I knew my family was complete the day our Princess was born. She finished our family off just nicely. If she had been twins I would have done a little dance of joy, delirious wouldn’t be a big enough word. I knew I wanted her to have a sister; a best friend for life like my sister is to me. But I also knew that I never wanted to be pregnant, or give birth, ever again. I.was.done. Finnito.
Being that we are so ridiculously fertile, I knew that given any tiny opportunity I would find myself pregnant again soon. There was absolutely no need for temperature taking and ovulation charts in our house. Making a baby is like ordering a Big Mac. Predictable.
You place the order, you get your burger.
You have the sex, you conceive the baby.
First time. Every time.
The words ‘Oh well, let’s try again next month’ never escaped my lips. We wanted a baby and four weeks later I was pregnant. Easy.
Don’t worry; I am well aware how fortunate we are.
So, three months after the birth of our little lady Hubby went for the snipsnip and I didn’t think about it again…for a while.
Then Princess had her 1st Birthday and my ovaries started twitching. Something in my body recognised the timing, recognised that I should be pregnant by now. Why not? that’s what I had taught my body to expect. I knew it wasn’t going to happen, I knew my baby making days were done, and that’s when I started feeling….grief.
It swelled and crashed around me for the longest time. Confusion came from knowing that I was absolutely finished, yet feeling a little sad with the finality.
I’m not ready to say goodbye to this stage of my life. But I don’t want any more babies, so what am I grieving for?
For a period of 7 years I had either been pregnant or caring for a baby under 12 months old. It became my default setting.
I began to realise that I would never again feel the thrill of the first fluttery kicks in my tummy. Never again experience labour or birth (I might be the minority, but I actually enjoyed the process of a natural pain-feeling birth.) I would never again breastfeed, or bath my new baby, or experience that incredibly peaceful 3am feed. No more first words, no more fat baby hands, no more tiny little bums to kiss. No more contented-milk-drunk-baby sighs.
It’s hard to accept that a part of your life is over; it’s hard to accept that there are things in this world, things that you love, that you will never experience ever again. Every time a pregnant friend asked “Hey can I use your steriliser?” or “Are you done with your bassinette?” I realised, oh yeah, I don’t need those things anymore, as my heart did a little flip-flop.
It wasn’t an all-consuming depressive grief. I didn’t languor in bed crying into my old bunny rugs. It was more a recognition of sadness that this life stage is now over; it’s time to move on.
Today is Princess’ 6th Birthday and this grief is far far behind me. I can look at my fab four and feel totally content in the knowledge that we made the right decision. I know that my nieces will be excellent sister substitutes for Princess and I can see that they are already forging the same strong bond I share with my sister.
I imagine I will experience a similar grief all over again when I become an empty nester, and perhaps then again when I get to the ‘other’ significant female life change.
In the meantime, I live vicariously through my sister and sister-in-law, who are both still very much enjoying their baby making era. And although my baby making days are over, my mothering days are far from it and now, if you’ll excuse me, I have fairy bread to make.