We are done having babies.
At least I think we are.
It’s something I find myself questioning as our second and final baby is rapidly growing up before my very eyes, reaching new milestones before I even realize she’s mastered the last. It all happens so quickly, causing me to dwell on the thought that there will soon be no more babies in our home. No more babies. That is so hard to wrap my head around. Which is funny because my husband and I have spent the last nine years of our marriage being absolutely certain we want only two children.
My reasoning and logic are absolutely positive we are done. We have two healthy, beautiful girls who are abundantly happy and make our family complete. It’s what my husband and I have always envisioned, and that part hasn’t changed. We like the thought of easy, even and close – our tight knit family unit of four.
My heart, however, doesn’t feel the same. It often overshadows the notion that our family capacity has been met and easily forgets the miseries of pregnancy, the sleepless weeks, the enormous learning curve and seemingly impossible logistics of adding a new member of the family. My heart tugs and pulls and plays tricks on me. A lot.
Because I love everything about having baby. The fanfare and excitement of first
announcing “I’m pregnant!” and then 9 months later, the rush of finding out the sex and letting your friends and family know “she’s here!”. The intimacy with your spouse during labor and delivery. The first days turned weeks of life with a new baby in the house. The permission you give yourself to not shower or clean or do anything but snuggle the warm little wonder you just brought home. The way time stands still. The way your baby nuzzles into the crook of your neck, letting you know you are needed. The late nights spent getting to know this little person you just met and dreaming big dreams.
The thought of never bringing home a baby again has created a sadness I’ve never known. To never have a round belly full of new life, a dewy newborn placed on my chest, a much-anticipated meeting day, or a middle of the night feeding creates a pit deep in my stomach.
Some have always dreamed of a big family, some prefer to throw caution to the wind, and some are happy with one and done. We have always known our limit is two. After many thought provoking discussions, it mostly comes down to quality over quantity for our situation. Everyone has their limits on time, energy and financial resources. For us, those things are maxed out at two. We like having plenty of “white space” in life, and even with two, there is a struggle to find a balance. But we still feel we’re able to give what we have without stretching ourselves too far beyond our margin.
I will never forget when I was pregnant with our second, I was so nervous about having “enough” for two children. How will I love another baby like I love my first? Where will I find the time for both of them? A friend who had just had her baby #2 wisely told me that my time and energy will most definitely be divided, but my love would multiply. And she was right. My heart expanded and my love really did multiply.
But my time did not.
Even still, with every new pregnancy announcement and every call to come up to the hospital to meet a new little bundle, my heart (and ovaries) yearn for that feeling again. To go through it all again – the morning sickness the labor the postpartum blues. I would most certainly do it all again! But I have to wonder, do I really want another baby? A baby who grows into a toddler, a child, a person?
I really don’t think so.
Because whether by choice or circumstance, there is always going to be a last baby. It doesn’t matter if it’s after your first or your fifth, it still stings the same. And if I’m completely honest, the pregnancy, birth and homecoming of our second is much more a blur than our first. Because the second time around, we had a toddler in the mix as well. Whereas the first will forever be acutely poignant in my mind. The pace of life with two sometimes scares me, it moves so rapidly. And I suppose the more children we have, the more blurry it will become.
So perhaps all these feelings of baby fever are really just nostalgia? Putting away outgrown clothes and prepping our toddler for preschool are things that physically take my breath away. Because it not only means no more babies, but that my own babies are growing up. And grasping that concept feels a whole lot like mourning. And to cope, my heart decieives me into thinking I want more, but really, it’s just the desire to do it all over again. With the babies I already have.
So it becomes clear to me. We are most definitely done having babies.