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The Void When You’re Done Having Children

Are you done having children? Here's what no one tells you about making that decision. I call it The Void.

On October 9, 2013, Luke had a vasectomy. Since we never planned on having kids in the first place, and now we had two which were born 355 days apart, it seemed appropriate to take measures against the possibility of us having any more. It was the right thing, and the best thing, to do for us, our family, and my uterus.

What I hadn’t planned for was “the void.”

Let me tell you about the void. The void is formed once something is done to remove the option of you ever having children again. Once tubes are tied or organs are removed or whatever precaution is taken, the void emerges.

The void, though, is not an empty, desolate place. Many thoughts and feelings call this void home.

In this space is where my desire to have more children resides. Wait, you think, I thought you didn’t want more children? I didn’t. I don’t. But it’s very strange when you realize that your body, which has housed and pushed out two pretty awesome kids, will never do that again. These woman parts of mine that were designed to make cute, squishy babies, now just hang out in my body without the option to ever be used in their proper fashion ever again.

It’s true I don’t want more children. I can say that now. Following the months after Luke’s procedure, I wasn’t so sure. After the surgery, we were advised to use a back up method of birth control until Luke was deemed sterile. A few weeks after he healed, I talked to Luke about ceasing our use of condoms before it was confirmed he was shooting blanks because maybe we should leave these decisions in God’s hands instead of taking them into our own. He agreed.

I then read story after story of “surprises” from vasectomies that didn’t work. I began documenting my ovulation time in hopes that maybe, just maybe, a little sperm would manage to break through and bring us another baby.

A girl. I decided the child would be a girl and we would name her Trinity Grace.

But Trinity Grace never came to be, and it took me about six months to come to terms with that fact.

It’s good, though. I don’t regret our decision. I love our little family and believe it is perfect just the way it is.

But still… there’s a longing now that the void has brought. I will never feel my muscles tighten with contractions as my body preps itself for labor. I will never again hold a newborn that is my own. I will never again watch with joy and awe as a baby learns to roll over or crawl or eat for the first time.

These events, this sadness, take refuge in the void.

The void is now a part of me and I don’t believe it will ever diminish. As friends have babies and I hold them in the early days of their life, I will feel the void inside of me enlarge for a short time. As my children grow up and become more independent little people, I will silently long for the days where I was needed 100% of the time. Oh sure, it’s not always fun in the moment, but as I met my children’s needs, I was also meeting my own need to be needed. (Say that three time fast.)

In a few months a good friend of mine will give birth to her third and I look forward to hearing her stories of coping with such a dramatic change. I will even find joy and peace in my own decision to not bring a third child into the world as most days I don’t feel I can handle the two that I already have.

The void, though, will fill me with just a touch of jealousy. Just a sprinkling of remorse that I will never know her journey. After cleaning her home or making her dinner, I will go to my own house, and she will stay cuddling with her newborn baby; an opportunity I will never have again.

As I’ve said, I am very pleased with the two children I have. They are smart and funny and challenging in the best ways possible. And I’m coming to grips with the void. It is an integral part of my story. It reminds me of where I’ve been. It reminds me what I’ve done. And it reminds me of how silly and foolish I was to have thought I never wanted kids in the first place.

Are you done having children? Here's what no one tells you about making that decision. I call it The Void.

16 thoughts on “The Void When You’re Done Having Children

  1. bellevuetoddlers

    Beautiful. I sensed the void would be there, so my husband and I have never done anything permanent to prevent babies. Even now after baby #3 at age 44, we still haven’t. Even though we are definitely done.

  2. Mar

    Lovely post, so true, the void is always there and brace yourself for the final void phase in the 50’s, when you know deep down your ovarys are bye-bye. I had my second and last at 41, and all throughout my forties and now at 52, all I thought about was having more babies. Big sigh. But as you so wonderfully put it; such grace and thankfulness for our precious gifts!

  3. cherishingthemoment

    This brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for your raw and beautiful honesty. My husband and I have tossed around the idea of a vasectomy. I know he is very “done” and had 6 kids for me. I’m scared of the thought of having another child, because it would be very hard on our relationship, but I had to say no to a vasectomy. I’m even more afraid of the “void.” Hugs, Toni!

  4. tonihammer

    It’s not an easy decision to make. I dare say that Luke and I were a bit flippant about it, but we still have no regrets thankfully.

  5. tonihammer

    Thanks for sharing those thoughts, Mar! What a blessing to have had another baby at 41! My mom was 42 when she had my sister and I (twins!) and the amount of wisdom that came from her age and experience before having us I think really shaped who I am.

  6. tonihammer

    You and I both know that God will give you exactly what you need. I don’t think doing anything permanent is necessary. Plus you guys would have to upgrade to a 9-passenger van! 😉

  7. Erica

    Very well said. Ben was determined to get his vasectomy. Heck his consultation was eight hours after Matthew was born. And the procedure on his four week birthday. I always get that twinge of hope that all the results were wrong (we had to do it three times). Then the jealousy of seeing pregnant bellies and smelling that new baby smell. But then I realize that I adore my sleep (finally started sleeping through the night…yipee!!!), I like that they can tell me what they want instead of interpreting their screams.

    When I get those twinges I just think about the new adventures we are going to go on with our family. And enjoy the moments that I have with them at their individual stages of life.

  8. tonihammer

    YES to everything you said, Erica. I am so excited to have most of my night’s back and am so thankful at least one of my kids can articulate what she wants. And there’s so much to look forward to now that I won’t ever be pregnant again.

  9. tonihammer

    Thanks, Ariel! And thanks for sharing it on Twitter as well. I’m so glad it resonated with you.

  10. waky54

    we knew four was all we wanted…I did the tubal in the hospital after the birth of our fourth kiddo…there were days when i would question that decision and Ty would say,” well its not beyond God’s scope of power to give us more”…we have the perfect family God intended, four kids, all married so that gives us 4 more and 6 grandkids so far…God always knows what HE is doing,,,

  11. cassey

    I hadn’t considered that feeling. We’re looking at taking permanent steps to keep our family little with our only. Thanks for adding more the the consider and think it through properly pile :).

  12. tonihammer

    Happy to help. 😉 It’s a very strange feeling indeed.

    On Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 1:44 PM, toni hammer wrote:

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  13. priya

    Wow… that was straight from the heart..”my need to be needed”.… so true..
    Whenever someone says smell of a newborn… I am like what’s that??!! I totally missed smelling mine when she was born..sad eh??!….

  14. Melissa

    Perfectly written. I was just having this convo with the other half. We have 3 beautiful girls 10, 5 and 3. I always wanted 4, but was afraid of having 5. We lost twins between the oldest and middle and the youngest had a vanishing twin. I had my tubes tied the day after I had my third, it was the right thing to do. I think my void is not only that there will be no more, but for the ones I lost as well. My hubs on the other hand doesn’t see it that way and I think he was just afraid we’d have more girls. LOL

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