Postpartum Depression and Deciding to Not Have More Children

I have 2 beautiful toddler boys. They are hilarious, loving, smart, rambunctious, and wild! Sometimes moody and have huge emotions. They are also healthy and are developing into great little humans.

People expect me to have another child

Nine out of 10 times I am out with them, I get the same question repeatedly, usually from complete strangers. Are you going to try for the girl? Nine out of 10 times, I shrug it off and joke about it, "Factory is closed" or "if someone could guarantee me a girl."

Shrugging it off and making a joke is a protective mechanism. It's a way to try to move past the conversation and make light of the situation. When I have a chance to sit down with my feelings it comes down to 2 thoughts. Am I missing out? And how dare they ask such a personal question?

I know it's not bad intentions

I am aware it's never ill-intentioned, but it is such a painful question. People have no idea how a question like that can make someone feel. I was blessed to not have any issues getting pregnant with either boy. But my pregnancies were tough. Postpartum depression (PPD) really affected me for a long time.

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Feelings of guilt

The repercussions of such questions have brought up a lot of feelings of guilt for me that I have had to work through. Guilt because I will not have a girl. Guilt because I will not have the same relationship with a daughter as I do with my mom. Guilt because I can’t shield my boys from hearing such questions and somehow make them feel inadequate. Guilt because I do not want any more children and guilt because I don’t want to be pregnant again and for some reason that makes me feel selfish.

Fearing a postpartum depression relapse

The insensitivity of the question is much more than my own feelings. People have no idea what some women go through. What if I couldn’t have any more children? Or I was struggling with infertility? What if I was trying for a girl and had a miscarriage? What if I was finally feeling like myself again and got out of the deep hole of PPD I was in just to go right back?

This or That

When something is bothering you, what do you tend to do?

Not having to explain my decisions or PPD

The last one is my reality. I cannot fathom what it would be like to be in that place again. Even knowing everything I know now and all the things I am doing to feel better from PPD, we have decided to not have any more children and that our family is complete.

As I write this, it's hard not to give you a list of reasons for deciding not to have more children. Why do I feel like I owe anyone an explanation about my decisions? About my family?

Tips on responding to personal questions

Because we don't live under rocks, at least most of us don't, we will continue to encounter strangers, and sometimes not so strange, asking us questions about having more children. Instead, I'll give you a variety of responses you can use if you are ever in this situation. Part of me feels the need to include ones where you make the other person feel stupid, but for now, I'll keep them positive.

  1. Light-hearted and Neutral: "We're really enjoying our time with our boys. Each child brings their own special joy, don't they?"
  2. Grateful: "We're incredibly blessed with our two boys. We're focused on giving them the best we can."
  3. Sincere and Direct: "We're very happy with our boys. Gender doesn't matter to us as long as our children are happy and healthy."
  4. Humorous: "With two boys, we already have our hands full! We'll stick with what we know."
  5. My personal favorite: "I'm just happy to have healthy and happy children regardless of their gender. Boys bring so much joy and energy into our lives, and I'm grateful for them. What's most important is raising kind, loving, and confident individuals, regardless of whether they're boys or girls."

I love the last one because it emphasizes the value you place on their well-being and character development, regardless of gender. It also allows my boys to hear me say it!

Ultimately, we all want what is best for our children. And to do that, we have to model our best selves so they can learn and grow.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.