By Morgan Starr from Rookie Mommy Raising Boys
“I’m never doing this again. Not a chance,” I mumbled to myself as I shuffled out of the bathroom post-morning sickness at about seven weeks pregnant.
I still had a long road ahead until the light at the end of the tunnel, and I repeated that phrase more times than I can count.
When I had to have blood drawn more times than I care to recall, and almost fainted each time: “I’m never doing this again.”
When I came home from work, absolutely exhausted, and my kids wanted to climb on my back and run and scream and play, but all I wanted to do was take a nap: “I’m never doing this again.”
And lastly, when I was big and uncomfortable and couldn’t sleep in the third trimester: “I’m never doing this again.”
I even considered writing about it; titling an article “Why We’re Done Having Kids” or something like that, to remind myself later on of how difficult four back-to-back pregnancies had been. My body has not been “to myself” for a long time: it’s been four straight years of pregnancy, nursing, pregnancy, nursing..so on and so forth. It’s been rough on my body, that’s for sure.
But when the baby—our “last” baby—arrived, the tides began to change.
As I sat in my room at the hospital preparing to go back for my c-section, I was really struck by the fact that we weren’t ever going to be doing this again. I was excited and nervous, and a little bit sad that this was the last time.
Then when he was born and my heart swelled with happiness and I said, “He’s so beautiful. I’m just so happy,” I was reminded again that this was the last time. The last baby.
As I was wheeled out of the hospital, ready to head home with our third child, just as we had with my older two boys, my heart sunk because I knew that this was the last time we’d do this routine that had become so familiar.
It’s a strange feeling to know that you’re “done.” That you aren’t going to have any more kids. That this is the last child you plan to bring into the world. That your family is complete. It’s a mix of apprehension at the decision, of relief, maybe, and of a bit of uncertainty about the future. It’s something I’m not used to yet.
So when he wakes up at 3 A.M. hungry, my last baby, I embrace every second. Yes, I may hesitate for a second in my sleepy state before I rise from my bed to retrieve him, but once I’m awake, I soak up every second of his sweet baby snuggles, of the smell of a newborn, of the feeling of joy in my heart when he nuzzles into my neck and drifts off to sleep. It’s a little bit different this time around—actually, it’s a lot different. I can recall thinking with my older boys, I can’t wait until they sleep through the night. I can’t wait until they can talk to tell me what’s wrong. I can’t wait until they can walk. And the list goes on.
But I don’t want to wish away those moments anymore. Sometimes the days feel long, but they truly pass by so quickly. Before I know it, he will be doing all of those things I had eagerly anticipated when my other children were small, but to know that this is the last time we’ll experience these moments with one of our children has awoken me to the importance of enjoying every stage, regardless of the difficult moments that are part of those stages.
There will always be that feeling of “Maybe we could have just one more.” I think a lot of people feel that way. And we’ve received quite a few questions like, “Are you going to try for one more?” Or “Are you going to try for a girl?” But the reality is that our house is full, our hands are full, and more importantly, our hearts are full.
Those words I repeated in disdain for almost nine months, “I’m never doing this again,” are different now. They’re being used with a different connotation: one that makes me a little sad, but that also reminds me of how special and important this time is, even if I am tired, even if life is hectic and crazy with three small children in the house.
So maybe I won’t be experiencing another pregnancy or a newborn again, but no two days are alike, so I won’t be doing any of it again. Yes, I will embrace the moments of chaos each day with my children, because I’m never going to get to do that day again.
Rookie Mama Musings: This column is published weekly on Thursdays, by Morgan Starr, right here on the Mama Lovejoy blog. Morgan Starr is a mom of three young boys who is embracing the wild ride of motherhood and learning as she goes. She’s a high school English teacher by day and a writer by night, blogging at www.rookiemommyraisingboys.com. You can keep up with her kids’ antics on Facebook and on Twitter. For more information on the Rookie Mama Musings column, please visit the Rookie Mama Musings page. If you enjoyed this article and you’d like to see more from Mama Meditations or from Mama Lovejoy, you can follow Mama Lovejoy on Facebook, or @Mamalovejoy1 on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Periscope.