I’ll never be over it

standard September 2, 2014 6 responses

I don’t think I’ll ever be over it. The whole no more babies thing. I can sit and look at my life and marvel at how wonderful it is to no longer be tied to an infant’s schedule or needs. I can sit and watch my children play and thrill at the fact that they no longer need me to hold their hands as they explore their world, test their limits, become who they are. I can sit and enjoy the fact that I am, once again, in control of my schedule, my days, my needs, my wants.

In every abstract way possible I can take stock of our lives and think “We have it good. We have enough. We are blessed with what we have.”

And still, I can hold a day old infant and feel heart-rending sobs threaten to break through.

I will never again feel a baby move within me.

I will never again experience the wonder of creating a life and carrying it to term.

I will never again whisper “welcome to the world” into a tiny ear I’ve been waiting to whisper into for 9 months.

I will never again hold my own newborn up to my breast and feel that deep recognition settle into my heart.

I will love on my friends’ babies.

I will love on my own existing children.

But that thought that I will never again be pregnant, never again give birth, never again nurse a baby, never again bring home a new member of our family… that thought breaks me.

99% of the time I can function happily in that space where I know I have enough, where I know I have been blessed beyond what many others get. I’m grateful for what I have, grateful for what I wake up to every day.

But sometimes I need to wallow in the “what if” and the “why can’t I too.” I hold a friend’s newborn infant in my arms and I wonder what my third would have looked like. What we would have called him or her. What it would be like to welcome another into our lives. And I struggle to breathe, crushed by the weight of missing someone who will never be.

This was taken 7 years ago when Little L and I met for the first time. She still makes that face sometimes.

This was taken 7 years ago when Little L and I met for the first time. She still makes that face sometimes.

Baby Steps Towards the Future

standard April 9, 2012 3 responses

First I let some baby clothes go. But to a friend, so they could come back if we ever needed them. Then it was a stroller, a bouncy seat, a swing. I worked my way through the garage, making mental notes of all the baby accessories we had accumulated over the years.

Those friends filled their car with stuff and went home to plan for their new arrival.

A week later I got wind of a young teacher expecting her first child in March, who basically had nothing yet for her baby. I invited her over to come shop in the garage too.

A friend of a friend… it felt safe, not too remote, like I might still one day get something back if I ever needed it.

That girl loaded up her car twice with baby things. A mini crib, another stroller, a bouncy seat, bedding, toys, an exersaucer. The list went on and on, her gratitude fueling my generosity. It was easy to let these things go, easy to imagine this adorable young mom putting them to good use.

Amazing as it sounds, that wasn’t all the baby stuff we had. We still have clothes. Still have bouncy seats and toys. There’s another crib, a changing table/dresser, another stroller. We moved these things, took them out of our old garage and put them in the new, much smaller one, where they are taking up so much more space that I ever realized.

This last month we’ve made baby steps towards getting settled in our new home and in our new community. We’re unpacking boxes, finding homes for our things. We’re taking walks, discovering nearby parks. We’re driving around, exploring local restaurants.

With every item I put away, with every excursion we take, it’s starting to feel more definite, more permanent.

Our last home was where we started our family, where we welcomed new babies, where we washed them in the sink, rocked them in their room, paced the hall when they cried. It was our starter home.
In our last home it was always so easy to imagine bringing home another baby, watching first steps, hearing first words. Here, everyone seems bigger, more grown-up already, like we left all the baby-ness behind when we moved.

This home feels like the place where we’re growing into being a family of four, just a family of four. It fits the four of us perfectly. The specter of the girls’ infancy doesn’t haunt me at every turn. I can finally see them as they are today, not as they were back then.

This past month, C learned to ride her bike without training wheels, this past weekend Little L did the same. C is already reading, Little L is hot on her heels, sounding out words, picking up sight words astonishingly fast. These girls, they are big, they are not babies. They have moved on from that phase of their lives.

On Saturday I spent the day in the garage making a list of everything in there that really didn’t need to be in there. In my head I started making plans for the big yard sale where I’ll be selling everything extraneous. These things will go to stranger’s homes, they will go without a hope of me ever seeing them again. The crib. The changing table. The last two bouncy seats. The pack-n-play. The last stroller.

This year the girls have made massive bounding leaps out of babyhood and into childhood. I’m only just now starting to make baby steps out of the world where I’m mom to babies and into a world where that’s part of my past.

Big Sister meets Baby at hospital for first time
July 31, 2007. A million years ago.

But what about Max?

standard June 9, 2010 4 responses

I have two gorgeous little girls. You know them. I post their pictures every day. We are a happy family. We feel complete. The whole two kids, two grown-ups thing works really well for us. It feels balanced, harmonious. When I sit at the table and watch my family interact it feels just right.

Our youngest daughter is almost three. Soon she will be out of diapers. Soon she’ll be graduating to a real bed and we’ll be able to change the decor of their room from nursery to little girls’ room. Soon we’ll take out the crib and the toddler bed, we’ll remove the glider, we could even get rid of the changing table/dresser. Soon I’ll even contemplate getting rid of all the baby paraphernalia in the garage.

The scary thing about all of these plans buzzing around my head is that they feel right. And that’s scary, because where does it put Max?

You see, in my heart lives a little boy. His name is Max. Maximilian if you must know. He’s got blue eyes and sandy wavy hair like his father and his sisters. He’s the youngest of our family, the third child we don’t yet have.

It sounds crazy, but I’ve always felt like we were meant to be a family with three kids. I’ve always imagined this sweet little boy with curly hair pulling up the rear. There’s never been a moment of doubt that one day we’d have Max. So when I start to contemplate saying “This is it.” it feels strange, like I’m abandoning my baby boy. Like I’m giving up on him.

As the end of Little L’s toddlerhood nears and her entrance into preschool approaches I’ve thought more and more about Max. If we had kept to our 2 and a quarter years distance between kids he would already be here. In fact he’d be almost 8 months old. I always said that I either wanted three kids close together or two followed by two later down the road.

But I don’t see two down the road, I just see Max. Sweet little Max with a smile in his eyes.

I have a gorgeous and amazing family. I am truly blessed to have two delightful girls who more than fill my heart with joy and my eyes with admiration. I have a husband who cares for them better than I could have ever hoped. Things are good. Really, really good.

So good that I can even start to wrap my brain around never being pregnant again, around never breastfeeding another child. So good that I can think of getting rid of the glider where I rocked both of my girls. So good that we can get rid of the highchairs and everything else and really focus on a life with children instead of a life with babies.

And yet, even as I type those words, a little voice inside my head whispers faintly “But what about Max?

I miss the time when no one else knew them

standard May 6, 2009 11 responses

This morning a friend who just found out she’s pregnant (One of many right now!) asked me if I was glad I wasn’t the one calling with the news.

My gut reaction was a resounding Duh! Twenty-one months without sleep does not foster any kind of baby lust at all. The thought of another two years of being woken up multiple times a night sends shivers down my back, and not the good kinds of shivers.

And yet, as glad as I am to not be pregnant, a part of me is insanely jealous. Don’t tell anyone, OK? But I kind of miss being pregnant. No, not the nausea, weird cravings, back aches, constant peeing, or wild mood swings. I just miss that oneness with the baby.

For nine (or ten, depending on how you count) relatively short months my babies and I were a whole. It was the two of us, united against the world. During those months I was that baby’s entire world. She didn’t know anything else and no one else knew her.

It’s selfish and shallow and even maybe a bit silly, but I miss being my children’s whole world. These days Daddy is their prince and I’m just in the way. Last week, two days in a row I was summarily dismissed when he got home. Sent away with a resounding “Bye bye! Mommy go! Daddy stays!” I walked away, a bit shocked that I could just walk away and leave them behind.

There are no words to express the love that wells up inside me when I watch my children play with their father. When them run to him in the morning for a last hug goodbye or beg for one final kiss at bedtime I marvel at the bonds they’ve developed over the years. It’s everything it should be. It’s ideal and perfect.

But sometimes I watch them from the sidelines, one hand on my belly, remembering what it was like when I was the only one who knew them at all, and hoping that one day I’ll get to feel that closeness again.