I know it’s only early days, but as we near the three month mark and my newborn slowly transforms to a bigger baby before my eyes, I am left with the unanswered question of; is this the last for our family? Is my family of five now complete?
If I am to ask my husband, its a definitive yes; we’re done, no more, three’s a good number, quit while we are ahead. But for me, this answer is not as clear cut; because for us women, the weight of this decision is so much more than just choosing what to wear in the morning. Considering the finality of my child bearing years is something I don’t feel prepared to tackle right now – even in the midst of sleep deprivation, 24/7 baby wearing and being outnumbered by a demanding little tribe of dependents.
The emotional attachment to everything both tangible and intangible is crippling. As I store away the piles of outgrown (cute and tiny) newborn suits, I am filled with an overwhelming sadness; like I am indeed filing away a chapter of my life. A chapter I am not sure I want to close the door on just yet. If Jett is our last baby, then this means every day that passes, I am one step closer to my last breastfeed, last squishy cuddle, last time I will wear him in a baby carrier. It also means I have had my very last pregnancy, last birth and last time experiencing the elation of welcoming a new person to our immediate family.
I know there has to be a last time for everything in life; common sense tells me this. But many of the ‘last times’ we don’t even see coming; like life, they just happen… e.g. the last time I spent a whole weekend without sleep (by choice), my last day as a single woman, last drive in my first car, and the last day before I became a mother for the first, second and third time…
There’s this conflict I feel between head and heart; practicality vs spontaneity (or my seemingly careless “just do it” approach to life). I know three is a good (and manageable) number; emotionally, physically, and financially. Three for us right now already seems like a stretch in all the aforementioned areas. The sacrifice is time spent with my husband, children, friends, for myself, and on my business. And then of course, there’s holidays/down time (lack thereof), the sleep deprivation, toll on my body, patience threshold, and the endless washing! My brain feels like scrambled eggs on a good day, and I can’t help but think; would four children be the proverbial straw that broke the camels back?
If I have in fact had my last baby, there is the excitement of finally (after 5 years) getting my life and body back; no more engorged boobs, having to pump and dump, or be limited to outfits where I can flop my boobs out at the drop of a hat. I am one step closer to wearing heels and dangly earrings, owning a handbag (without nappies, wipes and crushed biscuits throughout), having daily showers, getting some sleep, going on family holidays without wishing we had stayed at home, being able to read a book, watch a full movie without falling asleep, playing catch up on quality time with my husband, and pursuing my ambitions.
Whilst I know much of this is only superficial and does not define long term contentedness, I think it’s the glimmer of independence this transition promises, that I look forward to the most, and thus the conflict ensues!
I know this is not a decision I have to make tomorrow, nor is it one I may even have the luxury of making (if hubby and I were unable to make the compromise). However, as I hear my clock beginning to tick a little louder, I also don’t have (nor want) another 5 years to ponder it. I would feel much more comforted closing the door on the possibility (and sending hubby for ‘the snip’) if I felt finished, or complete, but I can’t shake this nagging feeling of “what if”.
…What if we had one more baby? would they be a boy or girl? what would he/she look like? what would we name them? how would they change our family dynamic? Then there’s the excitement of being pregnant, finding out the gender, planning for the birth, the birth itself, and witnessing the special strings of “first moments”; smiling, crawling, walking, talking, the look on my other children’s faces when they meet their new sibling for the very first time, and witnessing the evolving bond between them as they grow older. And as my husband and I grow older, our children become (the meaning of) our life, our legacy. They are the gateway to our own youth and untapped innocence; a daily reminder to keep wonder, curiosity, and love alive. The time, blood, sweat, tears and unwavering commitment to raising these little people now, is the best investment in our future, and the pay offs huge … so surely, the more the merrier?
I only wish I had my husband’s clarity. It has had me contemplating lately; is this purely a woman thing? would I still feel this way after my fourth/fifth child? does it ever go away? or is this conflict just lingering as the possibility remains open?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. How did you know your last was your last? How did you make a decision to call it quits or go again? or are you still making this decision?
Until next time, with love,
Sophie & Jett xoxox