|My third and final baby, Juliette|
My third baby is now ten months old. Hard to believe, as it seems like yesterday I was blogging about my beautiful home birth! As the months have gone by, and she's grown and flourished in our love and with my milk, I have spent a lot of time thinking about whether I am "done" having children. I grew up hearing my mom tell me that after she had my brother (I only have the one sibling) - she just knew she was done. In fact, she knew so clearly that she got her tubes tied and never looked back.
I think I've been hoping for that feeling. That feeling would make things a whole lot easier. Me though, I don't know. I mean, I have had three blissful pregnancies where I felt like the most loved and beautiful woman on earth. I have had three beautiful home birth experiences that I can remember with love, gratitude and fondness for the rest of my life. And my babies, oh, I so freaking love loving on and nursing my babies. On a daily basis - as this little baby gets bigger - I am reflecting inside - am I really done with all that juicy loveliness??
I guess the answer I've arrived at is a wistful and melancholy "I guess so." I realize that pregnancy and babies are very short lived - and after that - the real and very hard work of parenting begins. I realize that three children is a whole lot of work and that parenting four would kick my ass. Moreover, I realize I could not meet the needs of four children at the level they deserve to have their needs met. I realize I'll be 40 years old next year and that (as my father told me last year), I'm not a spring chicken. (Not that that, by the way, reflects on my ability to actually bear children because I think calling age a risk factor in pregnancy is BS). Moreso, it's the realization that I'd be quite old when the baby would become an adult and they may not have much time with me in their lives. And if I'm really honest with myself - our family - with three children - feels complete.
I think I was thinking there would be more glee in coming to this realization - kind of like graduation or something. But there's not. There's quite a bit of sadness in fact. So - I'm making it okay to feel grief about the ending of this phase of my life. I'm going to cry about it, because in my book, endings suck.
But I'm also going to focus on gratitude - for the amazing decade of baby making, birthing, beginnings.. for my amazing and powerful birthing and breastfeeding body.. and for the three amazing spirits God gave me to parent. Because gratitude feels a whole lot better than sadness :)
Tell me, how did YOU know you were done?