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How Do You Know When Your Family Is Complete?

Updated: May 24, 2023

Exploring the normalcy of not feeling "done" with having children

How do you know if you are done? Having children, that is!

Is there a switch inside your brain that turns off once you have had your allocated amount of children, that lets you know that you are done? That there will never be another pregnancy announcement or the sound of the 'pitter-patter' of little footsteps coming down your hall once again?

Or is it the moment when you feel that there are more children in the family than adults? Or are you a Mama that always knew that you would have a certain number of children and now that you have had that allocation, you are done? Or is it when you have the strong urge to give away all your little onesies and pass the bassinet onto a friend or recoil when you see a pregnant tummy or newborn? Or is it just the point when you have reached utter exhaustion?

I have thought about this question a lot lately. It always seems to be a popular subject amongst friends or Mamas meeting at the park. There is always one Mama who loudly and proudly announces that she is done! Another that says, "Oh, you just know when you're done". The discussion follows with how people justify their decision to stop trying for another baby at the number of children they have.“How could I possibly give the appropriate amount of time to another child,” “Our family unit simply would not cope with another little one,” “We couldn't send the kids to private school if we had another,” or “ I have a pigeon pair, so why would I go back,” or because your partner is done, you are too?

I have been blessed with four beautiful little ones, and I knew at three that I was not done and feel so blessed to have gone on and had a fourth. But do I feel done? I can't say I have ever had that overwhelming sensation of being done. Are hands full, yes; exhausted, yes, but done? It seems so definitive. I remember my amazing Obstetrician asking if I wanted to have my tubes tied at four, and I couldn't do it, even though I knew I wouldn't be having any more children, but I still couldn't say definitively that I was done (although my husband could have, lol).

I love babies, and my heart always melts when I see them. Sometimes I imagine myself cradling a precious little newborn once more and kissing its little head. Practically I know I’m done and sometimes feel done after a visit to the kid's shoe store and $400 later or trying to get everyone ready and out the door in the morning. Still, I can't say that I will ever have that overwhelming feeling that I am officially done.

Perhaps as time goes on, that feeling will come as a new season of parenting begins. Or perhaps, for some, it never does.

Christy Hopwood is a mama to four beautiful children and co-founder of Parents You've Got This.

Although your family may be complete, there is always something new you can learn to nurture your child's development. Parents You've Got This is here to support you throughout your parenthood journey and offer masterclasses touching on subjects including how to start your baby on solids food, improving infant sleep and toilet training!

Mother with complete family


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