So this friend of mine (mentioned in this post), has one daughter who is a year older than Kaia.
We were talking the other day and her daughter is going to be sent to see (yet another) specialist at the local children's hospital. It's probably not serious, but it's another medical specialist to be seen and another issue to be dealt with. So she remarks to me (again), that this is now the final thing that means her and her husband won't be having another child. She jokingly said "we aren't even finished fixing this one up yet!"
While part of me laughs and totally gets that it sucks to have yet another medical issue crop up after years of dealing with one thing after another, another little part of me (probably located somewhere near my congenital cardiac defect...right next to my dead baby) feels a little miffed. Yes, not everyone is born perfect....sucks don't it?
Then my friend says "we are considering having [insert her husband's name here] go for a vasectomy".
My immediate question was whether her husband is as solid on not wanting any more kids either. Her answer was that he would have another one if she wanted one, but since she doesn't, he's fine with that.
Perhaps because I play the 'what if' game with myself all the time, I immediately began thinking of scenarios in my head.
a) What if my friends divorced? This happened to a friend of a friend of mine. He wanted another. She was done with two. Hubby went for a vasectomy and then his wife left him...for another woman (pretty sure there aren't anymore kids in this woman's future). This guy, who is still young by anyone's standards, could remarry and have more kids, but now he's sterile. Needless to say, he is beyond pissed. It also happened to my cousin. He and his wife were done at three. Then they divorced. He went on to meet another woman, got a vasectomy reversal (In Canada: free to go sterile, $5000 to undo it) and they had another child together. Then, because of their ages, he got it done again. I guess everyone has their limits when birth control becomes that big of a hassle that one no longer wants to even have to consider it anymore, but in my mind you BOTH should be REALLY REALLY sure.
b) What if my (female) friend died? As an example, my mom, after she had my younger brother, was told not to have anymore children due to possible risks to her health. When I was about 6 and my brother was 3, my mom got her tubes tied. She had two and was happy with that. Although it's more of an invasive procedure for the female to get sterilized, her reasoning was that out of the two of them, SHE was the one who couldn't have more kids, so why take that possibility away from my dad, if anything should happen to her? In our case, this would be my decision too, since I'm the one with the heart defect. In my opinion since my friend is the one solidly not wanting anymore kids, maybe this should be a decision (and a surgery) that she takes upon herself, and doesn't put on her husband.
c) What if (and this of course hits close to home), their daughter died? Their daughter's medical conditions have, so far, never been life threatening in the extreme, but what if something else is around the corner? I worry about this all the time with Kaia, because I know the devastation of loss. The loss of an only child is not only the loss of a child, but the loss of one's parenthood. It's one of the things that weighs heavy on my mind, knowing I may end up having an only (living) child. I know my friend worries about the possible medical complications in a second child, that they could be worse than her first, but I don't know if she's ever thought about the loss of the one she has. I don't know if I should even bring it up because no parent ever wants to think about that. Plus, if they really DON'T want anymore children, does the outside chance of future loss outweigh their current desire for only one child? In my mind, death is always something to consider. In theirs, maybe it's not.
It, of course, also stings that while Brian and I are trying to have another child, despite all the complications we've faced and could face in the future, friends of ours who are exactly our age, with exactly the same number of (living) kids (only one!), are preparing to kiss their fertility good-bye.
I dream of the day when my family is exactly the way I want it. It will always be minus Aidan, but I wish it didn't have to be minus Third baby too. I would be so nice to no longer have that twinge when I pass a pregnant woman on the street or hold a snugly baby and wish it was mine. If only I could watch Kaia and her sibling play and interact, and have a child on either side of me when I read stories at night. It would be so nice to feel a sense of completion. I'm afraid I'm never going to have that.
Some day (far in the future?) we might have the sterilization conversation too...but not yet...definitely not yet.
How do you know when you're done with having children? If you're there, what made you decide?