gold line svg


Are We Done Having Kids?



Probably the #1 personal question I get is “are you going to have more kids?” And I get it. I wonder that often about people that I follow. So I figured it was time to give you the answer in my usual 3,794 word, “quick to the punch” way (eek that metaphor might make the male audience feel queazy upon further read). Buckle up, because we’re about to go on a bumpy ride.

This post is not about vasectomies (well, it is a little at the part when Mr. Brian Henderson makes a guest blogging appearance). No. It’s about the hard conversations you have with your spouse after a psychic tells you that if you leave your “door open,” a new soul is going to climb down into your belly and then out of your vagina. It’s about knowing your limits, more specifically me, knowing MY limits.

You might be scratching your head a little about this, but, here’s how it went down.

Two years ago, I got my palm read, and she said that I was going to have a third child. Haha, hilarious.

Then last year, I went to a tarot reader on my girls trip to Ojai and the second I sat down, she said, verbatim:

Her: How many kids do you have?

Me: Two.

Her: You want a third?
Me: No.

Her: Then you need to close that door because otherwise, you are going to have a third kid.

I freaked out and said, “well, am I supposed to have another kid?” And she said, “No! Not at all. There are souls looking for an open door, you simply need to close your door before one comes down! They’ll find another door.”

Now, there is a lot to unpack and explain here. First off, do I believe this? I don’t NOT believe anything. I’m open to literally all religions or non-non-religions and there were other things that certainly were convincing in both readings. I’m currently shopping for a belief system, but open to all. But what it did do was make me really ask myself that question: Do I want a third child?

When Birdie was 6 months old, my period was 8 days late. EIGHT DAYS. After day 3, I was physically trembling with fear, and I would sob and sob to Brian, saying “it’s like I’m awake, but living a nightmare.” Look, I love children, and this might sound like hyperbole but at the time, I was so swamped with caring for my two TINY kids coupled with my intense desire to be a super involved mom despite my increasingly demanding career. And I DON’T WANT TO PHONE IT IN AS A MOM. I want to be an excellent mom. Maybe even the best. I’d say that my desire to be a great mom far surpasses my career ambitions. I was raised Mormon in a family of six by an excellent mom (and dad). My standards for myself are high, and I want to meet them.

I knew that a third kid—3 kids under the age of 4, specifically—would mean that I would have to shift my parenting goals in order to keep my career. Or shift my career goals to be the type of parent I imagined. It’s not that it hasn’t been done (bravo and applause for all the moms and dad out there that are doing it), but I was already drowning. I didn’t know how I would possibly manage unless we seriously packed it up and moved to Portland. I’d write the blog but stop pursuing more work. We’d live off the profit from the LA house sale for a while and I’d start designing houses and maybe flipping. I didn’t know…but this is what went through my head. Not being an active, present parent just wasn’t a possibility for my particular personality, again, because of how I was raised. (It would be like being raised by academics and not caring about your intellect; we are taught what to value early and that shit is hard to shake even though there is not one right answer).

But, this time, it was just what felt like a close call. It turns out that going vegan (which I’m not currently but was at the time) affects your hormones so I was in fact just VERY ALARMINGLY late. (I had taken four tests and they were all negative, but still, EIGHT DAYS IS REMARKABLE for me.)

Okay, so cut to two years later when madame tarot card told me my “door was open,” and I had flashbacks of the whole “living a nightmare” episode. I told Brian, and while he’s far more of a skeptic about anything spiritual, because it was the second time that this theoretical third baby came up, he freaked out. You see, at this point Birdie was over 2 and while most people give 2 a bad rap, my kids are great PR for 2. In contrast, if they were sent on Good Morning America to represent what being 3 is like, they would inspire a generation that put their 3-year-olds in a one-year boarding school, ’til age four. THREE IS NOT THEIR BEST AGE. But when Birdie was 2 and Charlie was 4, we were in a REALLY good place and I, well, kinda missed having my baby bird.

It’s not that I wanted a third child specifically, it’s that I LOVE HAVING A FAMILY. I love babies. I love being a mom. I love the sibling relationship. I love traditions and rituals, and feeling like this unit that is impermeable. I love how young being a mom with a newborn makes you feel. I didn’t want a third kid, nor did I want to be pregnant (I HATE BEING PREGNANT) but I wouldn’t have said “no” to a newborn little baby if it landed in my lap (uterus?) at that point. But Brian REALLY didn’t want a third. He was and is extremely happy with our two kids, with our family of 4. He feels satisfied, happy and in his mind, it’s a “why rock the boat?” situation.

So after months of being not as smart as we should have been (and the memory of this “open door”), Brian finally made “the” appointment. He felt that after I had already gone through two births, he should be the one to have surgery near his privates. I didn’t disagree. Plus, I was feeling less motivated to prevent a third. The recovery was a bit rougher than we expected, but not a big deal and now the option is taken away.

It seems like an appropriate time to throw to the man of the hour. The male with the two-kid trail. The worm with no more sperm (DEAR GOD I HOPE SOMEONE ELSE EDITS THAT OUT)—Editor’s note from Arlyn: that’s too good to take out, sorry Em—…

Mr. Brian “no-more-kids” Henderson…

The Idea Of Adding Another Child Into That Mix Felt Like Adding A Jetpack To A Skydiving Trip Which Is Already Terrifying Enough

EH: Why did you want a vasectomy? How did you know you were sure that two kids were enough?

BH: We were in the thick of two kids that both needed a ton of attention and time, and it was daily chaos. We had a toddler who was transitioning into being a big kid but was still having trouble sleeping or doing things on his own without meltdowns. And we had a smaller toddler who still needed a TON of attention and focus. And I think I may be a bit of a helicopter parent, which means I focus on them a lot. We both do. But when you focus on your kids so much, it can become overwhelming. It felt like we deserved a bottle of wine to congratulate ourselves every night when we finally got them to fall asleep. But like each of us though…a bottle of wine each.

The idea of adding another child into that mix felt like adding a jetpack to a skydiving trip, which is already terrifying enough. So we talked about it then and decided it would probably be a good idea, but I kept forgetting to book an appointment. So cut to us slowly getting out of the dark kidscape as our kids grew up a bit more, and the chaos was less, but still, adding a third kid just never felt right to me. I came from a two-kid household which probably influences the decision, but I think it always came back to the fact that Emily and I are constantly trying to find ways to reduce the chaos of our lives, sometimes by doing rash things like swearing we’re going to move to a mountain town permanently and raise our kids in the forest, but also we were really happy with our four-person family. I also just knew that my wife needed me to take the option away so that she didn’t have to manage even more because her personality insists on doing a lot herself. I admire that, but it’s a lot. We were GOOD.

Plus, I was getting tired of having to find ways to NOT get Emily pregnant, none of which are fun, so off to the doc I went.

Emily: Were you scared?

Brian: I wasn’t scared of the procedure because I talked to my friend Paul about it and he said the most painful thing he remembered was that he forgot to shave, so they had to do it at the doctor’s office and they only had like a generic Bic razor and water, so he got razor burn. So I took care of that before I got there. I was fine. But then sitting in the waiting room, I started thinking about what I was actually about to do and I asked for the “relaxing drug” that they had previously offered me. I think it was Valium. I don’t do well with drugs, so I only took half, but I should have taken the whole thing because as soon the doctor settled in next to me and I saw the needles, I definitely started cold-sweating.

Emily: Did it hurt? Any surprises?

Brian: The first step is the shot. They rub iodine all around your junk and then shoot you with what I will call novocaine for your nuts, or nutocaine. They do it on both sides and it sucks. So they shoot you up, then test to see if you still have feeling in your ball bag, then they make the cut. First side, totally fine, no problem, the Valium was doing its work, my right nard was numb and the doctor finished up quickly. The left side, not so much. He shot it up with the same amount as the other side but when he started cutting, I definitely felt it. And feeling a slice on your nutsack is kind of up there with fear of drowning for most men, so I made it very clear that I needed more nutocaine. He obliged. Nope, still feel it! A little more, and one more shot for good measure… and then I felt nothing. Snip snip, burn, and sew it up. Oh did you catch that I just said burn? Yep, that’s not a mistake. They cauterize the tube so there’s no chance of it growing back together. I actually live streamed the puffs of smoke on my phone to some of my more squeamish friends. They didn’t think it was as funny as I did.

Emily: How did you feel after having it done? 

Brian: I was sore for like a week after. Actually much more sore than I had expected. I had to lay down a lot and ice myself. My baseball night was like a week away and I really didn’t want to miss it, but the doctor said no strenuous activity for a couple weeks, so I had to call it off. That was the biggest bummer of the whole thing. Not to get into the details too much, but it took a while for things to feel normal down there. Like it didn’t feel as good as it used to, if you know what I mean, and I was worried that that was the new permanent normal. But I’m happy to report that it only a took a few more weeks for things to get back to how they were before and now there’s absolutely no difference. Mentally there’s a big difference, in a good way. I no longer have a fear of an accidental pregnancy, so in a weird way it takes out a mental roadblock that I think all people have, which has made things a lot more fun and spontaneous. God, this sounds like a Cosmo article. Let’s just say I have no regrets about it. It only hurt for a bit, and the pros have outweighed the cons massively for me. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely made things better for us which is ultimately better for our family.

Well, Brian feels GREAT (and yes, he’s been tested twice and it worked). Here’s how I feel…

Ultimately Having Three Kids Under Five Would Have Been Potentially Extremely Unhealthy Mentally For Me

Me? I’m so relieved. I also feel genuinely satisfied, in fact overwhelmingly satisfied. I didn’t feel like there was a third out there that would somehow complete our family. Maybe I’ll feel differently later but my two children are exactly what I want in life. I know that my inner desire to keep going was mostly selfish. It’s kinda fun to have that mountain of attention that pregnancy, birth and newborn-hood brings. It’s also fun to fantasize about a different version of your life, one that involves three kids. But ultimately having three under 5 would have potentially been extremely unhealthy mentally for me. I would have survived, because what other recourse do you have, but at what cost (for me, personally)?

I know that love multiplies, but TIME DIVIDES. I already didn’t feel like I gave each child, and my husband, enough one-on-one attention and that gave me stress. Add in a third that young and one of us would have had to stay home full time, though neither of us wanted to take that role, so really, adding another little human would have been actually irresponsible for our family. It’s a very individual situation whether you have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or like my parents SIX. ON PURPOSE

Having A Third Kid Would Have Been Eventually Great But Waht About The Opportunity To Spend More Time With The Family I Have Now

I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again, thinking about life in opportunities is helpful. Yes, having another child would have been eventually potentially great, but what about the opportunity to spend more time with the family I have now? What about prioritizing the kids I have today and being solid and okay with where we are? It’s one thing if I had started a family earlier, at 25 (instead of at 34). Sure! I’d probably have four kiddos by now, but imagining that now, with my career and personality type is the situation I’m talking about that I know wouldn’t have been optimal. (Obviously, I’m very sensitive about others internalizing this and feeling judged by having more kids than my family chose, but please know it’s really about your personal situation and what you can handle—I can only handle two).

It’s hard for me to know my limits. I’m an optimistic enthusiast who sprints until I crash (but then sprints again). So while I knew I was drowning, it took Brian to really ensure that I get closer to land.

While I worry this might be a hot button topic (seriously, I was texting my team last night to read and re-read this to make sure it didn’t come off in a way I didn’t intend), I really don’t think it should be because I’m only sharing my own experience. The hypothetical situation of running a company, financially supporting my family with THREE CHILDREN UNDER FIVE while actually wanting to parent with a heavy hand may have been almost impossible. I have a very strong maternal instinct that is already a source of disappointment for me. Add in another small child and I seriously think I might have had some mental health issues, or scaled back drastically at my job. If you believe that kids need their parents to be present and around, then you’ll have no choice but realize that someone like me probably should stop at two (unless we had spread them out by starting earlier but we didn’t and I’m almost 40).

So yes, Brian getting snipped was the best decision for us and no, we are not having more children (naturally). And you know what is even better? We can always foster and adopt. It’s something we’ve talked about consistently for 15 years and while we aren’t ready yet, we feel like it’s in our future when we are ready and the kids are a bit older. If/when we want to expand our family, that’s how we’ll do it. My family did it (they fostered a lot, no adopting) and we feel like we are well, a solid family that can make a huge difference in the lives of some who have none.

Im Back To Being Ambitious In My Career Thinking About Projects That I Want To Pursue Not Just The Ones That Fall In My Lap 3

But for now, my door is closed. And it feels soooo goooood. It’s also been GREAT for our marriage. Knowing that we are past that point kinda gives us some freedom to enter the next stage of parenting, with kids, instead of babies and toddlers. It’s exciting and empowering and we can see a light at the end of a tunnel. I’m back to being ambitious in my career, thinking about projects that I want to pursue, not just the ones that fall in my lap. I have a bit more mental space because they are actually sleeping and it’s exciting to actually use parts of my brain that were too tired to function the last OH SAY THREE YEARS.

It’s a lesson that sometimes your partner, whom you trust, might know what’s best for you more than you do.

So that’s where we landed. Two kids, a solid marriage, and we are still struggling to stay afloat. My best advice when it comes to how many kids you should have is to stop when you are happy. I KNOW that having a third (under 5) would have brought more happiness in some ways, but possibly decreased other happiness. The Hendersons as a family of four are happy and that’s how it will stay (unless that door didn’t fully close and we have a vasectomy baby which happens all the time but he tested it twice and no sperm-o so we should be fine, right? right? RIGHT???)


But wait, there’s more…before we “wrap it up,” a few inquiring minds on the EHD team had two, ahem, logistical questions about the “after” here, and because I felt like maybe you might have the same questions, we squeezed it in.

Team EHD: When you get a vasectomy…can you still…ejaculate? (I feel like Carrie Bradshaw.)

Emily: Ha. Yes. But it’s clear…if you are lucky.

Team EHD: Can it be reversed?

Emily: It can technically, but it’s really hard. The first question they ask before it happens is “how is your marriage?” in an “are you sure you aren’t going to marry a younger woman later and regret this choice because you are exhausted right now but maybe it’s because you are actually unhappy in your marriage” kind of way.

Granted, these questions were asked in an “EHD After Hours” text chain with far too many inappropriate puns and eggplant emojis, but we’re all adults here.

So, again, thoughts?? Feelings?? I’m dying to know what you guys are thinking about…it all. Xx

Fin Mark


Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

0 responses to “Are We Done Having Kids?

  1. So honest. Well approached. Personal and intimate sure, but that’s the Emily we love.

    I miscarriaged a “we’re supposed to have a baby now” baby, and got divorced shortly afterwards. I wouldn’t have chosen it that way but it may well have been for the best. From a very young age I wanted 6 kids, but after years of therapy I know that what I actually wanted was to have had a better childhood myself.

    In a committed relationship now and turn 40 in a few months. I’m still not completely, completely, completely shut down on having kids, like you were I guess, but for me and my life it wouldn’t be the best choice. I’m still coming to terms with that and this blog may help. I know I won’t be able to foster or adopt as my health wouldn’t get me through the application stage (I work in government and know all the rules), so shutting down my likelihood of pregnancy definitely means no kids at all.

    But that does mean a freedom, as you’ve said, to do things the way that works best for you. I think this may be a post I reread a few times. Thanks

  2. I knew I didn’t want a third child when I had a meltdown in the hospital the night my second child was born, and I thought to myself, “What the hell have I done? I don’t want to do any of this again.” — and by that I meant the nursing, the months of sleeplessness, the everything involved with raising a second kid. Fortunately I snapped out of it and Kid No. 2 is awesome but the idea of No. 3? No freaking way. So I am in sync with Emily’s admission that having a 3rd kid would have been “mentally unhealthy” for her.

    Kudos to Brian. A lot of men still seem to think this issue is the woman’s problem to handle.

    1. Yah, I have to say the fact that he insisted instead of me having to take care of it was a huge relief. enough has been done to this body in the name of reproduction 🙂

    2. Your last point, gahhhh. I will never understand that mindset from men – the anxiety I would have over putting a responsibility like “preventing pregnancy” solely on my spouse would be insane. I love and trust my spouse, but sometimes he forgets to take out the trash, run errands, etc. (AS DO I), and expecting/demanding that he never make a mistake, otherwise we could both be sidled with the responsibility of a child is terrifying and rough on a marriage. At least if I’m the one who has to be virtually perfect to prevent risk, then I would have control over that aspect.

      Lets just say getting an IUD was beneficial for my mental health, my husband’s mental health, and our relationship because it took the pressure off of me, took the anxiety away from him, and removed a sense of tension between us. If there were a long term temporary option like that for men, I’m pretty sure a large portion of the male population would be like SIGN ME UP. (Please, no responses about whether an IUD is a healthy/moral option – I made this decision with the help of my doctor, my SIL who is an OBGYN, and my own personal beliefs and risk tolerance. To each their own.)

      1. Copper IUD for the win! Had one pre baby no 1 and got a second one 8 weeks after I have birth. Best thing ever. Insertion and first month with my pre-baby IUD was rough, but post baby was literally nothing at all. Highly recommend to anyone who wants long term temporary that’s hormone free.

  3. I have read every single word on you blog for at least 3 years, probably 5…so I’m making a heartfelt genuine request that in your search, you read the gospel of John in a reader friendly translation of the Bible such as ESV or niv. ???? Might be a weird, manipulative – sounding way to ask, but it’s in hopes this comment will catch your attn. You’re going to have 860 comments on this post!

      1. great!! 🙂 (And I just remembered, there’s also a word-for-word Netflix The Gospel of John. It’s pretty amazing if I remember correctly. It says 2014, but I KNOW I saw one in the theaters in 2004.)

      2. Emily, I would never bring this up out of context, but since you said you were actively searching, my husband and I have been reading books and listening to a podcast that has completely opened our eyes, spiritually speaking.
        It is not a religious theology but a spiritual investigation and practice, and seeks to tie science with faith giving us a greater understand of who God truly is and who we are in relation to Him.

        A quote from the website “Theology explains who God is while science explains how He works.”
        What started us down this path was Steve McVey’s book, “Beyond an Angry God”.
        His website is
        He’s teaching these theories/principles but encourages everyone to do their own research and come to their own conclusions (lest you think this is a cult of some kind!).

        PS– Brian’s vasectomy recount was hilarious! I would totally welcome the occasional Brian Hendo guest post.

      1. I’ll start reading John with you, Emily! Love your heart for your family (as it is!) and for how you serve those around you!

    1. Yes I agree that is a great place to start! I love the New King James Version…the Bible has seriously transformed my life. So good! And I’m with ya Emily, two kids are enough for me personally!! 🙂

  4. I feel bad that we live in a world where you had to explain this. But I also feel jealous that you can put your decision out there with all your reasoning and now people will (hopefully) stop asking. I wish every time someone asked me about childbearing that I could point them to my blog answering their question rather than have to listen to “oh it’s because you value your career too much” or “if you just had one you would definitely love it.”

    Also, I’m no doctor but I do know someone who had a vasectomy reversed successfully. So it’s possible!

  5. I really appreciate the aspect of your blog that directly or indirectly talks about being an ambitious female business owner and careerist. And this topic of deciding on additional children is something working women deal with – since childbearing obviously falls on them as well as a lot of post birth physical changes and work. Thanks for sharing. I too wanted a third and realized I couldn’t handle one and still work – and I love working and it’s the right thing to do for me and our family even though I love my children far more. I’m glad your daughter (and son) will have an ambitious, talented mama as a role model.

  6. I thought this post was great. My boyfriend and I know we don’t want children and the vasectomy discussion has come up several times. Hearing someone else (even in a different context) share there experience on a “taboo” subject is something that I personally always find informative and perspective broadening. So thanks Emily!

  7. I could write a million positive things about the post but for a positive comment on another subject —
    East coaster here: I really appreciate how your fresh post is up by the time I get up in the morning all week. Kids get their breakfast, I pour my coffee, read EH post and day begins!

        1. ME THREE! Fellow east coaster, and blogs and their ‘optimized scheduling times’ drive me bananas. I know I can always count on yours to be up.

          Thanks for the honesty, Em. As a childless 36 year old, I sincerely appreciate reading about the decisions that go into having or not having kids. We are each entitled to do what’s best for us. xo

    1. Oh, I get where you are. I was there too. I hear your pain. I don’t know your journey, but I can guess it’s been hard.

      We did IVF four times. I was sad and angry that getting pregnant with my husband wasn’t something I could study for or save for.

      I’m a mom now and YOU WILL BE A MOM too. You just will find your way. Follow you gut. Have faith. It all works out in the end. I promise. 🙂 it might now be how you imagine. It might be even better.

      -signed the mom of a 12 year old boy and a 5 year old girl.

        1. LOL I was all “wow jen really read into my psyche there! ” 😉 I hope the original commenter sees it to, a sweet and encouraging message.

  8. Love this post. Love the honesty. And I’d love more Brian on the blog, he’s hillarious. I’m sure posting this was terrifying but it’s your truth and I think many will benefit from this. Keep up the good work!

  9. I am nearing 30 and have been struggling with infertility for several years. One of those souls is welcome to climb down into my open door ????

    Must be nice to be terrified of unplanned pregnancy!

    1. I’m sorry to butt in — and im sorry you’re having this experience. I can believe it must be really painful and I hope you get lucky and have a kid real soon if you want one.

      That being said, please don’t put it like that. It’s not nice to be terrified of an unwanted pregnancy. It’s awful because feeling terrified is awful no matter what.

      It takes a lot of empathy to understand that other people can absolutely hate the idea of something we want so much, but people are different and our feelings are completely valid. I don’t want kids, never did, doesn’t seem like it’s going to change. The fear of getting pregnant I feel is really bad for me.

      Again, hope you all the best and that you can become a mommy soon!

      1. I agree empathy is important. I do think Emily’s post could have been more sensitive to those stuggling with infertility. There’s no recognition that having children is not easy for everyone, and although Emily is comfortable talking about politics no recognition that it’s inappropriate to ask anyone about having children. I would have appreciated a deeper discussion about why she felt the need to answer this question publically, as well as recogniztion that for many due to miscarriage, infertility etc. answering this question can cause a lot of trauma and grief.

        Sending warm thoughts to the original poster. Infertility is really, really hard and I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. It truely sucks and oftentimes our friends and family say things meaning well but causing more harm than good.

        1. Emily’s post was clear that it was only about her lived experience. I think asking her to encompass everyone else’s lived experiences, by expanding it to discuss things like infertility, is an unreasonable expectation. It risks shutting down discussions like this entirely, because people will be so scared of not accommodating everyone that they won’t say anything.

      2. Thank you, Jess. I thought long and hard about having children and am very supportive of (and thankful for–we’re overpopulated!) those who choose to be childfree. I think it’s hard to understand the extreme pain of infertility, however, if you’ve never felt that deep longing for a child. I know I never imagined it would feel like this when I thought it would be as simple as going off birth control. There are many relatively quick, affordable options if you don’t want a child. There are no quick, affordable options if you do but can’t.

    2. As someone facing similar struggles, this is a very unkind comment to make. Your personal issues do not mean others are not allowed to feel the way they feel. Every person and situation is different. And Emily made that very clear in her post.

      1. It’s tongue in cheek, as in, I would welcome the break from worrying about my financial, emotional and physical devastation to worrying about pregnancy, the prevention of which has many, many options and solutions. But sure, I’m unkind.

        1. Bethany – I knew that line was meant to be humorous. I suspect that a lot of other readers did, too.

          My daughter was born with two disabilities; spent her first two months in the hospital; and had four life or death surgeries during those two months. It was the worst time of my life. But one day I saw the humor in one aspect of what was happening and said it out loud. It was dark, dark humor, but it was humor, which was healing. Knowing that I could find a bit of humor let me know that I could get through the experience.

          So I think it’s great that you were able to find a bit of humor in your situation. Brava! I think you are a courageous and strong woman.

          I pray that a soul finds its way to your open gate very soon.

    3. Definitely don’t want to dog pile here, but I thought I might have two cents to add. I’m genuinely so sorry for what you’re going through. The pain must be absolutely awful. I can’t even fathom what that feels like because I haven’t experienced it. By that same coin, you can’t fathom what Emily’s experience was like because you’ve never been through it. And ultimately, comparing our very different pain to others’ accomplishes, truly, nothing positive. Imagine that someone said to you— “Must be nice not to worry about accidental pregnancy!” Wow, that feels cruel, doesn’t it? I’m sure you meant no harm and simply reacted in a moment of pain, and I truly hope that you are able to have a family in the very near future. You have time! I turned 30 this year and it’s not nearly as old as it sounds 🙂

    4. Yikes. I had secondary infertility and tried for 5 years before we had another soul join us. Now I know adamantly that our family is complete and I find myself in that place of being terrified of another pregnancy. People have different struggles and goals that change and evolve. The pain of infertility is deep, but that doe not mean people can project that onto others for their own personal struggles.

      1. Hi – I just wanted to tell you that it took many years and many IVFs for us to have the kids we now have – 4 yo twins and a 2 yo. Those years trying without children were so incredibly painful for me and I vividly remember the bitterness I felt towards people who had kids easily or were afraid to get pregnant. I’m sorry you are in the middle of this hell. But you will have your family one day (however it ends up happening) and this will feel like a distant memory. And even though we never got pregnant without IVF, my husband still got a vasectomy after our third because I was absolutely terrified that I would miraculously get pregnant on our own. Kids are a lot of work!! You might find yourself in the same position one day even. Keep your head down, don’t give up, push through this and it will all be worth it.

    5. Bethany, it’s ok to feel the way you do. Maybe you don’t need a stranger to tell you that, but it’s 100% ok. I had a heart-breaking/gut-wrenching struggle with infertility. Seeing someone pushing a stroller was triggering when I was in the thick of it. Seeing someone pregnant used to DESTROY me. And unless you’ve experienced it yourself, it’s hard to understand how a blog post (even a respectful, mindful blog post like this) can be triggering. Struggling to get pregnant, facing surgeries and ultimately getting a diagnosis of infertility nearly killed me. And even to this day, when I am on million percent thrilled to be a mom to an amazing, funny, brilliant, beautiful 6-year old who we adopted when she was one day old, it’s hard to read posts like this. It’s hard to hear someone wax poetic about how they have so many choices and they get to weigh all of those choices to determine the best path forward. But please know that you DO have choices, even if you don’t have ALL the choices. There are a lot of ways to make a family and my joyful little trio is living proof of that. Hang in there, ok?

        1. Bethany – one day you will hold your child in your arms and a lot of this will make sense. You will realize that your path, however painful along the way, let you to THAT particular child. No other path, timeline, etc would have led you to your baby/child. You will realize you were waiting for each other in a sense. I know this might not help a ton now, but I just want to let you know you will not be in this pain forever. Sending lots of love and hope that everything comes together soon for your family.

    6. Oh, I get where you are. I was there too. I hear your pain. I don’t know your journey, but I can guess it’s been hard.

      We did IVF four times. I was sad and angry that getting pregnant with my husband wasn’t something I could study for or save for.

      I’m a mom now and YOU WILL BE A MOM too. You just will find your way. Follow you gut. Have faith. It all works out in the end. I promise. ???? it might now be how you imagine. It might be even better.

      -signed the mom of a 12 year old boy and a 5 year old girl.

    7. I think that the terror of an unplanned pregnancy and the pain of infertility come from very similar places- when you make a decision about your life but your body decides something else and you are left feeling wildly out of control of your life’s decisions. Or worse, feeling like you have to explain yourself to some 3rd party and justify your decision in order to get help. It’s the same for both cases and it is equally painful although most people don’t live through both and understandably have a hard time imagining the other scenario.

        1. IVF mom here too. It was painful (emotionally, financially and phisically) and hard, but when I look at my sweet 10 m old I am grateful of that journey. Had I been able to coceive naturally years ago, he wouldn’t be here. I know, I would have another, probably three, but I love HIM to pieces. Hang in there, you will have a family and it doesn’t matter how you’ll have it. One day you will be a mom and all of this will make sense, in a way.

  10. I just had my second child (who turned three months yesterday) and my husband and I have already agreed to go down the vasectomy path. So thanks for this post! perfectly timed! I also feel that two is the perfect number for us. And great to get the male perspective. Thanks Brian ????

  11. I’l be the first reader to terrify you this morning:) I am currently nursing my newly turned one year old who is 11 years younger than his closest sibling. And yes, that happened 10+ years after a vasectomy and subsequent “you’re good to go” follow up appointments.

    1. I don’t have a vasectomy in my past, but I have a 12 year old, 8 year old, and a very big surprise 4 month old. The craziest thing is — I couldn’t imagine it any other way and, despite the fact that we’ll both be 40 this year, we are seriously considering one more?!

    2. I’ve heard of this. and you really have clean follow up appointments???? UGH. I heard of someone who had 3, THREE vasectomy babies. THREE!!!!!!! Yah. we might avoid certain times of the month…

      1. I highly recommend asking your doc about an IUD as a backup method for the surprise pregnancy paranoid. Plus, no period. Win win.

        1. Hah, and I was just coming to comment that my husband finally got a vasectomy after our third baby – conceived while I had an IUD! We thought we had closed our door, but it was a little bit ajar after all…!

          As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to continue the pregnancy. But I have had struggles with PP anxiety, trying to figure out work/life balance, etc. She’s 2.5 now (siblings are 6 and 10), and things are much better, but the first 18 months or so were tough. The emotional/mental strain is real.

  12. I had a tubal ligation during my c-section, once I was assured my second child was healthy.

    I had a little regret after, but now that he’s 1, he and his 3 year old sister keep me very busy and I have no regrets. I am already stretched so thin and I feel like adding a third would be a huge challenge for our family.

    I’ve recently really reached the point where I can just appreciate babies and be happy for their mothers without desiring a baby myself. I got to do that. It’s awesome. But I’m really excited to move beyond that phase and just enjoy my kids.

  13. Since I already see a few negative comments, I wanted to tell you I found this post very interesting (maybe because I already have two, don’t want a third, and would like for my husband to do the same as yours ????).

  14. Thank you for sharing a very personal but important part of your life.

    While some people may disagree this is the wrong place to write a post like this, it’s her blog. The title clearly shows that the blog post isn’t about, don’t like it? Don’t read it!

  15. I obviously love this blog for design, but I also love it because we’re in the same stage in life and you’re very open! I remember reading the posting multiple times about how it was hard to get pregnant with Charlie when I was having my own struggles. Now that I have two kids, we also have been discussing a third- I wonder if I’ll regret if I don’t do it, and my husband says NO more kids. I got an IUD so we still have that option open, but this post really verbalized a lot of what’s going through my mind.

  16. Thank you for sharing this. As a satisfied and eternally grateful mother of two, in a culture of “three is the new two,” I really appreciate your honesty and insight. I went through some struggles to get to the two I have and I am grateful every day for them and for the quality parenting I know I can give, especially while working part-time in a highly demanding career. For my husband and I, three would mean quantity over quality. But that’s just me, knowing myself and my husband. I, too, have also considered fostering or adopting, especially an older child, at some point when my two are older. So, in that regard, the door is never really “closed.” Thank you, again, for sharing.

  17. I had a tarot card reading years ago and was told I’d have 4 children (I have 3 and we are done). At the reading, though, the tarot-ist (?) said, “this is the number I get for you, but I’d have to have your partner here to get your number as a family.” I’ve thought about that idea so many times since. There was a part of me that was like, well the family number should be 4 because then that means I’m with my best “cosmic” partner and am being my true self, but also…that’s a bunch of bologna!! (Not the tarot—so much of the reading has been very true! But the feeling that “my” reading should be “our” reading) Our partners shape who we are in so so many profound ways—the way we build a family being the most special and profound so of course they would affect what the tarot cards say.

    1. Wow, what a beautiful thing to say! I love your perspective. No kids yet but I’m learning so much from you all in the comments!

  18. Such a genuine thoughtful post. I’m currently pregnant with my 3rd. Next month I will have 3 under 5 years old. My husband would have more children. Me? My golden number is 3 and always has been. Even though I haven’t had number 3 yet I already feel at peace with the decision and know I couldn’t handle more children. I’m sure you will get plenty of pushback for this post but I loved it. Thank you for being a voice and sharing these intimate details of your life!

  19. Love the post, need more Brian’s Blog! I want to know how he holds down the fort while you are on work trips! I leave my hubby sometimes and he needs a virtual reassurance that he is doing ok.

  20. My comment is to other commenters. You can tell what a post is going to be about one or two paragraphs in. If the subject is boring or not applicable or disgusting or whatever, don’t read it. No one is chaining your eyes to the screen. The team at EHD doesn’t owe you anything – this blog is FREE to you. I love to read the comments because most of the time people have great input or additional insights but sometimes they make me want to throw my phone in the trash.

    1. I agree! At first I thought, maybe Emily could start a more personal blog separate from the design one so it would be clear to readers what they were getting, but that is insane. No one is paying to read this content and no one is forcing you to read! Close your browser and come back for incredible EDH content tomorrow!

  21. I love this post! One of the first posts I connected with here was on sleep training Birdie, so I’ve always been down for both family/personal posts and design posts. If and when we decide to get my husband snipped, I’m going to send him this link! We currently have two little kids (4.5 and 1.5) and have recently decided we’d like a 3rd. I miscarriage an oops #3 in November and while it was extremely sad and shocking, it made me realize that we do want that for our family—so much more chaos and more crying (and poop) but more laughter and love. I’m an only child and my husband has three siblings, but…let’s just say very complicated family dynamics. So I think we are both excited to have a big-ish family in a stable, loving home. But we also know we’re making a decision thinking about what it will be like to have three big kids and then three adult children—the next few years (if we are lucky enough to add to our family) are going to be in the trenches and VERY hard sometimes! It’s such a hard decision and I appreciate your honesty—every family is 100% unique and only you know what is best for yours!

  22. My husband had a vasectomy and we are so happy he did. It was easy ( his words) and we never had to worry about another pregnancy.

  23. I haven’t finished reading the full post but after you said that love multiplied but TIME DIVIDES I just have to come down here and say YESSS!! I have always said I wanted a HUGE family, like 4 kids. But my husband and I both have careers, neither of us will likely ever be able to stay at home nor do I think we necessarily want to. And I distinctly remember when my second was like 6 months old and I told my husband that my soul was telling me not to have any more. And I was slightly devestated at the loss of what I had imagined for so long except that that vision would have never been reality for us. Any more children would have meant not giving every child the attention they deserve, or not giving my husband the attention he deserves, or not giving MYSELF the attention I need to have a healthy relationship with everyone else. I’ve decided that if one day, in some alternate universe, I end up having an eternity of free time and millions of dollars (HA!) I will adopt more children who need love and a family. I’ve had more than one person ask for an explanation and they always seem to scoff at this explanation so hallelujah to seeing other women with careers make decisions that are different than what they thought they wanted…makes me feel less crazy for changing my mind ????

  24. Emily, I just want to say I really like these more personal posts. I felt like there were fewer in 2018 than in 2017, and I missed them. I know some people just want you to stick to designing homes, but I for one love the posts on marriage, raising kids, being an entrepreneur, work/life balance, etc. Great post.

    1. thank you very much. I’m trying to do more in 2019. as the audience grows it becomes harder and harder to put myself out there, but i rarely regret it (because you guys are so supportive). Also my team reads the comments and any really really mean ones are deleted before I see it which takes away some of the anxiety (they debrief me on what they are, but I don’t need them to actually ruin my day and inhibit me from putting myself out there). more in 2019 … 🙂

      1. Can’t wait!! I love them too. And I think I love them because you’re the writter 😉 your honesty, humor and brightness always comforted me! Keep it up. Cheers from France!

        1. I found your story on the thought process going into your decisions about the family that works for you a very interesting and touching read. And I am 57 and never had children and that is the way I planned it. Everyone’s walk in life is unique and interesting. Thanks for sharing.

          And seriously, nutocaine is one of the funniest things ever. I hope Brian visits the blog again!

  25. Another question. If you could go back in time, would you have started having kids earlier? Do you think you would have chosen to have a third in that case?

    1. Hmm… i’ve thought about this A LOT. I think if I had started earlier i probably would have a third kid, but If It meant that I didn’t start this blog 9 years ago or go on designstar then career wise i’m not sure where i’d be (and i LOVE my job). I suppose starting at 31 would have been slightly better (we started trying at 32, had a miscarriage, had to wait then gave birth to my first at 34). so many paths to happiness, and i suppose i like the one I took …. 🙂

  26. My sister got the same message from a psychic multiple times. I think it is psychic 101, if the person has two kids tell them they “might” have a third…..then say all positive traits that the person wants to identify with…..hope and pray they don’t notice you are just being Captain Obvious. I would be curious if a momma of three or four kids get the same message.

    Thank you for the open and honest conversation. A special thanks to Brian for sharing. He cleared up something both my husband and I did not want to discuss.

  27. Interesting, actually! But Emily, are you comparing yourself to other bloggers/designers that have many many children and seeing that version of their lives on Instagram and thinking you’re not enough? OMG no. What’s wrong with 2 kids these days?? Sheesh!! Take it from me, I have 3 (one plus twins, not my fault) in high school and WISH ME LUCK, UNIVERSE. Also, what’s wrong with an IUD? I barely get a period and it’s a no-brainer. More people should get them. I wish there was a blogger who would talk up an IUD cuz it’s AWESOME 🙂 🙂
    p.s.nice to hear Brian’s thoughts. Good job Brian !!

    1. Seriously! I preach the IUD gospel constantly. It’s among the best decisions I’ve ever made. I haven’t had a period in almost four years and haven’t worried about pregnancy before I’m ready. The insertion was truly an ungodly experience but I’d do it 100x over. There’s even some early evidence that IUD education and widespread usage can reduce poverty rates because normalizing IUD use means fewer children before a family is ready/before a family can afford them, and fewer teen pregnancies. IUDs for the win!

    2. ME! I have an IUD and have for the past 7 years 🙂 My aunt worked at Planned Parenthood while I was in college, and she actually inserted my very first IUD. In a weird way it was a very special moment, because I suddenly felt really empowered about my body (I was raised in a family where the idea of unwanted pregnancy gave me heart pounding anxiety). I was the first person of all my friends to even hear about an IUD back in 2011. Now at least 4 or 5 of my girlfriends also have them. I’m on my second IUD now, and haven’t regretted a single day of having it. For me it means no pregnancy scares, almost zero periods (a little spotting here and there), and so much less anxiety. At this point in life my parents would be PSYCHED for a grandkid and I know my partner and I are looking forward to kids (we’re 28/29), but we need a few more years…

    3. Hi hi!
      I had an IUD for 2 years which was definitely awesome until I had an ectopic pregnancy. I read about a blogger’s IUD ectopy experience once and it stuck with me, thankfully, because I recognized some of the symptoms in myself while vacationing abroad. This led to me to take a pregnancy test (positive) then Googling (terrifying) led me to an ER where I was pretty quickly wheeled into emergency surgery because scans showed I was bleeding internally. Fortunately, all is well now, but definitely scary, unexpected, and $$,$$$.

      So yes, IUDs can be a great solution! But not without risks so def be aware of warning signs to keep yourself safe. Sorry to be a buzz kill!!

      1. So sorry you experienced this! You are part of that very unlucky minority. I completely agree that education is so important. Thank goodness you were armed with that information (and how wonderful that reading a blog provided it to you!) I’m definitely very fastidious about my reproductive health and see my doc whenever I feel something is off. I don’t like the term “set it and forget it” when it comes to IUDs (or any health matter) because I believe actively managing your well-being is vital. Thanks for sharing you experience, and I hope you’ve found the BC method that’s right for you!

    4. I had to have an IUD surgically removed after it perforated my uterus and lodged itself in my bladder….they’re awesome but come with risk too….after that my husband RAN to get a vasectomy!!

    5. I have an IUD (Mirena) and I definitely have reservations about it. I got it to control some seriously out of control bleeding every month and having done the pills for years, I wanted something I didn’t have to think about. While it gets the job done, it’s also completely erased my sex drive. And getting it put in was so unbelievably painful– and they didn’t warn me that it would be THAT painful, just verified that my ibuprofen had had the time to kick in– I almost passed out. And I have a high pain tolerance! I am dreading what it’s gonna feel like when the time comes to remove it. Not sure I’d do it again.

      1. I’m also sorry you had this painful experience but i feel like i should add that i had a really good experience – for other commenters out there who shouldnt *necessarily* freak out. At insertion I just took paracetemol, and there was definitely anbit of an unpleasant cramp-like feeling but nothing dramatic. The doc gave me a ‘mini’ size as i am quite petite.. So ask if that os suitable.
        Just about to get a new one after 5 years and it has really been great overall and for me sooo much better than the pill.. It is copper so still get periods (they actually got lighter not heavier) and aside from that no hormonal effects – which was the big winner.

  28. Thank you for writing this! Exactly what I needed to hear since my husband and I have been considering the same thing. I can’t believe the other comments from people who say this is too much. I appreciate your honest approach and answering questions I didn’t even know I had!

  29. I was definitely interested in reading this as it’s where we are in our lives, too, so it’s helpful to know what another couple and family chose and went through! From an EHD standpoint re: people saying this has no place on a design blog — okay maybe not, but it has a place on EMILY’S design blog. I think plenty of people are here for YOU and interested in your life. Also you were clear what the post was about and gave fair warning so everyone is free to scroll on by!

  30. Before you get bombarded with allthethings, in the quiet of this moment I’d like you to know how thankful I am that you and Brian are willing to talk about this in a way that states repeatedly, “This is how we decided what is best for us and our family; it is not a prescription for every family.” For me personally, I’m grateful for Mr. Brian Vasectomy, not only for showing how men can and must relieve their partners from the pressure of family planning, but for giving an accurate account of what vasectomies are like. My husband thanks you, Brian.

    And now, in the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson, “Hold onto your butts.”

  31. I’m about to have my second in May. Also raised a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints (and still a member). Mom-ing has been a huge grounding factor for me and I’ve found more purpose in it than I ever thought possible. So I definitely resonate with your feelings about being a mom and I wonder all the damn time how you, and others like you, manage to do it all so well. So all I have to say is bravo! Or brava, I guess. I admire all that you do and are doing!

  32. Girl! I have so many thoughts on this post. First of all, I faced infertility starting in my early thirties and could never get preggers…I now have 2 adopted children…it is kind of amusing to me that some people still have to think about birth control because that hasn’t been an issue for me for such a long time! So, I enjoyed this post, in spite of my lack of need for info about birth control, because I love the honest exploration of life choices from a working mama. I always thought I wanted three, but FO SHIZZLE after going through two infancies and toddlerhoods have also realized that another would break me mentally. I am an older mom and my oldest has ADHD, so maybe in an alternate universe three would feel more manageable or possible…

    anyways, i got a kick out of this and it felt like a convo with good friends. It’s nice to put a definite answer to major life decisions…definitely clears mental space! and as I have a 2.5 year old and an 8 year, i can relate to that idea of moving forward with life with big kids! Enjoy.

  33. First of all, loved this post so much! And I’ve been chuckling and nodding in agreement. I had 3 under 5 and it was soooo hard. We had no family, no friends, I truly thought I was losing my mind. There were great moments to be sure, but it was tough. My last two were, as I like to say “the cumulative failure rate of the Today Sponge.” Yes, I’m THAT old, lol! My girls are now 33, 31 and 29. They are crazy close-we have a text group for the 4 of us, and we talk daily. No one can decide for anyone else if, when, or how many kids belong in a family. Thank you for sharing your story-Brian is hilarious!

  34. Thanks for being brave and talking about things that (wow, reading some of the comments) a lot of people feel *shouldn’t* be discussed in shared company. I’m glad we live in a time when folks are opening up about the realities of life – it makes me feel a lot less alone to know that others struggle in their relationships, with decisions about kids and careers, with maybe accidental pregnancies, with…you know, LIFE. So I wish all the Judgy Mc Judgertons would just SHUT IT because I appreciate your authenticity.

  35. Thank you for this. It is a funny, honest, and VERY relatable post. I so appreciate that you acknowledge that something has to give: family life / career / marriage – all require effort, time, and love. My husband and I made our decision to stop having children (sort of, medical issues weighed in as well) about four years ago. I still have wistful regrets at times but feel lucky to have the family I have and to have had a “decision” to make about family size.

  36. 3 boys under 3 here!!! It’s INSANE ???????? That meme about the first child watching one educational video, second a Disney movie, third The Godfather!!! Spot

  37. Today’s women need more of this— I do not believe we talk enough about the unique challenges of being working parents in this generation!! My hope is that the next decades will finally bring changes to make American work spaces truly “family friendly” so that being full time working parents with growing families is not the unrelenting chaos and emotional cost it is. Personally, I completely relate to this post— although we are at 3 kids, I have been wondering the same, how do we know? I don’t want to regret not having more once it’s too late— yet have the same exact reasons you do for coming to the reality that we’re probaly done. No doctor or appt quite yet but getting closer. Thanks for sharing!

    1. AMEN re family culture. it’ll take more women-run companies but I even know some that are not helping the situation and it astounds me. Changing the culture starts by changing each individual company.

  38. Love it. Basically every professional woman I know has had two kids. Two kids plus a marriage and career and house and life is hard but awesome. Three kids would break me.

    Thanks for talking through what the process meant to you… it’s important and something we don’t always discuss as openly and honestly as we should.

  39. Get it now in a way I didn’t at 38. As one of 8, a brood felt “normal” but when you start late, options dwindle. (Miraculously) 2 kids later I was still in “more please” mode and we did a long hard intl. adoption. At the time I was even contemplating adopting 2 at once. Our third, now a teen, is amazing, so spectacular, delicious, that I know he was a gift of gifts but now, personally, work wise I just want to be and need to be all in on my job and career. Have gone from still fleeting moments of baby crave 5 years ago to can’t wait till they’re all out of house, college, and self supporting (like yesterday) so I can do me for a change was a developmental shift I didn’t realize was coming – I’m a late bloomer I guess. I just want to explode my creative life and have always found it hard to do both well unfortunately. Good chance for kids to grow and be more independent and resilient as they should of course. Great subject/blog post!

  40. Believe me, just because you’re out of the toddler years, you’re not done. Has anyone mentioned tween, teens, college, how many times they move back in?????

  41. I feel like having children is such a gamble and being fortunate enough to have two seemingly healthy littles, it would feel irresponsible to take the risk at having another. I know I’d love any child I’d have but the older I get, the more likely I’d have a child with complications or a disability. And since I’m in my late thirties, I imagine my other children having to care for their sibling if that should occur. Environmentally it also seems irresponsible to keep having kids along with the very real need for so many kids out there to have a stable home. My husband and I have agreed on a vasectomy— we just need to schedule it. Thanks for the reminder!

  42. Love the blog as always and as a mom with two small children, I related in a major way! We’re feeling like two is a good stopping point for our family as well! At this point my husband and I are able to (just barely) juggle full time jobs with raising our two girls. I loved your quote “love multiplies but time divides”, I think that sums up my feelings on the topic perfectly!

    I love your design posts but these personal posts are probably my favorite because they’re are SO relatable and your writing style is so humorous.

  43. Thank you for sharing your story. Hearing about how families make decisions about family size/planning helps everyone. Knowing there is no “right way” just a “right way for us” is liberating. I hope more women will share their experiences in such a non-judgmental way.

  44. It’s like you read my survey and immediately acted on it! Friday link ups and more personal life blogs. I did have three under four and worked full time as and engineering manager and yes, I had to step back to be the type of hands on parenting I wanted and my kids needed. (I still work full time, but my trajectory upwards has slowed). However, three under four is no joke, especially without family around, so my husband also got a vasectomy. Before he was completely cleared though, we had a pregnancy scare and it solidified my relief of the vasectomy, totally agree with everything you said! (also my psychic also made sure my husband had a vasectomy because she said we would be having a fourth if that didn’t happen).

  45. So. many. feelings.

    First off, congrats on finding something that works for your family. My coworker said his wife got his tubes tied and they got pregnant by accident anyway – apparently a vasectomy is more reliable. So, yay Brian for taking the plunge!

    As for myself, as a household with two full-time working parents and three kids, the subject of kids is a minefield. I’m in my late thirties so it’s now or never with adding a fourth biological child. My husband doesn’t earn enough for me to stay home with the kids, and even though I make enough to support us if he stayed home, he doesn’t want to. I could have a fourth and hire a nanny or get an au pair, both of which would be cheaper than daycare, which might not be affordable for us as we’re already paying the minimum in our area for daycare, which is about $1k per month per kid, and it’s a strain… (apparently public daycare isn’t going to happen here even though it is happening in other, more progressive less patriarchal countries) but I’d be very resentful of the nanny because she’d have a job that I’d love to have myself (staying home with the kids). Read as: I could not emotionally handle paying another person to stay home with our kids when I would rather just stay home myself, so I’d probably also wind up resenting my spouse for not earning enough to make that a possibility, in addition to being unreasonably envious / jealous of the nanny. Feelings aren’t rational, folks.

    Also, both my husband and my mom say things like that I wouldn’t actually like staying home. They certainly wouldn’t. My mom was a one-and-done parent. But are they right about me? And honestly, I think being a stay-at-home mom to four kids would be much more challenging and stressful than working outside the home is for me personally. Just getting the kids to places on time in challenging. Just the buckling up part alone is challenging. Just doing our budget is challenging. Just keeping up with our current amount of laundry is challenging. Finding people to hang out with and co-raise / co-supervise kids during the week would be challenging. It would probably be physically exhausting – I’d probably constantly be physically tired.

    Then at work, it’s another minefield because I hate when people ask if I’ll have another. Because it would be career suicide if I said maybe instead of no. It’s already been a career torpedo having the third kid. I’m no longer put on challenging projects, but I don’t think anyone wants to fire me either, possibly because they’re worried they’d get sued if they did. Currently, I think I’m actually doing the highest quality work of my life. Yet I also feel the most doubted by some of my colleagues.

    I hate how in our (American) society, some things like money are still taboo – I’d never dream of asking my coworkers how much they make (do I make more than them? or less?) but things like vasectomies and family size aren’t. I hate how I know exactly who has, and hasn’t, had a vasectomy in my office. I hate how things like “he has three kids, but he’s told his wife no more, and gotten a vasectomy” is almost a badge of honor, like OK, we can give him more projects again. It cuts both ways. At my husband’s former office, the boss loaded up those with kids with all the s* work to make them quit, while giving the high-profile work to those who were childless. But expecting someone to go child-free for the first 10 years of their career isn’t doable for many households.

    I hate how having another child has become a time and money decision for my own household. I get that no one can have it all. I get that I’m very, very privileged and lucky and blessed to just get here (3 kids). If I had more time (as in, if I had someone met my husband earlier in life, and thus been able to start having kids sooner), I’d probably have staggered our kids ages more, and maybe that way I wouldn’t feel like I’m getting backlash at work. I wouldn’t feel guilty. I’d feel like I was in control. Deep sigh.

    1. Oh man. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m now also pissed at companies who do this. Believe me i’ve feared telling the world how overwhelmed I am for fear that they’ll think I can’t handle the work (aka partnerships that I may not be getting) but then I think ‘welp, more time for the kids’ but thats a privileged thought because we are fine financially right now. Anyway, every time i’ve talked about money i get a HUGE backlash … people saying its so tacky and i’m like ‘what, its just money. we give it far too much power in our culture by not talking about it’. Anyway, thanks for sharing xx

    2. This. We need so much more of this. Thank you Em and Brian for opening the discussion and for so honestly sharing such a personal piece of your lives with us. More Brian please!

      Thank you dear commentor for contributing your thoughts and feelings. Man this is a tough one.

      I’ll tell you what’s not tough though: those bosses being jerkwads. I wish every single one could be called out and overthrown for the selfish egotistical folks they are. Maybe that would help them learn compassion.

      As a mom of two under 3 contemplating my third baby (literally right now as in pulling the plug today), I know that I’m more efficient, selfless, ambitious, determined and hard working than I’ve ever been — all thanks to being forced to by parenthood. A smart boss would be begging to hire moms — you’ll never find a more reliable crew who also happen to know how to laugh off the stupid stuff.

  46. Minus the psychics, my husband and I had a VERY similar experience. He just got snipped two months ago. Before he did, while I was content with our two girls, I did want another one. Not enough to push for it, just in a “wouldn’t it be nice” kind of way. While the door may still be a tiny bit open (he hasn’t been tested yet), having the procedure done has allowed me to totally embrace our family of four. I think I struggled the most with feeling like the fact that I couldn’t handle another kid made me a not-good-enough mom. I always wanted a bunch. Like, the only thing I ever KNEW I wanted to do was be a mom. But the two kids I have have depleted all my resources – does that mean those moms who have 3, 4, 5 kids are better at momming than me? Obviously not – those are just the lies that ran through my mind. Now, I call those lies what they are, and am fully content with the size of my family. Love this post!

    1. thank you 🙂 and choosing the family that you already have means that you are a great mom not that you aren’t good enough to have more. xx

  47. I can completely relate. I struggle with the idea of having a third often, but with 2 kids under 3 right now, the thought of a third sends me into a tailspin. I definitely think my own mental health would come into question, so for now, I think we’re good with being a family of 4.

    1. ???? oh brother! If you can spot clickbait so quickly and be so resentful of it, just don’t click.

    2. Then why did you even bother reading it?? Ugh. You weren’t forced to read the article. Doesn’t relate to my life at this moment, so I cannot really relate. But I found it quite an interesting read. I love reading other’s perspectives. If/when I’m at this stage in life, then it can help me gain some perspective. So move along, Mallory.

  48. I love this blog post and respect and appreciate you for sharing your decision to stop at two. Having kids or not and how many to have is so very personal. There are many factors involved, and you cannot always control them. There is no right or wrong decision, and that’s what this post reflects. A good start to my snowy morning on the East coast.

  49. I’m showing my husband this post. He’s committed to doing it, but doesn’t have any buddies to ask about the experience, so this is great (and bonus, Brian is funny!), so thanks!

  50. Mother of a three year old and one year old here. I love your blog, especially the ones about being a working mom. I stay at home now but am currently studying to apply for a masters in architecture (was a teacher before staying at home) and I struggle with this very topic. I decided to get an IUD since I’m only 30. But in five years if we don’t want more (doubt we will) it’s snip snip time for the hubs. Can’t wait to join you in the creative working moms club!

  51. I loved this post! Thank you for being so honest about this subject. It’s something i struggle with everyday between career and expanding our family. You made such great points and made me think more thoughtfully about expanding my family.

  52. To me, this is why we all love you. No one else I follow puts out content this real, honest and relevant to my (working mom of 4yo b/g twins – and DONE) life. I’m not surprised by some of the “TMI” comments but I always feel like…then stop reading and pick up with tomorrow’s post. Easy! The fact that they read to the bottom – and then commented!!! – is a tell of how engaging the post wast. My two cents – love you foreva ????

  53. I feel the need to comment on this post to say that if you are the kind of person asking another if they are having children or more children or anything, you need to STOP. after five miscarriages I want to throat punch anyone who asks me that. It is rude, none of your business and makes me cry. Nobody should be asking you Emily if you are having more children. It is absolutely appalling people think that is ok.

    1. THANK YOU. I also hate that no one ever asks my husband that question. I’m very sorry for your losses. I had a miscarriage this summer and it was very hard.

    2. Yep. Four miscarriages here and everyone from the dry cleaner to the local diner manager feels entitled to tell me I should have a second. Strongly tempted to tell all of them my reproductive history in gory detail.

  54. The line about a new soul climbing into your belly and out your vagina almost made me spit out my coffee. Too good.

  55. Thank you so much for sharing this (Brian too)! My husband has a vasectomy (similarly for gender equity and also logistics reasons also also because women are far less empowered by doctors to “close the door” which is BS but reality). Since then he has been a straight up EVANGELIST for the thing. His recovery was super fast and easy, and it does make sex way more fun. It’s affordable, less risky for your health and again, HIS TURN TO MANAGE OUR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH. Thanks for helping to normalize this choice.

  56. You are both amazing for sharing all this! Please tell Brian it’s so great to get a man’s perspective on the situation, as well. I hope people are nice about this article, because it was wonderful to read and had to have taken a lot of bravery to post! I love hearing your desire to be awesome parents to the sweet children you already have as the overarching tone for this post.

  57. We have very similar stories – 2 young kids and then a pregnancy scare with a 3rd WAY TOO EARLY. It made me realize that we were ready to take action and say two is more than enough for us. It was hard as I had so many friends who loved being pregnant who thought we were making a mistake but I really, really dislike pregnancy. So thank goodness for my husband being willing to step up and get the snip snip (not all guys will). And I can report that we have been very, very happy with our decision over 4 years later.

    BTW – have you watched Rhett & Link getting vasectomies together? Oh man, it was hilarious and hard to watch all at the same time!

  58. Love this post! Taking the taboo out of such subjects really can help lots of women and open a dialogue. I’m 35 and recently married and STILL unsure if kids are right for me. I hear the clock ticking but I love our life how it is. I know I’d love my child and it would be wonderfully challenging! I also feel like I’ve worked hard to become a person I love and it would change everything.

  59. Thanks for sharing, Emily. 🙂 Before I had kids, I was sure I only wanted 2 but when I was pregnant with my second, I found out I was having twins. I can’t say I was excited (my first words after the ultrasound technician told me were “there’s no [email protected]&ing way”), and 3 young kids is indeed REALLY hard. No idea how people have more and seem to do it so well. I love my children so much and am so happy I have them all, but yeah – it’s true that more than 2, especially when they’re very young, is really really hard.

  60. My husband and I had a similar experience. After my second, who wasn’t exactly planned, I had a “moment”. He was under a year old and I was late. The utter fear I felt made it perfectly clear that I was not in a place to have another child or that I wanted another in the future. We had talked about him having the big “V” but had yet to pull the plug. That was it, joking, but not really, it was the V or me. The RELIEF after was so true and pure. For both of us. Sex was better, intimacy was better, and knowing we were baby free forever was better for everyone. Bravo for sharing a personal & private decision and thanks to Mr. Henderson for the play by play.

  61. Wow, thanks so much for sharing something so personal. I can really relate to being someone extremely maternal and career driven at the same time. It’s such a hard thing to balance. We just had our second and my husband is begging me to have a vasectomy because he realllly doesn’t want 3. I’m not sure what I want but don’t want to close the door. This post really gave me something to consider though. Thanks so much

  62. As a woman who found out I was having my third child when my second was 8 months old, I totally understand. Incidentally, she was my 4th C section(our first died at 9 days old) and my 5th pregnancy in five years. I love my family as it is now and wouldn’t trade it for anything, but man my body had been through too much! The negative has really only been how it affected me. My health really suffered and thirteen years later I’m still battling it. I am, however, many of my friends favorite person since all their husbands made the “appointment” after hearing our news!

  63. A different perspective:
    I’m a stay at home mom with 2 kids, and i don’t want anymore kids bc Mama’s ready to go back to work. Get me out of this house!!

    1. I’m with you. My brain needs to be used in different ways! I’m ready for my own paycheck! Let’s get this train moving!

    2. Serious question from someone who has no kids but who will be starting a family in the next couple of years… can this for real work?? I spent all of my 20’s completely devoted to my career and could not have imagined staying home. As I’ve matured and am now fully baby crazy, I can now see that I might do just that. I can see myself wanting to be with my kids full time while they’re little, but I’m worried (and internally pretty sure) that that would be a death sentence to my career. I suppose it depends what field you’re in, but I would love to hear stories of moms who full-time child-reared for a period and then successfully transitioned back to full time work. Where you at ladies?!?

      1. Ashley, it CAN work if you think outside the box and set the ball into play before you get pg perhaps. I was a f/t therapist, working in a clinical setting, when I got pg without planning it. We decided that we needed some (not all) of my income and that we’d prefer not using day care. I quit my job when I was 4 months along and spent the next 5 months setting up my own very small private practice. I had 5 clients when my son was born and my husband could be with the baby when I was working. By the time our second son was born two years later, I had 10 clients. By the time they were both in school all day I was back to full time, in my own practice, making more money than my husband.

      2. Ashley – I think it really depends on what field you’re in. My SIL stays home with my nephew. She was an elementary school teacher before so she can go back to that pretty easily in a few years if she wants. I’m a working mom of two – honestly I’m not cut out to be a SAHM, but also I’m in the architecture field and the technology changes so fast. If I were to take 3-5 years off I’d be so far behind. Even a year off would be a huge challenge.

      3. I read a great quote recently that I wish to FUCK I could recall the origins of, but basically its this: Mothers have to mother each other too.

        As a mother of twins focused on my career and devoted to my family, I can most definitely assure you that there is room for both WHEN WOMEN SUPPORT WOMEN. Bravo for this post Emily, it takes guts to claim your space in the world the way you have, and thats what its all about.

        Out of the shadows and shame with how hard it is to breastfeed when you have a job, enough with how motherfucking unfair it is that socioeconomics plays a role in motherhood/upbringing, and no more tolerance for America not having a family leave plan. ITS NOT NORMAL TO HAVE TO GO BACK TO WORK 6 WEEKS AFTER A BABY COMES OUT OF YOUR WOMB, and thats if you’re lucky.

        Career family women, career out of the home women, back to the workforce after staying at home women – we have to be there for each other, we have to mother each other – that means support, teach, challenge, sympathize, LOVE each other.

  64. Yes.. I totally agree!! I also got married at 34 and had two boys 15 months apart.. I cannot tell you how often I get asked are you going to try for a girl?? Even at 48! My husband also had a vasectomy… I love my two boys and I wouldn’t trade them for anything… there is such a light at the end of all the chaos tunnel!!enjoy your two beautiful children!! Life changes so fast… love your decision… !! Thank you for putting it in such wonderful words..

  65. You have such a perfect way of explaining things and this is a very similar boat that I am in! Thank you for sharing!

  66. Putting this out there because you seem to have a strong interest in how people experience the blog, so please take it as it was intended–constructively! I think this post was a good idea and very well written, but the pictures in it gave me pause… The quotes over the pictures feel like an overt grab for Pinterest attention. (Maybe it’s the repetitive crediting on every single picture?). The juxtaposition of deeply heartfelt conversation about a taboo subject and formatting in an out-of-the-ordinary way for Pinterest’s sake are pretty jarring.

    1. Hard agree. I really enjoyed every other aspect of the post except for that one. Let someone else quote you, doing it yourself feels icky.

  67. My husband brought up that he’s considering getting one in a few years if we decide we’re done having kids, as it was always our plan to only have 2, which we have now. So I was particularly interested in reading Brian’s descriptions and it had me saying “feeling surgery on your genitals!?! oh my Gawwwwwww nooooo! Oh wait, I felt stitches going in post birth.” “WEEKS until his genitals felt normal?! Oh my gawwwww nooooo! Oh wait, that’s exactly what it’s like postpartum” LOL it sounds so awful, and it was in the moment, but when something’s worth it, you quickly forget about the pain!

  68. This is a wonderful post. Truthful and compassionate both.

    I am also going to add something that you avoided saying, we as a species have not figured out how to sustain ourselves on the planet without consuming it. So having fewer children becomes a moral decision too. Here in Silicon Valley having A LOT of kids has become the new sign of wealth:(. Doesn’t bode well for humanity.

    Don’t get me wrong, I would have had 3 myself, had my first husband been on board. That said, I understand now that fewer is right. At least until we figure out how to live here.

  69. I expect the “but this is a DESIGN BLOG” contingent to be out in full force. This is such a personal decision and thank you for sharing.

    Side note: We also decided to “close the door,” and I thought it was just my husband’s Valium talking when he wanted to take a picture of his nut smoke. How… is that a thing.

  70. omg, Brian!!! I burst out laughing -like startle the cats, loud, deep and long belly laughter- at “They didn’t think it was as funny as I did.” : ) : ) : ) A wonderful and lovely peek into The Henderson’s personal and family dynamics. One that renews the deeper feelings of affection I feel for my favorite design blog. (When some of the positive comments mentioned negative comments, I felt my body tense with apprehension -I just wanted to share a heartfelt THANK YOU for removing them.)

  71. Bravo, Emily! I always tell my kids, families come in all shapes and SIZES!
    I desperately wanted a third, but my husband didn’t. He was EXHAUSTED. And I didn’t want to have a baby with someone who might have caved to please me but then resented me after. So, we didn’t.
    I am MOSTLY happy with our foursome. It definitely gets more fun every year.
    But every so often I get sad about not ever announcing a pregnancy again. And I think my older kids would love a baby… The baby lust comes and goes, is I guess what I’m saying. I think it’s jusy part of being a mom.
    Ps. I chose the IUD, which gives us the same freedom and spontaneity. But we get to reevaluate every five years…

  72. Hey-oh! This got me all all kinds of excited; after being on a wait list for months, my hubs is finally going in for the “big V” next week! We started having kids young (25!), and then knocked out 4 in 5 years. So we KNOW without a doubt we’ve reached our limit. We feel complete, and I honestly love the feeling. And we’re looking forward to moving onto the next phase of parenting and getting some of our own lives back.

    I loved hearing Brian voice his feelings about it all; it’s nice to hear a guy talk about these issues. My husband is in medicine, so he and his coworkers jest about their “Australian trims”, but a lot of men just don’t like to discuss it. Way to go Team Hendo for breaching “uncomfortable” topics!

  73. You go Emily! I love the personal posts. And though my husband WILL NEVER EVER get snipped at least now I know details ???? I now have my 2nd IUD because 1 is the perfect number of kids for me. ???? I know a lot of moms who would choose to have a full time live in nanny if they were in Emily’s shoes, so kuddos to her and Brian for being such involved parents and giving so selflessly of their time and energy.

  74. We are just a little behind you guys in kid ages, but slightly ahead in vasectomy-Land. ☺️

    My husband suggested getting one when we were pregnant with #2. I was up all night with reflux waiting to throw up and then full-time parenting a toddler during the day. We can’t afford child care in our area with our careers, so one parent staying home has been the only real option, but I don’t feel like it’s a sustainable one for me mentally/emotionally. All that to say, vasectomy was a pretty easy choice for us, even though there’s a part of me that would like to leave the door cracked and just “see what happens.” I think coming from a bigger family does that to you. You can’t imagine your own family without certain people, etc etc. We are also exploring fostering and adoption.

    Re: vasectomy technicalities. My husband dropped a shelving unit on his toe and had to get one single stitch a few weeks before the snipping and he said the toe thing was *way* worse. I read after the fact that it’s super important in the first 24-48hrs post-op to actually LIE DOWN, not just sit in the couch and try to be super dad right afterwards, to aid in healing and reduce soreness. Wish I’d read that earlier!

    FINALLY, I know it’s hard for people on a rocky fertility path to read these things. I’ve been there and I know it sucks. I’m sending you lots of light today and I hope you remember that you’re not broken. It’s ok to step away and take a minute. It’s ok to guard your heart and not read things that make you extra sad. Whatever you need is ok.

  75. I think this was written in a way that is respectful, if that was the concern. I admit skimming through it made me slightly uncomfortable. This is a such a personal topic, it stikes me as too personal for a blog. But then I did skim through it the way one might try not to stare at a car accident – not sure what that says about me. I prefer posts about design, but this wouldn’t make me “unfollow”.

  76. While i come first and foremost for your design posts, I really enjoy your personal posts because they are SO VERY HONEST. I hate that you catch any flack for your personal brain dumps. I feel that i learn more on the sides of a subject even if it isn’t related to the phase of life I am in. It’s like it gets filed away in my brain for future reference.

    On a side note, I don’t love the big graphics with quotes from the text. Maybe this is just me or maybe it is just something you all are just giving a try to see how it is received, but it is distracting to me when reading. It seems as though bloggers are starting catering to the short attention spans of society these days and I find that a disappointing reflection on those of us who love the blog format over the brevity of instagram. Another blog I read bold faces certain sentences within the text and it drives me crazy to read. I believe that what that author thinks are the most important sentences aren’t necessarily what I find most important or interesting. Obviously, you have your reasons and “you do you”, but i just thought I’d share my opinion if it were open for consideration.

  77. This blog post was just insanely timely as I am actually sitting in the waiting room at the urologist’s office while my husband is in the procedure room getting a vasectomy right now. We have two kids and have gone back and forth for a couple of years on this topic as well. Thanks so much for sharing these parts of your life as well as design, it’s so helpful to hear other people’s experiences and reasoning.

  78. So one thing I’m kind of confused by in this post is the complete lack of mention of non-permanent contraception methods like condoms, the pill, long-acting reversible contraceptive methods like implants and IUDs, etc. I 100% believe that you and your husband should pick the methods of birth control that feel right for you and that your reasons to pick a vasectomy over those non-permanent contraceptive options are 100% valid. Only y’all know what is best for you!

    Yet, it seemed odd that there wasn’t even a quick sentence saying less permanent options weren’t right for you at this point in your lives, marriage, and family. The post read like nothing and the constant fear of a third or permanent sterilization were the only options. And again, maybe those were the only options for you and I absolutely don’t need to know why, but it seems like this article would have felt a little more knowledgeable and helpful to a broader audience if there was at least a quick nod to these less permanent options existing.

    1. I think they sort of touched on that when Brian volunteered and said that he should be the one to take on the mantle of preventing pregnancy after Emily gave birth twice. Men’s options are pretty limited

      1. Plus, there’s a big enough failure rate for other forms of contraception that if another pregnancy would be a huge problem, who’d want to take the risk? My mom had a tubal ligation after my brother was born, because her doctor said if she had another kid she’d DIE.

  79. Thank you for this post and for actually taking the time and thought to PLAN your family. It frustrates me when people just go forth without birth control and let “whatever happens happen” without actually giving much thought to if they can afford more kids financially, emotionally, timewise, etc. I appreciate your candidness as well!

  80. I’m in the same boat you were in, being on the fence about a third. I hate being pregnant. There is no way around that, it’s the worst! But I love my babies. I have a bigger age gap between my 2 boys, 4 (a month from 5) and 14 months. We waited on our second because our first was so challenging. People ask me all the time if we’re going to have a third, literally random people around town, and I get it I have 2 boys. People have a perception that if you don’t have children of opposite sex you must be working on getting that “other” child. For me I do dream about a little girl, but I also dream about three rambunctious boys. My husband is firmly on the “2 kids is the perfect amount of kids” side of the fence. However I’m a stay at home mom. My whole life is my kids and my family. So it’s not as cut and dry as a yes or no. I’m not ready for a third right now, but I’m not ready to totally say no. I’m just not getting any younger (I’m turning 37 this year) and my husband isn’t either (he’ll be 40). To have 3 or stick with 2….I’m glad I’m not alone in the agony of that decision! I’m also glad to hear a vasectomy story that went welll! It’s a fear of mine that the procedure will have unforeseen complications effecting performance. Something neither my husband or I want.

  81. I came to understand that everyone has their own “number” that works for them, balances them, makes thrm feel their fam is complete, and there should be no judgment from others about what that number is. For some of my friends who married late, If was ZERO. For me, it was 2, 30ish years ago and no regrets. Even tho my first marriage ended in divorce, I was confident and comfortable in the decision that this body never would bear another baby. I look at my grown sons with gratitude that there is nothing missing from my life.

  82. Thank you for this post. I have an engaging, challenging full time job and one amazing 1.5 year old daughter and it often feels like my life is wonderfully, impossibly full. I always thought I wanted 4 children, but sometimes less is more.

  83. I have five kids, but I started very young (pregnant at 19, obviously not planned), but we got married, and had 4 more unplanned pregnancies. I still find this post very relatable. I felt very happy and content after our 4th was born, plus I had spent all of my 20’s raising babies, I was very much looking forward to my 30’s being my time when I finally had more time and freedom. When I found out number 5 was coming, I was shocked, we had been using birth control, I had just turned 30, my youngest was 3…I was so close…having the 5th has been hard. Mentally and emotionally for me it has been very hard. I think what you said about enjoying the family you have, that hit me. I find it hard to enjoy motherhood, have little time to give anyone special attention, and get overwhelmed very easy! I think it is wise to realize your limits, and realize, that while a child is always a blessing, the ones you have are blessings too. I love my #5, but I do find myself feeling as if I’m in over my head.

  84. We have three kids (6, 4 & 2) and I am juuuuussst getting to that place where my brain can function again. I struggle with finding balance and time to give everyone (including the cat) the attention they need and deserve. I feel like 3 kids is our number and am excited to move forward with all the adventures young kids provide. My husband always wanted a large family and although he mostly feels the same as I do- he is struggling to make it a permanent decision. Part of him would love to have another baby. While I think he is CRAZY, I feel for him too. He is a wonderful partner and father. I’m trying to give him the space and time to decide what is right for him because I would expect that from him if our feelings were reversed.

  85. Ok PLEASE have Brian write more! I’m still laughing at ball bag, nutocain and nard ( I hadn’t heard that since junior high). Kudos Brian – you’ve got to be pretty awesome if you can get your nutsack snipped AND laugh about it.

    My husband and I have 3 kids… with a 5 year age gap between our second and third. Ha! I had a surprise c-section with our 3rd and when the doctor asked if we wanted to consider a tubal combined with the c-section, we both shouted YES! It made the entire delivery room start laughing. We planned the 3rd, are thrilled to have him, and are THRILLED to be done. 🙂

  86. I often joke that the best present my husband ever got me was his vasectomy. Welcome to the club, it really is wonderful!

    But seriously, thank you both for sharing your story. Even among my very progressive friends there is a lot of stigma around this choice. I often get treated like I made this decision for my husband and that it was unfair of me. Likely this is because I had 1 child from a previous relationship and he had none. The reality is at that neither of us want more children and it was the right choice for our family.

  87. Hi Emily, our stories are so similar. (Famiily of 4, Interior designer, husband got the snip snip) You have so much to look forward to as a family of 4. I’m a bit ahead of you since our two girls are out of the house now. Yep we are empty nesters! It’s like dating all over again!!!! Katelyn 22 graduated in June ( she found her dream job right out of college “graphic designer” ) yep you bet my husband and I let out a “ Hell Yeah” we did it!!!!!!! Well she did but we did too giving her the tools to be a great adult. Dani is 19 and a sophomore in college (wants to be a teacher). We are so happy with our family of 4 decision and our amazing girls!!!! Having only two college educations is a bonus. We had our ups and downs in the parenting journey for sure. Making the choice to not have a third made me a better mom. The years went by so fast and I miss my babies like crazy. My advice is to always take care of your marriage and love on those babies of yours!!!!!

    Loved your post ????
    Long time reader (Instagram story follower)
    Colleen (Seattle)

  88. Strangely loved this post so much. I love your writing and honesty. And you’re funny while doing it! I also loved the Mr. Henderson feature!! Sounds like such a great person for you, helping make hard decisions alongside you, and for you. He’s a funny one too. Thanks for sharing your life 🙂

  89. Brian is AWESOME. Many, many kudos to him for getting the vasectomy. Most men (of all ages) believe it’s a woman’s job to handle birth control.

    AND he’s funny!

    AND he’s a great dad!

  90. I’ve never commented before but in advance of some negative comments that may come, I just wanted to be a big positive resounding yes to posts like these. I love your design posts too of course but it’s posts like these where I feel like you are my friend IRL!

    I just had my second and my husband and I were talking about this exact thing so it especially feels super close to heart.

    Also – Brian is hilarious!! Could he write more posts / be featured more?

  91. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this post! I am 36, have a 5 year old and a 1 year old and work full time out of the house in a job I love. I have tough pregnancies so we knew during the whole pregnancy and everything we were done. I knew I was done, after the birth my husband scheduled his vasectomy.
    I will say I had this great internal debate, exactly your thought process. I knew we were done but there was a little nag. Fast forward, husband KNEW we were done, got his vasectomy and as you described after I felt relieved. It was done, we could look and plan into the future as our family of four and it feels awesome. A light at the end of the tunnel for sure.
    Just a long way to say I could have written this post and thank you so much for putting it all out there so we all can realize that we are not alone in our thoughts and feelings!

  92. This was like both TMI and awkward/hilarious/can’t stop reading! I’m 35 with a 2 and 5 year old – I’m sooo not career ambitious which was a surprise to be after having been excellent at school, so I’m deeply satisfied with my SAHM & homeschooling path (which means they never leave for school lol). But I’m also a low-energy introvert with some chronic health conditions that take a toll, and I do not want any more kids!!! Some days I can barely handle two children at home all day needing me and wanting to talk to me or hang out with me and interrupting my mental flow – adding a third would drive me screaming up a wall every day. Even though we have 2 girls and would also have loved a boy in the mix in a perfect world, we are both really satisfied with our family of 4, me probably a bit more than hubs 🙂 We’ve had a few “are we really done with kids” conversations and are settled about that now. But even after talking to several guy friends about it, DH is still skittish about getting snipped and the smells/feelings. I won’t use hormonal birth control any more for health and environment reasons so we use condoms which is fine by me… but I do hope he eventually gets tired of that and takes the plunge.

    1. Hi! This was so well written. I am a Mormon and understand the struggle about being the perfect mom and such. Even so, I found this post to be so goooood! It was tactful, but also real, and honest. And isn’t that how we all should be? Thank you for sharing such a personal topic with all of us! This is why I love following you. For authentic posts and (obviously) amazing design. 😉

  93. Great post. I always imagined I would have 2 kids. I have one child and the moment he was born, our family just felt complete. I “left the door open” for several years, thinking I might change my mind, but for both my husband and myself, we just felt so happy and full and like our family of 3 was perfect, we never had a desire to add another child to the mix. (It’s INSANE how many people judge this negatively). My husband had a vasectomy several years ago and it was the best decision. Funny story – I’m a Physical Therapist and work in the clinic with the doctor who performed his procedure (so know him well). I was in the room when Joel had it done and was all up in his junk asking questions, etc. I asked Dr. if I could make the snip and he got the little clippers positioned right and then told me just squeeze. As soon as I cut it, doc yells “NO, NOT THAT ONE!” and then starts cracking up. It was hilarious! The look on my husband’s face for that split second! Oh man!

  94. Thank you for writing this!! I have one son and am so happy with how things are and I know that having another would just really stress me out, but people don’t seem to understand. I want to be a great mom too and mentally I know adding another would not allow me that opportunity. It’s a personal decision for all of us and I’m happy you’ve listened to yourself and shared your experience; it’s refreshing to hear someone else with a similar point of view!

  95. Thank you for sharing this! Conversation of the week over here at our house. Our kids are 2 and 4 and the third kid question is starting to feel like now or never. Ironically, I am the one who wants a third… but also the one delaying it (career stuff). I personally love hearing about how others have made this decision – no matter what that decision looks like. I appreciate your transparency!

  96. My husband and I struggled with infertility for years and only after my 2 much younger sisters both were pregnant and I decided I was DONE with treatments did I become pregnant with my 1st. He was born just a few weeks after we celebrated 10 years of marriage and 2 years later our 2nd was born. Now we are DONE again. I loved every single second of pregnancy and would love to be pregnant 10 more times but yes, I am tired and already feel torn between my job and my kids and my husband and my aging mother. When I was younger I wanted 5 kids. Now I want to savor my 2 wonderful boys (so happy to be a boy mom!) and be happy right where I am. And, I too feel as though fostering will be in our future so I know these arms will rock more babies.
    Thank you for sharing!!

  97. Great post! I can relate in a way. I have FOUR kids. When I was surprised by a fourth i was depressed my entire pregnancy and feared postpartum depression and so much more. I felt like it was just TOO MUCH to have 4 kids under 7!! How would we all survive!? I lived in Manhattan and loved our city life so much. Over night everything changed. We moved to the burbs, had a fourth, and then i decided to start a business because I just needed something other than kids happening in my life. i almost lose my mind regularly and quite frankly- it is too much. So I get it! I got my tubes tied during my last c section so this door would be CLOSED now. Of course my fourth baby is loved by his big siblings and it’s adorable and we can’t imagine life without him. I wouldn’t survive without him now. We learned how to do things differently. But also, four kids is hard. Turns out any number of kids is hard. Being a mom is just hard.
    For anyone that is reading this and trying to make this tough decision for your family- one thing that brought me peace was when someone told me to envision your family in 20-30 years. The toddler phase is overwhelming, the teenager phase is probably more challenging- but it all goes by too fast. Get help. Employ extra hands. It will pass before you know it.
    So I’m dreaming of being a grandma. It’s my dream job. (My oldest of 4 is only 8 now so we have a ways to go!)
    But I so appreciate this post and can see lots of pros for having a beautiful family of four!! And in full disclosure- I had all my babies in my twenties. ( and happen to come from a Mormon family of 6 kids ????)

  98. Emily, I have so, so many of your wonderful posts filed away mentally or on Pinterest for a time when my husband and I are ready to change out blinds, upgrade our nightstands, or finally take on a kitchen renovation. This funny, heartfelt, and insightful post is getting filed away for later, too! Thanks for being so honest and such a complete gem.

  99. I have one kid and we just recently decided not to have another naturally. I have definitely been grieving but am also quite sure that’s the right decision for our family. We are also open to adopting if we want to expand our family in the future:)

    On another note, my friend married a man who had a vasectomy prior to marrying her (he had 4 children before the second marriage). He had a reverse vasectomy for her and then they went on to have 4 more children! Two were twins… So..all that to say that the vasectomy can be reversed for a cost.

    Btw, I think you made the absolute best decision for yourself and respect how thoughtful you and Brian were about the decision.

  100. Loved this post, thanks for sharing! You’ve probably seen the study that says parents of 3 are the most stressed. Apparently going from 2-3 and being outnumbered is very stressful but once you get to 4+ parents don’t put as much pressure on themselves and feel confident in their skills.

    That said, I’m sitting here with my first baby 6 weeks old asleep on my chest and want this at least two more times! But I’m still new at this so we’ll see ☺️

    And great clickbait on the post ???????? totally thought you were going to be pregnant!

  101. So many things rang true for me!

    “Ways to reduce the chaos of our lives” – yes. “Light at the end of the tunnel” – yes! (For me right now, it’s the potty training-freedom tunnel.)

    I also have a strong maternal instinct that is already a source of disappointment for me.

    I agree about the cost to me about having more kids. For me, it would be adding a fourth. I’m like, NO WAY. It has been SO HARD, honestly, with three, and with both parents working full time and an hour commute.

    I love that your parents fostered. In fact, tears in my eyes love it. I know very little about fostering, but I’m INTERESTED. Future post?? One family in my hometown seemed to think that the foster kids made their life more difficult/messed up. I’m sure every situation is different, but – Your thoughts?

  102. I’m glad to know that my husband and I aren’t the only ones who sometimes fantasize about running away and living in the woods, and we don’t even have kids (yet)! Maybe it’s a Oregon Duck who ended up in LA thing 😉

  103. Good for you! Good for him! And good for your family. I’m almost 65 and my husband had a vasectomy as a birthday gift for me after we had our 2nd child. We went through all the same thoughts as you and it was a truly good decision for our family as well. Married for almost45 years. Hope the same is in your future.
    Oh…& my “babies” are now 39 and 42. My need for sweet babies was filled my 2 wonderful grandsons,8 & 14. It’s wonderful .❤

  104. I love your Instagram/Blog, your designs are incredible (the Portland Project was stunning), but how personable and real you are makes me love it even more!

    This post is wonderful and as someone in the medical field, never TMI for me????. We had 3 under 4 (4, 2, infant). I always wanted 3 kids and love our fam of 5, but it is hard to balance it all. Our 3rd has been a handful from the time he was mobile and would honestly be an only child if he had been first! If you’ve ever seen “Big Bang Therory”, the best way to describe him is Sheldon… brilliant, but extremely tough to parent. I had an IUD between my 1st two, with no period as others stated, it was awesome! After our last I had an IUD as well, to give us time to decide what we wanted for the future. Unfortunately, I was one of those cases that the IUD perforated my uterus and was found tangled in my intestines after I started have odd symptoms. I am so grateful to have not gotten pregnant with a 4th at that time! With meeting our deductible from the SURGERY to remove it, my husband signed himself up for a “free” vasectomy (deductible met????????). He too is a big supporter and tells all his other Dad friends.

    More Brian! He is hilarious, his description had me laughing and so spot on (the smoke is totally a thing!) Can’t wait to read it to my husband. I am loving the big kid stage (now 13, 11, 8) and while I still have Mom guilt about working (I worked nights when they were little so they were home with Dad and now days that they are all in school), my kids have said how much they like the responsibility of taking care of things for a bit until I get home and being independent. Thanks for being you and sharing something so personal!

  105. This post resonated with me more than any post you or anyone in the world has ever written! My gosh I feel like after reading this, Emily, I just completed the best therapy session of my life. Thank you for being so open and honest about your thoughts on expanding your family. I have a son then daughter and love them to pieces. The thought of having a third aligned with all your thoughts to the TEE! Thank you so much!

  106. I was reading this at work and was silently cry-laughing (with a few audible snorts) at Brian’s answers to “Did it hurt? Any surprises?” because they were so hysterical. I reread it three times. THE BEST.

  107. OMG I’m cracking up at all of this–mainly because my husband and I can relate to all of it! I wish I could post a pic of the fountain in front of my husband’s urologist’s office–a little boy (cherub?) peeing. We couldn’t stop laughing!

  108. Thank you for sharing! We have a 3.5 year old and an 8 week old and my husband is in the waiting period before getting a vasectomy. As much as I like the idea of having a third kid theoretically, in practice I’m pretty sure I would lose my mind and be a crappy mom/ partner/human as a result of the overwhelm. It’s important to know yourself and your limits!

    I wish more men would talk about getting vasectomies to help normalize it. So many healthcare providers asked me what I was going to do for birth control after my second was born – including my OB asking if I wanted to sign a consent form for a tubal ligation during my 28 week appointment, “just in case you end up needing surgery anyway” (a problematic statement on many levels, I was low risk and had a straightforward delivery with my first) — but vasectomy was never even mentioned as an option. It should at least be part of the discussion!

  109. Great post, Emily and Brian. It’s such a personal, and difficult, decision on how many children you want. I have two grown children, and am so ready for grandchildren!

    I love the variety of your blog posts. Having personal/family posts mixed in with design really adds to showing there is a real person behind this blog and makes it fun to read. It’s a little surprise each morning to see the subject of the blog post.

    I’ve said it here before, and I’ll keep repeating myself – why do people have to post such negative and hurtful comments? Nobody is forcing you to read the blog post, and the title clearly states the subject. Maybe it’s a generational thing? I’m 63 and would never post anything mean on any blog. Would these people ever say these mean/hurtful things to someone in real life? I used to work in social media and would see negative comments on my clients’ posts/web sites and shudder.

    Carry on …

  110. What a beautiful job you do treasuring the two humans entrusted to your care! Love your honesty and vulnerability even in the crazy world of the internet. Praying for an experience like that of 1 Kings 18 in your search for spiritual truth

  111. Emily – thank you!! I love your insight on these topics and I find your approach so fun and refreshing. I’m currently pregnant with baby #2 and our first is less than 1.5 years old… I worry CONSTANTLY about how we’re going to manage these little ones together because just having one toddler feels like a lot of chaos. In many ways, it’s nice to know I’m not alone and these are pretty normal 🙂

  112. Thank you for this post. My husband and I have two kids, a boy (who was unplanned-the second month of our marriage) and a girl (who we conceived the first month of trying). We both feel like our family is complete, so he has his vasectomy scheduled in the next month. We are still in our 20’s, but I totally relate to what you’re saying, and we have peace with our decision. And like you said, there are other ways of bringing children into your family in the future 🙂 Thanks again!

  113. I love this post. You captured SO many of my own thoughts and feelings and the process we went through to also finally came to the conclusion to not try to have another child (we also have 2 kids and 3 would have been THE MAX). The way you talked about knowing your limits is spot on. Thank you for always being real.

  114. I have a friend who had baby #4 after a vasectomy + two sterility tests (!!!!!!!). I still think if the time comes and my husband chooses to go through with it, I will be a little nervous. I suppose if a baby is supposed to be here, it will be here no matter what you do!

  115. IDK, but my sense of humor must be on level with a third grader, because the words nutocaine, ball bag and nard provoked the kind of hilarity I’ve been looking for all damn week. I laughed until I cried. Thanks!

  116. Is anyone out there like me who feels like your heart/mind wants to grow another baby inside you but your body tells you it can’t handle another pregnancy? I loved being pregnant, but…

    I had severe preeclampsia with my first– she was born at 29 weeks and THANKFULLY never had any serious health issues after her two month NICU stay. I was very seriously sick because of the preeclampsia and was hospitalized for eight days. It was scary to have a second, knowing I could have preeclampsia again (AND A PREEMIE AGAIN), but then I made it through my second pregnancy with no preeclampsia. However, just when I thought I was good to go, five days after he was born, I had to go back in the hospital for postpartum preeclampsia for several days (yes, it really can happen) and was sick for weeks after with longer-term effects this time around.

    I feel a sadness knowing that even if I wanted another one, it really would not be a good decision for not only my health but also the health of the baby. Anyone who knows someone who has had severe preeclampsia (or any other life-threatening pregnancy issue) understands when I say that one of the worst feelings in the world is knowing your body might never be meant to carry life again, no matter now much you would want it to.

    1. Yes. I had a freak uterine rupture at 32 weeks and will not carry another baby in my structurally unsound uterus (this, after three rounds of IVF…). I very badly want my 5 month old miracle baby to have a sibling, but the universe has slapped me silly trying to get the message through that I don’t get to have babies. Definitely one of the worst feelings in the world.

      My husband and I have also begun a discussion about permanent contraception which feels obscene after all the IVF but we can’t take any chances with this broken body 🙁 All of this is to say that you’re not alone – I feel your pain.

  117. What timing!!! Thank you so much for posting. My husband and I have 3 kids (12, 7 & 2 with the last one through IVF). He is adamant that he doesn’t want anymore and booked the big “V” for Feb after months (even years) of discussions. I’m 37 and am panicked that if anything happens to him or the kids I’ll want more. Did you think about this? How did you get over the finality of it all? Thank you for posting (and for the details). Has really helped and like I said … perfect timing!

  118. I loved Brian’s description of the procedure–so funny!

    Also, Emily, don’t feel like you need to apologize for wanting only two kids. You’re not judging people who want more or fewer kids, and if anyone thinks you are, that’s their issue.

  119. I cannot tell you how much I relate to this post, particularly on your assessment of 2 yo vs. 3 yo. Give me a 2 yo over a 3 yo any day. Three was ROUGH for my first. We’ve two weeks into 4 and so far it’s not magically better, but time will tell . . .

  120. Be sure to go to ALL of the follow-up appointments… my niece and her husband now have a precious addition to the family because he did not…

  121. Lovely post Emily, I so appreciated hearing about your motherhood journey. One of my favorite entries! I’m a long time reader (4+ years!)

    I wanted to share, since you mentioned your spiritual quest, have you heard of the Baha’i Faith? It’s a very beautiful, peaceful, hopeful, and inclusive religion. Some of its teachings include: the oneness of humanity, the equality of men and women, the need for independent investigation of truth, the harmony of science and religion, the oneness of God, and progressive revelation, which is the idea that God has sent successive Messengers to mankind throughout history (like Jesus, Buddha, Moses etc).

    Beyond that, however, it offers a deeply mystical and spiritual path that brings great personal joy, and peace to the individual, and draws one ever closer in a personal relationship with God. This has been my experience, at least, since becoming a Baha’i ten years ago. If you know him, Rainn Wilson is a Baha’i, and I’m sure would be happy to get together with you and Brian and share all about it (since he lives in L.A., I’m pretty sure.) There are also awesome children’s classes going on in L.A. too! Here’s the international website if you are curious :

    With great appreciation for all the work you do!

  122. Excellent comments. Honest (as we expect) and informative (which we also expect!).

    Knowing your limits is sometimes a hard thing to do. It’s like in my younger, wilder days when I’d say I know when to stop drinking at the beginning of the night, but once you start drinking you forget what that limit is. Oh, the hangovers I could have avoided!

    My mom had four kids age five and under. My older sister turned six two months after my brother — the youngest — was born. I think it drove her crazy a bit. And she started older, too (WWII got in the way). A friend’s mother had approximately the same age spread for the same number of kids. My friend told me once he remembered when he was pretty young (he was the oldest) that she packed her bags and walked to the bus stop one day. She sat there for a couple of hours before coming home. That makes me so sad. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing was not right for YOU.

    Yay, Hendersons!

  123. My neighbors have six kids and believe it or not, a seventh on the way. All they do is scream at each other. Eight people fighting, constantly, and another on the way. WHY??

  124. Love this post. Could have written it myself! “I can only (barely) handle two.” My husband could have written the other part. Kudos to anyone who has more, or less, or no kids! One thing I don’t think we don’t talk about very often, especially in the “lean in” or “working mom” space, is trying to be more intentional and thoughtful about what really works for your family. And being honest about what your dynamic can handle and when it might be too much (before it becomes too much).

  125. Emily, I was happy to read that you trusted your instincts about what you could handle, and you and Brian did what made sense for your family. Personal courage is a beautiful thing.

  126. Most of my girlfriends waited like you, so they have tiny tots with moderate/”normal” age gaps (2-3 years). That makes another baby seem like a viable option for us, since we’re the same age. However, we had a big span of time between each of our three, so we’ve already had a childful household for 15yrs and are looking at another 15+. Aside from that or any other practical consideration, I really searched my soul and decided we should shut the door simply because our family is full. These young humans make our home and our lives complete, so while another baby would probably be great, our future looks bright without adding another person. We can now focus on catering to the phase that gets the fledglings flying, and – more scary – the phase that empties our nest. I get to stop serving people, chauffeuring, wiping all the things, etc., which is both terrifying and exciting. Whatever will I do?! But we’re not quite there – since my IUD is coming due next year, it’s time for the hubs to get serious about that vasectomy! (I will not be suggesting he read Brian’s account, which was superb… I think the less he hears about nut-needles and junk-singeing at this point, the better.)

  127. Have 1 child who just turned two. I’m currently naturally pregnant with twins. I don’t feel like we got a choice. This article was probably not the best for me to hear right now, my husband and I are both career go getters. I feel it’s telling me “I can’t”- same as the rest of the world does when they find out you’re having twins. Even the VP of HR at my company shouted across the hall at me one day “I don’t know how you’re going to work with twins”. I feel normally your articles are uplifting, encouraging, honest. I do appreciate your honesty and I realize my situation was probably not one thought of if you were leaving to feel defeated. However, this only further echos how hard it will be with 3 under 3, and coming from someone highly motivated who does both career and mom well- this burns. I do love you Emily, found your book and blog on my first maternity leave and restyled the whole house during that time. I had a blast. I purposely bought our next house to be one I could remodel due to your encouragement.

    1. Hi FS,
      First: congratulations! I’m sure those babies in your belly feel like the luckiest ones to have picked you.

      For encouragement: my best friend got pregnant with twins naturally (with ONE ovary) when her first was 7 months old. Two boys.

      THEN she got pregnant again naturally with twins when her oldest was 4 and the big boys were 3. Two boys again.

      That was five kids under 5 for a but there.

      Yes, she’s crazy and also feels like she didn’t get a choice but she’s in love with her kids which helps her feel better. She makes light of the craziness by sharing funny stories and continuing to work part time. Now that the big kids are in school full time it’s easier.

      YOU CAN DO IT. And you can build your career however works best for you and your family. Damn the opinions that say otherwise ❤️

    2. At the same time, she’s very open about how Brian was vocal about being done and how this was a personal choice. Unexpected twins have to be overwhelming for 99% of folks, even when they aren’t career-oriented. However, I remember asking a coworker with three kids how she did it, and she said, “You just do.” Your will is the most important component in achieving the success you want – Emily and Brian didn’t have the will to handle more, and that’s just fine for them. Keep your eye on the prize and you’ll be great!

  128. I’m turning 40 this year and know that 2 children is enough for me. My husband kept talking about babies but it turns out he was just testing the waters because what he really wanted was a puppy. So tricky! Now we have a dog and a vasectomy appointment.
    I enjoyed this post and laughed about what Arlyn didn’t edit out and think Brian should contribute more often 🙂

  129. You did the right thing for you and your family. I love watching them grow on your blog.

    We had a girl and a boy and decided to go for “the tiebreaker” baby no. 3. Which, turned out, to be identical twin girls! So now we are a family with four kids under the age of five which I’m still in shock about but it’s been the best surprise of our lives. I’m the cautionary tale of that twins can indeed happen to anyone!

  130. I am pregnant with #3 and my hubby is getting snipped during the March madness special at our local doc. He’s very excited to have an excuse to sit and watch basketball for a week, though I’m not sure not necessarily “excited” about the actual procedure!

  131. I can’t love this enough. Definitely sharing with my husband (who has made the call, but not the appointment yet!) thank you for sharing.

  132. Thanks for sharing. I feel the same way as you and I only have one child. It took me a long time to share my intent not to have more children without feeling significant guilt.

    Ultimately, I love my career and love my time for my child. Given the expense of living in Southern CA (a city that I love), and being far from extended family, having more children would significantly change our quality of life. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that we all have visions of what a family looks and feels like. We have have our rights to these visions and here is mine.

  133. I was like you, trying to figure out what I believed. I knew that the religion I had been raised with felt “off” somehow. I decided to read my Bible (as well as look into other versions of spirituality) to try to figure it out. I thought “what if I actually just tried to treat the Bible as one whole book instead of two separate parts and just tried to do what it said? Would I have a more authentic faith?” After much study and trial and error we discovered a whole “movement” of people trying to live like the first century believers. We found that they are called Torah keepers and we did find a much more authentic faith.
    Also, I applaud your honesty and knowing yourself well enough to know when you need to be done having children. I did that too and I’ve not regretted it yet!

  134. I really appreciated this post. I have been in a limbo on a third child for over two years. I always thought I’d have (and want) three children, but life doesn’t always play out the way you imagine. This post has help me feel at peace that I have two wonderful children (7 and 4), and I can move on knowing I can invest 100% in them.

  135. Hahaha if you thought it was weird that a “hair” post was one of the top posts of 2018, wait until this “vasectomy” post comes up as one that a million people click on in 2019! 🙂

    I love it that we as women are able to speak up more in public about what we have decided regarding our own reproduction. My husband and I are in total agreement that we absolutely DO NOT WANT KIDS NOW. We keep saying we’ll check in in 5 years to see if anything’s changed, but we’ve known each other for 5 years, and so far the answer is HELL NO.

    I keep having the same ridiculous conversations with practical strangers, though, who insist on asking: “Ooh, so you got married last year, and you bought a house this year, and next year…?”
    Me: “Yeah, no.”
    Them: “…Well who knows? Maybe a little one will surprise you!”
    Me: “Nope. Next year our plan is to just disappoint people.”

  136. I NEEDED TO READ THIS. And will have my husband read it. Thank you for writing it and for your honesty and vulnerability. I am in the same boat and your story registered 1000 times with me. Love your blog and work. Keep on keepin’ on!

  137. Love this, Emily! Thanks for being so honest. My hubs has 5 siblings and I have 3, so the fact that I think I want to stop at 2 kids feels weird sometimes so I really appreciate you sharing your decision and thought process in this post!

    I started laughing reading Brian’s words and had to read it to my husband, ha!

  138. Hi Em, I’m glad you wrote this post, if for no other reason than to emphasize the point so many others don’t seem to “get” – every couple strives to make the best family planning decisions possible; weighing the needs of their children, their marriage, their responsibility as parents and their personal goals. Most important, it is none of anyone else’s business. If they want to share their decision (like Em and Brian :), they will…if they don’t, it is not our place, as their friends and family, to ask.
    Side note: Em, 25 years ago, my sister married a man who had 3 children and a vasectomy from his first marriage. When he asked her to marry him, he promised he would see as many doctors as necessary to have his vasectomy reversed. Two months before their wedding, he had the reversal procedure. 18 months later, they welcomed their sweet baby girl!

  139. I don’t understand the quote boxes. Are you trying to get your husband’s vacesctomy trending? Please please explain the motivation behind making a text graphic.

  140. Love the post! We are also deciding about number 3, and will definitely go for a vasectomy when we’re done for sure!

    Also, I am a member of the Mormon church and want to genuinely wish you well on your search for belief. Way to go seeking, and talking about it in 2019 when religion is decidedly uncool. I hope wherever your journey takes you, it brings additional peace and meaning to your already awesome life- that’s really what it’s all about.

  141. I always always wanted to have three children. I’m one of three and love the dynamic. After having my second I was completely overwhelmed with post-partum depression and subsequently ongoing issues with anxiety and a mood disorder. So whilst I desperately wanted another child I knew there was no way I could mentally cope. And it would have been terribly detrimental for me and my family. I do still feel pangs when I see many of my friends who have three but my children are my world and I know that I am a better mother to them by being able to focus just on the two of them. It’s chaos enough just that! A great post. Thank you.

  142. My thoughts? You are amazing Emily and so is your family. I love your “this is what’s right for my family and you should do what is right for yours” attitude. Thank you.
    p.s. It was a long time ago but my husband and I made the same choice for all the same reasons and it has turned out extremely well for all four of us!

  143. I love this post and all the realness you share every day! Also please Brian Henderson needs to be a regular feature/guest columnist– I was in splits throughout. I’m sure there will be haters which is why I wanted to comment and let you know that I really appreciated this. Thank you!

    1. Agree! Brian’s input was so funny. You guys should do some his/hers responses to some of your Mountain House design decisions

  144. Help…please don’t take this the wrong way, but how do you unsubscribe to this blog? I get way, way too many emails and do not have time to read these anymore. I scrolled down to the bottom and accidently resubscribed (is that a word?) thinking I was unsubscribing. This is nothing personal, it is just not for me. Thanks!

  145. A palm reader in college told me I would “definitely, most certainly” have three kids, too!
    I appreciate your honesty about being at your limit with 2- I struggle with admitting that. I also come from a big family with and my mother worked and I can’t help but thinking “what’s wrong with me???” I feel like I shouldn’t be drowning, my mom wasn’t (actually, she probably was but it didn’t show) and my friends with 3+ seem to manage just fine. I’ve come to the conclusion that I just love the infant stage, so the longing for a third is more my pining for my actual childrens’ baby days, not necessarily wanting a new baby. I hope so hard that I don’t regret it later. Asxalways, hank you for sharing !

  146. Very well put! Thank you for sharing!
    We were in the same boat, but my hubby got a vasectomy while we were still in the terrible 2’s and not-sleeping baby stages, just so that we couldn’t change our minds once they became fun.
    I’m a judge and my husband is a consultant and we balance work and life pretty darn well with the 2, but we almost immediately knew and agreed that 3 would throw us off kilter. Kudos to those who can manage it, but we are also a very happy family of 4. ❤️

  147. This is by far one of the most useful EHD posts I’ve read and I love all of your work. My husband and I have two kids (around 6 months younger than yours) and we discuss this topic all of the time! We also don’t think we could afford a third, living in an expensive city. Big thanks to Brian for sharing the finer details 🙂

  148. Emily,
    I totally get where you are coming from. I became pregnant with our fourth child when our other children were 8 (twins) and 5. It was very much a surprise and I was not happy or excited about it. Our little surprise is now almost 7 years old and I thank God every day for the blessing she is. She is so much fun and a welcome joy in our house with three moody teenagers. I get the fear of being overwhelmed – we had our first three in 2.5 years and one of our twins has a disability – but in our case I’m SO glad for how it turned out. I’m not judging your decision, just offering a different perspective. I also love your idea of being open to fostering or adoption – there are so many opportunities to love and nurture in our broken world. Much love to you and your beautiful family!

  149. Love this post! Love the view point from Brian. I have 4 kids and it is so hard, but honestly 1 is hard. It wasn’t until 4 that I thought I might possibly have a mental break down with 5. So, 4 it is! And I’m so happy. I love my babies so much, and I KNOW I’d love each additional one too but it does become a question of mental sanity. I just KNOW I don’t have it in me for more. Time to get my hubby to read this article. He has said he’ll get the surgery but hasn’t yet.

  150. My husband got several recommendations for a doc to do his vasectomy- and he ended up being great. To reassure my husband that he was skilled with this procedure, he casually mentioned that he DID HIS OWN VASECTOMY.

    I’m still puzzled and shocked and laughing about that 2 years later.

  151. Emily, I have been following you for quite a long time and have never responded to one of your posts. But this may be one of your greatest ones yet. I laughed out loud so many times, but I also found myself nodding in appreciation of your honesty and perspective. You definitely need to bring Brian back for more! This is such a tough question for so many couples, and we still haven’t figured it out ourselves yet. I will be sharing this post with my girlfriends.

  152. Wow! Proud of Brian, what a responsible but also very considerate of his wife way to look at getting a vasectomy. If more men considered how hard women think about having kids and starting or expanding their families, we’d all be in a great place. Goods job all around 🙂 we are pregnant with baby two at 42, and I feel the same way you do, if I had started earlier who know how many kids I’d feel comfortable welcoming to our family. But being pregnant and present is difficult! And I agree more kids and more pregnancies take a bit away from everything else that you do. Want what’s you have right? 🙂

  153. When my doctor asked me what we were doing for birth control after having our children, I told her that my husband was having a vasectomy, and she sighed and said, “Those are the BEST husbands.” Kudos to you, Brian.

  154. OMG, I lived this exact thing. I have two kids. I also feel like a third would have tipped me over the edge. I realized that I wouldn’t be able to work if I had a third. I love my career and it is in a stable place. I’m not excelling, but I am comfortable and I see being able to do more as my kids get older.

    If I had a highlighter on this post of things that I agree with and also feel, the entire post would be neon yellow. My husband also had the fix.

    Thanks for your transparency.

  155. I loved this post. I always appreciate what you have to share and I think this was so well done.

    I’ve been married for 6 years now and am coming up on the concept of starting a family. It has really rocked me in not a great way, in ways I didn’t anticipate and that made me feel so bad because I grew up like you thinking that having a family was everything. I’ve been working through it and I feel like your thoughts and feelings were so relatable, despite not having kids myself.

    I love that you are honest about the hard stuff and not sugar coating it or your boundaries. It’s nice hearing this rather than some of the other frustrating things surrounding motherhood that are out in the internet. Keep on sharing and being you, I’ve always enjoyed reading.

  156. Emily! Love your heart for your family.This is really good information and article.
    So nice baby

  157. Wow. This is so timely for me. I have a three year old and a six month old. I’m 37. My husband just had a vasectomy. AND… we have a 5-day old embryo on ice from our recent IVF that I can’t get out of my mind.

    I came from a family of four daughters (four under four, the youngest are twins) and LOVED my childhood with my siblings. Today I adore the closeness of having them as my adult best friends. Our families are growing together with so many cousins (eight under 5) and it feels like I have this network of love and support. So with that in mind, I have a hard time imagining a lifetime of only two children. My husband is an only child and his experience is so much lonelier than mine. Sure, today a third would feel overwhelming. But in 25 years… I think I want a bigger family. In theory, a third child would be a gift to my future self, and a gift to my existing children now and later. But that’s a HUGE commitment in the short term for an uncertain long term vision.

    I also struggle much more than I anticipated knowing I have a viable embryo that might not become a born baby if we don’t go for a third. I keep thinking to myself “what if in a parallel universe they had put the other embryo in on implantation day, and the baby I have today was still frozen, never to be born?” He’s such a joy and delight, what a loss it would be not to see his soul come into our world. He could just as easily be not here as here.

    We’ve closed the door on naturally conceiving another. And we won’t undergo any more fertility treatments. But in a way, I feel like I am already a mother to three, and my decision is whether or not to see the third through or not.

  158. Would you have felt more strongly in favor of having a third child of your second had been another boy?
    I am a mom of two; a 2 year old boy and a 2 month old girl. I always felt that I would try for another if my 2nd hadn’t been a girl and I’m just curious if others feel the same way. Did gender play a role in your feeling complete with 2?

  159. Such an interesting topic, and I’ve experienced it from different angles: first we struggled to have kids for a few years, really wanting to fall pregnant, had our first finally, two years later fell pregnant with our 2nd immediately. Then definitely didn’t want a 3rd. Our doctor recommended the Merina (IUD) and it worked fabulously for years, until I started getting worried if it will still work. My wonderful husband was willing to do the necessary. Quite an ordeal, as he passed out afterwards in the in hospital chemist, had to be wheeled back into ER for stitches on his forehead (low blood pressure guys beware), Cat scans.. Yes, funny afterwards. And since it’s become final, with my second being 11, there are days now when I’d be so willing to have a third. Maybe because I now think of it on an idea level, more than a practical way. But I do think about that concept of souls, and what if they then end up in a much harder place. Anyway, Emily I wish you much peace and contentment with your family, and especially than you do come to know the tremendous love God has for you.

  160. Wow, great share, and extra timely for me. I’m chilling on the couch a little over two weeks post laparoscopic bilateral salpingectomy (both Fallopian tubes removed), my preference to “close up the baby making factory” at 39. Thrilled with my decision! Feeling great after what certainly is a more invasive procedure than for men. But I wanted my birth control tied to my body. My husband and I have an alpha female “one and done” family, lol. He just had a shoulder surgery, and even our daughter had a minor hernia surgery last year. It was my turn! Interesting to hear Brian had some longer term adjustment. I had my two week follow up appointment this week and am fully recovered, but am in tune there is a little more subtle healing to take place. I have a high cancer risk due to family history, so a non-hormonal route is nice, and I could never find a pill that worked for me after having the kid anyway. PLUS, I admit I have this stupid thing I didn’t want the spunk out of my hubbbies junk. I still have my flow and eggs and all, just no subway tunnel for baby making love! Oh, and, new research has found many ovarian cancers are actually Fallopian tube cancers. Anywho! Bilateral salpingectomy, folks! I’m turning 40 in a few months, and this is a great new freedom! Thanks for diving deep into things as always, I felt inspired to share EVEN IF Y’ALL WEREN’T ASKING!!!

  161. My husband had a vasectomy after our second turned two. I realized the toll having two babies had taken on our marriage and I knew the best thing for our marriage, and in turn our kiddos, and was to embrace what we have, which is wonderful.

  162. My husband had a vasectomy last year after our third baby (arriving, intentionally, 7 years after our 2nd) and it was a relief to have things settled so I do understand very well a lot of what you have talked about in your post. HOWEVER, I don’t understand your insistence that your options were either no more kids or 3 kids under 5?!? There are lots of kinds of birth control, you know, that work. I had an iud for 5 years because we also couldn’t handle a house full of toddlers but wanted to have sex without worrying about pregnancy every month. I knew from friends that feelings about optimal family size can change over time and it happened to us when I turned 40 and my big kids were becoming self sufficient. I think it’s important to realize (even if this was the best choice for your family) that kids are not babies for very long and life (and your perspective) is very different afterwards. I am an impulsive person but I am glad that I was a bit more patient in regards to family planning decisions because our little caboose who arrived when I was 41 is such a joy and I enjoy being a mom much differently than I did before.

  163. After reading this the most offensive part was reading how “bummed” your husband was to miss his baseball game. When I was pregnant I had to stop playing hockey for the entire season… (Insert eye roll) Thanks for sharing this very personal article!

  164. I’m on the “3 would be mentally unhealthy for me” train too. We have 2 beautiful insane maniac girls and every year their birthday is a celebration of keeping them alive for another 364 days. We did the “snip” too, no regrets. Loved reading this, so many of the feelings we had too <3

  165. I 100% relate to this. Except, that I didn’t close the door. I’m 15 weeks along with my very big surprise 3rd at 40 years old. I adore my children (ages 4 & 6) and I know I will feel the same for this one, however I worry about starting over again. Having someone 100% dependent on me, while I’m already tired and struggling with adrenal issues. I’m definitely worried. Yes, this is a blessing, as all children are, but it’s going to take some mental preparation in the meantime so I don’t completely lose myself in the process.

  166. I am a huge fan of your work…. you are soooo talented !And I was a fan your blog but, sadly of late I am less and less interested….. and this post is yet another reason. Why on earth would you choose to write about this??? Why share such personal information? If you wanted to answer “the #1 question” then a simple yes or no would have worked. No justifications, explanations, no details, etc.
    I don’t know…but as a designer blog I think sticking to design is good!!!

  167. My girlfriend hosted a psychic once who told me that I’d end up with a different husband!! One that was tall and wore glasses. Well, 21 years later, my husband is still the same. Not so tall, but he definitely wears glasses!!

    Psychic didn’t say anything about more kids…I had 1 at the time of the reading. Still have one, after my placenta abrupted at 26 weeks and my son was born super premature. But he is (amazingly) normal and we thank God every day. That was it for me.

    1. I didnt read every comment, but over half, and while many were dealing with baby/ not baby issue, not one appeared to reckon with the failing planet and masses of people dealing with limited resources, like water and food. This seems so short sighted to me. please think about the planet your babies will deal with. When I was a chile there were few homeless,l now many are priced out of housing here in seattle, in S.F . I can only see more and more competition for resources in future.

  168. Same boat here! I have 3 boys (all 4 years apart that I adore) and I just turned 40. I was done. I’d adore a baby if it “just happend” but I’m a lousy pregnant lady (barf for 9 months) and I’d do w diapers for 12 years by the time my youngest was 4. I was over it. I feel the same way that if we decide to do it again, we will foster or adopt a child that needs a happy/loving home. I feel completely content and closed the door to avoid a mistake. Husband got snipped 4 months ago and tested 3 months ago. I love it. I still am terrified of an “oopsie” situation but I do believe that If you’ve done everything possible to prevent it and it happens anyway….it was just meant to be. So far, nothing but happy here. Good for you for knowing your limits. I’m an EXTREMELY involved mom and it takes soooo much work. I’ve got a 14 year old and I’d dare say that he needs me as much as a baby ever did. He wants to be “free” but it takes hours of talking, building trust s d a strong leadership to keep them on track. Lots of parents keep having kids and the older ones don’t get the guidance they need. My 10 year old still wants my attention and praise and my youngest is my shadow. I truly believe that investing in them is every bit as wise a choice as bringing babies into the world. I’m a mormon mom and totally believe in planning the family and doing what’s best for the family/couple. I have a friend with 7 kids and she’s the best mom ever! So dedicated, stays home, truly find joy in the kids. I have others that have 5 and phone it in and make the older kids raise the little ones. That makes me sad. They should have stopped when they were “done mentally”. Me, I stay home with my 3 but busy my A all day. I do everything for the kids beteeen 7am and 6pm and then it’s my time. Everyone must give mommy freedom in the evenings (except for snuggle times). Dad is super hands on so it works! I love the closeness of the family and the stage we are in too. You were smart to stop when it was right. I know too many moms on xzanex!!!! 4 would have been a tipping point for me physically and mentally. I could love 1000 children, I just can’t raise them like they deserve to be raised.

  169. I had a 3 1/2 yo and then, trying for another, had twins. I wouldn’t give any of them back (most days), but I’m not going to lie, it’s sooo hard having 3, a career, a husband, a dog and a cat, and everything else that comes our way. You and your husband worked it through the best way- together. Best wishes for your lovely family AND your career!

  170. You guys are adorable. Husband had a vasectomy 8 years ago (after our 3rd child was kind of a nightmare baby tbh) and we were super done.

    Cut to the chase: youngest child is 9 and oldest is 13 and we are currently going through ivf because you can fish for sperm without actually getting a reversal (it’s called a PESA)! Hahahaha never dreamed in a million years we would have another but here we are. Life is fun, huh?

  171. Omg! My husband and I have kids about the same age. Your comments on adding a third resonate… a bottle of wine indeed! Thanks for the wonderful post. We needed it.

  172. I have two delicious boys and went for a third dreaming of a girl… well it’s going to be another boy. I feel it’s easier to make the decision when you have both sexes.

  173. so much respect for you and your approach with this post and circumstance 🙂 also, love hearing Brian’s perspective and writing voice.

  174. Oh my gosh! I was laughing so hard I was crying! Thanks for sharing.

    PS 100% agree with the year 3 being harder then 2!!

  175. I have 2. We both thought we were done. Then I was also told by a psychic 2 times that the soul of an unborn child was trying to get my attention. I talked to my husband and we both got excited. Our other 2 were 5 and 7. I removed my iud and started taking prenatal vitamins. We decided that we wanted to wait until our youngest stared kindergarten and feel that new phase of life out a little before we really went for it. Now we have totally flip flopped and feel done. I’m trying to embrace this new phase, more time for my work and time to do homework with the kids and go in family adventures. I had to take time to grieve the decision to close the door. It still makes me sad at times. But it feels right.

  176. I have sons age 31 and 28 and was very happy to stop at 2…and never regretted the decision (husband had a vasectomy). Recently, I was asked why I hadn’t tried for a girl? I never thought I’d still be getting that question at age 62! See, it never ends!! lol

  177. All the talk of IUDs has gotten me really considering them. The benefits sound fabulous.

    Now, while I admit I take Tylenol for (occasional) headaches or even when I’m really uncomfortable from a cold, I generally try to avoid medication. (Along the lines of – naturopathic health, the body is a complex machine – let it do its thing.) So – Does anyone have any feedback (other than the stories about the IUD coming out of place and damaging the uterus – so painful sounding!) about the negative effects of having [the medication of] an IUD? Is anyone worried that in 30 years when more studies come in, we’ll see that the small doses of medication actually caused X, Y, Z?

    I’m no stranger to heavy feminine medications – Two IVFs (with an additional frozen transfer cycle each), including OHSS with a week-long hospital stay. So my reproductive system is probably more jacked up than most people already. But I just wonder if adding an IUD will add more little doses of fuel to the fire. ALSO, however, the fact that my husband and I are not a fertile combination makes me not really need an IUD for the birth control aspect… so I could stay “medicine-free” in this regard.

    1. If you don’t have to get an IUD – don’t. I had Minerva for three years. Other than the pain of insertion, I had no issues. It totally worked and was awesome. I loved how my periods stopped. However, when it was removed the hormonal imbalance made me crazy. I felt suicidial. You can google this side effect. It is serious and real. It took 35 days for my period to return (which is apparently quick) and for my mood to stabilize but I would never do it again.

  178. Thank you so much for articulating the beautiful way your partner can sometimes see the first through the trees for you! My husband was the one to shut down the third (in a super loving manner) but I’ve always had a little nagging thought like “was I just LESS THAN because I couldn’t handle it?” But the way you described your personality … it helped me see how I might share a bit of that- I spring and spring until I fall and then get back up and spring some more. Since shutting down the baby trail, for the past 10 years, I’ve been able to (somewhat) balance a growing impactful career, a growing and healthy loving marriage, and two of the most incredible kids I am able to boldly parent with inspiration and curiosity and so much love to go around. It’s held together still by bubble gum and shoe strings, but now they are teenagers, and we have so much fun together and I’m able to crush it at work, and we can afford cool experiences, and my husband knows he’s my world. So, it actually worked out the best for us. And for me.

    Oh- and. We did get a puppy last year. A beagle. Small enough to carry around. And all 4 of us treat her like a baby. So. Ya know. That helps too. 😉

  179. Great post! I have three boys ages 10, 7 and 5. I also have a demanding full time career and we’ve been living through a down to the studs renovation and addition for the last year. It is crazy and hard and I pretty much constantly feeling like I’m losing it and failing at everything… BUT my third son is 100% worth all the sacrifice and challenge. It isn’t easy but I cannot imagine life without him. He was an easy baby and is a charming, thoughtful, caring, funny, and smart little boy. He brings immense joy to our lives every single day. However, I know we can’t handle a fourth and I’m 42 so we are DONE. There is nothing harder and nothing more rewarding and meaningful to me in life than motherhood.

  180. I needed to re-read this. For what I do, a studio where I sometimes teach, the owner is pregnant with the third. I came home feeling like, “What am I doing wrong?” I cannot possibly conceive of doing what she does in a day. I don’t have as big of a business, but maybe I’ve got it all wrong. I am thankful for your transparency. I just came back to this blog post remembering, oh yeah Emily and Brian made the same choices…

  181. First, to those people who desperately want a child, please know I am truly sorry you are hurting and still wanting. I say this upfront because I hope to avoid generating any feelings of anger with what I’m about to post.

    I am writing this comment it for the group of people who, like Emily, have been contemplating adding a third child to their families. I spent years going back and forth with my husband about if we should have a third child. I talked to everyone I knew who had three or more children. I read books and articles. And everywhere I heard “Yes, it’s hard, but I love my third so much!”

    Emily, thanks for your honestly. I wish I had read this BEFORE I had our third. I wish I had understood that the desire to have more children often stems from hormones and not a desire to have a larger, more chaotic and boisterous family. Do I love my third kiddo? Absolutely. Do I wish I could go back in time and close the door sooner? Absolutely.

    Everything I worried a third would do, having a third child absolutely did — put strain on my marriage, put strain on our finances, put strain on our other two kids and our time spent with them, and negatively impacted our health (through additional stress and less time to exercise because more work and chores and kid care), not to mention our careers.

    (This is not to say there aren’t people who would know the strain and do it anyway. We just weren’t those people.)

    I am putting this out there because no one with three admitted they had similar feelings until AFTER I had my third (who is five, by the way, lest you think I’m still in the newborn phase) and I — hesitatingly — shared my own regrets.

    I do love our third child — so, so, SO very much. But I also wish I had gotten some honest words about the negative impact a third could have on a happy family. I hope to be those honest words for someone else.

  182. How many kids you want/have is a well worn conversation in our family of 3 (hubby, daughter, me). We’ve done the vasectomy, and the reversal, and the hard conversations with our now 12yo daughter about siblings. We don’t feel called to adopt or foster, which I feel is the “right” thing to say—but it’s not the honest thing. Ultimately, I’m not sure any of us are 100% sure about any decisions we make about kids—it’s a tricky subject no matter how we approach it.

    But what I appreciated from your post, and really related to, is acknowledging that you felt like you couldn’t be your best self—for Brian, kids, work, you—with more kids. It’s such an empowered, thoughtful, and to me, healthy way to look at it. Not all of us ladies feel maternally gifted, and some do. And I appreciate that there can be space for both. I love to see the respect for other women, and families rather than shame for not being enough. God knows we’re already shamed for being “not enough” in like 563 other ways. So, to all mamas out there, whatever your family looks like, just keep loving. What’s most important is the love in the family, and that can be big no matter the number of kids.

Go To Top