As baby No. 4 nears her first birthday, I am faced with the reality that I’ll never have an infant again. The other night as this thought passed through my mind, I looked at my husband and shouted at him in an accusatory tone, “DO YOU REALIZE WE WILL NEVER HAVE ANOTHER BABY? NEVER! NOT EVER!?”
He looked at me like I’d lost my mind.
I continued in a less aggressive tone, “Not that I want ANOTHER baby. I don’t want ANOTHER baby. I just want this baby to be a baby forever. YOU KNOW?!?”
He didn’t know.
And it’s fine. He doesn’t have a uterus. Of course he doesn’t understand.
And the thing is, I really DON’T want another baby. (Most of the people I know in real life are probably reading this and rolling their eyes because they’ve heard that before. But this time it’s true. Really! It is!) But just because I don’t want another baby doesn’t mean that I’m not sad that my last baby is done being a baby.
I always heard that you’d just know when you were done having babies. My husband and I had always talked about having more than one kid, but I think he wanted closer to two and I’ve always, for as long as I can remember, wanted four kids. So we had two and then decided we’d hash out the rest of the deal later.
After I had my second baby, I had a distinct feeling that I wasn’t done having babies. I was pretty much desperate to have a third baby. I made my husband a deal that he could get a second dog when I got a third baby because that seemed reasonable. Every time I saw a pregnant person or saw a pregnancy announcement on Facebook, I was instantly jealous. Babies were all I could think about! I needed another baby!
Time passed and I eventually got my husband to agree that a third baby was a good idea. VICTORY! (And yes, he got another dog.) This was going to be it though, he told me. We were going to have the third baby and call it quits on our baby-having days. Three kids was his limit. I reluctantly agreed.
My third pregnancy was my hardest. By the end, I had gained more weight than I’d gained in either of my first two pregnancies, and by the time my due date came and went with no sign of the baby, I was absolutely miserable. I was huge and exhausted and ready to be done being pregnant. And in the back of my head I thought, Great! I’ll have this baby, and then I won’t want to be pregnant ever again. Perfect!
Only that’s not what happened. I had Baby No. 3 and almost immediately went right back to being jealous of pregnant people. (What is wrong with me?)
I knew I had to tread carefully because my husband was not sold on the idea of having more than three kids. But eventually I wore him down and he agreed to discuss the idea of one more. ONE. MORE. And I knew he meant it this time. I mean, I couldn’t really blame him. Four kids is a lot. It’s a lot of space, a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of noise. It’s just a lot of everything. There was a part of me that was really, really worried that I’d have baby No. 4 and STILL not feel like I was done. I was worried I’d still see other pregnant people and be insanely jealous of their bumps. Like some sort of insane pregnancy-loving moron.
But you know what? Baby No. 4 was born last February, and that was it. I was done having babies. I felt it from the very start. I no longer longed to be pregnant. I see pregnant ladies and pregnancy announcements now, and I am happy for the people involved, but I’m also thankful that it’s not me. Because I’m done. I have three girls and one boy. They’re healthy and happy, and I love them more than life itself. And I’m done being pregnant. Forever. And it’s a great feeling.