A friend on an online forum posed this question about feeling your family was complete. Someone replied "I do wonder about people who get caught in the baby cycle without stopping and taking a step back from their comfort zone".
I've been thinking a lot about this lately. More isn't an option for us anyway, we would need fertility treatment and with H's needs I couldn't cope with more. AND another would most definitely have even more severe Reflux, probably ADHD and Asperger's so it's a no brainer deciding that we are done!!
That, however is different from "knowing" you're done. I do really miss the tiny baby thing, wish like hell that I could do the early months again with any of them without reflux, I feel really cheated on that score. The constant screaming was a bit wearing when everyone else seemed to get at least 10 minutes a day cuddling their new babies! (jealous, moi?!)
As I have now parted with the buggy, and I packed the slings away at the end of last year I have really felt the pain. (How many of us wish we had discovered things like slings years before so we had really had plenty of chance to put our new knowledge to good use?!) I feel really sad that I'm "moving on" but there is some excitement too. I'm tired, (5am starts for nearly 12 years has definitely taken their toll lol!!)I'm feeling "old" and quite enthusiastic to spread my wings outside of the home. The older ones are exciting too, I LOVE watching J's cricket success, sharing in his triumphs, watching H's slow steps towards greater independence and spending time helping fuel the twins' incredible excitement as they learn about their world.
What I'm trying to say I think is that I do *know*. I'm ready to move on, share the next stage with my family looking forward not back. Being part of online forums definitely makes it harder at times (seeing the scrummy newborns! ) because I think in real life when you are ready you move on, and rarely see newborns as your children's friends grow up too. However, these online communities are a lifesaver for many for whom wider socialisation is impossible or contact with others dealing with similar issues is facilitated across geographical, social and economic barriers.
I'm ready to leap out of the comfort zone and join the next stage - without prams, cots, nappies, dummies and total dependence. Don't underestimate how VERY scary that is when it's what I aimed for my whole life, obsessed about for 24 years before #1 arrived without a single though for what lay beyond.
But you know what? It's quite exciting too :D
So yes, I think you do *know*!