My dear friend’s husband got a vasectomy today. She had been asking for it for 6 years. Six years she thought it was the right decision for their family. As he finally agreed, set up the appointment, and started to fill out the paperwork, she hesitated. Doubt, fear, confusion, and sadness set in. Why was she sad? Did she really want more children? After the procedure, she wept – really wept, like ugly cry – in the car. Her reality is what led her to the decision in the first place – finances, needs of other children, age, the capacity of the home, health concerns. But now the reality of her future was certain. There would be no more biological children to be carried in her body, birthed through her, fed by her, held late at night. No tiny hands to hold as they learn to walk, no faint “ma-ma” sounds from a baby’s mouth, no first day of Kindergartens. That reality was slapping her in the face. I can relate. My husband had the same surgery when I was pregnant with our 5th child. I know that seems strange and we had so many people encourage us to wait until he was born and healthy. But, my reality is such that I knew I could not under any circumstances be pregnant again no matter what happened with Luke. My reality is that it is a desperate fight to make it through the hormone roller coaster of pregnancy and postpartum without dipping into darkness. My reality is that my 5 children have tons of needs that I am at capacity to meet. My reality is that my family as I know it is complete. But as I listened to my friend’s heartache for the absence of children in the future, I too grieved. The relief of moving on to a new and different stage with my children is exciting – freeing even – but there is a deep sadness that is pierced when the finality of children is decided. This huge part of us as women to create, grow, birth, sustain, teach, and love our children is partitioned off and redirected to children transitioning to adults. We must wrap up that disheveled, sleep-deprived, terribly beautiful stage of building our family and move towards shepherding and loving those already here with us.