We are done having kids.
In black and white, with that final period, with no prepositional phrase or hesitant adjective to modify it, it seems so final. It is, of course, unless there is some sort of heavenly intervention which does not seem forthcoming in my ponderings. You would think I would have prayed mightily about this, to reach such a decision. I didn't. That sounds faithless, doesn't it? No, I've always been a believer that Heavenly Father is always talking to me about what is on my mind and so I just need to pay attention to the feelings that I have. It feels like those ponderings are the mighty prayers.
When I had Tessa, things went pear shaped. I didn't write about it here, because I wrote about it on the other blog, but she was breech, I had a c section, I had placenta accreta (which is when your placenta embeds itself too far into the uterine wall and won't come out on its own), had to have another emergency d&c, and lots more blood than I did with Maggie. I ended up having three units of blood and having a doctor tell me in the midst of it that I should never get pregnant again and that if I did, I hold be ready to lose half my blood volume and my uterus.
I'm not really sure what I was supposed to do with that at the time. I was just focused on what they told me after, which was that if I had had the birth that I wanted, I would have been in the ICU. I just focused on the fact that stubborn, comfortable Tessa saved my life.
But it's been five months now, and I've been thinking about where to go from here for all of them. I think I have gone through the stages of grief, to a certain degree. I first was in denial--what's the big deal? So I lose my uterus. Big deal. Then I think there was some anger about them unfairness of it all. Then I think there was some desperate reaching heavenward to try to have Him say that, yes, we wee supposed to have another baby, as if somehow I could cajole Heavenly Father into overcoming this for me. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the truth crept into my heart. We are done.
Jut writing it makes me cry, and feel guilty all at the same time. I don't feel guilt for being done. No, I don't feel any personal mandate to repopulate the earth, and I effectively doubled my mom's childbearing, so that's pretty good. No, I feel guilt for wanting to mourn the idea of what I could have had when the two healthy, strong, beautiful, amazing children I have already been blessed with ply t my feet. I feel guilty for feeling robbed when I have been given so much. I feel guilty that I feel robbed of the dream that I had for our family when those dreams have already come true.
Because the reality of this is that I don't feel like I chose it, but I am in some sense relieved. I am tired. My body is thrashed. I miss the sass, spunk, and vitality that comes with consistent sleep. I miss the brain function that makes me witty. I posted something about challenging toddler behavior on Facebook last week, and someone told me that these are the best years of my life.
I know that, and it hurts so much sometimes, in these small fragments of moments, to know that I will never have another newborn. I will never feel the wonder of a first smile again. Sometimes I feel bad for just holding Tessa so tight, for kissing her cheeks so much, for reveling in her babyness...the chubby rolls of thighs, the cheeks that are so round, the sweet sleeping sighs. I see Maggie watching me, and I feel bad, because I don't want her to think that I am any less entranced by her. But I will never get those things again. Already I see Tessa changing into the older baby she is on the cusp of becoming. Already I see her fascinated by her sister, entranced by the action and activity of the house, and literally turning away from me to be a part of it. This is how it was meant to be, this is life, this is what we want for our children. Thrilling independence and the confidence to pursue life and hard things is the badge of honor for a parent.
My heart still hurts to see it, to know that soon they won't need me as much as they do now. And part of me is thrilled by that idea, because the weight of that need can sometimes be crushing. But mostly I find myself wondering what that means for me. Who will I be then, when they don't need me like they did? Who will I be to the world? Who will I be to myself?
I know that there is a time for every purpose under heaven, and that just as He helped me learn how to be a mother, He will help me change and grow into the different stages of my life as a mother. But I also know there is a time to mourn, and I think this is my time.
These have been the hardest six months of my life. I use no hyperbole in that statement. I hope I never have to deal with anything harder, though I feel certain I will.
My mourning is quiet, but it is real. So if you see me, every once in a while, hug my baby very tight with a far off look in y eye, it is my heart taking a picture. Because this time won't come again, and I don't want to forget any of it. I know I will. I know I will forget most of it.
But I hope I never forget how much Tessa loves to smile. I'd hope I never forget how sweet Maggie is to her siste, wanting so much to hug her that she practically smothers her. I hope I never forget how, before she kisses me good night, she always kisses Tessa's head. I hope I remember the sweet way they play on the floor together, Maggie briangrqing Tessa another book. I hope I don't get so wrapped up in Tessa's babyhood that i forget that these moments with Maggie are fleeting too.
There is so much deception in mortality, that it lasts forever and that the moments are just something to get through on the way to something else, like so many airport terminals. We rush and rush and rush, pushing past people and times and moments, to try to achieve something or be something or get something gone, not realizing tht those people and times and moments are the point. Perhaps this will help me not do that so much. Perhaps knowing that the baby clothes and the maternity dresses are going to goodwill will help me walk a bit more slowly.
These moments are eternal, but not in the way I think.
We are done having kids.
Deep breath, because we are just beginning to raise the ones we have got.