This week marks the closing of a chapter of my life. My husband is getting a vasectomy.
For the past 8 years, my life has been consumed by motherhood. And this has been one of the greatest blessings I have ever known! Through my children, I have learned so much about myself and grown in character more than I ever would have imagined possible.
For the past couple of years, the size of our family has been on my mind almost constantly. When we first got married, Mark wanted 2-3 kids and I wanted 4-6. A few years into our married life, I was introduced to the “quiverful” teaching- basically the idea that since children are a blessing from God, we should desire many and not do anything to prevent them from being given to us. I was enamored by the idea of a large family and started imagining myself as a mom of 8+ kids. Mark, on the other hand, agreed that children were a blessing, but couldn’t find Biblical support to mandate or even push never limiting your family size. For several years, this wasn’t an issue, because we were both happy with the growth of our family. After having our second daughter (giving us 2 boys and 2 girls), Mark decided he wanted to be finished having kids. I, on the other hand, wanted more. I worked to come to grips with the fact that I was going to be a mom of 4, all while hoping that Mark would “see the light.”
Last year, we received quite a shock to find out that despite our “best efforts,” we were expecting baby #5. (Read all about it here and here) It was a major adjustment all over again. And this time, we started really talking seriously about doing something permanent to close this chapter in our lives. I studied and decided that I could not agree with the idea that Scripture teaches against limiting your family size. So we agreed that Mark would have a vasectomy done. And I was mostly okay with that.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I had an emotional breakdown about the whole thing. I realized that I still had a deep desire for more children, and didn’t want that option taken away from me. I spent an evening sobbing, then the next day sat down with Mark and told him how I felt. I felt like I was completely torn in two: part of me wanted to respect my husband’s desires to move on in life, and the other part couldn’t bear the idea of never having more children. He listened and said that he would be happy to postpone things until we were on the same page.
For the next several days, I took a lot of time to sort through my thoughts and emotions, and to pray for direction and peace. I searched out wisdom online, and was disheartened to find that it was nearly impossible! I found plenty of horror stories, reversal stories, and women who were excited that their husbands were having it done, but what I was looking for was like finding a needle in a haystack! I finally found one story that spoke to my soul. It was entitled, “Loving Him Means Letting Go” (and apparently it has since been removed from the host website it was on, or I would link to it). The dear wife wrote about her struggles with giving this area to her husband, and how much peace the Lord gave her about doing so. (One of the biggest reasons I’m sharing this here is that hopefully, someday, my story will touch someone else as hers has touched me.) Anyway, I was relieved and honored that Mark was willing to postpone the vasectomy despite his feelings, but over several days I became convicted that I was only listening to my own emotions and desires and not giving full consideration to Mark’s.
So one day I asked him point blank, “Is there any chance that someday you’re going to want more kids?” His answer was pretty certain. “No, I’m very happy with the children I have and am ready to move on in life, out of this stage.” His concerns were valid: having young children is exhausting, and we want to maintain quality relationships with our children, not simply get by. He wanted to have enough time to invest in our kids’ lives and not be so overwhelmed that we have nothing left to give at the end of the day.
At that moment, I had peace. Peace that it was okay to be done. Peace that I was going to be happy and fulfilled with the family I have. Peace that honoring my husband was going to strengthen our relationship and ultimately our whole family. So I told him to move forward with his appointment, that I was okay with it.
I’m currently in my 35th week of pregnancy, and I’m trying to savor every moment of it. Every little baby movement is a gift, and most days I sit and spend a few minutes in thankfulness for this last chance to experience pregnancy and birth again. Each of my children are such a gift to me, and I’m excited about moving into this next phase of life – childrearing instead of childbearing. And I know that with my wonderful husband at my side, this next chapter will be just as life-changing and priceless as the last one!
6 comments on “The Closing of a Chapter”
I hear you. I was apprehensive about Mike’s decision to get his vasectomy. I supported him, because I knew he was done creating children. And we both appreciate the freedom our physical relationship now has. But I still look back at pictures of my pregnant self and feel a little sad.
We have not closed our family to growing, we just feel we are done creating and if our family is meant to have more the universe will find a way.
Thank you for sharing! That is exactly how we’re feeling right now. My husband almost had a vasectomy after our youngest was born, but I couldn’t decide yes or no, and it eventually turned into a no, and here we are expecting #6. I have now realized that this is our final baby and just like you, it was a process that I had to go through to feel peace about this decision. But now I look forward to meeting this baby and then moving on with our lives.
We made tihis decision 17 years ago when I was about 30 weeks pregnant with your favorite babysitter 🙂 She was our 4th in 4 years between the two of us (one his, one mine, 2 ours) and we couldn’t imagine having/managing more. There have been moments when I have looked back and wondered what it would have been like had we made a different decision. I have learned so much since then and know I could do it better (pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, babywearing, parenting etc) if I had another chance…but mostly I enjoy being able to raise my kids, love my husband and look forward to the next phase, when there will be babies in my life once again as I become a grandmother. Thank you Judy for being part of training my daughter to be a good mother. Your example in how you love your children and your husband is invaluable to me. Thank you for sharing your story. Stock up on frozen peas…
Wow, Judy. Thank you so much for sharing. I know we’ve talked in person about this issue in both of our lives, but it’s comforting and encouraging to read your story here, too. Love to you!
Thanks! It was therapudic to write it all out. All part of the process, I guess. I’m hoping it blesses others!