Ever since my youngest daughter was born, I've had this nagging feeling in the back of my head: should I have one more baby?
For roughly 397 reasons I shouldn't need to disclose, my husband and I decided our family was complete with two kids, and yet, I'd find myself second-guessing our decision on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.
I patently refuse to allow someone to yank any foreign object out of my vagina without the promise of three months' maternity leave.
I'd stand hunched over a pot of off-brand mac and cheese while my kids screamed for pizza (reason #43), and yet a Pampers nappy commercial would have my ovaries flittering. I'd whisper-yell at my husband about why I'm always the one who has to rush online at 7 a.m. on the dot to register for preschool gymnastics classes as if they were Hamilton tickets (reason #219), and yet anytime a friend announced they were having a third baby, I'd fizz with jealousy. I'd stare blankly at a colour-coded spreadsheet mapping out the different crappy ways we'd have to manage pickups and drop-offs at two different schools (reason #396), and yet the sight of a woman nursing her newborn on a park bench would have me weak in the knees. I'd think about how we'd definitely need a new apartment (reason #3) and a new car (reason #2) — maybe even a minivan (reason #1) — if we had a third kid, yet I still had this feeling tugging at my heart that we should.
Some days, my desire for another baby was so intense that I'd say quietly under my breath while pumping a fist: "WE CAN DO THIS!"
In one such frenzy of fist-pumping and inner-monologuing, I actually realised that I meant it. I was actually ready to do this thing! I was ready to have another baby!
I was ready to have another baby . . . tonight!
All I had to do was, you know, give my husband a quick heads up. Aw, shit, and I almost forgot: I'd just have to get my IUD removed!
"F*ck," I mumbled to myself. Because that's when I realised. I was never going to have a baby because the idea of going through the logistical efforts of scheduling an appointment with my ob-gyn that didn't conflict with any work meetings, coordinating when I could borrow the car from my husband, and driving allll the way downtown was legitimately the last thing I wanted to tackle on my pages-long to-do list.
Nevermind that I'd have to sit pantless with my feet in stirrups while the doctor reached in for the tiny intrauterine device. No, no, no. I patently refuse to allow someone to yank any foreign object out of my vagina without the promise of three months' maternity leave.
So, just like that, I came to the cold, hard realisation that I would not be having any more babies.
It's like they inserted into our vagina lamps a magical genie who, instead of granting wishes, refuses to allow us to make rash decisions about our family dynamic.
My shoulders got tense at the mere thought of having to make one inconvenient phone call to do an inconvenient thing that would require me to go to an inconvenient place on an inconvenient day at an inconvenient time. Imagine how my body would react if I got pregnant and had to go to, at minimum, 15 inconvenient doctor appointments over the next nine months. (But, it's cool, women in America only need to go to their doctor one time after they give birth, even though they've probably got some form of undiagnosed postpartum anxiety or depression! But that's for another day! Or for never! Moving on!) And imagine how I'd handle all the other inconvenient things that come with having a baby and then a toddler and then a kid who makes my sleep-deprived brain so nostalgic for babies it actually contemplates having another one!
This was as clear a wakeup call as I could get. I wasn't willing to do all that work again. Go to all that effort. I'm still punching the parenting clock, and I don't care to work overtime.
To call my IUD a form of birth control is an understatement. It's not just preventing women like me from having babies right now (though, shout out to the not-having-much-sex thing for that, too!), but it's controlling all those hypothetical future babies we dream about from becoming real. It's like they inserted into our vagina lamps a magical genie who, instead of granting wishes, refuses to allow us to make rash decisions about our family dynamic.
So, fellow mamas, if you are questioning whether to have that "last" baby, go ahead and add to your to-do list to make yourself an appointment for an IUD removal. Preferably at an ob-gyn's office more than 25 minutes away — 45 minutes in rush-hour traffic — and one that only has availability on Tuesdays, when you have three standing weekly meetings already scheduled. YOU CAN DO THIS!
Or, you know, you can't. Either way. It's fine.