real life

"I never expected to feel such loss about not having any more children."

After being pregnant and caring for babies for 5 years, how do you just not do it anymore?

I am the mother of three beautiful children: Charlotte (5 ½) Max (2 ½) and Stella who just turned 1.

I loved every minute of being pregnant. Sure, I dealt with the occasional nausea, stretch marks, tiredness and heartburn. But that’s it. No other complications.

I still marvel at how amazing pregnancy is, and I would do it all over again if I could. But I can’t.

While I was pregnant with my third Stella, my partner and I decided “no more”.

I think Dads come to terms with “no more” easier than mums. My partner certainly did. But I found it really depressing and hard to deal with. Even though I completely agreed with “no more”, the realisation that my third would be my last pregnancy was just devastating.

"I still marvel at how amazing pregnancy is"

“No more” being able to look in the mirror at my ever-growing and stretching belly. “No more” feeling those kicks and jabs from tiny hands and feet. “No more” seeing the thrilling ultrasounds or hearing that tiny heart beating like a galloping horse.

I started to think about all the things that I hadn’t done while being pregnant. Like sexy pregnancy photos and doing a belly cast. Or beautiful professional newborn photos. Or those framed newborn hand and foot casts in silver. And don’t get me started on all the moments I have forgotten to record in pregnancy and baby milestone books.

I will never again have a newborn baby sleeping peacefully in a cradle beside my bed. I will never be able to have those beautiful cuddles with my baby in the middle of the night after a feed. I will never be able to share the special times breastfeeding. I will never smell that newborn smell.

"I will never be able to share the special times breastfeeding."

While talking to my best friend (a beautiful mother of 3), we came to the conclusion that from the moment you give birth, you inevitably have to start learning to let go of them. As each month and milestone passes, they become more and more independent and they need you less and less, until eventually, one day before you know it, they are moving out, getting married and living their own lives.

Being a mum is such a privilege but sometimes it feels like a cruel joke. The agony of knowing that once your baby girl starts to walk, she will be off and running and will never look back. You want her to walk and run and succeed. But you also want her to crawl for a little longer.

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As my youngest neared her first birthday, I realised I had to start letting go of my ‘little bubba’.

I know I should be happy and jumping with joy that she is alive and well and has been healthy and happy and made it to the age of one (as sadly many little babies don’t make it that far). Most of the time I am. But at this moment, I just want to feel sad. Just for a little bit.

I never expected to feel such loss about not having any more children.

I feel as if I am grieving that stage of my life. How do you go from being a baby making machine for 5 years (and loving it) to a mum with no more babies? Just children waving goodbye at the school gates.

Why doesn’t anyone ever tell you how hard it is to deal with moving on from that baby-making stage of your life? Why don’t they include it in the pamphlets you read in the hospital at your antenatal appointments?

I worry that I have forgotten so many baby moments. I worry that as the years roll on I will forget even more.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not being ungrateful, if anything I am being extraordinarily grateful that I have been able to fall pregnant easily, never had to deal with the loss of a baby, or not being able to fall pregnant.

The fact that I am so extremely grateful makes it that much harder to deal with.

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