When you know you are done having children.
When you know you are done having children. Today marks the bittersweet end of an era. Today, I’m closing a chapter in my life that has lasted six years and yielded me four precious little beings–little bodies that I harbored safely within my own for a combined 160 weeks. Perfect little people that share my eyes, their dad’s nose, and have brought me joy beyond compare.
Today I’m saying goodbye to my sweet babies.
Forgive me as I try to adequately voice a topic that has weighed so heavily on my mind for many months now: accepting the decision that you are done having children.
No one ever told me that the decision to stop having children would be just as significant as the decision to start having them. No one warned me about how difficult it would be to let go, or about the emotions that come in waves, bathing me in relief, then uncertainty, elation, then nostalgia. Although I know it is time, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m leaving behind something so precious, so innocent—something I will never hold in my arms again.
So today, for my babies, and for yours, I write a goodbye letter. One you can read in the quiet moments between dusk and daylight. One you can read to your babies while they sleep, or to your busy toddlers in the rare moments they will sit quietly in your lap. Read it when your teens are late for curfew and you are worried sick because you love them so much. Read it on your daughter’s wedding day, or your son’s deployment. Read it on the day they leave the house and you are left with only the quiet memory of their tiny bodies nestled safely in your arms. Because no matter how big they get, no matter where they go, they will always and forever be our babies.
To My Dear, Sweet Babies,
I remember the day you were born so clearly. I peeked into heaven and there you were. Your lips parted, nose twitched, eyes opened for the first time, searching for me. Your mommy. I gazed deep into them and realized, I knew you all along. Your body so tiny, yet so strong, wiggled to get to me. They laid you gently in my arms and time stopped, the ground beneath me shifted, and my entire life changed.
My heart opened wide to let you in. One thing I am certain of: I will love you forever.
That first night at home with you, I rocked you to sleep, in the wee hours of night when the house was silent and the moonlight glistened off your soft skin. You fit perfectly in the crook of my neck and I drank in your angelic baby smell and nuzzled my nose against your soft little ear lobe.
I want you to know I was there for you, all through those nights, when you were scared of your new place, or when your tummy hurt, or when you needed someone to talk to. I fell asleep on the floor by your crib so many times, just making sure you were breathing.
Even as you slept, you kept growing. I begged time to stand still, or at least slow down, but it could not. Time told me to treasure each precious moment that I had with you, my baby, because the day would come when you would would start to crawl, walk, even run; you would no longer need me as you do now. Time warned me that the day would come when you might talk back to me. You might stomp your feet and yell at me. The day would come when you wouldn’t want to hold my hand anymore, or kiss me in front of your friends. The day might even come when you would tell me you don’t like me. Don’t worry, I know you don’t really mean it. When those days come, I will look deep into your eyes, just as I did when you were born, and remember that my sweet baby is still inside.
Now listen closely, because this may be the only time in your life when you will listen to me without any trace of doubt in your eyes. You are amazing. Your features, so tiny now, possess strength and power. You are a tiny bundle of potential. I look at you and see who you are going to be someday—a shining human being. There will come times in your life when others try to make you sad; they may make fun of you or tell you you can’t do something. Don’t listen to them. You are the most glorious gift, and no matter what others say, you are and will always be amazing, incredible, wonderful, and most of all, loved.
Now our time together is almost through. I suppose this letter was meant for me all along. Who knew it would be so hard letting you go? So my dear, sweet babes, may the walls of this house soak up your laughter and ring with your life and vibrancy. Every time I feel sad or lonely for you, I will just hold my ear up to them and listen.
Life reads like a book, and as you start your first exciting chapter, I am closing the one where you have been the star for six years. So after four positive pregnancy tests, my belly growing and shrinking and growing again; after 42 combined hours of labor, and four life-altering moments that will forever define me as “mommy,” I am ready to say goodbye.
But before you go, let me lock a few things away in my heart so I can never forget them: the sound of your newborn grunts, your baby coos, your first laugh and the surprise in your eyes when it came out. Your soft baby skin, your silky hair, and the way I could stroke them for hours. The wrinkles on your tiny feet, and the jolly little rolls on your legs. Let me get one more pinch of those chubby cheeks and one more slobbery kiss.
Now together, lets open up a new chapter in life full of beautiful things to come. Always remember: you are amazing, you are wonderful.
You are loved.
When you know you are done having children.
For all of you mothers out there – whether you have given birth or not – we know you NEVER stop nurturing. Here is more inspiration to keep you going 🙂
Do you suffer from the dreaded “Mom Guilt”? Check out these 6 Tips to Do Away With Mom Guilt!