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February 20, 2009

Three is enough

Mail.google.com “Don’t do it,” Marta warned.  “You think you want it now, but you don’t know how you’ll feel later.”  We were sitting outside the preschool where my almost-four-year-old was busy learning all sorts of important things from his classmates like the coolest way to arrange the Velcro on his shoes and ten different ways to pretend a paintbrush is a weapon.  Marta and I were among a group of other parents of two-year-olds hovering outside the preschool because this was the beginning of “separation class” for our younger children, and we were supposed to stick close in case the children had a rough time being apart from us.  Thus far, of course, the only people upset about the separation were the mothers.

One of the other mothers piped up: “I know a lot of women who did it and then regretted it later.”

A third mother leaned in to give her opinion, but it was hard for her to get too close due to the enormous bump coming out of my abdomen.  “It’s the pregnancy talking,” she agreed.

But, it wasn’t the pregnancy talking, and I knew that.  In two months, this baby would come out through roughly the same incision that her brothers had used as an exit door, and before the doctor stitched me back up, she was going to reach in there and pull the plugs. 

It wasn’t that I didn’t want more babies.  I love babies; well, at least I love my babies.  Nonetheless, I knew with absolute certainty that I was finished having children.  Of course, I had known that two years previously, but then we discovered the folly of using a previous history of infertility as birth control and wound up with this third, bonus baby.  All the more reason to make sure that we tied up loose ends, so to speak.  And so, the day I went into labor, I was only too eager to shove those papers reading “Permanent Sterilization” into the nurse’s hands.

Now, the baby is five months old, and it breaks my heart I will never have another.  I want to foster someday, but I think that will be a pretty tough sell with the Mister.  So, this is probably it.  There is a big ol’ CLOSED FOR BUSINESS sign hanging outside my womb.

And, despite the fact that I have love in my heart for at least another three, I do not regret my tubal ligation because I made the choice for environmental reasons.  I have made a commitment to live as sustainably as possible, and the fact is that adding another person to the burden already on the planet is just not consistent with my personal ethics. 

In the years to come, when I hold someone else’s baby and inhale deeply, that little procedure will keep me honest.  

This is Emily's first contribution to LA Moms Blog.  She also blogs around the corner at Wheels on the Bus.


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