Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I can remember a time when Jonah was young having a conversation with someone I worked with about how a person "knows" she is done having kids. I, being someone who was desperately trying to have another baby, couldn't imagine ever knowing this for sure. However, after asking other women who had deemed themselves "done," I wondered if this would be true of me, too.

When I was pregnant with the twins, I was often asked (usually by complete strangers), "So, will you be done now?" My answer, "I don't know...for awhile I guess?"

I didn't have THE FEELING. And, I assumed I would never get the feeling.

A couple of years after Landon and Olivia, I got pregnant with Kate. It was a complete surprise, but still, we were happy. I was excited and kept waiting to get the THE FEELING that so many talked about. I still didn't know 100% that I was done.

The day came for her to be born and the nurse who was prepping me for my c-section asked, "Will this be your last baby?" My answer, "Um...I guess so? I have no plans for another." I couldn't say for sure.

Later that day when I was holding her and cuddling her, I kept thinking, "How could anyone say definitively that they never want to have this experience again? Either I'm a crazy person who could have 50 kids, or everyone else in the world who claims to just "know" are heartless rocks who don't really know how to enjoy the greatness of a baby."

Then, the wonderful pain and nausea set in that I get after c-sections. It hurt to walk. I was dizzy from the medication in my spinal. I was throwing up on nurses. It bothered me to look at my mom and Mike's mom talk to each other in my room because moving my head back and forth to see each of them made me feeling like I was spinning out of control. I began to think, "Maybe I'm done with this." I thought it was the pain and medication talking.

The next morning the nurse came in to help me to the shower. She remembered me from my lengthy hospital stay with Landon and Olivia. We began chatting and she asked me if we planned to have any more kids. I stopped for a moment to think and then realized that WHAM--the feeling was there.

For the first time, I was able to really think about what I was feeling in my heart and say, "I'm done."

It wasn't based on hating the pain or the nausea I was feeling. I would go through that in a heartbeat to have all my kids again. The only way I can explain it was a peace in my heart.

Over time, I have thought that this feeling would go away and that the nagging sensation of wanting another baby would come back. It hasn't. Sure I would welcome another baby into our home, but I have no desire to be pregnant again. I often tell people that if I could hatch a baby from an egg, I'd be more than happy to have another child. The pregnancy craving has left my body.

As people around me have had babies, I expected the pains of, not jealousy per say, but longing to come back. They haven't. Someone told me that once one of my best friends got pregnant again, I would want another. Well, that happened and recently I was with her to go shopping. We were talking a lot about pregnancy and babies and even went into a maternity clothes store. While she was trying on some stuff, I started looking around. Before, I would look around those stores and think about wearing the stuff. I would get a little excited at the thought of going through that again. My reaction this time? "Wow, how nice is it to never have to worry about whether or not my pants are going to fit me in a week. That shirt is really pretty ugly. Why do pregnant women have to wear polyester? I'm really over this pregnancy thing."

After years of being told I would get it, I finally can say that without a doubt, I have the DONE feeling.

Do I still get nostalgic for the times when my kids were babies? Yes. Do I wish I could go back in time and kiss their fuzzy heads? Yes. Do I miss the feeling of having a baby roll around in my belly? Yes. Do I get a little teary thinking about never nursing a baby again? Most definiately.

I also know that I have those memories forever in my mind. Nothing can take that away from me. I will always remember hearing them cry for the first time. I'll never forget what it felt like to hold them for the first time and place my cheek next to theirs.

Now, I'm the one explaining to people that I just have this feeling that our family is complete. I know that younger women probably don't understand from a feeling aspect. Most people just look at our family and think that since we have 4 kids, we NEED to be done. I think that if two people feel like their family isn't complete until they have 7 or 8 or even 12 kids, then that is what they need to long as they can afford them.

But for us, we feel complete. We feel thankful and I'm so grateful to have had been blessed with four great babies.

And, I'm thankful to not feel that pregnancy nausea again.

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