One of the most common questions posed to me over the past 8 months has been “So, are you done after this one?” To which I answer an emphatic “Yes.” Our plan has always been for 4 kids and I don’t anticipate it changing. I’m only getting older, but beyond that, I’ve been pregnant the majority of the past 5 years. It becomes less “special” when you do it more often than you don’t.
Many women relish their pregnancies. They “just love it!” Not so much me. I don’t hate pregnancy; I’m overall a very good pregnant woman in that I’m not a puker and haven’t had to manage other issues like gestational diabetes, blood pressure or anything health-related. I don’t hate needles and don’t balk at that orange drink they make you consume to test for sugar.
However, even though it’s not been difficult, it’s still pregnancy. We’ve had a constant flow of pregnancy-induced sleeplessness followed by newborn neediness for several years now. After the weening of this one, I believe I’ll fall asleep and not wake up for a week.
So, (while I retain the right to change my mind) in believing this is my final go, I simply must chronicle some of the things I’ve learned and experienced through my constant state of pregnancy. Someday this season of my life will seem like just a brief moment. The days are long but the years are short, right?
I hope to remember what it feels like to have a tiny person move around inside. Jumping on bladders aside, it’s quite fascinating to watch elbows and feet protrude from my midsection. Sometimes I like to push back and see if we can’t get a little game of tag going. I wonder if the placenta doubles as a treadmill. I will confirm that there comes a point in time when the movement goes from sweet and miraculous to something more akin to a bad roommate situation. When it’s time for someone to move out, everybody is happier.
The kids enjoy the belly as well, offering nighttime hugs and kisses and wanting to feel the kicks. I’m sure it’s hard for them to fathom that it’s an actual baby, a sibling, in there. We haven’t yet discussed the process of the baby coming out of mommy’s belly, but I do understand why someone came up with the Stork as an option. (A friend recommended a vague description of mommy “pushing it out” without details. I wouldn’t be lying but no anatomical definitions need to be given).
I’ll be glad to part with all the maternity clothes. On average I require no less than 3 shirts to cover all necessary parts and pieces.
Overall, it’s hard to imagine not doing this again. When I have a bad day or require a bit more rest, my husband encourages me that we’re on the home stretch. But this reminder is bittersweet – the closing of a door to another significant period in my life. Of course, my identity lies not in the production of my womb, but it’s served me well in creating such beautiful little balls of joy. One simply cannot participate in such miraculous work and quit it like a bad summer job. It’s a role that stays with you forever, even as the task of mothering takes new shape.