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Mourning the End of Childbearing

Mourning the End of Childbearing NMB

I was never sure if I wanted to have children. Even after I got married, I wasn’t sure if kids were for me. I just didn’t know if it was what I wanted. Then, one day—something changed. I turned to my husband and said, “Lets have a baby.” He answered, “Ok.” With that tiny conversation, our whole world was redirected.

We tried for almost a year before I got pregnant with our first child. Sure, I was excited, but I had no idea I was going to fall so in love with being a mother to someone—the very idea that we could make a human. Let’s pause on that for a moment. We made a human. Actually, we made three. All those children later, it still amazes me. It’s incredible to see parts of each of us in our little ones. Even with fingerprints on my television, food remnants on my clothes, and our youngest trying to eat a houseplant (as I type this), I’m amazed.

It has not always been easy. We have been through the pain and loss of miscarriage. We know what it’s like to have a child with health problems; and yet, they are the single greatest joy and the best gift I’ve ever received. I’m in love with being a mom, and the thought of being “done” puts an ache in my heart like no other. I can’t explain it. I hear my friends say all the time that they are done—absolutely and with no questions—DONE. I wish I felt that definitive about it. I don’t have that feeling. If anything, I don’t feel done.

Yet, I know we are. 

We are done for a variety of reasons. We have three beautiful children. THREE. Thats a lot of kids. We are done because one more would mean we would have to rethink a lot of things—like what kind of car we drive, my working vs the cost of childcare, finding a house to accommodate our family, oh—and finding someone else to pay for all of the things they need—because we certainly can’t! We are done because I’m 35 and my husband is 38. I don’t know if my body could go through another pregnancy—despite the fact that my heart aches to think that I won’t experience it again.

I won’t experience the joy of hearing a little heartbeat or seeing a little peanut move around on the ultrasound. I won’t experience the first kick or seeing a full term baby roll around in my belly. And, as crazy as it sounds, I won’t experience another delivery or hold my newborn baby for the first time ever again.

Those are moments in my life that I consider to be the greatest. I thought I was going to get all of the great moments from myself—from my career and from my successes. I had no idea that while those things would still be important to me, they would not be what I consider my greatest accomplishments. They are not what keep me going. They are not what give me my greatest joy. And I had no clue it would cause such great disappointment to know that those moments are done.

I know I have so many other moments waiting for me. These three extraordinary humans are going to go on to do great things and to make me more proud than I could ever imagine. I am so excited for those moments, yet the great ache in my heart still exists when I think about time spent quietly nursing one of these little babies, feeling as though  we are the only two souls that exist in the world in that moment. Knowing that nothing could be more perfect. The ache persists when I think of having no more sleeping baby smiles and no more breathing in of that sweet baby smell.

I mourn the end of these days. But I look forward—with an even greater appreciation—knowing that one day I will be looking back and mourning another chapter of my life in the same bittersweet way.

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2 Responses to Mourning the End of Childbearing

  1. Avatar
    Rebekah January 14, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    So heartfelt, I really really enjoy this. Love you lots, there couldn’t be a better mama of three than you!

  2. Avatar
    Laura October 27, 2020 at 10:03 pm #

    Love this. I can relate so much to the grief of being DONE. I also feel the grief of life going too fast. I can never go back and live those beautiful moments of birth and nursing my precious babies again.

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