My baby boy just turned one last week. My last baby. I decided when I was pregnant with him that I was never to do this again. This was the closing, final chapter in my adventures in pregnancy, and thus, adventures with snuggly adorable newborns. Some may find that sad. Some.
As we’ve moved past the first birthday, he started walking, says three words, and cannot fit in any real infant clothes. He’s huge.
As we’ve moved past the first birthday, my husband and myself began to breathe a little more. The family is complete. No more deciding when to get pregnant again, which kid would be moving into a different room, saving for maternity leave, gearing up for a whole new set of medical bills, all those things that American families get to worry about. It’s a different view of the future. Our babies will get older, and we will have the privilege of being there.
Being in my early 30s, it’s assumed that I want to keep going. My answer is, if my life had this batch at 20, I would be done. Age has nothing to do with finalizing the family number. It’s a feeling, a full happy family feeling, with a bit of a financial deciding factor…if I’m being completely honest.
There was a relief about never going through pregnancy again. I know it’s an awful thing to admit. I know that I was lucky to have more multiple pregnancies that were healthy, with healthy babies. I’m lucky. I also, was a cranky, swollen, emotional, monstrous dragon woman that would breathe fire at anyone that would look my direction. I was not great at being pregnant.
There is a relief to not worry about financially having another baby. I don’t need to explain that kids are expensive. Because they are. Very, very expensive.
There is a relief to just be done. Our life is full, and busy. The kids are going to get older, and get involved in after school activities, and have birthday parties to attend, and more play dates, and sports, and whatever else I’ll know I’ll be waiting in the van about (yes, minivan). I’m not envisioning the possibilities of another person in that mix, I just see us, the five of us, getting older.
When you don’t have the fantasy of the next baby, as I like to call the ‘ghost baby’, you focus more on the now. Not like I didn’t before, but each milestone is more definitive. More final. And in that regard, the moment stays in the moment.
So with my last baby, who just turned one, and therefore no longer a “baby”…I click my heels. He’ll always, and forever be the baby to me. With his open mouth, tongue out baby kisses that turns into a bite on my cheek, I think he’s okay with our final family decision too.
Kristine Rohwer lives in west Omaha with her husband, stepson, daughter, son and two neurotic dogs.