the ‘are you guys done?’ question

Three babies. Four years. It’s been quite the streak.

three standing

We have always wanted a family. Our senior year of college (for which we were married) I used to joke with DanO about dropping out and just making babies. Mostly joking. Sorta not joking. Not really joking. We were quite pregnant on our second anniversary and we haven’t looked back.

When I was not-really-joking about dropping out of my ridiculously overpriced college and starting our family, the number we threw around was four. Four kids. This likely had a lot to do with my husband’s family of origin. There wasn’t much friendship to be had with my one brother growing up – we were neither playmates nor companions – and although things like this are impossible to orchestrate for our children, it seems to me that having more than one sibling increases the odds of my kiddos having a well-suited childhood playmate.

And O, the babies themselves.

daddy home

I friggin’ love babies. They are my anti-drug*. The moment one starts to wean themselves from nursing my brain switches to ‘must. have. another.’ mode. When people say they ‘knew they were done’ I just can’t fathom what that felt like; I will never not want another baby.

What I will want is to not be pregnant again. The hardest part of motherhood and growing our family hasn’t been birth or breastfeeding (both of which I love) or the lack of sleep or barrage of constant NEED from all these short people around here. It has been the sacrifice of my body during pregnancy. My poor, poor body. This is not to say that pregnancy is purely damaging to a woman’s body. I’ve said before that there is much more to it than that. But there is sacrifice that comes with growing another life on your insides. Choices that are different, body parts that are changed permanently, temporary changes that take work to improve. And in a lot of cases, very real and hard emotional work.

This is weird to explain to people, even friends. It is a dichotomy of dread and desire, a battle between my mind and heart. My heart knows that we aren’t done yet, that we want more of this drooly, crawly, get into everything but then snuggle-nurse to sleep baby stage. But my head knows that it will come at a price, it knows how much it cost last time. How hard the third trimester of my pregnancy with ODear was on my spirit. Have I told you, friends and readers (who are friends I just haven’t met yet), that 10 weeks from my due date with her I went back onto the anti-depression medication that I had weaned off of for the sake of getting pregnant? This pregnancy defeated me in a lot of ways. Gloriously, I did not experience the postpartum anxiety that I have experienced with my other two, but I still get a little clammy-handed when I think about what my brain and heart went through while ODear was being knit together.

41 weeks pregnant

When someone asks if we are done, the answer is no, but I say it through a clenched jaw with glazed over eyes envisioning myself pregnant again. Yes, we want at least one more baby in this not-little-anymore family but no, this time I am not chomping at the bit to start that process.

So, there you have it, stranger at the YMCA who sees me hauling around my gym bag and all my babies every week like a sherpa, that is the long version of the answer to your question.

*Although, given my postpartum depression journey, well, they’re kinda the opposite of my anti-drug too.

26 Responses to “the ‘are you guys done?’ question”

  1. Samantha

    Sorry to hear the pregnancies are so hard on you. They are for me too, and they are a major reason I think we’ll be done after 3. This whole third trimester of third pregnancy thing is really a doozy.

    • AllisonO

      I know. I always start so strong. Around 6 months I’m all ‘what was I complaining about last time?’ and then, wham. Stuff gets real.

  2. Allison the Roommate

    I dunno…I seem to remember the original number during college solidly around 7. :) Whatever you and Dan decide, I know your family will be beautiful as you guys raise those precious blonde kiddos to love God!

    • AllisonO

      Ha!I t’s true. I may or may not have had 6 baby name ideas once upon a time.

  3. Amanda

    I was definitely dreading pregnancy again, and we thought we might be done after 2 because of how hard it is on me… but, here I am again. :) You’ll know if/when you’re ready, or maybe God will surprise you, like he did us. (Or maybe He’ll call you to adopt, and won’t have to deal with being pregnant!) You’re a wonderful mama, and it’s so good to just enjoy the stage you’re in and the adorable babies you have now. :)

    • AllisonO

      Somedays I think it would be nice to be called to adopt, we just haven’t felt specifically led to that for our family. Although we do have close friends in the throes of the process right now and from where I sit, it doesn’t look any easier. :)

  4. Kelly

    Love this post. Love your writing. Love your authenticity. So refreshing.

  5. Leigh Kramer

    1. Always fun to read a new post from you!
    2. I will move in to your guest room when you’re ready for baby #4. Wouldn’t that be the best?!

    • AllisonO

      1. Thank you friend!
      2. DONE. SOLD. Now how do you feel about surrogacy? ;)

  6. Beth

    Gorgeously authentic. Thanks for your honesty.
    My newest Little (#4) is nearly seven weeks old and I can SO IDENTIFY with you here. People ask me all the time: “Are you done?” “How many are you going to have?” Me: “All of them.” —All the ones God places in my life.
    Do I feel done? Never.
    Is my body done? Forever. Yes. Thank you very much. Physically, emotionally, all of it.
    But my heart says not yet. :)
    So, we will see. Maybe just one more . . . (Of course, that’s what I say about chocolate too). ;)

  7. Annie

    So wonderful to read a post from you and to see beautiful pictures. I cannot believe how fast kids grow! (and I have three…..but it still amazes me).

    I’m so sorry your pregnancy’s are so challenging emotionally (you certainly are not alone in this). I wish there is something I could have said or done to make it better. *Hugs!*

    • AllisonO

      I knooooooow! I woke up to these big, grown up boys in my house one day and they still won’t tell me where they hid my babies so I guess I’ll just raise these ones. Huggin’ you right back.

  8. Cassandra Beverly

    Yay! I’m glad you blogged again and this post is exactly why I love reading your blog. You are great and just radiate truth. Thank you!

  9. Colleen

    Oh man does this resonate with me! It’s 3am and I’m up nursing our third. I hate being pregnant so very much. Unlike you I’m also really not in love with the baby stage. I usually white knuckle my way through the first year. My husband and I have always said we’d like 5 kids but the thought of 2 more pregnancies and subsequent infancies… It keeps my mind racing long after the 3 am feeding is done. I always try to remind myself that in the grand scheme of things these years are actually short and it’s about what I want my table to look like in 15 years when they’re funny, interesting teenagers (my anti-drug) who will fill the house with laughter and friends and energy. But at 3am it’s easy to just want to make this one the last… :)

    • AllisonO

      “It’s about what I want my table to look like in 15 years ” – That’s a good word. Thank you for that reminder!

  10. Mary

    The sentiment here I could not agree with more! I do not have that “done!” feeling but the idea of being pregnant again terrifies me. And then at the same time, I find my self envious of precious baby bumps all around me. Hormones.

  11. Brettan

    I can solidly recollect when I looked at my family and thought “Yup, this is it – this is our family, how God intended it to be structured.” And once I was hit by that I became content. Although, there are time that I see my husband holding a teeny new baby or talking gibberish to our 1 year old niece and I think “HEY! I want that man to do that with another one of OUR babies.” Alas, then the moment passes, always passes. For me the opposite is true – I ALWAYS love being pregnant (puking, swollen, birthing – the WHOLE THING). But the babies and the taking care of all the babies is a big stress for me, which it probably why we are stopping – or else I would be pregnant year after year.

    Glad to see a new post! Your writing is always honest and open!

  12. Sarah S

    The hubs had a vasectomy right after I had our second. He was born 17 months after our first and the pregnancy was HARD – especially the third trimester. I was done with pregnancy – never ever ever to have it again. And then I spent about 4 years dreaming of babies that we couldn’t have. And then my littlest was 4 and out of diapers and going to preschool and playing with his sister and I knew in my heart what I had really known all along – we were done. Happily done and complete.

  13. Helen

    Oh so glad that you posted! You are on my Flipboard and I have been hanging out to see that little square picture change to tell me you posted! Your honesty is like a breathe of fresh air- I love it! Nice to hear that others struggle with prenatal depression too. ‘Postnatal’ gets all the airtime but I think for many it does start in pregnancy. I surprise people all the time by telling them that I hated pregnancy but loved birth. Who wants to walk around for 9 months being in not in control of their own body- seriously?! ;-) whatever you decide/ do, I’m sure looking forwards to reading all about it xxx

  14. Liz

    Why do you think it took 4 years before I could face a pregnancy again. I would have ALL THE BABIES if I didn’t have to be pregnant again. Even now I start itching for more but pregnancy (and money concerns) give me serious pause. Oh the dilemmas.

  15. Liz

    Yes! Agreed with all the above…. So glad you blogged!!! I always said I wanted four. Then, we had three in TWO years!!! (There was a set of twins.) the pregnancy was tough, bedrest, hospitalizations, etc. Now, my oldest is two and a half and our babies are nine months. Unlike you, I haven’t been in love with the baby phase and I believe we are done. Keep on sharing, we all love following your cute, growing family :)

  16. Allison

    I used to want as many babies as I could as close together as I could get them. I am now 20 weeks with my second and have been on hospital bed rest for 3 weeks and then had to have my appendix out with a very hard recovery. I can’t even care for my daughter. I’m very much afraid of being pregnant again after this. :-(

  17. Korie Snyder

    As so many have said, this resonates so much with me! Our 3rd daughter (what I figured was our last attempt at a boy and thought for sure would be a boy…hahaha) is 8 weeks old and though I know we are done for a good while (our other two are 4 and 1/2 and 2 and 1/2), I can’t say for sure we are “complete.” Hubby, on the other hand, says we are DONE :)


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