I was asked many times after I had Birdie, “Are you done having kids?” It was a sure, and irrevocable “yes.”
The first list.
I didn’t want another child for several reasons:
- I was miserably swollen from week 16 on.
- My birth went from drug free, vaginal birth to 48 hours of a pitocin drip with zero contractions. It was not the birth I wanted.
- Let’s just not talk about breast feeding and pumping. I just can’t deal with the trauma of that.
- Staph. Y’all … I kept getting staph where my incision was. It was ugly and it hurt. If one more person told me to “get up and walk around,” I was going to scream.
- We were out of room in the house.
- What would our family say?
- My husband didn’t want another child.
So I made the statement, “We are done.” I meant it … until I didn’t.
Never say never.
The past months started with what I referred to as baby fever due to the impending permanence we were about to undergo for birth control. I brushed it off and we joked about it. I’d find myself looking at baby furniture, for a room we don’t have and a baby we aren’t having. So naturally I started drawing furniture plans to see how I could make it work. I would look at people having another and find a sense of jealousy. Then it became a grief.
I kept experiencing a range of emotions. That’s when I sat back and made the list of why I was done, just to remind myself (posted above). All but one of them were superficial and temporary. All were worth the discomfort, pain, and hurt feelings. All but one, my husband was done.
I had to talk to him. I started light-hearted. On a scale of one to ten where are you on the “Let’s have a baby scale?” With zero hesitation – “nine.” In my head I thought “I got one point of hope!”
Was this simply baby fever or was it more? I made another list Why I want another child. My list was long. It could be summed up in a word, purpose.
Never in my life have I felt more suited for a role than that of a mother. My husband is brilliant at so many things in life, but to watch him with our girls being a father is by far his most gifted talent. Another human needed to experience that.
There was only one thing to do, COMMUNICATE with my husband. We talked and laid out the reasons for both of us. In the end I was left broken-hearted, but he exhibited more empathy for me more than I could have prayed for. He acknowledged my grief and never tried to talk me out of it.
It’s okay to grieve.
I grieved as secretively as possible. When all were asleep, I’d find myself sitting alone and crying. I prayed for clarity, peace, and resolution. I realized when googling these feelings and reading message boards that this is so common. There was an extreme loneliness.
My story didn’t end there. My husband came to me a week after our discussion and we laid out a laughable plan. Despite our best efforts, we will not be having another, but that’s okay. I will grieve.
I learned a lot in this experience, but above all I learned I am not alone.
Mamas, you are not alone. You are not the only one crying for another. You are not selfish for grieving when you already have wonderful children. You are human. You are a mama. My best advice, communicate with your partner, don’t grieve alone, talk about where you are, and when all is said and done, know that your feelings are valid and important.