Do That To Me One More Time, Then Again, Don't

My youngest daughter walked for the first time today. Those five wobbly steps she took thrilled her, she clapped afterward as if to say, well done baby. Of course, my husband and I were excited too. Still, they feel like steps taking her closer to the toddler she'll soon become and further from the baby she is.

This will be our last child barring any accidents. My overarching feeling is that I am done. I daydream sometimes about having a baby, but the idea of another kid, not so much. I also daydream about more time with my husband, being well-rested and the end of bottles. With three kids, there is never enough time but always more to do, a truly Sisyphean undertaking.

My husband and I frequently feel like we don't have enough time for them individually as it is. Having a fourth would more than likely require us to add to our already expensive house, get a larger car and establish another college fund. More medical bills, more formula, more diapers, more childcare, more, more, more. We are financially stable right now but a fourth child could change that. So, no, I don't think we'll be having any more. But...

I'm having a hard time making that decision definitive. It's not that I'm waffling or secretly want one more baby. In fact, when I thought I might be pregnant a few months ago I was beside myself. I was the one in tears while my husband reassured me that while not ideal we'd be okay. It wouldn't be okay with me, I retorted.

So why is it so hard to get rid of the bags of clothes and boxes of baby stuff that sit in our garage? The bassinet, the swing, the Bumbo, the infant bath tub, the breast pump, the Boppy, the sling. Why haven't I given my husband the thumbs-up on a vasectomy? Typically, I weigh the options and makes decisions and that's that, follow the course. Making this decision just seems so final. Maybe part of me thinks that by getting rid of all the baby gear, I'm tempting fate. That the minute I let go of the stuff, the Fates will sic me with a pregnancy.

Or maybe it's just a little low-grade grief of moving on, accepting that all of the babies firsts are also lasts. The last time I will hold a newborn in my arms and marvel at how tiny they are. The last time I will see my husband at his most tender, carefully cradling a small part of us snuggled in the crook of one arm. The last time I will watch a baby at my breast and feel so connected to life. The last time I will proudly show off the new addition to our families. The last time I will see the first tooth break the surface of my baby's shiny pink gums. The last time I will see a child of mine take her first steps. Yes, I think that's it.

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Anonymous said... July 28, 2008 at 4:46 AM  

Well, it may be your babies' last firsts, but with 3 kids, your chances of being a grandma are pretty awesome. Think about it - all the baby fun at a fraction of the labour and the cost. You might not get to breastfeed again, because frankly, that would be weird, but all the other wonderful baby things will be there for you to enjoy.

And - congrats on Walking Baby! Go virtual niece, go!

Incidentally, I'm incorporating objects like baby shoes and other kid paraphernalia into the painting series I'm working on, so if you feel like having some of your bebe things immortalized, pass 'em along.

RiverPoet said... July 28, 2008 at 5:43 AM  

I can relate to this. One of the reasons we had a storage shed (read: money pit) for so long was because I couldn't part with every single thing the kids ever brought home from school. Eventually I thinned and thinned and thinned, and now things fit in our house.

It's hard to realize that you don't want/won't have more children. It's a strange passage for us women. I wish you well as you process all of this.

Meanwhile, hold those special memories in your heart.

Peace - D

Queen Mutha said... July 28, 2008 at 6:35 AM  

I have had this debate in my heart for a long time. Even with six kids, it was hard to finally call it quits. I guess it's just in some of us. Good luck dealing with it, I still have a lot of baby stuff in the attic that I can't part with yet.

Love Bites said... July 28, 2008 at 8:02 AM  

You've been reviewed. Try not to cry.

Sam said... July 28, 2008 at 8:18 AM  

Arrghh! I am going through the same thing, my youngest being nearly 8 months, the farther she gets from babydom the more I think maybe just one more would be ok. We've always said she is the last but when I think of all of those lovely things you mentioned I hate to think that I won't get to re-live those moments just once more. Then I think about another pregnancy, another two year old - hmmm. I'll keep thinking! Congrats on the walking, not the real fun begins!!!

Anonymous said... July 28, 2008 at 11:26 AM  

Thank you for articulating one of the complex stages of motherhood. Yes, a strange passage, indeed (thanks riverpoet!). I'm making that passage more final towards the end of next month, and I'm having mixed feelings.

lisa said... July 28, 2008 at 6:47 PM  

*Sniff* you know how to express exactly what I am feeling. Ruby is nearly 9mo old and I am saddened at how fast it has gone. This is our last one and I am having a hard time coming to terms with that. It's nice to know that I'm not alone.


formerly fun said... July 29, 2008 at 4:50 PM  

Aunt Spatula-
Yes, I look forward to being a grammi some day. For your series, are we talking photos or the real deal? Sounds like a neat project. Ps. with my new rockstar status(ha) just want to thank you for being here from the beginning.

I know I'll feel better when I'm past it and I can move on to the next stage, I mean at 9months, 4 and eight, it's not like freedom is staring me right in the face and the rest is good stuff too.

I remember reading your stuff. Like I said above, I know it will be fine, even great it's just the moving on, I'm so good at it with so much other stuff but I guess this motherhood business defines me more than I'd admit and I love being a mom to a baby, big kids too but it's so pure and easy at the beginning.

I'd cry a little no matter what, because I am a giant baby.

that's exactly how I feel, like you start to remember only the best parts(thankful our memories are generally like that) but forget the nausea, the heartburn, the leg cramps, the labour, the sleepless nights, the praying that your baby is healthy, the first few walking zombie know the drill, it's hard and it's good to be done but there's still that teeny, tiny part of me...

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