“Mommy when are you going to have another baby?” my soon to be seven-year old daughter asked me. “Olivia is our baby, she completes our family,” I gently told her. The conversation continued on with something about her having six kids, then eight and then down to two and me saying something like, have as many as you feel you can handle. Rocking my baby Olivia Mae to sleep, a somber realization crossed my mind as she fell asleep without being nursed and our/my final weaning of a nursing baby comes to a close. My realization was that the day would come, my baby and I would separate from our nursing days an continue on in love and enjoyment of one another. What I didn’t fully anticipate was the mourning of closing my womb and never having the miracle of life grow within my belly. Snuggling Olivia Mae close, she wiggled at my slightly more smothering love. Wanting to remember her as a baby, which she hardly is anymore in the age range of things. We will be celebrating her birthday on August 12. She will be one. Holding her close I remember the first time I held my own baby. An unimaginable feeling. Looking at him now, he is almost ten and I can hardly believe it when I look at him. I am scared as he grows and as time passes. I am scared because he is getting older and so am I. Have I taught him the things he needs to know, will he grow into an exceptional man and be kind to those he comes into contact with? Will he know how to fight the battles that he faces–the unkindness and cruelty of the world–without being broken. But then to be human is to break once in a while but not to break too many times–hopefully, though to grow majestically with each of those breaks. Rocking Olivia, she touches my face as if to ask what are you doing and why are you holding me so tight?. I just want to remember her. I want to remember each of my babies. Time passes–so slowly but so quickly at the same time. Advice from Mothers and Women who have been there, “Enjoy them while they are little, it seems forever but it passes so quickly. You will long for these days.” Is that possible? When days seem so long and so busy and so tiring. When I feel like I am at my breaking point. Will I long for these days? Though it is hard to admit, I think I might have to agree, I will long for the days of my little ones. Not so much the yucky stuff like sick tummies or things like that but watching them grow and smile and walk and talk and becoming familiar with their world and recognizing they are alive and to live is for their joy. I sit down with Olivia, wrap her in my fleece, I don’t have one of her blankets around. She stirs, she moans, she wakes, I stand up, rock her, she rests her head on my shoulder. She is comfortable. Should I put her down to sleep? She is peaceful. No, I want to hold her, I am still not done remembering. Remembering how stubborn my oldest daughter was to be born and how fast my third child came into this world and the excruciating pain I felt with his birth. And with Olivia how, yes, I am a wimp, did not want to feel that pain again and chose to be induced. Remembering when she was born how tiny she was and what a miracle she was! Physically my body was worn during my pregnancy with Olivia and each day I worried that she may not make it into this world. Wondering if I would experience holding one of my newborns again and how I yearned to hold her. Grateful, she was born and I was able to hold her. I really thought she was going to be a boy but she wasn’t she was my most precious little newborn girl. Each baby miraculous in their own right. Each so different and each I hold in my heart the feeling of holding their little bodies next to mine. Never really thinking about having children or how many I might have, I am thankful for each one of their lives and the experiences I received from each one. Closing the chapter on my baby bearing years, I mourn that time and look forward to this next set of years that lies ahead while keeping my babies snuggled in my heart.
What was your experience when you knew you were done having children?