For those interested, I was recently quoted in a Today’s Parent magazine article by Sky England titled: I’m done having kids. Why do I feel so sad about it?
From the article, quote: “My feelings bewildered me. Did I really want another kid? Or was it, as a friend suggested that, “Maybe we’re evolutionarily programmed to always want more kids.”
Perhaps I had subconsciously subscribed to some archaic patriarchal bullshit about losing my purpose now that I had borne my children? Or was simply that something I had looked forward to all my life was now over?
I settled into a quiet, lonely grief. Most days, I could choose not to hear it. A little piece of me secretly clutched to a thread of possibility that we could still—maybe!—have another one. Why did it feel so heartbreaking to close the door on having kids? And why was I so unprepared for (and confused by) these emotions?
I asked registered psychologist Maria Schmid these very questions, and she pointed out that our traditions around women—bridal and baby showers—celebrate the beginning. It makes sense that that’s what we anticipate. When we’re done having kids, our perception of ourselves changes. “We must navigate the expansion and contraction of ourselves in relation to who we thought we were, what we expected to become, and the reality of who we are,” she said. She added that when women don’t firmly ‘close the door’—be it mentally or physically—they “can be tormented for years, never truly letting themselves feel complete or enough.”