BabyCenter Guest Blogger
posted: October 19, 2017, 5:21 am
By Jamie Lincow
The other day, as I was moving burp clothes, receiving blankets, and crib sheets to make room for the big boy clothes that my youngest will be wearing this winter, I found myself again wrestling with the family size question that has often been posed to me: “are we done?” I nuzzled my nose into one of the sleep blankets my youngest has long since outgrown, and I tried to take in a long, deep breath. Tears overwhelmed my eyes.
The baby clothes and accessories have always stayed in our nursery, waiting to be used by each new baby that we brought home. Now the nursery is our youngest son’s room and there is no logical reason to let these items take up all the space in his closet. But,on an emotional level, I cannot bring myself to store them in the basement with the rest of the bulky baby items. It seems like such a definitive move, as if I’m accepting that we may never have another child who will use them.
It’s not that I’m struggling with the fact that my babies are becoming big boys or longing to have another baby right now; in fact, I’m completely happy that all 3 are out of diapers and my husband and I have some freedom to go out for dinner and even travel. Life has become easier with each passing year, and I truly enjoy watching my boys grow, taking them on field trips, and watching them play sports. But, in the next breath, I reminisce about how much I loved being pregnant, the joy of nursing each baby, and the moments I relished as they were infants. I find myself having these conflicting moments quite often, especially since my youngest just turned 3 and I continue to field the question: “So, are you done?”
Most of my friends had their second or third baby and knew halfway through their pregnancy that their family would be complete after the birth of that child. Some of them even posted pics on social media of their family in the birthing suite with the caption “and now we are complete.” I envy their certainty and I wish I could be definitive about my future reproductive plans. Instead, I find myself sobbing as my husband dismantles the crib to make room for a toddler bed.
Vacillating between these conflicting feelings of satisfaction and longing, I recognize that on a deeper level, I’m also mourning my youth. Each passing year brings me closer to the end of my 30’s and eventually closer to the end of my reproductive years. Little girls wait for years to be able to carry a baby and become a mom, but when our reproductive era comes to a close, we need to refocus on future milestones that our children will make as they grow and mature. While some women cross that threshold with a definitive stride, I stand hesitant, unsure about which side I belong on.
For now, I’m comfortable saying that “I’m on the fence.” I’m giving myself some more time before making that final decision about crossing the threshold and posting pictures of our “complete” family. In my heart, I know I may be someone who always yearns to feel a baby kick in my womb or to nurse a baby to his content. Those experiences were so incredible that even if I were to carry 50 babies, I still may dream of having one more.
Until then, I will take my time moving the baby accessories out of my youngest son’s closet and I’ll take an extra moment to really smell those baby blankets before storing them away.
How did you know when your family was complete? Are you still “on the fence” like me?