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4 Things To Consider When Deciding If You Want More Children

The other day at work, I took care of a 3 week-old with a heart condition. He was a cute, sleepy little guy and our whole cardiology team oohed and ahhed over him. Our nurse asked if it made me broody. The answer was a fat, resounding “No”. Sure, I saw adorable, fuzzy hair and a soft belly–but I also saw what only a mother could: I saw a vulnerable baby who needed constant cuddling. I saw round-the-clock feedings, sticky breastmilk poo, and months, nay, years of sleeplessness. The depths of insomnia a mother encounters is something a cruel warden in Guantanamo Bay wouldn’t even use to inflict torture upon his prisoners.

But it’s not just the sleep thing.


Parenting is relentless. Soothing out-of-control emotions, teaching self-centered humans to be empathetic, preparing healthy food, picking up the same mess 50 times per day – heck, keeping them from killing themselves in general. Good. Grief. Let’s just all take a moment for a collective sigh (if you are reading this whilst at home with small children, in lieu of a sigh, you are most likely checking your toddler isn’t coloring on the couch cushions because he has been too quiet these last five minutes and WHO HAS TIME TO SIGH?!?).

Based on the title of this post, you’ll have gathered that now is the moment I disclose my decision to have my tubes tied. Though tired and sore and grasping for energy, I did not make my decision impulsively. I took plenty of time to reflect, research, and weigh out the pros and cons. I began by roaming the information superhighway with limited success. Just a bit of “You’ll-Spend-Less-On-Zoo-Entry-Fees-With-Fewer-Kids” articles followed by anonymous vitriol in the comments sections from Duggar-ist fundamentalists shaming people with small families to population-control environmentalists shaming the Duggar-ists, and adoption/fostering parents shaming both groups for having biological children when there are millions of orphans without homes. Oh the shame! THE SHAME!


Those incognito disputants in the cyberspace hate wormhole missed the point: we are all wading through a grey area, just trying to figure out what is right for our own families and if we want more children. If you’re reading this, chances are you are wondering if you’re ready to “close up shop”. With that in mind, here is a list of questions you can ask yourself about sterilization. (Note: my answers are intended to be read as info-tainment, not prescription)

1) How would another pregnancy/child impact your physical and mental health? 

For health reasons, I had two C-sections. My body is terrible at scarring. To put it another way, Two-Face from Batman would cower in horror at the sight of my uterus. At my second delivery there was much heaving and sweating and grunting like a Williams sister on the center court at Wimbledon–and that was just from the surgical team. My scarring was so bad, that the doctor had to interrupt the hospital’s head of surgery in the middle of his afternoon tea and biscuits, to help pry me open. That being said, a third caesarean is too risky for me, and by the time my body might be ready to try a VBAC, I’d belong in the “advanced maternal age” category, which comes with health risks of its own.

2) How does another pregnancy/child impact your resources and goals? 


Since I’m the primary income earner for our family, my husband and I have taken a progressive approach to childcare. He is a stay-at-home dad, and we all know that he has the harder job. I get to wear business suits and have coffee whilst it is still warm and pee without an audience. Plus, I have a flexible schedule and lots of paid time off to spend with my children. This arrangement is what works for our family. For us, having another child would mean a third maternity leave and yet another career break, which is something we are not prepared to do.

3) Are you able to use other forms of contraception? 


The first few years of our marriage I was on birth control pills and they made me crazy. I was moody about ridiculous minutia, crying and carrying on over what a jerk my husband was because he preferred the toilet paper roll one way and I preferred it another way (the nerve!). Celibacy is not an option for us, and thanks to the loony tablets, neither are artificial hormones, so our best bet was to chop up the ol’ fallopes.

4) Are you willing to risk living with regret should you change your mind in a few years?


When I went in for my surgical consult, one of the doctors gave me a hard time, insisting that I might regret sterilization in a few years. And this is what it really boiled down to...would I have remorse in the future for making such a permanent decision?

A year and a half in, here is where I find myself:

  • When my daughter has a sick tummy and I catch her vomit in my cupped hand all night, and then have to function at work the next day, I don’t regret my tubal.
  • When my son tries to clean up his own nappy and subsequently gives himself a poop facial, I don’t regret my tubal.
  • When I step on a rogue Duplo block for the ten-thousandth time, I don’t regret my tubal.
  • When we spend a small fortune on groceries, I don’t regret my tubal.
  • When my two-year-old throws a tantrum in public because some of the ketchup fell off of his fish finger, I don’t regret my tubal.
  • When I’m on the ground playing trucks with my son, able to be completely present because I’m aware that this moment is fleeting, I don’t regret my tubal.
  • When my shoulders ache because my daughter wants just a few more minutes of dancing in mummy’s arms and I happily comply, aware that she won’t be this small forever, I don’t regret my tubal.


Small families aren’t for everyone. If you are considering sterilization, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons for yourself. So read up on the topic, do some soul-searching, and for the love of all that is good and holy, do NOT consult the anonymous madwoman brigade trolling the comments sections of the internet!

When did you decide that it’s time to close the shop?

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Crystal Lowery
Crystal Lowery is an American mum working in England. By day she does heart research, by night she wrangles two toddlers - a boy and a girl. As a humourist, she has been featured on Scary Mommy, For Every Mom and others. You can find her over at Creepy Ginger Kid writing about misadventures in medicine, motherhood and her awkward childhood. If you like to laugh, follow her on Facebook too.
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