Four and no more

We are done having kids. On any given day, we might waiver with how certain we are, but we have never dipped below 97% certain. And yet, every time M outgrows something, it gets packed up and put in storage instead of packed up and put out the door. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why.

It isn’t that waivering 3% that has me hang onto things, “just in case”. After all, we bought an SUV instead of a van, and with our two new car seats, we would be hard pressed to get a third in there. I’m also looking at changing up our fourth bedroom into an office for Scott and I to share rather leaving it as the ghost yard of all things baby.

While some things make sense to keep for a while — let’s hang onto all the 0-3 month clothes until they’re all out of her dresser — there are other things that are useless to hang onto. We have the infant car seat. The bassinet. The snoogle pregnancy pillow (pricey but so worth it). But I just can’t seem to let them go yet.

Our family is complete. Even ignoring the medical reasons against having a third — cholestasis tends to come back with a vengeance in subsequent pregnancies, and the odds of a baby with CTEV are also higher — we feel whole when we are sitting around the table as a family of four.

While obvious that it’s a big decision to decide to start a family, it is also a big decision to decide when to stop. I despised being pregnant. I struggled with the newborn stage. But never feeling those first kicks again? And never having those fleeting moments of peace, rocking a tiny human in the quiet of the night again? It makes my heart ache.

And so I’m going to let myself grieve.   While I can’t wait to see where we are going as a beautiful family of four, I have to acknowledge everything we are leaving behind. I will be glad to never again go through the agony of an induced labour, the pain of mastitis, or learning to sleep in 45 minute increments, but I will never forget the feeling of seeing my babies for the first time and I need to acknowledge I will never get that exact feeling again. This grieving is less about having another child and more about letting that phase of my life pass.

And so I’ll hang on to the memories of being a new mom. I’ll even hang on to all the “stuff” that comes with it. And I’ll let myself feel the sadness of knowing there won’t be another baby in our family because it won’t matter whether we stay a family of four, or go on to have four more, at some point, I would still have to face the end of that stage in our life, and it will hurt a little, all the same.

Categories: The new identity | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Four and no more

  1. Yes. This. I identify with this completely. We are also pretty certain that we are done and that our family of four is complete. But I find myself hanging on to things the same way, and I hadn’t really thought about why. But in a way it is grieving, you are so right. I didn’t love pregnancy either, and while I don’t mind the newborn stage I am NOT a nice person on no sleep. But the thought of never holding a tiny baby (one that belongs to me) in my arms again makes me want to ugly cry.

  2. Grief: it’s the right word. We’ve not decided for sure (we may never) but the further along we get, the more we think we are finished having new babies. There are tears involved at many stages- but my heart isn’t ready to make a commitment.

  3. THIS. Even being one and done I have had my grieving moments of never experiencing some of that stuff again. And I agree with you, it’s not the wanting another child, it’s just knowing you won’t have all of that again even with the first child. So I think that’s a natural part of knowing you’re done. This parenthood stuff comes with so many more emotions than they tell you in the books!

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