Published to The Huffington Post on August 5, 2015.
I knew the time would come when I would have to make this decision. That time is now. I have three kids and I am 40 years old. I do not think I am too old, I just told myself this was a good age to stop. Now that I am here, I am not sure I am done.
My heart aches to hold another newborn in my arms. I miss the baby smell, those big eyes staring up at me and all of the wonder and amazement that comes with watching them grow. I miss being pregnant. I loved my beautiful belly, my large breasts and the glowing hair, skin and nails from all those hormones. I was fortunate to have had very smooth pregnancies for all three of my kids.
Realistically, I do not want another child. Three is plenty. Three is awesome. Three is a lot of work. I cannot keep up some days when everyone wants something at the same time. Other times when my older son watches out for his younger brothers I think, you know, it would not be so bad to have another baby. Yet, every time I see a mom with more than three kids I think, “Well, that’s just crazy!”
I did not forget what it was like to have a newborn. I did not have three angelic little babies who slept through the night by two weeks of age. All of my boys had colic. It took three years for my oldest to sleep through the night. My best sleeper would have been many a mother’s nightmare child. I was up every single night. I did not sleep. I barely sleep now. In fact, during the past few weeks we have had all three of our guys in our bed at various stages of the night. Yes, we are that family. Go ahead and judge but they come in, go to sleep, end of story. Everybody wins.
I just got my body back on track. I will never look like the 25-year-old version of me, but I am very happy with the 40-year-old version. I am stronger, healthier and more fit than ever before in my life.
So why?! Why am I even entertaining the idea of another child? I cannot help but think that once I am off the baby market I will be officially old. I got married, had kids and what is the next big milestone? Retiring? Becoming a grandparent? Death? Perhaps this is the plaguing thought preventing me from making this decision. I am definitely not ready for any of those stages. Having a newborn makes me feel like I am still young.
I know I can handle a baby. I have either been pregnant or had a small child at home for the last seven years and am looking forward to having time for myself and to focus on my career. However, I am definitely stepping outside my comfort zone by establishing a business while raising my family and I am scared. Having another baby would be familiar territory and a legitimate excuse to put my goals on the back burner.
I miss the attention. Pregnant women get a lot of love. “Oh look at you?! Congratulations! Is it a boy or girl?” Nobody gives a mom that kind of attention unless they are holding a newborn. Moms get stares filled with judgement and questions such as “You are letting your kid do that?” “You have not enrolled them in every sport imaginable?” Moms are tired, frazzled and stressed. Suddenly all the understanding people had for you when you had a newborn is gone. As if taking care of a toddler that runs around and throws stuff everywhere is any less exhausting. As if driving your kids all over the place, acting like a referee and trying to keep them busy while you work is any less stressful than taking care of a baby. It is different but it is just as overwhelming, especially when you have more than one child.
I still yearn to have another baby. I think I always will. There is something magical about bringing life into the world. I need to come to terms with the fact that I will never feel a baby kicking inside my belly again. I will never again experience that incredible feeling of holding my baby for the first time and all of the intense emotions that come with that initial meeting.
In my heart, I know my family is complete. I need to love and accept myself as the mom who already had three babies. They might not need me to wipe their butts (well, the youngest one does but at least he is potty trained) but they are still little. I have to enjoy this phase of motherhood in which they continue to need me. I must embrace each moment while they still treasure our time together.
I am not missing out on anything without another baby. In fact, I gain the time to focus on my three magnificent boys. We can travel together and I can fill them with knowledge. We have great talks, watch movies together, laugh a lot and they draw zombies for me. It is most definitely time to close up shop.
Check out the original article over at The Huffington Post: