We sold our stroller this week and although we haven’t used it for many months – I can’t even recall when, exactly, we used it last – it feels strange that it is gone. For the first time in six years, I am stroller-less. At one point I actually had four strollers of varying child carrying capacities, weights, and wheel sizes in my garage. And now the fact that I have none feels like an era has officially ended.

I read this post about knowing when your family has maxed out on members, about knowing that there are no more babies coming down the pipe, so to speak. I knew I wanted two children, no more, no less, and I after I had my second healthy baby boy, I knew I wanted to stop. I recall clearly that when Mark was a baby, a small baby, maybe only a few months old, that I was already thinking ahead to the next baby. When Jake was a small baby, I knew, without a doubt, that he was the last.

I am starting to see that this viewpoint may not be typical.

More and more I speak with women who have pangs to have another baby, who perhaps wish to have another one and can’t for varying heart-breaking reasons, or who continue to add to their families with joy and happiness. Sometimes, and this is a confession, I wonder if there is something missing in my maternal being that I never, ever have pangs for another baby. I don’t even really enjoy holding other babies, and that is a difficult confession to make.

My grandmother, among others, would frequently advise me that I had better get pregnant, soon, with the infuriating advice that I should really try to have a girl. “Girls are different”, she would say, “Wouldn’t you like to have a girl?” And, my distaste at the thought of trying for a specific gender notwithstanding, I would reply mildly that girl or boy, I do not want any more babies.

A few years ago, when the boys were still very small, my period stopped for a few months. This was after we had taken permanent birth control steps, so pregnancy in this case, while not unheard-of, would be pretty much a medical curiosity. Still, I worried. I took test after test and they were all, of course, negative. But one day I was in the car with the two of them, driving and listening to them complain about dropped sippy cups and snacks, and I thought, what if the tests are wrong? What if I actually am pregnant? And the panic and anxiety that filled my being was such that I had to pull over so I could collapse in a sobbing puddle of tears.

Soon after that incident my period returned, and it was clear that our decision to have only two children was the correct one.

Meanwhile, each time Jake passed through a trying stage as a baby – a tiring one like teething, or a gross one like potty training – I would think well, I don’t have to go through that again. And now we are past, long past, the stroller stage and although that certainly wasn’t trying or difficult, it was a stage and now we are in a new one. I think about the hundreds of times I would tuck them into the stroller, with blankets and toys and snacks, and I think about those days with affection and also sadness, that the time has gone so quickly, so quickly I didn’t even notice.


  1. I always wondered how it would feel to cross that line. And now I know this pregnancy is the last, for sure. So I am trying to enjoy it all.

  2. I really enjoyed this post, and hoping for that feeling. I get little glimpses of it, which is better than a year ago.

  3. I totally knew after my first that I would only be having two. Most people cannot understand this, you are right.
    My ovaries never talk to me, like they do to most people. I’m good with just two boys.
    Those pregnancy scares are horrid eh?
    Every time i get rid of a baby item I do get a little twinge, but more that they are just growing so darn fast. Not that I really miss the crying stuff.

  4. i think the other thing that i didn’t mention in my post was that i actually stopped using my diaper bag. for four years, it’s been my everyday bag, even for work. my partner and my office mates laughed at me. finally, i bought a funky little…purse. yikes.

    but that was part of it, part of knowing i was done.

  5. I feel exactly the same way – I have never felt anything but thrilled to be done. Part of that is the fact that the baby stage isn’t really my favourite, but another part is a really pleasant sense of wholeness and completeness with the family I have. It took me four years, after Pie was born, before I had the slightest urge to hold anybody else’s baby, and even then it was only because it’s my nephew.

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