It was a simple request on a random Saturday morning from our three year old.
“Mommy can I have a big girl bed?”
“You have one silly!” I replied, as we moved both our girls out of cribs right before their second birthdays. “No….I don’t want the w-ails anymore. I’m a big girl, I’m not a baby anymore.”
And there it is, the words no mom is ever ready hear. The tears instantly sprang to my eyes as I realized, no she isn’t a baby anymore, and I’m not physically able to carry another. And it’s a choice I made, even though I desperately wanted another child.
Of course I’m supremely grateful I’m even a mother at all…both girls conceived after seven years of trying. Seven years of surgeries, acupuncture, fertility treatments and ultimately IVF. We were told with our second daughter that we had basically a zero percent chance of conceiving. But we defied the odds and proved the doctors wrong. And trust me, we are incredibly thankful for the miracles we have, who bring so much joy to us every single day. But there was always that part of me that yearned to be pregnant again.
You know those little pangs you feel when you see a newborn, or walk by a pregnant woman and touch your hand to your stomach? To feel those little flutters that later turn into kicks, or to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time? To experience nursing…those late night snuggles and listening to the little gulping sounds? It’s such a miracle to be able to grow a life inside you and then nourish her as well. But for us it’s no more bottles or boppy’s, no more walkers or exer-saucers, no more baby food…just big girls. And though I mourned the end of the baby phase for over a year…I’m finally OK with it.
The chances of us every conceiving again were non-existent anyways. We didn’t want the expense of In Vitro again, and quite honestly the thought of more injections multiple times a day is stomach churning. The swelling and the uncomfortable bruising, and the panic and anxiety of the process is both nauseating and overwhelming. But strangely enough I would have done it all again just to hold a baby one more time…and to give my husband a little boy.
I had a choice to make last year…I could continue along with my horribly inconsistent cycles, so intense I was becoming anemic. I was so exhausted and weak I could barely take care of myself let alone two children. There were other prescription options, more acupuncture and herbs, but quite honestly I was tired of trying. Tired of being sick, and tired of never being happy. So with a heavy heart I made the choice to have a procedure that would prohibit pregnancy, a uterine ablation…knowing that we would never have more children.
And it did help my symptoms tremendously, but it took me over a year to accept the emptiness inside me.
The girls are growing faster than we ever imagined possible…so independent and full of life and character. They are walking, talking, attitude filled little human beings…that still need us, but each year just a little bit less. I’m happy to know them and to have had the experience of carrying them, loving them and raising them…but sometimes my heart still hurts. And now that the toddler rails are down, not much remains in our home that says or feels ‘baby’.
It’s so hard to let go of what was and accept that we are done, but it’s time. Time to say goodbye to our babies and hello to our future with our daughters. The bright, spirited, creative creatures they are becoming, and fully be grateful for what we have. We all have to do it, whether we are ready or not, to say goodbye and mourn that baby phase that will never be again.
Janine Huldie says
I totally could have written this and oddly enough, I just ordered a brand new big girl bed for my girl, who is 4 recently, too. She has been in the toddler bed and pretty much out grown it, but part of me just didn’t want to let go. But like you it is time and we are also done with the baby era here with no more babies happening either. Sometimes it is hard to admit it, but still when it is time it is time. Beautiful post and seriously could very much relate.
Herchel A Scruggs says
It took me longer than most to get to that feeling. My youngest, though six now, is the size of a three year. She may pass for four now. (That is until she opens her mouth.) She is also carried a lot because of the arthritis in her knees so in my head she’s been a “baby” for six years. The other day she came home weeping because her classmates told her she was the size of a baby. It really opened my eyes.
Aubrey @ 53weeks says
Wow, thanks for sharing and being so open and honest. I know so many people have different struggles when it comes to having children, and I’m sure you sharing your story will mean something to so many. I’m “blessed” I haven’t had to deal with any fertility issues… On another note, I totally get the yearning to be prego…I really want to have another and I’m not ready to be done with the baby phase that goes all too quickly. And — knowing the painful and tough stories like yours, makes me realize even more how “lucky” I am to not have had to experience that type of struggle…and also to appreciate the miracle of life and how special it really is. xoxo
Star Traci says
So beautiful! While I didn’t have to do UVF, I had terrible pregnancies and we knew at two we were done. Giving away things my son (1st born) was okay because I still had the “baby” but now my baby is 8. Giving her outgrown things away hurts a lot more.
Thanks for sharing!
Melissa Roy says
I think it’s hard for any mommy to know they are “done”. I’m expecting my fourth and while I am very comfortable with the fact this is the LAST baby for us and 4 is all I ever wanted anyways, I know there will be an emptiness with the reality that all of his/her firsts will be the last firsts. I’m definitely the type of woman that could just keep having babies forever (if I had the money, time, patience and help for it!)
I was just thinking about this today on the way into work, so it is so crazy to log onto FB and find your post! I have always been dead set that I am done, but this morning I realized I have slept ALL NIGHT the past 4 nights in a row.. no baby girl coming in to get snuggles or ask for milk or a new diaper and I thought, “Well, another phase gone.” and it made me so sad. I have been begging for sleep for the past two years and now I a bummed that I am finally getting some! Go figure!
I am still fighting to hold onto a little bit of that baby phase, but my threenager won’t have it. She is a big girl. Independent, sassy and smart, LOL! It is hard though. Especially when you know, for sure, that they are your last!
The Dusty Parachute says
I know you’re not alone in these feelings and I’m sure you’ve helped a lot of people by being so open and honest about them.
Awww. That is tough. There’s little chance that the Husband and I will have another baby after this next one is born, and I’m already getting wistful about it. But the older years have so many wonderful aspects to them as well. Plus, it looks like she got a pretty awesome big-girl bed, too!
This is a very powerful piece, beautifully written and true-to-heart. So many of us have health obstacles (insert better word here,) like you, that limit our initial dreams. I’m happy that you have accepted/embraced it and share your story so that others can learn to feel good about their situations, too.
Allie Smith says
It took me so long to let it go – the desire for another. I have four, which is more than enough, but still, I longed for just one more. Even after I turned forty, and did the fuzzy math (how old will I be when the baby graduates?), I was till hopeful. But Dad was done and I had to respect that, even if it still hurt. It wasn’t until my youngest entered kindergarten, when I sat through my fourth new parent orientation, watching the other parents as they excitedly took notes, that I realized I was done. The baby phase had passed. And most of the time, I’m okay with it. That is until I hear that someone’s pregnant and my heart skips a beat:).
Crystal Bissonnette says
Beautiful, honest and truly felt through your words. We too are done having children and I can’t help but feel sadness at not having a girl. Just the opposite of you. I am truly blessed for the two boys I do have an will take that for granted. I get it! I think many women will be able to relate to this.
Tricia the Good Mama says
Your little girls are so adorable. I’m sure it’s such a tough realization. We haven’t really decided on a set number of kids because I know how you can never know for sure. Great post!
baby stage is fun but so is every other stage. i hate letting go but i love looking forward. you will too!
Jill Ginsberg says
This is exactly why I act like a crazy person and let my 2 (almost 3) year old daughter crawl around on the floor and say “goo goo gah gah” or sit backwards in the chair and pretend she’s sitting in a highchair. If she wants to act like a baby, I’m the last person that’s going to stop her. Sick but true, ha ha. Eventually I may even get her out of diapers:)
I hear ya – my 3 year old still won’t poop the potty and I’m fine with buying diapers for nighttime! Not ready to say goodbye to Pampers!
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
We knew after our second that our family was done. I mourned every milestone because it was the last. When we removed the crib I bawled – the crib that safely held both my girls was taken to a dumpster… and reality set in. Our family won’t grow but will grow older. It was a painful revelation.
Thanks for sharing.
Big hugs from one mama to another.
Even though I know we’re done having children I don’t think I’ve fully mourned the end of the baby phase yet. My son is 18 months and sometimes I just stare at him, willing him to stay little forever. I know it’s not possible, but it can be so very hard to say goodbye to the baby phase. I’m right there with ya!
I’m so glad you get it!! Good luck!
Tove Maren says
oh no – this is heart wrenching to think about. I am not ready to say we are done – although we are! I know there comes a time when we all have to stop making babies – and instead enjoy watching the kids we have grow and thrive. I know that time has come, I am just not ready to admit it! LOL
I forbid you from having more children!!!
Beautifully written Kristen! On some level, I have been struggling with this with my oldest. Obviously he is not the last baby since his little sister was born a little over a year ago but with each passing day he gets a little bit older, a little bit bolder, and whether I like it or not, he’s no longer a baby. He’ll always be my baby, my first, but it’s hard letting go.
It is SO hard to let go Amber. Good luck with it…even on his wedding day he’ll still be your baby!
Rachael Boley says
This was so beautiful and I so feel all of this. I didn’t have to go through in vitro and I commend you for enduring it and making the tough decision to stop. It’s bitter sweet watching our babies grow; and even though it hurts, Its amazing. This was truly lovely ❤
Nicole Jankowski says
Oh this post hits right at home for me! I have been putting off the ablation—I have horrible anemia too, have had to had iron transfusions just to combat it. There is such sadness in moving into the “never again for sure” stage, but there’s a nice sense of starting over too. You’ve written about this beautifully.
I’m so sorry you are hurting so badly Nicole, trust me I know what you are going through. I have to tell you though, life after the ablation is amazing. Just make sure you are absolutely sure you don’t want more children….
Aileen from @NewsyParents says
#NewsyDad and I have said we’re done with our two girls. But I do still get that tingling feeling holding a baby and am actually one of the few people I know that loved being pregnant.
I loved it too Aileen…just not the 3rd trimester!
Oh that’s so hard. I’m not sure if we are done or not.
I guess I still don’t know.. my husband (and Scarlet) would love another baby but I’m pregnancy phobic, and that’s with having two healthy ones. My friend said it best. She had two girls and she said, “If I had five kids and I was told I couldn’t have a six, I would want that sixth.” I think it can just really suck to be told you can’t. She went on to have a third baby – a boy – and now is trying for a fourth! (I will never get there)
So I feel like I could go either way but I know I’ll mourn the end. I know it.
She looks so sweet in her big girl bed! I love it! After many, many years of babies I am heading to the end. I am sad, but ready. It’s always a little hard to say good bye to something we have loved so much.
I cannot identify with you on many levels because I never wanted kids. I do identify with you on the horrible cycles – I had a uterine ablation (which failed) and later had a partial hysterectomy via daVinci Robot through my belly button (best thing I ever did).
I want to write this… I am a three-time cancer survivor. When I was 21, they said I wouldn’t live to see 22. On those days for any of those mothers mourning the fact their children are growing up, celebrate they’re growing up. Many parents would long for those days. What my parents faced – the agony – I wish it on no parent. You give your children a life to live, always celebrate that they get to live it.
I do somewhat understand, in the best way I can, for someone who has never given birth. My husband has daughters and as they grow into tweens and teens (and one is in college) I worry and I see them changing into women and think, “AHHH too fast!” So I can imagine what it would feel like had I carried them. But I celebrate that I am here to watch these healthy, gorgeous girls grow into women.
I am glad to read you are feeling better. I hope none of what I written offends; it is truly meant from a loving place.
All of the best to you. And thank you for celebrating your children in the way you do. The world would be a better place if more mothers did the same.
First of all, I’m so sorry about your ablation. Thankfully mine worked but I’m still dealing with different things. As for the mourning, it’s just a phase and we do celebrate our kids and thank God every single day that I’m a mother. I’m sorry to hear of your struggles but so glad that you are well and healthy. And nothing offends, lovely to hear from you and read your insight!
I’m sorry to hear about your struggles. I realize now how lucky we were in that though we waited till very late to have a child we had no problem conceiving. That said, the recovery was hard and due to our family situation as well as my age now we probably won’t be able to give her a sibling. I have some pangs about it but I think I’m mostly okay with that. However, I was ambivalent about motherhood in the first place. Thanks for sharing your story.
I didn’t want kids either…until I had them! Thank you for your kind words!
The Imp says
I don’t know if it’s any consolation, but I think this is something every mom that knows their youngest will stay the youngest, that there’s nobody else coming to join the family, feels.
I know for us, it’s certainly the case. Our youngest will be two in June, and there’s a whisper I hear, whenever he does something…first step, first word…”This is the last first.” And despite having a large family, it’s still very bittersweet.
Yes but on the flip side, it’s nice not to have to carry diaper bags, and pullups are a thing of the past. We can travel this summer and not be restricted by naps. I’m excited to see what the future holds…and I can keep adding puppies and kittens!
I can imagine how bittersweet it is to see your children grow up I only have one so far and now that she’s a toddler I’m kinda sad that she’s no longer a baby. Granted, she’s way more fun and it’s amazing to see her little personality grow, but sometimes I miss how small and cuddly she was. Presumably I’ll have another one and I imagine it will be both and amazing and sad to go through that all over again. ! Stopping by from SITS.
They do grow fast don’t they! My baby is turning 16 next week, and I am starting to realize that very soon I will not have any kids left at home. I think this next phase is going to be harder to let go of than the baby phase.
Breaking The Momma Mold says
You pulled at every heart string I have! We too had to undergo IVF. I have a three year old and 10 month old twin girls. The thought of going through the process again, is just stomach turning. I totally agree with every word you said. The closure of the baby phase is so sad! I’m already packing so much stuff away. I send love to you and your beautiful girls and raise a glass to the next phases. This was a beautiful article. Thank you.
Twins! What a dream! We did IVF for both of my pregnancies and with number 2 I only made ONE embryo. Well one egg and one embryo. Twins sound like fun! Thank you for your kind words and it’s lovely to meet you. It IS tough to put away the baby stuff…but as you said cheers to the next phase!
I can and do understand where you are coming from with regards to mourning the baby stage, and knowing that it will not be happening in your home again. The time period goes by so fast. Just yesterday I was changing diapers and now I am getting ready to say goodbye to our oldest. There are days and weeks where you can’t wait for them to grow up, and then you turn around and they have gone and done it 🙁
We too had issues and are very, very grateful that we have two beautiful daughters. Three or more just were not in the cards for us 🙂
OMG nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo…..I still have some time with my last one. She’s turning three next month but dang it all, I still have some time! I am so in awe of your strength and beauty, mama – you are truly an incredible mom and your girls will need you later more than you can even imagine! I wish I had my mom around when I had my baby girls. Just think…..after they grow up, you’ll get the chance to possibly hold another newborn….but then give it back when it starts to cry! HAHA
I know – it goes by fast. When she hit 3 it was like….BAM! Threenager. Sigh….
Amy Groves says
That is painfully beautifully written. I had cancer when I was 26 and I am not physically able to have another baby. Having that choice taken away from me was one of the saddest things I have dealt with as a woman. My daughters are 9 and 14 now. I am totally and completely in love with these sweet, amazing, creative,little girls. I am so blessed to have them.
You are SO BRAVE to put all of that out there.
I’m so sorry to hear of your cancer and at such a young age! I am with you…it’s awful to have the choice taken from you. It took me a year to mourn the decision….but now I’m ready for the future. Thank you for your kind words and for reading…it is much appreciated.
My own two boys grew up in a whirlwind of one car, parttime jobs and running them to activities. I am fortunate to have my 6 year old granddaughter and my son and his wife living with us. I wanted to buy her bed when she was 5, and then 6, but her parents say she isn’t ready. Now I know the truth. It is the parents who aren’t ready. Thanks for the insight and for sharing.
Tenns @ Bliss & Faith says
Can we just pause time?! My son is 18 months and more and more everyday I see him becoming a little boy, and growing out of being a baby. I try to get all the snuggles, hugs, and kisses in now, because I know when he gets to be about 8 or 9 he’s not going to want all that. Time never flew so fast before I became a mom. Its a crazy phenomenon!
This has me in tears because even thought my son just turned 2, he’s very much not a baby anymore. He is very independent and has been from day one, but with the older he gets, that more he tries to assert his independence.
I actually got the chance to sleep with him again when we were at Disney over Labor Day weekend, which is something we haven’t done for a year because our bed is just too small for all 3 of use to sleep comfortably. And then there was the waking up at 4 am, jumping off the bed and trying to run around the bedroom to play. So we had to switch him from the family bed to his crib, but I always missed having him there next to me. I missed being able to smell him and snuggle with him and have his little hand reach out and land in some weird spot, like on my nose or in my ear. No, I didn’t sleep with him, but like Lauren, I also missed not being able to sleep.
My husband doesn’t want anymore; I want one. I don’t know if I’ll ever get another and like you, that makes me so incredibly sad. There is just something so amazing about having a baby, even when having one means you’ll be utterly exhausted for the baby’s first year or more.
Thank you for your beautiful post. I can so relate to the deep sadness of leaving the baby phase. I have 4 kids, and my baby is almost 3 years old. For me personally, more than 4 kids seems utterly absurd- with the busyness and time and attention- they all so desperately need as it is… Yet for some reason, I long for “just one more.” But, maybe no matter how many I had, I’d always long for that precious little infant.
Can anyone offer any advice on how to get past this sadness and find the strength and joy in the present and what’s ahead? I can’t keep looking back, and longing for the past. There must be some happiness and hope in moving on as well….
Hi Jenny, I totally understand where you are right now. It doesn’t matter how many kids you have, it’s normal to mourn what once was. It’s hard to move on to the next phase, and make peace with no more babies. It honestly took me a full year to get to acceptance. But now that she’s 4, and can do so much more, I’m grateful for the easier phases. Time heals, I promise it will pass. Try starting a gratitude journal at night, to keep you positive. Good luck!
Thank you for this comment. This is what I needed to hear. I had my third ten months ago (my last baby), and I am beyond blessed and grateful for each of my sweeties. I have had some serious depression though absorbing that we are moving out of the baby phase. My kids are close together in age, and the days are long and tough but precious. I feel like I’m desperately grasping on to each moment and terrified of what the future holds for some reason. I need to learn to enjoy each moment and thank God when I feel like this for my blessings. Thank you for assuring us that time heals this heartache because I can’t stop crying! <3