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September 01, 2010


I am going to copy and paste the punctuation hijinks into an email to my husband, attempting to communicate my feelings on this particular subject. And my feelings are... exactly the same as yours, I guess. I could be done and get a salary and lose ten pounds and my life would be soooo gooood and we wouldn't be broke and I would be, like, so hot. And never use my body for that purpose again?? What? And toss away all that accrued knowledge? And never get around to putting a baby in that super-adorable plaid coat from Old Navy that I got for a song and forgot to ever put anyone in?? ((And all the while: tick, tock, tick, tock.))
Thanks for articulating, babe.

The no more kids decision was recently made for us. And I feel..okay with it. But slightly sad.

Although I would like a salary right now. I miss my job and haven't found a new one here. Also,
my 4.5 year old needs preschool again almost as much as I need her to go there.

Oh my gosh, brenna, thank YOU. That's it exactly.

Brooke, yeah -- I hear you. Both on the slight sadness and on the NEED for preschool...

I feel for you, sort of.
How about these apples?

I'm 40 years old now
We are parents to one healthy child (born 2007)
One graduate degree (me), and one good B.S. degree (accounting, him).

No money. I HAVE to work outside the home. We couldn't afford to have another even if I could dust off my eggs and pump them with DHEA and sprinkle them liberally with fairy dust.

That's right, this sucky economy has completely removed any slim option of another child. So my child will be an only. That's not my first choice.

How do you like them apples? SO part of me feels you, and another part goes, "Oh Haysoos fucking Christmas, get over yourself, you are getting the whole goddang enchilada." It's not personal, though, I'd have those thoughts to any young 30 something year old who doesn't have to work outside the home and who has two healthy children and choices.

Can you understand that?

and I completely understand the quiverfull wanting. Regardless if you have one or 19, like the Duggars. I get it too.


Naw, I get it, Micaela. Height of hubris and all that.

I'm kind of in Micaela's boat, and it sucks.

It's not "I want to go Duggar!" it's how much it sucks when it's your finances, not your personal desires, dictating the choices. It feels like being robbed, and you kind of are.

I still hold out hope for an accidental baby...but then I'm 39 and probably kidding myself.

What I tell myself, when I feel this way (and I will be 45 this year, so the window is likely closed): there is no biological clock on adopting. My husband is against it, but he might have a change of heart, and we might have another baby someday. Maybe someone will leave on our doorstep, in a basket?

Never say never, to anything.

Although now I'm feeling defensive and feel compelled to say this:

If anyone is imagining that we are living a life of luxury on one income, please reconsider.

We have almost no savings because for five years we lived on one postdoctoral fellow income. We have very little retirement savings (I have a pittance from my old job and postdocs -- um, no). I will need to work my ass off in order to build up our retirement. Suze Orman would weep.

There are so many house projects that we simply cannot afford to do -- and I don't mean fun things, I mean important things. When I read about people relieving stress with "retail therapy" I feel like hitting something, because I am presently wearing a skirt from my old library job seven years ago, and a five-dollar H&M tank top that has somehow lasted four years. And this is my "nice" outfit.

We're not broke and we're not in debt. But we don't have iPhones or cable or a stereo. I take evening classes because we can't afford child care on top of tuition.

It is a choice, yes. And I am fortunate to be able to make it. But it's not all bonbons and maypoles.

Ditto the second child thing (except I WOHM), but to want more on top of the good fortune I already have when I sometimes want to send my kids into a soundproof room....but I already know so much, how can I waste all this hard-won knowledge.

Ditto what everyone said. Two and done is OK. I guess.

Re: homeschooling. I also have a 5 yr old (8/24 birthday) who just started kindergarten. I also think homeschooling can be really, really cool. But, in our house, there is a power struggle dynamic between me and my daughter that I think would prevent me from effectively teaching her. She pushes back against me in ways she never would her teacher. (I swear, sometimes I feel like my 5-year-old is psychologically abusing me.)

Also, I think my daughter would HATE to miss out on walking to school with the neighborhood kids, and recess and the cafeteria and all the other stuff that goes along with attending the local public school. She is over the moon about it all and, as much as I don't want her to turn into a mainstream Walmart type, I can't imagine denying her this very normal experience.

After our first baby, even though I kind of felt that our family was complete (and was way too stressed to even consider another one for the first 11 months of her life), I kept all the maternity clothes, grown-out-of baby clothes, and other baby accoutrements (sp?) because it just didn't feel right, somehow, to give them away.

By the time my first was 19 months old, the thought of NOT having another one filled me with dispair. 11 months later--enter #2. Although I am so, so, SO glad we had two, I also know I am totally done. I know because, 1., the thought of getting pregnant again fills me with a lot more dread than joy, and 2., I couldn't WAIT to rid my home of maternity clothes, infant clothes, swing, boppy, carrier, etc., etc. I kept a few 0-3 month outfits for nostalgia's sake, but the rest? Out the door pronto.

So, that is how I know I am done. If you do not feel you are done, you're probably not. Biology, of course, is a bitch, but some women do continue to have kids past their mid-30s, so, you know, possibility.

Good luck on your class!

This is my first time commenting, but I wanted to say AMEN!

I'm in a similar boat (I'll even by 34 in October) although my kiddos are younger (3 & 7 weeks). I think if I were younger (and not just because of the eggs) I would like to have had 4 - 2 of each. Of course, that's because in my head that makes a pretty picture. The reality of that would probably make me lose my sanity.

Anyway, I'm not ready to do anything permanent (I think I need to have more sleep before I make life decisions), so while I think we're done, I'm still sad about it.

Also, to the above commenters, yes, your situation sucks, but that doesn't mean I/we can't be sad over own situations.

Apparently, I also need to join Parentheses Anonymous.

Well Jo, then we need to get together and do some tightwad gazetting.

Mark and I are much older with nearly zip in retirement (that's right, folks), and we have no savings. period. And it's not for bad choices in life. We share one cell phone between us, we don't have cable, and sadly, we don't get periodicals or newspapers delivered to our house. We don't have TV. We don't take family vacations (we went to the beach for 3 days this year, the first time in nearly 6 years). This year we had more than $5,000 in dental bills (no, not because we don't understand brushing and flossing). We had to take out a loan for that.

So no bon bons here, it's more like bean beans. and rice rice. And we grow some of our own food in our garden and I have and use my dehydrator.

What has dawned on me, in reading these posts, is how this hubris is almost 100% hormonally driven. So, if you are given to alliteration, you have the Height of Hormonal Hubris. HA HA.

Okay, you win at Suck.

It's funny how easy it is to end up without the big pile Suze Orman thinks we ought to have (I don't know why Suze Orman gets under my skin; a lot of her advice is very good). Even when you have all the education and jobs and stuff. It's just not that easy unless you inherit money.

Ding, Ding, Ding, you win the prize for figuring it out. The missing link for us: It helps to come from money, regardless if it's a death prize or doled out throughout life such as your help with college, cars to get to respective jobs, and a down on a house.

You bet your Bobby Brooks blazers I would have had my children younger if I had not been scrapping and working my ass off, for oh, say, since a junior in high school.

The only financial mistake I've ever made was getting a graduate journalism degree. Stupid me, journalism is largely irrelevant today and no matter what, the pay sucks!

Oh sure, I could do what many do and give into my hormonal hubris and had a passel of children young and then did a crappy job raising them in a welfare state. Stupid me! For considering that I'm actually adding another person to a 7+ billion human populated planet and wanting to be thoughtful in my procreation.

Sorry to be sour grapes. I'm just a copin' w/ my reality just as you and millions of us are. These are not good financial times.
(and for what it's worth, I don't watch tv, but I did take advantage of Ms. Orman's advice about life insurance policies for boy and we finally got together our wills/trusts, thanks to her, and for free.). But, uh yeah.

Someone will always be upset. You know what I mean. You have too much money/ you don't appreciate what you have. You have too many/ too few children. You are too young/ too old to have more kids.
We have all these friends who were put through school and gifted down payments, blah blah. I like us better anyway. We are totally cuter. And funnier. And way more interesting. :-)

Sometimes one makes a "lifestyle choice" because it is the only one to make, at the time.

It's having the choice taken away that's hard. Whether it's your ovaries, your bank account, your spouse, your other kid(s), your work, your health, the adoption agency, or your sanity that prevents you, it's painful.

Amen, DoctorMama!

Yes to DoctorMama.

I really really envy the folks who just know when their families are complete. They're out there. They exist. I wish I were in their camp.

Ultimately, we chose not to try again to have a baby. I would have liked a second pregnancy, and a chance at something not-ultra-high risk. But we have three kids. There would have been high costs to trying again.

Saying, this is it, was not an easy choice for me, and we are CRAZY lucky. It may have been the right choice, but it was really, really hard to accept. I'm 40 now, the spouse is snipped, and I'm still not all the way there.

Meanwhile, from my advanced old age, it seems to me that it's okay to sit with the uncertainty for a while. Not choosing is itself an acceptable choice.

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