My husband has decided to get the ol’ snip-snip. I have thoughts about this. Many, many thoughts. I try to articulate them to him, but because I have the gift of never finding the right words when speaking, I figured I’d write them down instead. Here goes.
I understand you wanting to cap our family at five. Kids are expensive. They have to go places and be picked up from those places. They get sick and make messes and piss us off.
They’re also the best investment we’ve ever made. They go places and we get to be a part of their journey. They need us and make us laugh and bring us immeasurable joy.
Talk about a contradiction, eh? But that’s parenting. We know this. And we’re good at this. We make such an incredible team, you and me. We always promised each other we’d be that united front and we held true to our word. You’ve taught me to see the big picture and I’ve taught you how to interpret Whine-ese. We’re just so good together that I can’t fathom why you would want to halt the baby making machine.
That’s why I am weepy about your procedure. I know you don’t get it, but it’s more than closing a chapter for us; it’s closing an entirely separate book for me. And while that’s something I’ve got to come to terms with on my own (I know, I know–“I love being pregnant” isn’t a good enough reason to keep knocking me up), it’s something that is absolutely destroying me.
I mean, on one hand, I get it. Intellectually, I’m pickin’ up what you’re putting down. I’m catching what you’re throwing. Emotionally, I want to die because you’re ruining my life.
So don’t be surprised if I’m resentful afterward. I’ll try so hard not to be, but please recall my innate inability to control matters of the heart. See:
Exhibit A: the day I pulled over and, using my old softball glove, scooped up baby raccoons from the side of the road
Exhibit B: when I drove my brother to Wisconsin for the World Series game he wasn’t even playing in.
Exhibit C: remember when I brought home that rescue dog who has since made our lives miserable yet we’ve suffered gladly?
Exhibit D: the weird thing my voice does when I see babies or puppies.
See? I CANNOT HELP MYSELF.
Anyway, I’m actually mad at you right now because we should obviously just have babies until we can’t have them any more and my uterus explodes.
I have a sickness.
For the record, I’m trying reallllllly hard not to throw a heavy dose of Catholic guilt at you, mostly because I spent over a decade on the pill and I am many things, but a hypocrite is not one of them.
I miss my pregnant belly. I miss a baby at my breast, so much so that I may have asked our two-and-a-half-year-old if she wanted to nurse again, but you can’t prove it so shut up. I even miss those chaotic first weeks of falling into a new routine with the kids. Speaking of the kids, how freaking excited would they be if we had another baby?!
Sorry, there I go again.
Anyway, this past weekend when I drove by Magee and saw the big double doors opening to welcome an expectant mother, I remembered the times we were in that exact spot together. Remember that huge contraction that stopped me in my tracks in the parking lot? Was that with Lyla or Ella? It scared me, but your face was reassuring. Your strong fist at the base of my tailbone, trying to counter my ridiculous back labor. The look in your eyes when you wanted to grimace in pain with me, but held it in so I wouldn’t be scared. Scarfing down a huge Italian meal minutes before I pushed our daughter out. I don’t know what I did yesterday, but those are memories I’ll keep forever. I need you to understand the vasectomy takes away the possibility of making more of those memories and I hate the vasectomy for it.
The Big V also forces me to accept a reality I don’t want to: I may be too old for baby-making. The lines in my skin and bags under my eyes are certainly additional indications, but I had held out hope for Sephora serums and moisturizers. Until now. And there’s something exceptionally depressing about the whole thing.
I know we’re technically out of bedrooms and our kids will only get busier and more complex with age, but I look at the empty chair at our dinner room table and ache for another. Try as I might, I just can’t quell the undeniable yearning for another sweet smelling poop machine (an oxymoron only reserved for babies) that will drain me of every ounce of energy while filling me up with a spectacular sense of calming love.
Maybe you’re right and this is just “a mother thing.” Maybe more moms like me exist somewhere and understand my delicate dance of wanting to support you while simultaneously cursing you. You can get your own damn frozen crotch peas from the freezer. I’m sorry I didn’t mean it. Maybe I’m super selfish and just want to recreate the pregnancy and labor and little baby phase because I love it all so much. You’re not excited for any of that any more, yet I continue to deny it.
But that’s cool, right? You’ve always been the pragmatic one. Why switch things up now?
Your crazy wife
Something is very wrong with you.
Stephanie Jankowski says
Well that’s constructive and helpful. Thank you!
Michael, that’s terrible. There is no one more intimately involved with the baby-making process than the mother, so to say there is something wrong with her because she wants to continue something she loves is terrible. She’s being reasonable. She knows on one hand that it’s the right thing to do, but deep down inside, she wants to continue having children. It’s really hard to explain if you’re not in the same position. I didn’t understand what my sister was going through when she and her husband decided to stop having kids; but now that i’m almost in that situation, it makes a lot more sense.
I know what you are going through….and even though I have a 6 mo old who doesn’t sleep…i still yearn for more because she and my other two are wonderful and I want more of them. In my heart I will never stop wanting more. You probably won’t either. 🙁 we can cry and drink together.
Stephanie Jankowski says
You better not have to cut out wine–I need you! 🙂
Laurie Woodfin says
Had the exact same feelings many years ago when my husband (rightly, I’ve come to admit) pointed out that we had 2 healthy children, one of each sex, and until they came up with a third kind, it was best to enjoy our blessings. Those feelings never go away, but for a good reason–so you will get the biggest kick out of being grandparents.
Stephanie Jankowski says
That’s a beautiful way to look at it, Laurie. Thank you for that perspective xox
Real. Life. Parenting. says
While it feels completely foreign to me because I’ve only ever wanted my kids to keep growing older (although I’ve reached the end point for that and would like them to both stay with me forever as teenagers, thankyouverymuch), I adore how much you love babies–especially yours! Loved this post. Love you even more.
I have read this post a million times! My husband is not getting a vasectomy, but he is done. We have 3 beautiful boys and my youngest will be 3 soon. I really, REALLY want one more baby, but he is done (which I not only respect, but totally understand). I would love to know if you have since found peace in being done having children? I am having a difficult time 🙁