The Sadness of The Last Baby: Are You Done?
I remember one Saturday morning, sitting with the family around the breakfast table (that perfectly fits four) and thinking:
“This is it. This is my family. Four of us. No more, just four”. It was quite a surreal moment. I overanalysed and overanalysed it and I thought "maybe I'm NOT done having kids"?
Ok, so even though I feel like I need to take a trip to the looney bin most days, I can't say for certain that I'm 100% sure that I'm done having kids. After my second, I had the Mirena put in, so I have no permanent reason why we couldn’t try again?!
It’s strange, because I really was convinced that I was done! I have now started to digress to the moments just after the births of my two kids. You know the feeling of relief to have finally given birth, pride and joy in the healthy baby in your arms? It kind of makes me feel sad and a little sorrowful at the realisation that I may never again experience the primeval miracle of growing a baby inside my body.
I have this strange brew of feelings and it’s now hit me that every single one of my youngest child's firsts may also be my last.
As he outgrows his clothes, I’ll no longer save them for the next baby. Same goes for his infant toys, I'll give most of them away to charity. I'll be glad to have some extra space in the wardrobe, but I’m also having moments at the supermarket when I realise I have no reason to be standing in front of baby shampoo or nappies. He’s done with them. And therefore by default, am I?
It’s well past the time to get rid of all the Dr. Browne bottles in the press. I see them just sitting there gathering dust but have resisted throwing them out. It will feel strange to have that press back. What will I put in it? Same goes for the plastic baby spoons, and the sippy cups, and the matching Peppa Pig plates and bowls. All these little things that I had come to take for granted are suddenly, shockingly, no longer needed. Will removing them break my heart just a little bit?
Yesterday it really hit me. I found a pack of unopened big boy pull-up pants, and concluded that he hasn't needed one in two months. He’s had dry pants each morning. As I write this, out of the corner of my eye I see his toy hoover that Grandma gave him for Christmas a few years ago. He used to follow me around the house with it when I was using my own. He’s not done that in a while but I can’t bear the thought of moving it on- it represents something for me- maybe it’s the smile that I have on my face right now?
My little boy still likes to sit in on my lap, and sneak into our bed at night and have snuggle parties in the morning- and I know from experience that soon, this will all end. "Don't grow up," I keep whispering teasingly in his ear. "Stay three forever." "I have to grow up, Mum," he chuckles back. "I can't stop this growing!" Knowing this, I’ll smush my cheek up against his and inhale in the scent of him. I wish I could bottle that!
I’ve read to him every night at bedtime for the past week, not giving his Daddy a go and I keep telling him I love him so, so very much. I am ignoring the wistful voice in my head telling me that he's the last one, the very last one, and there won't be another, or will there?
Each day that passes, the ribbon of childhood feels like it's unwinding too quickly before me and I feel powerless to stop it. I know that this most amazing time in my life is slipping away from me. So who knows, maybe I am done, but maybe I’m not. I love my two boys and they complete my life, and while there are days where the thought of a third frightens the be-jeeny-mack out of me, I worry that I might regret not going for it.