I’m Finally Done Having Babies and It Is Such a Relief
I know, I know, moms are supposed to turn into blubbery mushballs when their families are complete and they are done having babies, right? We are supposed to cry and lament the days of cuddles and innocence and sweet baby smells. And I'm having those feelings, I swear, and I will forever be shocked at watching my kids grow because it truly, truly feels like yesterday that they were born, but there is also something else I feel like we need to talk about:
I am so, so relieved to be done having babies.
Is that terrible to admit?
Maybe it is, but it's my truth and I'm coming clean. Think of me what you will, but I'm probably not going to apologize for the way I feel. First of all, I truly love babies and have loved having babies, so you don't have to think anything strange is going on there.
But my journey here hasn't exactly been easy. First, I had four babies in six years while working night shifts as a nurse, and then later, as a writer from home, which (while not the hardest sounding thing on paper) in reality, made it incredibly difficult to even complete a thought, let alone write out a sentence for a client. Managing the needs of four kids, with a breastfeeding baby, and constant school runs was just exhausting. Secondly, pregnancy is just not easy for me.
I'm not one of those glowing, happy, pregnant women. I'm huge and sweaty and uncomfortable in ways I can't even begin to explain because even just existing in my own body hurts. I hate being pregnant, which is ironic coming from someone who has now been pregnant a total of 7 times.
And, the miscarriages. They're hard to talk about, hard to go through, and hard to learn to live with in your new reality. But they do affect your feelings later on with any future pregnancies and I have to tell you, I was not prepared for how difficult pregnancy after miscarriage could be. You feel like you should be grateful, you feel like you should be happy, but instead, all you feel is a gripping, paralyzing fear and then the guilt that your fear is going to kill this baby too, and that fear only gets worse. It's incredibly difficult and the experience can be very isolating.
Which leads to me where I am today: pregnant for the 7th time, with what will be the 5th baby to our family. It's been a rough ride to get here. Truth be told, I wasn't even sure I wanted another baby. I felt like I was betraying the babies we lost. I worried if our losses were a “sign” we should just be happy with what we had. And overwhelmingly, I have struggled with feeling like we are pressing our luck by trying for another baby. Shouldn't we just be grateful and enjoy the kids we have?
All of my difficult emotions were compounded by the worst first-trimester experience I have ever had. Truly, that time was a very dark one in my life. For basically 11 weeks straight, I didn't get out of bed. I puked constantly, yet ate every 5 seconds. My kids thought I was on my deathbed, my husband thought I was heading to the loony bin, and I thought for sure this baby was a mistake.
When the fog (and the puke) finally started to clear, two things were immediately apparent to me: 1) I would never, ever be putting myself through this again and 2) every day that I made it through this pregnancy is a gift.
I'm approaching the halfway point now and it feels like I'm finally getting to a place of more excitement about the baby (miscarriage also steals that freedom of being excited from you) and gratitude for making it this far, no matter what happens in the future. But I am also 100% certain that this will be our last baby and that feeling and knowledge feels like a great gift too. So much of my life has been consumed with wondering if we should have more or “try again” or what our family would have looked like with the babies we lost and now, it finally feels like I can have closure. I'm excited to be closer to the “being done” stage and putting that energy towards enjoying our family–however it ends up looking.
How did you feel when your family was complete?