thoughtful post.

    We found out we were pregnant 2 days before our wedding. We ended up miscarrying at 14 weeks and it was so very hard for me especially. We soon got pregnant again but again miscarried at 6 weeks.

    It took almost 2 years before we became pregnant with Curly Girl but the miscarriages were always in our minds.

    We didn’t have any problems getting pregnant with Munchkin. That was 2 years ago and we haven’t conceived again since.

    I always wanted to have 3 or 4 kids but I’m getting older now and I just don’t know if that’s what God wants for us. For now, we’re just leaving it in His hands and we’ll see what the future holds for us.

  29. When my husband and I got married we figured we would just have two kids a few years apart and we would be good. When my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage it was quite a shock. That was followed by two more miscarriages. We reached a point where we had given up on having a child of our own and started looking at adoption. About two months after we started researching adoption agencies I found out I was pregnant again so we couldn’t continue with any adoption processes. Thankfully that baby was born healthy. We both feel very blessed to have her in our lives and I feel like we appreciate her so much more because of everything we went through to have her.

    My husband and I have talked about trying to have another child, but quite frankly I am scared to try. The miscarriages were very hard on me and I don’t know if I could handle another. That said, I really would love for my daughter to have a sibling. So for now we’re leaving it in Gods hands. At this point I figure that whatever is meant to happen will happen.

  30. My “family planning” had me having 2 children by 30 and then maybe another one. I was 27 when we had our little boy. I will be 30 in January and we are still trying for number 2. We have been trying well over a year now and it just doesn’t seem to be happening. sniff! I have been told that the second can a be a lot harder than the first. We had no problem getting pregnant the first time (3 months after starting to try). Things just aren’t going as planned. Hmmmm! The Lord has really been using this to stretch my complete trust in Him.

  31. Thank you for your candidness and transparency in this post, Jessica. Thank you, also, for not filling it with euphemisms (just a personal pet peeve of mine…)

    My husband and I always figured we’d shoot for three kids (perhaps because we are each the youngest of three?). My daughter’s early arrival has left my husband a bit wary to even try again. Seeing the beauty of my kids’ super-close relationship has left me wanting a couple more…

    I’m really not sure how it will all work out. For now, I pray a lot… and I talk to my hubby a lot… and I truly trust the God will have the final say.