Sometimes I post pics of my kids when they were babies, like this:

baby itch 5 baby itch 6 baby itch 8

And then I joke about how my uterus is throwing a tantrum or how I might “accidentally” flush my birth control down the toilet and then “accidentally” have sex with my husband.

LIES.

I do not want more kids. Not even a little bit. Sometimes I don’t even want to be around the ones I already have. Geez, there it is now, right out in the open. What a horrible person I am.

I feel like something might be wrong with me. All my friends who have one, two or even three kids are either talking about how they definitely want more babies or at least how they yearn to have more babies but can’t because of fill-in-the-blank-with-some-incredibly-legitimate-reason. The baby-making urge is a deep, continuous hunger, a primal soul fire that can’t be extinguished.

Why don’t I have this urge? There are days that I basically just tolerate my children. Sometimes I tell them to go away and leave me alone. Sometimes at dinner I flat out refuse to get up and get the ketchup.

I don’t like it when they touch me too much. If they’re snuggling with me, I want them to be still. I don’t think it’s cute and fun when they wiggle all over me. It feels like someone is intruding upon my personal space, or like I’m being stabbed. They have sharp elbows.

And I don’t like too much noise. Sometimes I shush my kids when they’re making normal kid noises. I’m cooking and they’re chattering like a pair of chipmunks (chipmunks on crack) and I say “SHHHH!!!!!!” Sometimes I catch myself and say, “I don’t know why I just told you guys to shush. You’re fine. Carry on.” But I often don’t realize I’ve done it until it’s too late and then? I’ve shushed them just for existing. Horrible.

Okay, truth: When I see a little baby, I want to hold it. Unless it’s crying, then never mind. But even if it’s in perfect condition, I still want to give it back to its mother when I get sick of holding it because dammit I have other shit I want to do with my hands. I also will probably be moderately grossed out if it pukes on me. I won’t freak out or anything, I mean for God’s sake how many times have I caught puke or shit in my own desperately outstretched hands? But yeah, I will for sure pass back a baby if he yacks on me.

I am done with being a yack catcher.

Am I cold and heartless? Do I lack something important, something essential, in the nurturing department?

I admit I have some fond memories of breastfeeding. Cuddling. Mid-suckle smiles. (Those were pretty great.) Oxytocin. Oxytocin is good shit, y’all. But honestly? I remember a lot of the trauma, too. I cracked and bled, cried and screamed, yes screamed in my innocent infant’s sweet face. My husband said, “Honey, you can’t keep screaming at the baby,” and I told him “GO GET ME A PAIR OF PLIERS SO I CAN RIP YOUR NIPPLES OFF!” I wasn’t allowed to be done with the touching when I wanted to be done with the touching. I was a milk slave who, by the way, never did produce enough milk. I still secretly wonder if I somehow gave Lucas ADHD by screaming at him when he latched on. Maybe the trauma altered his brain chemistry.

When I think of myself with a baby, I imagine myself haggard, unshowered, and reeking of spoiled milk. I remember being a shadow of myself. I was a nothing, a nobody. Just a vessel pouring my soul into another human being.

I hate how I sound. What kind of woman thinks these things about innocent babies? Her very own innocent babies?

I loved them, though. I remember being happy. I don’t remember feeling resentful at the time, or at least not abnormally so. I enjoyed my kids’ babyhoods.

I just don’t ever want to do it again.

Now that my kids are older I can say “I’m going to have a shower, kids!” and be reasonably confident that during those ten minutes I’m in the shower no one will choke and die, stick their finger in an electric socket or fling themselves down the stairs. Getting ready to go to the pool goes like this: “Get your swimsuits and a towel, kids!” The store: “Get in the car!”

I don’t have to buckle anybody’s seatbelt. I’m really close to not having to tie anyone’s shoes. My oldest knows how to make breakfast—bagels, cereal, fruit. I can take naps now (NAPS! OHMIGOD!), and they will read or play Legos or video games while I sleep. There were times during the baby years I would have given my left boob for thirty minutes of sleep.

When we travel, I do not have panic attacks. The kids have DVD players and books to keep them occupied and no one is going to shoot liquid shit up the back of their car seat. THERE ARE NO CAR SEATS. Just boosters now.

When they need to puke, they know ahead of time, and they go to the toilet or grab something to catch it. Little puke geniuses, these guys. I love them.

I loved them when they were babies, too. But I have zero urge for another. I like these ones I have, just these two, and part of the reason I like them so much is because of how independent they’re becoming. I’m done being a martyr, done feeling like a shadow.

If there is something wrong with me, I don’t want to fix it.

baby itch 3
These two are enough.

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51 Comments

  1. As much as I cannot relate to NOT wanting another baby (get in my uterus!), this is probably one of my very favorite things you have ever written. The simple one-liners (little puke geniuses, these guys.) and that way you have, maybe without realizing it, drawn a picture of my day, makes me love this so hard. And while I still feel sad that I’ll never feel the kicking from within again, I’d be so down for a nap right now. SO. DOWN.

  2. Omigosh, I feel the EXACT same way!!! When my kids (5 and 6) were babies, they were cute and it was fairly straight forward, just feed and clean and dangle something colourful in front of them. Then they were toddlers and the were very entertaining tripping and falling all the time. But now that they are growing into curious little complex people, they ask questions and have novel ideas and have a concept of the feelings of people other than themselves. I am not tripping over baby gates and struggling to open the child lock on every fuken cupboard, and YES… booster seats!!! Way easier!! This post was GREAT!

    • Thanks so much for reading. It really is so much easier now (for me, anyway). But people have been warning me about the teenage years… 😉

      • Boys are 17 (holy shitballs!) and 14….. Girl almost 12…… Smooth sailing here. Don’t believe the madness….teens (and Tweens!) are awesome!

  3. I think this is a case of holding two ideas to be equally true at once for me. I agree with everything you said. And yet I still want another. AND I recognize the insanity of that.
    Ah motherhood– endless contradictions.

    • Ugh. I hear you. I even see the contradictions in my own writing. “Get away from me!” “I love you!” lol

  4. I love this and totally get it. With a second baby in utero, I ready know this is it. I can remember when my daughter was a month old, we hadn’t hit our stride with breastfeeding yet, and I felt like I was doing everything wrong, she put her tiny hands on me while nursing and all I could feel were sharp little finger nails. I nearly crawled out of my skin. I love her more than my luggage, but sweet baby jesus; razor sharp baby finger nails on my skin are not cool. And naps? I can’t wait until I’m at a point when I can take a nap when I feel like it.

    • You have about 4 more years… 😉 …unless your husband will take them for you sometimes. Mine did do that for me occasionally. =)

  5. I’ve often wondered if I am a horrible person because my kids 4 and 2, more often than not, are driving me insane. My two year old is now whining at everything and screetching at everything big brother does. We have reverted to no silence ever. They fight constantly and are constantly making messes…..but I love them with all my heart.

    • Mine are playing Minecraft right now because it keeps them quiet. In a second here I really need to get up and act like a mom. lol

  6. You are absolutely right, but there is, in my opinion, nothing better than going to sleep knowing they are awake, and won’t kill one another, or trash my house or flush toys. While the chances are fast becoming sneaking out at night, borrowing the car, etc. Teen age years suck. They turn 14 on Saturday, and we are on vacation, so yes, three fighting 14 year olds is enough to NOT only never want a give birth again, but to never have sex again, because, after all, it’s his fault! Did I do something to cause the competitive nature? Probably. Did I not spend enough time coddling when they were sick? Definitely! Hell they are triplets, one snotty nose looks just like three and need to be wiped. I gave up fighting with them a very long time ago.

  7. I. Love. This. I had to stop and make sure I felt the strings of my UTI. That’s how much I DON’T want to get pregnant. I adore my baby nephew, but generally, I don’t even like to hold babies. I don’t have that craving, but I don’t want to offend mothers by declining. I don’t really enjoy being around kids, but I pretend I find their antics cute and smile often. But in reality I’m thinking, “Oh, my God, I don’t give a fuck about Pokemon or Ninja Turtles” (whatever they’re into these days).

    My husband and I don’t want to have kids, and I resent how people try to make us feel bad about it. And I don’t want to pretend I want or even like kids anymore. That makes me sound like a bitch, I know.

    • I actually do like being around kids a LOT. I just want to have the option to be done when I’m done, ya know? I don’t think we should have to be sorry for how we feel about stuff, either. =)

  8. Omg, no! You ARE NOT abnormal! I have no, NO desire to have more and I don’t even have the desire to hold someone else’s! I like my kids, ages 13 and 9, and pretty much that’s it. Sorry. Or maybe I’m not sorry. I was never a kid person. Maybe even when I was a kid. Who knows? And the snuggling? Maybe for a little bit. But if I’m hot and sweaty. Forgetaboutit! You’re totally normal. If normal even exists.

  9. The thought of having another baby makes my uterus leap from my body, directly into traffic and hopefully, lands in the direct path of a speeding semi. I get looks of horror when I answer the ever intrusive “You can’t have just one, she needs a sibling…. When are you going to give her one?” with “I’m the oldest. I know how little siblings can ruin your life. I’d rather not do that to her.”

    • HAHAHAHA. I’m the oldest too, but my sis and I are best friends. Still, I think when you’re done, you’re done. And that’s ok. =)

  10. This post resonates with me on so many levels. Having just had my 4th, I have reached and probably exceeded my child limits. There are times when I’m nursing the baby and I have at least 2 others leaning on me that I want to stop, drop and roll right out of the room. I do love the baby stage, but I can so appreciate the sweet spot you’ve started to enter–the independence and self-reliance. I am so glad you admitted to shushing your kids for being kids. I do that. Ugh. I try not to, but. And just today I rolled my eyes at my daughter’s incessant questions about evaporation. I rolled my eyes! Anyway, I love this post!

    • Thanks. I think sometimes we try to hard to be superhuman. There is no such thing as super; there is only human. =)

  11. DONE DONE DONE! my 2 are in their teens now, teenagers are freakin crazy, I can’t imagine throwing a baby into the mix. I would drink way more often (not sure if that is possible)

  12. You have no idea how relieved this makes me. My son is still a baby. He just turned one and I found out I’m pregnant again I’m scared shitless literally. I feel this way all the time I feel like I’m just now getting sleep even if its only 30 minutes. of course he actually demands MORE attention now then he did a few months ago I somehow think its because he senses I’m pregnant. Who knows, either way I can’t wait for it to be over in all reality he was a relatively easy baby he slept all night pretty much since birth he had a severe milk allergy which stopped breast feeding at two months I was devastated because it was so easy for me I didn’t see that coming but I loved breast feeding more than I imagined. That does not stop me from being terrified to do it all over again. I feel like this baby will be a damn MONSTER because I had it easy with my first…. I feel so selfish I just love my Aiden and don’t think I want another. My husband is thrilled but I’m over here like *stay the fuck away from me* maybe just maybe it will sink in and I will be okay with it, but right now I’m not too on board with it all.
    The beginning stages of pregnancy are always like this for me though, I’m withdrawn and not okay with the new hormones just yet. It takes me awhile to adjust, I feel like I’m just a rental house or something. My *tenants* trash the place and leave me hanging so to speak. I swear this will be the last child coming out of me that’s for sure.
    So I completely get what you are saying here…. This is by far my favorite post by you.

    • I hear EVERYTHING you’re saying about the fears. Your rental house analogy is perfect. But it WILL be okay. YOU will be okay. Once the tenants are out, you can paint, refurnish, and reclaim what is rightfully yours. xoxo

  13. I hit this point a couple years ago. I have 5 and was really wanting a 6th but then started having spinal issues. Now that my youngest is 9, I am so glad I want blessed with a 6th. I cannot imagined still having one who isn’t independent enough to make their own breakfast. This morning I didn’t even get out of bed until it was time to drive them to school. They all dressed themselves, took their ADHD meds, ate, brushed their teeth all while I continued to snooze. I. Freaking. Love. This! But now my 21 year old is due with my first grandchild and all I can think…. better her than me.

    • Ha! I know I have plenty of years and I’m not impatient about it, but I think grandkids are going to be SOOOOOO much fun! =)

  14. Preach, bitch. I so relate, especially the touching part ; I can get violent once I’ve reached my limit. Like “OhMyGodGetTheFuckOffMe” type of losing my shit. I’m right there with you, mine are 7 snd 5 and they can do SO much by themselves. Thank jesus.

    Great post!

  15. The fact that anybody ever wants to have children is a bit amazing to me. DNA/hormones/etc make people do some really stupid things – and wanting to have children, little creatures that literally suck you dry, then come back for more, is the craziest of all. Yet we do want them and we love them and then we want more just as things start getting easier. That’s exactly where I am right now, even though I swore up and down that one was more than enough just a few months ago.

    There’s nothing wrong with you. You obviously love your children – but you’ve got past the baby itch and want to enjoy the independent kids you’ve raised. I think that makes you SANE. Unlike the rest of us crazies who feel the urge to do it all again.

  16. I so totally get it. My kids are 14 and 16 now and I LOVE their independence. If I don’t feel like making supper, I just look at them and say “fend for yourselves” and I know that they won’t starve. I’ve loved them at every age but can’t imagine going back to having a baby in the house!

  17. You. Me. Kindred spirits.

    Seriously.

    This. THIS is why I love having teens. And I don’t ever want to go back. Never. I love having my nephews and nieces around, but I don’t want to do all that again. Nope. Not at all.

  18. SortofNaatalie Reply

    I loved this, I am right there with you! I have little patience, although absolutely adore them and they are my everything! Two is too much!

  19. Totally relate and sometimes I feel the same way. For a long time I thought something was wrong with me. Maybe I just wasn’t maternal. It’s certainly what others thought. And I didn’t necessarily mind except why did it have to be negative. I have one and I love her to pieces, but yes, sometimes I’m like, ugh, get off me!! Of course sometimes she says the same thing to me–she is after all my daughter.

  20. Did you crawl into my brain and then write this post? Cause I think that’s mind stealing or some kind of ESP plagiarism. In any case, YES to everything you wrote. My kids are almost 7 and 3.5 and as cute as I find babies to be, I do not want another of my own.

  21. You keep saying ” I sound horrible.” you don’t every mom has gone through it. What makes you different is you notice and try to stop yourself and evn correct yourself. We all have bad days. Then the good comes to remind us why we love being moms. Even if you don’t want anymore. Keep up the good work.

  22. i totally laughed my ass off but I still have the urge and we are currently trying for baby #5,but I’m a damn good crazy 😉

  23. You guys are simply adorable. Thank you for reminding me that I don’t want to go back “there.” I was having baby pangs today and you reminded me that things are so good now! xo

  24. YES!!! I thought I had the baby itch… I would kinda like to do the whole pregnancy thing again up until like the six month mark and then someone else needs to finish cooking the baby. Then I got a job Nannying…..nope….done… So happy to hand that baby back at five pm. SO HAPPY.

  25. THANK you for this. I don’t have babies. At one point I thought I wanted them, and now I don’t – for all of the reasons you don’t want more. My closest friends tell me I DEFINITELY want to be a mother, and the urge will catch up to me. It won’t. I like my personal space, naps, showers. There’s nothing wrong with you for liking those things, too.

  26. OMG! I could have written this myself. You nailed it! It’s so nice to know I am not alone in thinking this 🙂

  27. I thought you were going in the other direction…lying about NOT wanting another baby. Which quite honestly, I think I find myself doing sometimes. But then most other days, I feel exactly as you describe here. Glad you said it – I’ve been embracing saying it too – if for no other reason thank to show my kids how to be honest! 🙂

  28. My child bearing years have past. I did want a bunch of kids. I wish I had had at least 2 more, another boy and girl, so the two I have now could know what it is like to have a same sex sibling as well as an opposite. That said, how my life turned out, I am relieved to have the 2 I do. I was a single mom with a 7 year old and a 5 year old. I am sure we would have made it if I had a 3 year old and a one year old as well, but I know how difficult it was, and adding 2 more wouldn’t have made it any easier.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself for being who you are. You do know there are people who have no desire to ever have a child and some who don’t even like children right? It doesn’t make them bad or wrong, unless, you know, they go around looking for little kids to knock down and stuff…

  29. I completely totally utterly agree with you. Thank you for your courage in putting this out in the world. We have two and both my husband and I really know that we love our children AND there’s a ton of shit we’d still like to do in our lives that really doesn’t involve kids at all. I mean, life is huge and multifaceted and interesting! And, no, you can’t inhale it all while you’re stressing about nap times and where’s the other f-ing shoe, and why didn’t my husband put the sippy in the dishwasher last night?
    So, yeah, I love babies and I love that mine are done being babies.

  30. Thanks for writing this honest piece. I totally am going back and forth between No-more-kids! to I-wanna-be-pregnant again. It makes me feel crazy. A month ago I was dreaming of getting pregnant with a third accidentally on purpose. Today the same thought puts me in a straight up panic. Just reminds me that being honest about how not good parenting can be is so important. And I think keeping a dialogue about these feelings is so healthy and normal even though the fear of being a “bad mother” will always loom–quite often we are our own worst critics.

  31. I’ve been feeling this way loads. Even said to Hubster today as we sat on the beach while the kids happily amused themselves – just as a mother struggled past with baby and a hundredandwhoknowshowmanyother baby-related items and equipment – that I do NOT WANT TO GO BACK THERE. It had lovely moments for sure but I’m glad they’re growing up thanks.

    Not a bad mum at at all. Just a real one.

  32. I love your take and your humor on it! I have 3 and 4 year old boys and a 12 year old step daughter and I had been bugging my husband for years for another because I was convinced it’s why I wanted … I wasn’t ready to be done … Then I watched my friends newborn with my boys and when my husband came home I said “we are done” it’s a total choice you have to make and take all other options into consideration … I don’t want to diapers once we are out of this phase … I want to start sleeping again .. I take the. Huddles and snuggles but I don’t think two more elbows would be good for my health … I bruise easily! And I’m covered in bruises from their fingers toes And any other body part they throw at me that may cause me harm …. I am 100% in love with my kids they are my heart and the best people in my life … I’m stopping at perfection and hoping the road ahead will be as great as the one behind us 🙂

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