How do you know when you are done having kids?
I loved picking out his outfits... The footy jammies where the feet hung an inch or two beyond his toes... obviously too big, but I was so proud about how big and strong he was getting, I put them on anyway... I grinned from ear to ear as I snapped each little snap.
I soaked in the way his mouth formed his first coo and the way his first smile made my heart warm. I clicked the shutter on my camera to create tangible evidence of this fleeting moment. The work that I’d put in so far had been received by this tiny soul and he was giving me his thank you and the ability to cherish this time whenever I want to.
His unmistakable cry ... the one that told me everything I needed to know in one squawk.
Though the freshness and newness of each baby has been so full & sculptural, it's not the tiny baby phase I will miss most.
It’s the bond.
It's the growth and change wrapped up in their need for me that makes me fall hard.
The way he has just learned to run... and when I sit down... and open my arms wide... he dashes towards me... leaning forward so heavily that I'm afraid he'll crash before he barrels into my arms. My heart swells and my cheeks raise in elation.
The way he puckers his fat little lips, not only to me, but to our burliest friends and they give him a kiss right back. because why wouldn't they?
The way he scowls at me because he just learned how.
The way the warmth and heft of his body feels when he allows himself to be wrapped in my arms and put his heavy head on my shoulder .
The mamaa.. mamaaa.. because I finally got that this is it... this beautifully immersive phase of my life... I'm on the way out of it... all of the "never going to ends" are ending... so I allow myself to be his everything... In fact I insist upon it.
There are probably 438 moments per day that I can describe as soul splintering joy.... so does that mean we have another??
It's not only the way I love him.
It's seeing my husband love him. His biggest sister love him. His big brother love him and his big sister love him. Pride swells up within me as each point of connection is felt. We are just .. so.. blessed.
How do you know?
How do you know when it’s time to stop having kids?
I have been struggling with this for months...
The flip side is the bone chipping need, because they will take everything you have, if you let them. and sometimes you're too tired to enforce your self care boundaries.
If I'm not careful with my boundaries I wither away like a cut flower past it’s prime. I begin feeling invisible.
I didn't feel good this last pregnancy... And I couldn't utter the words..."Well it's all worth it, as long as the baby is ok,” like I could with previous pregnancies … It just sucked.
Anxiety that kept me from connecting to me and the inability to interpret my feelings.. or recognize that these feelings were temporary.. I just lived in the fear I may always feel this bad.
The emotional fallout ... from the painful painful nursing and having a toddler, beside herself, at my feet each and every time I nursed.
Interrupted sleep and no clear cut time to myself. ...
It's not the diaper changes.. or the temper tantrums... the messes... Those are nuisances...
It's the things that I learned that were essential to me ... from living without them... a much needed break... the ability to move forward... personal freedom... that I'm just not sure I can handle losing again..
But then I hear him wandering aimlessly through the house, calling for me, and as he finds me I see just how small he is, and feel just exactly how much he needs me... I pull him into my arms... and I kiss his fat warm cheek... and I consider another baby all again.