Today call me arid.

Today call me arid. Like a desert of barrenness. As in, “I will host no more babies in this womb.” Such an announcement shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me and it doesn’t signal any permanent shift in my ability to produce more children. At least none I’m aware of. It is, however, an attempt to emotionally accept what I’ve intellectually known for quite some time: that I won’t ever again grow a human being from zygote to person in my otherwise productive body.

So why is this fact so difficult to absorb? Why harbor secret (well—not anymore) desires to be pregnant again? To gaze into the eyes of a newborn I made? It’s an unsolved mystery, especially since most of my dear friends and family are content to be done. In fact, their “doneness” is a well-established goal they share enthusiastically. I, however, can’t let go of the nagging wish that I weren’t.

Done, that is.

I’m aware women have babies at my age and beyond, and I haven’t yet shown signs of menopause or whatever comes before it (besides, unfortunately, more crow’s feet and less collagen). But my children are thirteen and eleven. If I were to succumb once more to procreation, I’d be in the cabin doing the mommy bounce instead of skiing with my son. I’d be changing swim diapers instead of monitoring my daughter in her new bikini. I’d miss some of the remaining moments with the kids I already have trying to do justice to any new ones I might make.

So I’m not going to. Make new kids, I mean. Instead, I’m going to treasure the fact that the two I have still enjoy being with me. That they stumble over each other to tell me about their days when I pick them up from school. That they haven’t finished talking when I tuck them in at night.

If I were rocking a baby in the nursery, I’d miss at least some of those moments. And one day, their doors will shut. And their backs will turn as they text their friends about their school days. And then? Then, they will be gone.

The choice is simple, really. I choose to embrace my children now before these arms are empty.

Again.

Still. I didn’t realize when I held my baby girl that she would be my last. I tripped through blurry days with two children and a husband and a job. I wasn’t pausing to breathe in the joy. And I certainly wasn’t sitting around thinking, “Damn, you’re good at this, Julie. Quick! Keep Procreating!”

But I likewise didn’t think the window would shut so quickly. That one minute I’d be cradling my four-and-a-half-pound daughter on my lap and then next I’d be slipping a tube of mascara into her Christmas stocking.

I wish I’d known the last time I nursed her it would be my last time nursing. Ever.

Still.

Maybe we’re not meant to know these things. Perhaps it would be too difficult to move forward if we were continually looking back at what we’d left behind.

So what if I never get over it? My need for more, that is. I’ll sow seeds of fresh opportunity. I’ll gestate new novels. I’ll give birth to stories and blog posts.

In the meantime, my lap might feel empty. My body may ache a bit. It’s a hollow feeling. A longing I must acknowledge. Of course the well of love for my children is never dry. My uterus, however? It’s sliding toward arid, for sure.

But then? My babies burst through the door, stumbling over each other to tell me about their days.

And I find my arms full.

Again.

***

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Last Modified on January 19, 2018
This entry was posted in Life
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91 thoughts on “Today call me arid.

  1. Karen

    …and that’s why I’m stuck with 3 dogs.

  2. Hi Julie,

    I felt compelled to comment on your post. I will be 72 in May 2011, thirty years older than you. My reproductive life has been finished for decades, but so many other things came along to fill it. A first child was a girl, stillborn and deformed, in November 1960. One husband later, I had two live births, daughter Linda, 42, and son David, 41. Their bio father is now deceased. Husband number three has been in my life since 1973. He brought along three kids whose mother had died at age 34 and we raised five in all.

    Long story short, you really have to laugh at aging, wrinkles, getting to look like your own mother, and, of course, making the decision whether or not to have more children. My love mound no longer holds much allure for guys, but then again, it isn’t bleeding, either. I tell people my sex life is mostly fantasy and memory. Husband and I feel lessened libido (he’s 76) and in some ways, it’s kinder that way. Nature gives you reasons not to have more kids. But grandchildren are another story for many of us! They are truly a joy! We have ten in total, but family estrangements have allowed only some of them to get to know us. To read the whole story, go to: http://twitter.com/BonusGrandma
    My personal story is at: http://ellenkimball.blogspot.com with pictures.

    Peace, love and happiness, Ellen Kimball

  3. And also why I love you. Yay! (I guess I’d better upgrade to a third dog now, too…)

  4. This is really sweet. Even after I was done with menopause (and had borne many children) I felt that moment of grief (if you can call it that) thinking of no more pregnancies. Even tho there’s no way in the world I would want another pregnancy! And for those who say there’s always the grandchildren, no it’s just not the same.

  5. I LOVE Karen’s comment.
    This is such a lovely post. I too have heard this from my neighbor who is in the same situation as you. She looks at my toddler and my growing belly with lust and angst and yet knows that she will not put her children and body through the joy and pain of another baby.

    I too have felt this way, when the IVF’s have failed, when my daughter doesn’t want to snuggle. This latest child, he will be loved, adored and possibly smothered by my knowledge that he will be my last.

    And thank you. Thank you for publishing the words of a wiser mother, as a reminder to cherish, and milk every moment I have with my children.

  6. Karen –
    I think it might have something to do with acknowledging that the “baby stage” is a part of my life that’s over.
    Which leads to the whole mortality issue. (Because it’s all about me, right?)
    Ahhh. Maybe THAT’S why I shouldn’t have more children.
    Yep. Better stick to writing books 😉

  7. Julie – you so beautifully articulated what I still struggle with. When we started talking about a family, we wanted four kids (we were naive). My husband and I both come from small families and had visions of big family holidays with all of our children. Then my daughter, my second child, came along. She was a blessing, a miracle and the toughest baby ever! So we began talking about being done. There are still many days when I want another one, but it’s not realistic. See, I am not a huge fan of pregnancy, but I LOVE labor (crazy, huh?). I’d want about two weeks with newborn and then I would want to fast forward to about three when I don’t have to worry about chasing a toddler around. My kids are just getting to an age where we can do things as a family. I don’t want to watch vacation from inside a cabin. Or nurse while my kids are on a boat ride. So I too, like you, am done.

    And I need to find something else to give birth too as well.

    Thank you for reinforcing my decision!

  8. What a beautiful post. My kids are still young, which is why I’m content to say that I’m done. 3 kids in less than 3.5 years and I said okay, no more babies for us. But, as my youngest is moving into the stage of not being a baby any more, it’s harder to remember why that was the right decision for me.

  9. Ellen ~
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment – a nice dose perspective, for sure. I look forward to checking out your site, following you on Twitter, and then following in your footsteps as I slide headfirst toward 72.
    You are awesome!

  10. Paige ~
    I echo your sentiments (with a flip flop on your feelings about pregnancy vs. labor).
    I can especially relate to your desire to fast-forward past early toddlerhood (no more babyproofing. yay!)
    I love newborns and nursing – I don’t even mind getting up at night.
    Just not sure I could handle the raising of a two-year-old again.
    So we have two dogs.
    And counting.
    And they never tell me no.

  11. Shell ~
    3 kids in 3.5 years? How do you ever have time to blog, let alone visit other people’s posts? And comment?
    You are officially my hero.
    And I love the “Pour Your Heart Out” post.
    Thanks so much. Truly.

  12. Di

    Love the mascara reference and the image of Karly wearing it. Love the posting–poignant and funny at the same time. You’re the best!

  13. Di ~
    I was totally expecting “White rabbit white rabbit white rabbit” – ha!
    Love you so much…
    XO

  14. A truly lovely post! I don’t have those pangs for more kids or sadness that I won’t have another, but it could be that my kids are still young. And I do understand the feeling of time slipping away while we are busy living life. The days are long, the years are short.

    I’m comforted to hear that your kids still stumble over each other to tell you about their day. Gives me more years to look forward to!

  15. Gigi,

    Thanks for the kind words. And yes, your kids are still young. But I’ve read enough of what you have to say to predict they will have plenty to tell you for years to come.
    You do read Magic Treehouse to them, after all 😉

  16. This is such an honest post. Wow! I really admire you for it! I think when I had my third I didn’t quite feel “finished.” Now that I’m 34, I’m getting that now or never feeling . . .

  17. p.s. @mad’s blogging mom – so I went to thank you for the RT and forgot to say thanks here, even though now you probably won’t see it.
    I’m glad we can still be friends (even though I pretended to like the name Dicky – with a ‘y’) and you are so welcome for the reminder.
    Really.
    I think we can never have enough reminders to appreciate the love we have in the moment.
    Ever.
    and both your babies are very lucky…

  18. Nina ~
    We had our “now or never” moment years ago…and even though we decided on the “never,” I still can’t help but wonder.
    What if we had?
    Of course I’m grateful for the two healthy, wonderful (crazy, challenging, chaotic, nutty) that kids I already have.
    But I haven’t quite gotten over the third one that I didn’t.

  19. This post is brilliant and touching and beautiful.

    Just so you know.

  20. Megan,

    Thank you so much for stopping here. And thank you even more for leaving a comment. I am always a little bit crazy-grateful for support and kind words.

    Just so you know.

  21. Oh, Julie, I so relate to this. Even though we are the same age, my kids are MUCH younger (7, 5 and 22 months). And I knew we were FOR SURE done after #3. But I think it’s normal to mourn the end of an era, so to speak, and even though we have the ability to procreate, it’s still The End of that time in our lives.

    And your kids are older so I’m sure you miss it much more keenly at times than I do.

    It sounds like you did a fantastic job with your two. My husband often reminds me, when the kids are driving me nuts, that before I know it, they probably won’t even be speaking to me. 😉

  22. I can relate to this post in that I am also 42 and feel it is best I not attempt to have any more children. However, I did not have my first child until I was 40. So I have A LOT of conflicted feelings about it. I never planned to become a mom so late in life; it’s just how things worked out. And I always thought I’d have more than one. But I feel very fortunate that everything worked out OK with my daughter, and I’m not comfortable tempting fate again. There are many days I am fine with that. Then there are the days I cry when I see a newborn, or a friend tells me she is expecting again.

    This was beautifully written. Saw it retweeted by someone on Twitter. Following you now…

  23. Cheryl ~

    Thank you so much for your kind words. And for being 42. Yay! I love not being the only one (ha…just kidding…but mad’s mom RT’d this as a post discussing “later in life pregnancy” and I had to laugh. So I wouldn’t cry. Gulp.)

    I think we’re going to get along just fine… 😉

  24. Elizabeth –

    I’m nos following you, too. Thanks for coming and especially for commenting. I’m looking forward to following your journey, too.
    We didn’t plan to have our babies in our twenties – but as you said, it was “Just how things worked out.”
    Still. We’re all in this parenting thing together. And it’s nice to remember that.
    That we’re not alone.

  25. Julie,

    I was there, there where you are right now. I found myself with three children and two step daughters yet this irrational need for another child. I prayed for four years for God to *please* take this feeling away. And then one day, I took my four year old daughter to dance class and met two new students– two little girls adopted from China.

    And God opened a door.

    I couldn’t justify bringing another child into the world, but I could justify giving a family to a baby girl who needed one. Three years later my husband and I brought home our beautiful baby girl. I had just turned forty.

    I never understood why God planted that unbearable need inside me until a year and a half later, when my husband died from injuries from a single engine plane crash. The little girl I longed for for almost seven years was the reason I got out of bed every morning and went on with my life. My older kids could function with Mom in zombie mode, but my just-turned three year old couldn’t.

    I’m not saying my path is yours and at some point we have to know within ourselves when we are *done.* (Mine took two more adoptions as a single parent.) I’m just saying that sometimes there are other paths to follow.

    Denise

  26. Sibylle

    Julie, I enjoyed reading this and can relate. Although my twins are only 9 months old, I’m already thinking about how every precious phase is the last one. I’ve had the same thoughts about enjoying every moment. Thanks!

  27. Julie,
    This post touches a place so deep in my heart.
    My husband and I were certain that after our son was born, we would be done.

    We gave away all but the most special of our daughter’s clothes and thought about the day when we could donate the baby equipment.

    But we kept questioning that decision…were we really done? How would we know? I had heard so many people say that you just know when you’re done.

    I’m going to be 40 in April and my kids are now 3 1/2 and 14 months.
    And two weeks ago we decided (shhh….) that we are going to try for one more baby.

    We could have just as easily gone in the other direction and we may not even be able to get pregnant, as we have struggled with each of our other pregnancies, but for now, we are committed to trying.

    It’s such a tough thing…to truly know when your family is complete.

    I applaud you for talking about this here. I can’t begin to imagine how many hearts you’ve touched with your honesty.

  28. Nichole ~

    Your words mean so much to me. Your two children are so beautiful (what eyelashes!) and I know that no matter what happens, you already appreciate – at its very core – the beauty of parenting.

    I wish you luck in your “endeavor” and much joy on the journey wherever it takes you.

    You are one of the kindest people I’ve “met” in the Twitter/blogging world and I am grateful to share these moments with you.

  29. Denise~
    I’v’e actually read all about your journey on your blog (not stalking, just interested. obviously…)

    Thank you for coming here and for sharing your story.

    You are incredibly strong and brave (and funny, too…love your tweets, my lady).

    I don’t know how you have time in the day to do what you do – and then comment here.
    But I am grateful for it.

  30. Sibylle,

    I don’t know how mothers of multiples do it. I’m not sure I’d have enough breath in my body to survive, let alone visit a blog and comment.

    Hats off to you, my friend.

    And I KNOW you appreciate your mommyhood. Those are some lucky babies you have (and your big boy, too!)

  31. Christy H.

    Soooo talking to the wrong person about this!! Totally, happily, completely done. But I did have the benefit of knowing well in advance that it was my last time for everything (breast feeding, strollers and know…praise, God, hallelujah, potty training!)

  32. Julie~
    This post is beautiful. I am only 32, but I only have my one son. He was difficult to bring to this world. two came and went before him. his pregnancy came close to not staying too. His labor and delivery went all wrong because of problems with my body. Although my OB has assured us there is no reason we can’t have more children, there is always that “what if” feeling.

    What if this is my last? My one and only?

    I think you’re right. We are maybe not supposed to know when we have done certain things for the last time. At least not all of us.

    This post was brave and I loved it.

  33. Christy ~

    Please. If I’d had triplets (forget that – twins!) I’d have been done. I’m quite sure.

    I do not have the desire for a reality TV show featuring me and my double-digit kids.

    Having said that, your four are precious. But yep. You’re done. Even I know that 😉

  34. Katie ~

    Let me say that your post on your husband learning to dance with his mother (and then your own dancing with your son) left me breathless.

    I know I’m lucky to have not had the struggles you’ve faced. I can’t even imagine. But what you have now is beautiful – anyone who reads a word you write can see that.

    I’ve been admiring your posts for a while and am so glad you came here.

    You, for sure, are the brave one.

  35. I know this feeling too well. It can make you melancholy if you let it. But so can just watching your kids grow. I guess it’s all a part of…growing up. But you know, I knew when I had my last that she would be my last. My body just doesn’t handle pregnancy well. It’s a difficult journey for me, and it’s not one I could do again. Plus, my oldest is already 9 years older than her little sister. She once said to me, “Please don’t have any more kids or I’ll never know them.” That alone is enough to reassure me I made the right decision. Still. I miss bringing a child into the world. But a part of that, I know, is missing having brought the two I have into the world. Can’t really get that back no matter how many children I have.

    Seems to me you are finding peace in your realization. I hope so.

  36. This nearly made me cry which might be related to PMS. Or not.

    I thought since we were having one kid we’d go on and have a second. That never happened. I’m fine with that usually. Clearly it’s what God intended. Occasionally, it makes me feel a touch weepy.

    I picture that second little girl that looks just like the first. They’re best friends. They never argue. They’re content to share in my affection.

    Obviously, that’s just a dream. Even with an only child, my arms are full and I am usually content.

  37. CVM –

    Yes. Peace. As much peace as one can have as a mother. Because just when I’m ready to wrap my arms around my babies and sigh with contentment, they leap headlong into some kind of chaos.

    And drag me along with them.

    So two is the right number for me. It has to be.

    For all of our sakes…

  38. Oh, this is such a down to earth, real blog post! For someone who’s just starting out, very informative too.

  39. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for visiting my blog and the nice comment. I loved this. You are spot on, too. I had my last baby at 43, and while we all love having a little one in our midst, the things you say about missing out on some of the older kid’s activities are true. Some days, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going-it’s all World of Warcraft vs Max and Ruby:-)

  40. NannyK

    Jules….If I had many sisters, you would still be my favorite!! I am so blessed by your presence in my life. My closest friend since birth, nobody can share my perspective more than you can. And one thing I know we will always share is how profoundly we were changed by motherhood. I do not regret our decision to stop at 2, but I love my boys so deeply that I am regularly filled with dread about their pending flight. from the coop. so to speak. I am immensely proud of the young men they’ve become. But with the acute awareness that we are in the “end stages” of actually “parenting” them, I am savoring every moment of their teenage years. More than ever, I am intentionally present and in the moment during family dinners, rides to practice, and short conversations over early morning breakfasts. Class parties, little league games, scavenger hunts & forts have been replaced by girls, curfews, driving school, and freedom…to explore their worlds, their limits, their strengths & weaknesses. Out of love and respect for them, I dig deep to let loose the reins enough for them to make their own decisions, good or bad, while we are still able to support them. It’s courage that I wish came more easily.

    Luckily, when my well of bravery runs dry, the wonderful man I married has enough for both of us. When our nest is empty, if these boys have their father’s integrity, character, respect, and sense of humor….our job will be done, and my heart (if not my arms) will be full!!

  41. Nance,

    What can I say except I love you (and I’m glad I did NOT have to compete with any other sisters because they probably wouldn’t have borrowed your pants without asking and stained them and then slipped them back into your closet hoping you wouldn’t notice).

    Having said that, I have been undeservedly lucky to have my younger sister actually take the lead on this whole parenting experience. Watching you, admiring you, emulating you, crying with you (thanks for that video about the gift of an ordinary day. now I need therapy) has gotten me through the most joyful and terrifying role of my life.

    And rest assured: when our kids have flown the coop, we will always have each other, too.

    Lucky, lucky me. Temporarily empty arms, but full, full hearts.

    Oh yeah. And stomachs, too. Not just the hearts. Don’t forget the full stomachs.

  42. Joey ~

    See. In your FIRST visit to the blog, if you’d mentioned PMS I would have known you were a woman, not my grocery-shopping fantasy man!

    I know what you’re saying, though. I do. I have a sister (Nancy – aka Nanny K) and my husband had three sisters. So both of us kind of longed for our kids to have a same-gender sibling.

    We always have those fantasies.

    But when it’s all said and done, we sit back and embrace what we have.

    And that’s what it’s all about…isn’t it?

  43. Liz

    Loved this. I feel it deeply as well. I would go back to Day 1 in the hospital and do it all over again. Even with all the fears and frantic thumbing through What to Expect. But like a lot of my life so far, I feel like I really steeped myself in the moment. Frank Sinatra during 2 am breast feedings – everytime I hear “The Last Dance” I look over at my 11 year old and see her baby face somewhere underneath her cheekbones and freckles and lip gloss and I feel just as content again. And then I let my mom hug me longer.

  44. Yes, Liz.

    You got it.

    Today is my mother’s birthday and you mentioned your own mom.

    How lucky we are to have multiple generations of love. My grandmother is still alive to watch her eleven-year-old great granddaughter celebrate her first lip gloss.

    And we all hold each other tight and appreciate the moment. Because we can’t do it all over again. But we can try to do the best we can every day. No matter what.

  45. “Closing up shop” as it were, is not an easy thing to do. It’s also difficult to come to terms with those feelings of *maybe* wanting another child. I’ll admit there are times I’d like to have another one- a girl. But there are no guarantees and frankly, I enjoy my sleep. Here’s to celebrating what we have in the here and now.

  46. Absolutely, Lois.

    That was my goal with this post. And yes, “Closing up shop” is a great way of putting it, although I guess the sign went up ten years before I realized it.

    CLOSURE is probably closer to what I’m aiming for now. And acceptance.

    Oh yeah – and a celebration of what we have in the here and now 😉

  47. Di

    I’m saving my “white rabbit”!

  48. Di ~

    Smiling at you right now.
    Love.

  49. Awww, you made me a bit teary. Our kids are so close in age. And like you, their younger years sometime seem like such a blur.

    I do try to enjoy every moment now. Just the other day, my ten-year-old daughter grabbed my hand as we were walking into the mall and I wondered how many more times she would willingly do so in public.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  50. to me…a blur to me. Didn’t mean to insult you!
    ; )

  51. kim

    You read my mind from across the country – it amazes me how you do that. Xoxo

  52. There is absolutely something to the idea that I’m not having anymore children. They are such a blessing, but when you know you’re done..you’re done! I find that I savour my children a bit more because of that and you are WISE to enjoy these moments before texting becomes their popular means of communication 😉

  53. It doesn’t matter how many years go by, I am still so excited when the end of the school day draws near and those girls of mine come home to me.

    I have a little something to share with you. I had no intention of doing this until I read your beautiful words today. This is my dear friend’s blog. She’s a writer with such poetic beauty herself, but in this post, she shares the reason she began blogging. It’s a video called “One Thousand Gifts” and it is, in a word, extraordinary. And it speaks to me of what you’ve said here, so very eloquently.

    As my beloved Bono of U2 says, “I’m wide awake. I’m not sleeping.” You are doing just that. Taking in the moments. If you have a minute, take a look. You won’t regret it. I promise you.

    http://ostricheslookfunny.blogspot.com/2011/01/time-for-frozen-treats-in-january.html

  54. Lisa –

    So not offended. First, it IS a blur to me. Second, that’s what this whole post is about. I called myself “arid” so…

    Thanks for your heartfelt response. I am amazed by how many people seem to understand what I was saying here. I expected a whole lot of “Are you crazy, girl? You finally have your life back!”

    But you all kind of get me. Even the ones who don’t agree.
    And for that, I’m very grateful.

  55. Emily,

    Read your post, wrote a big long response, and then the site wouldn’t recognize my URL – so sorry! But thanks for the visit here and I will definitely be back to your site.

    we moms have to stick together.

  56. Joann,

    A. I love Bono. But I’m willing to share him with you. If he’s up for it. (that song, in particular, speaks to me.)

    B. I really appreciate your sharing your friend’s blog (if we’re going to share Bono…)I just checked out her site quickly and am going back right now to spend some time there. She’s brilliant.

    C. Your kind words and support mean so much to me. I loved your blog the minute I read the title. I am infinitely glad to have found you.

    Thanks for taking the time to find me back.

  57. I am SO happy you stopped by my blog because it linked me back to yours. I loved this post. It reminded me of the book “Let Me Hold You Longer” by Karen Kingsbury. I cry EVERY TIME I read that book. It’s about not knowing that the last time was THE last time. This was such a sweet post. Thank you for sharing it and for making me look forward to those tween years more than I did before.

  58. KLZ

    Oh, how this hits me.

    We’re trying for our second child now. And I so badly want to be pregnant. I loved being pregnant. I can’t imagine a time when I won’t want that.

    At the same time, I’m dreading morning sickness with a toddler.

    I started wanting to get pregnant again when he was 3 months. And we’ve waited. But the longing was always there.

    But I’m hoping, desperately, that over time my desire to be pregnant. After a second child or a third that I…will want to experience life more than make life.

    You put it in excellent perspective.

  59. Eric C

    Dear Julie,

    I never really understood the parent/child bond until my cat Pique had kittens. Helping her deliver them and then to teach them all they would need to know in their new homes has given me an inkling of what it must be like to have a child.
    However, I look at our parents and all of the joy they are having enjoying the rewards of a well lived life with their beautiful homes and frequent visits from family and I think if you look at it too maybe some of the pangs of no more children will lessen with the thought that you also won’t have a teenager in the house at 60.
    (I know that is a horrible run-on sentence but I’m too tired to fix it.)
    Love,EC

  60. Kelley ~

    I love your blog – your posts crack me up (Love you Forever? perfection!)

    Thanks so much for visiting here and believe me – you will love every stage of parenting. Every time I think “This is the best age,” I prove myself wrong with the next.

    There’s always room for more love.

    As long as you don’t end up sneaking through your grown child’s window having climbed up the side of the house on a ladder.

    That’s just too much love – ha!

  61. KLZ (I love that you even TRY to tame insanity…)

    I held my first newborn and thought, “When can I do this again?” Not because he didn’t thrill me all by himself. But because I felt so powerful and strong. So loved and full of love.

    More than being tired or scared or overwhelmed I felt like I was meant to be a mom.

    So I hope you slide effortlessly (well…have a little fun with the effort!) into your next pregnancy. And I hope you will, eventually, have a sense of when you are done.

    I never lost the feeling of wanting to make more babies. I just gained the belief that I should stop and smell the roses I’d already planted.

    Good luck to you now and throughout the rest of your mama journey.
    Looking forward to reading about it all…

  62. Eric,

    If ever there were a person on whom you could spring a reckless run-on sentence it is your cousin Julie.

    You are a born mama…and I’m so glad you have babies of your own. One day soon we HAVE to meet out in the desert. Mimosas with our parents and then perhaps an escape for just the kids? (and by kids I mean you, me and Nancy. NOT Jack and Karly.)

    Thanks so much for always visiting the blog – your support means a lot to me. More than you know. XO

  63. Abby Gardner

    Gage turned 6 mos. this week and I’ve been feeling the same way knowing that he is my last baby, even though he was only the 2nd baby. The Colorado Division of the Gardner baby farm has been permanently “altered”–if you catch my drift. He who shall remain nameless (in this post, anyway)couldn’t get to the doctor fast enough after Gage was born. Even though I know we’re done, I still feel that pang of longing for more kids. Who knows? Maybe we’ll end up adopting someday…my money’s that it’ll be in the form of a dog, however!

  64. Abby,

    Well, we’ve each contributed one boy and one girl to the glorious line of Gardners…

    And the future Gardner dogs will, no doubt, be fabulous!

    Hope we can get all of us together at some point to love.
    Until then, I’m so glad we meet up here. Thanks so much for being a part of my life.

  65. Yet more informative message from http://www.juliecgardner.com/life/today-call-me-arid/. I have already been looking at your web blog for a while presently and I observe that you happen to be positively really going up with the search results which makes me cheerful.

  66. Ah, nonsensical spam. Now my Sunday is complete.

  67. Wow – good to know I’m not the only one who struggles with feeling “done” though I do feel more and more done each day. I have 6 kids, you’d think that’s enough right? Who the heck would want more? It IS tough to give them all everything they need. I do worry that things, or someone even, will slip through the cracks of our crazy busy lives. But the kids seems to love it. They ask for more. My husband and I love every single one of them differently, but completely. Such blessings!

    I know it’s not smart to make decisions about having more or not soon after child birth. My son is 10 months old…6 months ago I could have sworn we’d have more. But now, life is a little different. My husband and I have some big goals we’d like to accomplish. More kids would make that more challenging. We have already been blessed with so much. I’m feeling less and less the “need” for more.

    We’ll see how I feel in the future. I never planned on having kids after 30…I never planned on having more than 4. People always ask, “How many kids do you plan on having.” My answer is still 4. I’ve never really set a new plan after I already passed the plan I had since childhood. We’ll just wait and see what God has in store. 🙂

    I do hear grandchildren are wonderful…though I do NOT want any for at least 10 years, 12-15 would be even better!

  68. I absolutely love this post. You are so succinct and eloquent and honest.

    Somehow you have managed to describe my feelings. In my case, this is a longing which will never go away. But it does help me to embrace every minute of my time with my kids. I want to squeeze every ounce of companionship and fun that I can out of our time together.

  69. Stacie ~

    I love that you still answer that you plan to have four even though you have already have six. That perfectly describes the way parenting goes…despite your best plans.

    Am following you on Twitter now and look forward to checking out your blog.

    p.s. With six kids, how DO you have time to blog? (or perhaps the better question is, as a blogger, when did you find the time to make six kids? 🙂

  70. Thanks, Mrs. M ~

    Loved your post on nurturing the sibling relationship. Now that you’ve read this, you realize how wistfully I imagined your four children and their varied relationships…

    I will always wonder “what if” we’d had more. But at this point, I’ve decided to work on “what is” instead.

    Looking forward to getting to know you on your blog and Twitter. Thanks so much for taking the time here with me ~

  71. Wow. This is a beautiful post. When we had our twins, we were pretty sure we were done. When I’m not calling them Thing 1 and Thing 2, I’m calling them Alpha and Omega. Still, it’s kind of bizarre knowing that every stage is both a first and a last. I suppose it’s what parents who knowingly have one child go through too.

  72. Leanne,

    I’m fairly certain if I had twins, that would be the end of my dreams of more.

    I’m so impressed with people who manage multiples. I have a good friend with triplets (born just two years after her first child, so she had four babies within 24 months…)

    I can’t believe she manages to get dressed every morning let alone teach and raise her children.

    I imagine it’s hard to appreciate the first and last stages when you’re coping with more than one at a time.

    My hat’s off to you. And your Things 1& 2. So glad I get to read about it all…(with pictures, too!)

  73. I tell everyone, including myself, that I am done. But then I get a glimpse of a newborn, or a flashback to holding that little swaddled baby, and my uterus skips a beat. This post made me teary. It’s a sad realization to come to- the end of your childbearing years. Your words at the end of the post make me hopeful for my not-too-distant future with older children though. Skiing instead of watching a napping baby sounds like heaven!

  74. Morgan ~

    I’ve always said, at every stage of my children’s growth, THIS is the best phase; only to find myself saying a year later, No wait! THIS is the best phase.

    And I mean it every time.

    I suspect if I were to return to the newborn stage, I’d love it equally (if not more exhaustedly because I wouldn’t be 28 anymore); but I look forward to the next stages of my kids’ lives knowing it will keep getting better. (Some people mentioned grandchildren, however, and I am SOOO not ready to think about being a grandmother. Not yet.)

    LOVE your posts at the henhouse. Thanks so much for coming here…

  75. Wow, this is an intense blog. As usual, you have managed to make me cry. My baby turns 4 tomorrow and it is a little sad. He will no longer be the “baby”. He will be 4!! Today he learned to buckle his own seat belt and now insists on doing it alone. Today he didn’t want me to pick him up to the sink to wash his hands because he could do it by himself. Now I need to get off of this darn computer and go enjoy my 3 year old….oh, and I suppose my other two kids as well. Thanks for reminding me of what is important..xoxo

  76. Oh, Linda.

    You make me smile. And laugh. And I get a little teary thinking about Bryce being 4, too.

    So glad I’m on this journey with you…

    Love you all. Very much.

  77. I knew by the comment on my blog that you were gonna have a kick ass blog… I was right! Wow- great post– ending left me teary!

  78. Melissa ~

    A compliment from someone whose post was about writing a better blog means so much to me.

    Also, your lovely RT and comment on Twitter? Made my night.

    I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to see your recommendation, click on the link, and discover you were talking about my post.

    Thanks so very much for your support –
    Looking forward to following your blog and learning as I go…

  79. Julie –

    I never ever felt the urge to have another baby after having my second daughter. My husband and I wanted two children, and then we were done. But then, I have never really been a baby person. I loved my two daughters as babies more than anything in the world, but I could not wait for them to turn into “people.” I love them as people. Oh my god, do I love these daughters of mine.

    But that sense of lasts?

    Yeah, I get that.

    I remember packing up and storing the crib when my younger daughter was ready for a big-girl bed. I could not stop crying. Just such a monumental sense of “Done with this.”

    And on to the next stage.

    Sigh.

    There are a lot of lasts.

    The lasts are difficult when I focus.

    But always?

    Always.

    The next stage is amazing.

    So there is that.

    Much love, you.

    Much love.

  80. Kris ~

    Thank you thank you thank you. I can’t tell you how much your visit here means to me. How much your words inspire me.

    So I hope you just know.

    Please just know.

  81. Wow.

    If that isn’t a work of beauty.

    Yes, you can write.

    I know what you’re speaking of.

    You get into your own mind and place, then your children come and pull you out of the wallowing.

    They save me on a daily basis.

  82. Alexandra, Dear Empress ~

    You have to be the most encouraging, kind, say-the-perfect-words person I’ve encountered since taking up this whole blog/Twitter scene.

    Thank you. Sincerely.

    So glad you came here.

  83. Courtney

    I get it. Not wistful here. But oh so grateful for the last sweet blessing. Her joy emanates from every bone in her sweet body and her enthusiasm is contagious in a way that I didn’t even know I needed. I was done from the moment I gazed into those sweet brown eyes (and maybe even a few months before!) but I do miss that sweet baby smell and of all things, I miss those middle of the night sweet calm moments of holding a blissfully content sleeping infant. I am trying to enjoy every moment and am astounded by how fast time is slipping by…

  84. Court ~

    Ditto. Except for the brown eyes part. And the part where you knew you were done.

    So glad you got your third blessing. Soak it all in…

  85. Great post and ability to capture a slew of emotion. I was done while #3 was in utero. There are moments that I linger in place for awhile trying to burn the memories into my mind. BUT the majority of the time it is full steam ahead!

  86. My Husband and I are expecting our third child, a cute small boy, we already have two little girls and my husband appears to be much more excited this time around since we are expecting a boy. So even though this is my third time to experience a pregnancy I am still doing a lot of on-line analysis and I always discover your articles to be very well written and beneficial for everybody.

  87. Wendy

    This post made my cry; not because I won’t have anymore children (I’m very happy with my boy and my girl – God is so good and equitable), but because I started thinking about the “last time” part. Nursing my babies was such an awesome experience for me (well, for the most part) that I really do miss that closeness.

    Ah,well. Now, like you, I relish my children still being young, and don’t ever say, “I can’t wait until you can…” In due time.

  88. Oh, Wendy,

    It happens so much more quickly than we think, doesn’t it.

    “I can’t wait until you can”….will turn into “are you leaving so soon?”

    So glad you get it.

    Cheers to equitability – and love of our children.

  89. Nil Zed

    Hi, I’m here ause Kris sent me. I like this and will be back tomorrow, especially to follow links to other late in life moms. My kids are 26, 24, & 3. I thought I was done when their dad left. My second husband was told not to expect a child. It wasn’t a completely firm thing, but time and money weren’t in favor. But then, things changed. The wee small boy (he Scots gran calls him that) is a great adventure.

    And I DO savor this extra chance at mommyhood. All those things you didn’t know were the last time, I do know. It’s bittersweet.

  90. It’s so late for me to comment, I wonder if you’ll even see this. That said, I have to comment. I can’t let the moment pass.

    I’ve been feeling this same thing lately. I, too, have a son and a daughter. My son recently turned five and will be starting Kindergarten this fall. My daughter is two and a half.

    Every so often I think “really? no more kids? Are we sure about this?” Both of my kids have an adrenal disorder that requires lots of medical ‘stuff’. My husband and I both work full time and both kids are in daycare. Every day I battle the guilt that I’m not with my kids every second of their day. But every day I know that I’m a better mom when I’m working away from the home. I cherished our time when I was on maternity leave. I cherish our time together in the mornings, evenings, and weekends…holidays, birthdays, etc. I miss them when I’m at work. And at the end of the evening, when both are in bed and I’ve kissed them both in their sleep, I feel a pang of hurt and emptiness because I know we are unlikely to have any more children. My kids are the best in the world and mean everything to me. I am totally fulfilled having these two awesome kids in my life. But sometimes I remember them as infants and think ‘maybe just one more?’

    Financially it would be disastrous, but my friends say nobody is ever financially prepared for children. I don’t know if I agree, but I know another child would mean drastic life changes for all of us.

    I admire you for putting into words the feelings I have when I realize I probably won’t get pregnant again. Just when I feel like I’ve got the hang of it and think ‘hey, I’m a pretty good mom’, that’s when it hits me that this is the last time I will have a toddler. This is the last time I’ll have a kid in diapers. This is the last time I’ll have tiny hands in mine or touching my face. And sometimes that makes me cry.

    Such a well-written post. Thank you for it. 🙂

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