That sweet newborn smell is a distant memory for me already, and though I love my "big" children more every day, I admit I am sad that I won't experience those first fetal kicks ever again. I'm sad I won't see another positive pregnancy test, or give birth, or welcome a new tiny bundle, ever again.
Couples decide to stop at X number of children for all kinds of reasons, and sometimes the decision is taking out of their hands by infertility or age. Sometimes, a couple is perfectly comfortable with their decision to stop having babies. Sometimes, the decision is bitter-sweet. Some couples reach a perfect agreement, while others don't. Whatever path leads you to realize that you are "done" having children, you go through anything from temporary, fleeting feelings of nostalgia to full-on grief.
Coming to terms with not having another baby, ever again, may be hard. And that's fine. We decided to stop at two for many reasons. Getting pregnant ain't easy for us. Then, there's the fact that we're not getting any younger. We can raise two kids comfortably but would probably struggle if we had more.
Kids are cheap in their early years, but they cost a lot later on, when they are school-aged. Finally, I'm not sure I could even handle raising three or more kids, emotionally. The thought that a potential third child may be the one who is problematic for whatever reasons (health issues, behavioral problems, etc) has also crossed my mind. I'm happy with my two. I really couldn't ask for anything more that what I ended up with. And yet... yet I feel a pang of sadness, and perhaps even jealousy, when yet another friend announces that she is having her third, or her fourth.
Blogging about trying to conceive, pregnancy, and babies almost every day doesn't make it any easier. But I know I'm not alone in feeling content with my family, yet a little sad that the baby stage of parenting is over. How do you deal with this? I'd love to hear from you feel free to leave a comment. In the meantime, here are some ideas that may help other moms who are feeling the same:
- Make a scrapbook of your child's or children's baby days.
- Write about the baby days, too. Talk to your child about what he was like when he was a baby, and show him pictures.
- Take your older kids to the cinema, theater, or pool and remember that you wouldn't have the same amount of freedom if you still had a newborn.
- Talk to your kids, about deep issues. How do they feel about their friends? School? God? Their family? Admire the amazing developments their brain has gone through since they were tiny babies. They are just as precious now as they were when they were tiny, only you can actually get to know them better.
- Go to the gym. Admire your body, and know it wouldn't look as good if you went through another pregnancy.