Having your final child is often bittersweet, and that’s okay.
“I want a summer baby,” I tell my husband, as to why we are delaying the conception of our third and final child.
“I want to lose a little more weight,” I said, as the summer baby window went by.
He looked at me with questioning eyes but didn’t dare test my comment on my weight. He’s a wise man, as you will soon find out.
Days turned into months, and soon, a year. As I ran out of excuses, I finally fessed up my heartbreaking truth.
It wasn’t that I wanted a baby with a certain birthday or that I really felt I needed to lose a few extra pounds – if that was the case I wouldn’t have a bag of chocolate hidden in my closet.
My truth was simple: This would be our last baby.
This would be my last time downloading a pregnancy app, tracking my ovulation, stocking up on pregnancy tests and getting more excited than the last time to pee on a stick and pray for two pink lines.
Although this grief is natural, it’s rarely discussed openly.
A Last Time For Everything
With all the excitement that comes with trying for a child from conception to birth, knowing it will also be your last brings a little bit of heartache. Things that might seem trivial, can still take a toll on your mental health and cause feelings of nostalgia for the past.
For example, thoughts like, all these names stored on my phone as “potential baby names” will be a moot point if they don’t get used this round. Or knowing it will be the last time I get to decorate a nursery, decide if I want to find out the sex, and call my parents to let them know they will be grandparents again. It will be for their last time, too.
Although I have always planned on three children, sure of this since baby one and baby two, now that it is approaching, I feel uneasy. The thought of being pregnant for a last time makes my heart hurt – an ache that many last-time moms experience.
Pregnancy Is Only One Part Of Motherhood
I am one of those moms that absolutely loves pregnancy. I love the smell of a newborn, and never once minded the late nights spent rocking my babies to sleep. I knew newborns wouldn’t stay “new” forever and I wanted to make every second count.
The facts of life are that children grow up. They begin to sleep through the night on their own, and they don’t need their parents as much. Firsts soon turn into lasts, and in what seems like a blink of an eye, you find yourself walking them into Kindergarten…and eventually experiencing an empty nest.
Alright, I get it! That’s a big jump I just made from the sadness of a last pregnancy to the grief of an empty nest, but they both represent the same bittersweet feelings.
The magic lies in accepting that although time will inevitably move forward and doors will close, there are great things to experience in the future, too.
Seasons of life, they are as beautiful as the phrase itself. Although some stages of life must come to an end, with it, brings appreciation for the past and hope for what lies up ahead.
While this might be my last pregnancy, it’s also the completion of my family. While picking out a name for baby number three, I may be discarding some amazing choices, but I am completing our part of the “family tree.” I am giving my daughter’s their final sibling, and filling our home with pictures of the entire family together.
So yes, my season of having pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, and late-night feedings may be coming to an end after this baby, but as my husband said in a wise “Yoda moment”, “When one season ends, another begins.” I still have a while left in this one, and what an amazing thing that is.
Like all brave mamas facing an ending of an era, I am going to savor the moments as they come.
I am going to sit back, breath, and enjoy every second of it, even the uncomfortable parts. I will adore the moments of feeling the baby have hiccups in my belly, and laugh at the fifth time in a row I get up and waddle-walk to the bathroom, because I know this season will not last forever – another must begin.