A Different Kind of Baby Blues

Jellybean. Look at those rolls!


I always knew I wanted to be a mother. From the days of Cabbage Patch Dolls and onward, I tend to be a nurturer and knew I wanted my very own tiny Mels when I grew up. I figured I would have three since I am the youngest of three kids myself and loved having a “buffer” sibling if one of them couldn’t be at a family function.

When Hubby and I married we knew we wanted a baby right away. Five months later we got pregnant with Monkey and in December of that year he came earthside and turned us into a family of three. 

Most of my friends who had their first babies around the same time I did waited a little more or a little less than a year before trying to bake bun #2. I waited to feel that twinge of wanting a second, of feeling that we needed another child, but it didn’t come as fast as I thought. We even talked about stopping at one and just having Monkey. After all, we couldn’t ask for a better, cuter kiddo.

 



Eventually we decided that we did definitely want another baby but that we definitely did NOT want them to be super close together. We waited until Monkey turned 3 before trying. Surprisingly and joyously we were blessed to get pregnant quickly and three months before Monkey’s fourth birthday Jellybean joined our family.

We were ecstatic. He was perfect and rounded out our family in just the way we had hoped. Monkey took to Jellybean immediately and we knew we were done. Our family was just the way it was intended to be. 

The thing is, I always wanted a girl. Don’t get me wrong, our two boys are absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. But if I had a crystal ball and some kind of miraculous guarantee that Baby #3 would have been a girl, I think we would have gone for it. But we didn’t and on a daily basis I’m glad I don’t have more children because two keep us busy enough (kudos and high fives and all the respect in the world for those of you with more than two kids!). Hubby even took some drastic and permanent measures to ensure we were done our baby making days.

And then something within me changed. When we took away the possibility of having a third baby, it became all I could think about. I even had a little scare shortly after his *ahem* procedure and when I peed on a stick and it was negative I was more than a little disappointed. I had to keep reminding myself why we decided to be done having kids. But still, every time I saw a big ole’ baby bump or a teeny tiny squishy baby, my heart and my uterus fluttered. Had we made a wrong choice? Were we meant to have three? What if it had been a girl…would my life feel more complete? Was it incomplete now?

Eventually I sorted out what I was really feeling. It wasn’t really an actual longing for another baby. It wasn’t wanting a third. It was a sadness at the closing of the door, the ending of the chapter: our baby days were over. For the past 7 years, babies have been a big part of our lives. Whether it’s been trying for a baby, planning for one, Pinterest-ing for nursery and baby items, being pregnant, caring for a baby…we’ve been in the Baby Chapter for a while. And now it’s over. And that makes me sad. I had awesome pregnancies. We had great infants. Now that we are in a new chapter (I’ll call it, “Toddlerhood and Beyond”), I have to sort of re-evaluate who I am, who we are, what our dynamic is as a family, and what comes next for us. I knew the Baby chapter. It was familiar, comfortable, exciting. But as Jellybean grows closer and closer to the Pre-Schooler label (we have a little ways to go yet), I grow farther and farther from that chapter. The one I dreamed about as I rocked Gladys, my sister’s curly-haired Cabbage Patch Doll whose head still smells like baby powder. 

This new chapter isn’t all bad. In fact, it’s quite liberating in many ways: we are sleeping for longer stretches uninterrupted (although never, absolutely never, all the way through the night. BOTH kids wake us. But that’s another story for another day), less stuff to cart around in the diaper bag, *slightly* less mess, less diaper changes, more time to myself, more freedom. 

I know I’m not alone in this boat of mine. In fact, several of my friends have been through this process already and, several years after what they thought was their last child, are deciding to add to their family again now that their kids are a bit older. I hope and pray that they are fortunate enough to enter the “Baby: Round 2” chapter because I know it’s right for them and if they want it, then I want it for them. (Plus, I’m not going to lie, I totally plan to steal as many sweet, sweet baby snuggles as I can). But that isn’t where we are headed. We ARE done having babies. I just need to grieve the ending of that stage so that I can completely embrace our present and future ones. And I’m almost there, I am. In fact, if I never see a newborn or baby belly ever again I’ll probably be just fine. Given that that is more than a little unlikely, I just need to work through the rest of this in good time.

If we didn’t already have two dogs, I’d totally be looking for a sweet rescue puppy. But alas, that’s at least a few years away from us and I don’t want to think about what needs to happen first in order for our home to have room for a new pup.

So I’ll squeeze my ever growing big(ish) kids and remember the baby days with a huge heart full of gratitude. And I won’t feel guilty for continuing to breastfeeding Jellybean or bringing him into my bed every night or toss him on my back in the carrier when he’s too tired to walk. Because as he grows and learns every day, he is taking further steps away from his sweet baby self. F
orgive me if I just need to hold on a little longer. 

Please tell me some of you are going through this, too. I’d love to chat and share so I don’t feel quite so crazy when I have to look away from the baby bumps and newborn babes.

Take care,
        Mel

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