When You’re Content NOT Being Pregnant
The other day, I sat at my neighbor's kitchen table, sipping coffee with her while she told me all about her most recent doctor's appointment, where she and her husband had found out the sex of her baby. And I was so happy for her. But also? I was so happy to be–for once–the one who was not pregnant.
In the past 5 1/2 years of my life, I have only spent a combined six months not pregnant or breastfeeding.
In the past 5 1/2 years of my life, I have only spent a combined six months not pregnant or breastfeeding. In fact, since my son quit nursing cold-turkey three months ago, I have been going on the single longest stretch of my married life where I have actually had my body all to myself.
It's an odd feeling because, as my husband describes it, it has felt like just when we were starting to hit our stride, parenting-wise. But just when we would feel like we could breathe again, out of the new baby stage, another baby would come along.
Now, don't get me wrong—I love our kids and the crazy, wild ride that they've taken me on. I wouldn't change a thing, and I am so happy that our kids are all so close in age. (They are almost two years apart exactly.)
But right now, I have to tell you there is a certain relief in being able to hold a newborn baby and not wishing for one myself.
There is a certain relief in being able to hold a newborn baby and not wishing for one myself.
I often hear people talking about “being done” with having kids or feeling like their family is complete, and I wonder how they can be so sure. Is there a magic cut-off? How can someone know the right number of kids to have? What if there is a baby out there that is just meant to be welcomed into our family?
It's an incredibly hard decision, and unfortunately there is no right or wrong answer. Every family is different, and every parent is different. Some long for a full, overflowing family; others think that a two-child family is quite full.
As for me, it's hard to describe the peaceful feeling that has settled over me as I sit, content with our three young children, but also not shutting the door completely on growing our family in the future.
All I know is that I have felt a deep-down longing for each of our children—an emptiness in my womb. My arms ached to be filled with the sweet scent of a newborn, the excitement of the miracle of life that would overpower any sleepless night. It was as if my soul knew my children before they were even conceived.
Right now, I simply feel content.
I feel content to take a breath and enjoy my children and cherish these precious moments as they grow and change, seemingly every day. I can enjoy watching other mothers start their own families and delight in growing bellies and new babies without feeling the need to grow ours too. In many ways, I have become the mother I always thought I would be.
And that's a good feeling to have.
So for right now, I think I will just stay where I am, breathing in the babies who aren't really babies anymore, content to spend some time at this place in my life, soaking it all in and memorizing those cute moments that make up everyday.
Oh, and can you do me a favor? If you find out I'm pregnant in a few months …
Please don't tell me, “I told you so.”