Pregnancy and you blog

Family planning: No more babies?

By Mary M. Murry, R.N., C.N.M. March 16, 2011

At some point most women seem to say, "Enough is enough. No more babies for me." Knowing when the time is right can be challenging, though, considering the what ifs. What if my child — or one of my children — becomes seriously ill or dies? What if I get remarried? What if I win the lottery? There's no easy way to know for sure.

I think of myself as having two voices — the one in my heart and the one in my head. Years ago my head told me that two children were enough while my heart screamed, "Just one more!" I listened to my heart, and baby number three turned 22 last week. To this day, my heart turns to mush at the sight of a baby. Now, however, my ever-sensible head overrides my heart by reminding me of wet diapers, sore breasts, sleepless nights and day care. These days, my head speaks louder than my heart.

If you're certain that you don't want any more children, discuss it with your partner. This could be one of the most important decisions you'll make for your family.

If you agree that your family is complete, the next question is probably what to do about birth control. For example, you might want to stick with your present form of birth control or switch to something long-lasting — such as an IUD or implantable rod. You might also opt for something permanent, such as a vasectomy or tubal ligation.

If you're considering a permanent method of birth control, remember that a decision as big as this one takes time and thought. Do your research, and discuss any concerns with your health care provider. Make sure you have the information you need — and the time you need to process it — before you do anything permanent. Maybe you, too, must listen to more than one voice.

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March 16, 2011