Before we had Jai, with just one child between us already, both my husband and I from nuclear families of two children each, we had only ever discussed the concept of two kids. Literally the minute he was born, there was a look between us, later followed by much lengthy conversations, that he wasn’t our last. That we weren’t done yet.
Jai (3) was a cruisy as baby. He puked often but he was a happy spiller. He wasn’t particularly fussed who was holding him just as long as someone was and that kid has been worn in a carrier by more different people than I can count! We often joke about how much of Jai’s journey and personality have always made him destined to be a middle child.
Then we got pregnant with number three. Pregnancy is never been my most fun experience I gotta say… I have never felt all like earth goddess, in touch with my femininity. As much as I have tried my hardest to every time! With each subsequent pregnancy, and obviously each additional existing child I’ve had during that time, has made it harder and harder again. Birth I don’t mind, the newborn phase is hard (I’ve found it particularly hard this time) but I’m OK with it, but pregnancy, man it gets me…
But then I love babies. Like I really do. It is totally not unheard of for me to wrap or sling someone else’s baby when I didn’t have a fresh newborn of my own. I feel a cluckiness over it, like a longing. One I thought would pass but even now, as I look at photos of Jack even just a few months ago and see how teeny he was I still feel it. There is something truly special about that phase with a tiny wee newborn.
But then I think maybe all this is the hormones talking, cause my head is like “what the absolute fuck are you even thinking woman?! This is so many fucking children already. You are so well outnumbered! You can’t keep your shit together most days, why the bloody hell would you add more kids to that? Why would you even consider it?!?”
And I think, “You’re right head, you’re right. Chill the fuck out hormones.” I just thought there was maybe some switch, some definitive point where you are like, “yep, that’s me. I’m done. I’m out of the baby making business.” but maybe there isn’t always that point…? Or is there?
When I was pregnant with Jack I was so hesitant to say the milestones would be for the last time. Not accepting he would necessarily be a last baby but also because that concept of something being a last opportunity is actually a lot of pressure for me. I know for some people that might help them enjoy things, for me, it feels like a pressure to capture and memorialise every second. It takes away from my ability to be authentic to my experience in that moment, not every single part of things are cheerful. Some are great and obviously those are the ones you want to savour, to hold on to. It’s often easy to look back on things with rose tinted glasses but more difficult to appreciate and be grateful for the true entire experience during the tough bits.
Even now when we pass a milestone and I think, this is the last time I might have a newborn of my own as Jack turns four months old, a little part of me feels grief over leaving this stage of my life. This stage with little babies. Again completely fucking ridiculous thing to say because most of the time I am completely and utterly overwhelmed by the amount of little people needing me, but still it’s the truth. Obviously another huge part of me looks forward to a day when the age gaps seem closer, when it’s different struggles I am grappling with but ones that don’t involve me cleaning shit from their arses as well.
And last week, for the first time ever, I said to my husband after the kids were all asleep, “I think I am truly done. This is more than enough kids, I am really happy with our three boys being it.”
Again, I know that doesn’t sound big. It’s not a huge statement I guess but I thought I would have more of a feeling of completion rather than one of defeat when I thought about deciding we were complete as a family. I guess its a matter of time to accept that now, I am already more comfortable with the concept than I was when I wrote this a week ago.
Maybe for some of us the cluckiness never really goes away, just as equally as for some of us it isn’t there in the first place?
How do you know when enough is really enough?!
And I guess the next question is, then what… ?! 🍌✂↔🙅💏
(I often get my husband to check things I write before I post, just making sure I am being respectful of my kids and family when I am sharing mainly. His face when he saw those emojis was hilarious by the way!)