My baby turned two years old on Sunday.
When did that happen?! I can still remember giving birth to her at home, in our bedroom. Like it was yesterday. And the newborn snuggles! Oh, the newborn snuggles. I just cannot get enough.
Those newborn days are so fleeting. You’re so exhausted, and yet trying to just drink in every moment. The days just seem to fly by too fast. And you blink and she’s not a baby anymore. She’s two, and she’s running and talking and growing into such an amazing little person.
I knew from the time I was pregnant the third time around, that this would most likely be our last baby. I’m really not a happy pregnant person. In fact, instead of dealing with post-partum depression, I actually dealt with pregnancy depression. A feeling of fog that seems to lift almost as soon as my babies are born. And so I was pretty sure that my third pregnancy would be my last.
I tried to cherish those pregnancy days, I really did. But man it’s hard to do that when you’re huge and miserable. Sometimes I get those phantom baby kicks though, and it just takes me right back to that time.
The newborn days and weeks and even months are a much better time for me, personally. I’ve been blessed with three easy babies (be careful what you wish for – they turn into extremely challenging toddlers and little kids!) who nursed easily, slept often, loved to be cuddled and held, and were just all around easy going and a joy to have as babies. I always say if I could just do the newborn thing over and over, without the pregnancy thing (or maybe also the toddler thing), I would in a heartbeat!
Oh my, those newborn snuggles, breathing in that distinct newborn smell. Ugh! Makes my ovaries hurt!
And don’t even get me started on newborns in cloth diapers. I mean, is there anything cuter?
So I tried my best, with two older and needy kiddos tagging along, to cherish those newborn days, knowing they would probably be my last.
And now here I sit with a two-year old who is a feisty firecracker and cuddly lovebug all rolled into one petite ball of energy. And I find myself somewhere that I’ve never been before and I’m not sure how to handle it. I’m leaving the pregnancy/baby/breastfeeding stage and moving on to the little & big kid stage of mommyhood.
And I’m really sad. Really, really sad. And it’s more than I expected.
I guess in some ways I’m in mourning.
It’s not the kind of mourning or grief I’ve gone through after losing my dad. But it’s a deep sadness that my baby days are over. I’m having to come to terms with the fact that I will most likely never be pregnant or give birth again.
I will never have another newborn to nurse, co-sleep, or baby-wear. I won’t see those toothless first smiles or hear those baby gurgles and giggles. And I am surprised by how hard it is for me to accept the end of this season and how extremely sad I feel about it.
It’s just so hard to believe that chapter in my life is over. Being done with babies and breastfeeding is breaking my heart. Those years were long, but they seemed to pass in a blink of an eye. It’s kinda hard to put into words because I’m not sure it’s something we really talk about – this passage from the pregnancy/baby/breastfeeding stage to the toddler and big kid stage when you’ve decided you are done having kids. Has anyone else had a hard time with this transition?
Blair is still nursing at night time before bed. I’m holding on with white knuckles to these quiet evening nursing times. It’s that last part of baby-hood that both she and I are having a hard time letting go of. Extended nursing is something that is really important to me, but both of my other kids were weaned before they were two. I’m not sure how to do it this time around.
It’s so hard to realize that I won’t have this beautiful view every day.
It breaks my heart.
It is a truly miraculous and marvelous thing to be able to feed and nourish and comfort your baby with your own body. Nursing is actually one of my favorite parts of having a baby. I have nursed my babies for going on 61 months. That’s 5 years of my life I have literally had a baby attached to me. And while it can get tiring sometimes, it’s hard to imagine never having that nursing relationship again.
This is so hard. I don’t know how to do this.
I didn’t know I would have such strong feelings about this. There are tears running down my face as I’m writing and I’m really surprised by them. I guess I’ve been kinda avoiding the inevitable and now that I’m sitting here putting my thoughts into words, it’s a bigger deal to me than I realized.
It’s hard for me to let go of this stage. It’s hard for me to move on, even though I know I don’t really have a choice.
The evening after I wrote this post, crying over my keyboard at the thought that I’d never be pregnant or hold my own newborn again, I was standing in the kitchen making dinner and glanced out into the living room. My girls, ages 6.5 and 2, were sitting together playing nicely for well over 20 minutes. As I watched them my heart felt full and proud. What amazing girls I have.
As I continued to watch, I feel like the Spirit whispered in my ear, “See, there is so much good that awaits you in this next season too.” It was exactly what I needed to see and hear to be able to move into this next stage of mothering and life with my littles with joy and hope.
As much as the pregnant/baby/breastfeeding stage is so wonderful and amazing, there are some pretty amazing things about having older kids that I’m already getting to experience too.
And it is good. Not always easy, but what about parenting is easy? Yet, still so good.
So I will cherish and hold tight to the memories of baby flutters, hiccups, and full on karate in my belly, the round firmness of carrying a baby, the pain of labor to the joy of holding my newborn babies, the quiet of night nursing and the craziness of nursing in public, the baby snuggles and babbles, and everything else that goes along with that season.
Then I will be able to move into this next season of independence, meaningful conversations, proud soccer mama moments, imaginative play, snuggles while reading chapter books, learning to ride a bike without training wheels, and so much more. My heart is full of anticipation and thrown wide open to all I still have to experience on this amazing journey of motherhood.
My friend Rebekah at is sharing her thoughts on weaning as a Benediction to Weaning Moms – it’s a beautiful post and something I really needed to read right now. If you’re in this season, or close to it, I think it will encourage you too!