For the duration of my pregnancy with Baby Sister – especially during the last few weeks of it when it seemed clear that my body was telling me it was not really meant to do this work – I was convinced that this was my last pregnancy. And when Baby Sister was born and she was a girl, I was even more convinced.
I was done, I had my family, I was all set.
And then, one night when Baby Sister was about two weeks old, in a wave of postpartum hormonal emotion, a tiny sensation crept up, whispering to me a suggestion that I never wanted this moment of newborn magic to end. How could I not want to feel way this over and over?
Pregnancy amnesia once again.
There’s something intoxicating about the specialness, the uniqueness of the delivery, hospital stay, and first days at home with a newborn. There’s a magical bubble that surrounds the time – a feeling of impermanent vulnerability, fragility, promise – and there’s something bittersweet about its coming to an end.
If Baby Sister is indeed our last baby, then never again will I curl my back and grip a tiny nurse’s hand as an anesthesiologist inserts my spinal block. Never again will I lock eyes with Husband in joyful and nervous anticipation as Dr. G announces that she is making the first cut. Never again will the words, “It’s a…” hold such delicious significance.
Never again will I meet a child of mine for the first time. A child that I grew in my own body and could feel before I saw.
Every day Baby Sister grows – and she’ll be five months old on Monday; how did this happen? – means a step away from this last experience of newborn babyhood. And there’s beauty in that, but also a real shift in our lives – the end of these baby-making days and the start of raising up our family.
Yesterday morning while out for a snack with Big Brother, I noticed a mother with her five children, the youngest of whom was probably about Big Brother’s age. They sat around their table, talking, laughing, each of their features echoing the others’.
And I was tempted once again. Yes, I was. Instantly forgetting the impossible pregnancies, the sleepless nights, the temper tantrums, and the simple lack of hands.
And I asked myself: if three is great, mightn’t five be better?
Are you done having kids? How did you decide on the number of children that works best for your family?