The Last Chapter …

IMG_4944The last pregnancy. The last birth. The last baby. Here is a topic that I feel is very under discussed and can be very emotionally charged. Some will anticipate this last chapter while for others it will catch them by surprise. There are multiple different paths that can lead to this last chapter … each path is so personal, unique, and delicate.  Some will transition to growing their little ones up instead of expanding out, while others mourn the opportunity to raise any of their own. As parents we need to talk about our experiences in this stage.

I am so grateful to the individuals who were willing to share their stories and experiences. I have left out names for privacy and confidentiality.


Experience #1

I was just talking to my husband about this.  I feel like such an odd ball.  Many women I know seem to be sad about their last baby, or they don’t feel content in it being their last baby.  I knew my 4th would be my last and I welcomed it! We also decided it was best.  I have no yearning for another and am so content and even joyful to be moving past the baby stage and into the school aged years.  My youngest will be 4 in August and will be in Kindergarten in fall of 2020.  I cherish each stage with her and enjoy all the adventuring we can do as a family without being tied to a needy baby who needs to nurse, or its diaper changed, or a nap, etc…  basically I love the freedom that isn’t there when I’m pregnant or I have a baby.


Experience #2

I’m not ready to share our whole story, but I am grateful for this project. Thank you for creating the space for this! As I work through this myself, one of the things that keeps coming up for me is that I can’t remember a time I wasn’t pregnant or nursing babies, so trying to figure out “who I am” in this season coming to a close has me very confused. I feel like the things that have defined me for many years are passing away and I don’t know what’s underneath yet.  It feels scary and sad.


Experience #3

Sometimes I’m grateful for our wild and busy, caboose, baby. We knew we only wanted 4, and that’s great. Right now though I struggle to feel content and happy. I feel a loss realizing that my body will never carry another baby, that I’ll never feel those baby kicks inside again, I won’t see them move and flip again. My heart is sad that something I could do and was fairly good at, I’ll never do again. I look at my youngest and frequently ask myself, “is this the last time that I’ll hold you? Is this the last time you’ll want to sit on my lap? Is this the last_____?”

I know it goes away and we never know when and I’ve always held onto the fact that I’d have another one to do those things with, but with the last baby it feels like a mourning process. Not sure that any of that made sense, but those are the jumble of words in my heart and head.


Experience #4

My story has to start after having our 4th baby (our second baby passed away in the womb). Actually I am going to start further back. Growing up I remember being a little girl and saying “I am going to have 4 kids!!”. Before getting married I remember telling my soon to be husband that I wanted 4 and he agreed. Fast forward our 4th turned 2 and I was ready to try for the 5th (4th earth side baby) and my husband was not. He was so done. For about 4-6 months we battled so intensely with one another … our fights included stonewalling, focusing on parent responsibilities only. I felt so caught off guard and betrayed. He is also felt hurt and felt that I cared more about “having a baby than doing life with him”. We both mourned deeply in these months … our inner battles were different but the pain was the same. I felt so discouraged that I had to reach out for spiritual guidance. The recommendation was to pray through Gods Word. I was encouraged to pray for my heart in the situation. I did not pray that the Lord would “change my husbands heart”. This event between us shined some light on items in my heart that needed to be addressed. So that was my mission. Over time my heart began to soften and I drew closer to my husband. Fast forward we ended up having our 5th baby … before that pregnancy I had so much peace in my heart.

Fast forward some more … after having our 5th lots of those feelings came back … was I really really ready to be done? Let’s say there was no doubt in my husbands heart that we were done. My son will be 2 next month (April) and just about 3 weeks ago I surrendered the end of this chapter to the Lord. I was holding on so tightly and I did not even know it. Have you ever been clenching your hand around something? A gentle voice whispered “relax your hand … let go of the tension … release … it’s ok …” that’s the only way I can explain it.

I am at a new level of peace now … the journey and season was long. Sometimes this wave of “desiring another” will brush against me and I welcome it knowing that it is ok to desire something that will not flourish … this is what makes me human. The wave no longer cause bitterness in my heart …. to those who are reading this … please know that this did not happen over night … it was a process that took my willingness to travel it.


Experience #5

My last baby, my miracle baby, recently turned two.  His birth was extremely complicated.  I developed a life threatening condition called placenta accreta, where you placenta attaches too deeply.  I spent seven weeks on hospital bed rest and delivered at 34 weeks.  I had to deliver in a main OR, with a team of three surgeons and countless nurses.  I had general anesthesia and my husband could not be with me.  I had to have hysterectomy immediately following his delivery to prevent hemorrhaging.  I wasn’t able to see my son for 8 long hours and he spent two weeks in the nicu.  We were lucky…1 in 14 moms that develop this condition don’t get to meet their babies or go home to their families.  And that fact haunts me.  I mourn the loss of my last pregnancy being “normal”. I have been blessed beyond measure with five beautiful children and for that my heart is full and thankful.  But ending this chapter of life has been full of emotion.  Most days now I’m excited to be heading into the next phase…and then I see a pregnant woman browsing through newborn clothes at Target and my heart breaks a little.


Experience #6

I woke up this morning thinking on how I was going to post about our ‘last baby’ and all the emotions that have gone into these last 3 yrs and yet then felt how silly that would be as no one truly cares about how I’ve felt. 

We have 8 beautiful children that we can’t imagine life without, we’ve also lost 12 babies. Our last living baby is almost 5. But 3 years ago on April 22 we lost longed for twins at 8 weeks along. I had prayed for twins since my earliest memories. I have not become pregnant since. I have prayed, begged if you will for just one more baby. 

3 yrs and  as the approach of April is here I find the grief pouring in. The grief that I should be deep in the mess of 10 glorious children and 2 of them toddlers. Grief that that loss, which was painful in ever so many ways is how my journey ends. Grief that I didn’t cherish my pregnancies enough ( I suffer from hyper ememsis so pregnancy was horrible.) Grief that I can’t seem to move past it and grief that I still want more babies just as deeply as ever. 

I LOVE my life. We homeschool and I get to watch our babies grow and learn everyday. I do not take this for granted. We have children that are off in college…shouldn’t I be relishing the fact that we are done with the baby stage? Sigh. Thank you for letting me express these feelings. 


Experience #7

Right now I am afraid Tehmperance will be our last. I’ve miscarried 3 since her and it’s been 6 months since I lost the last one with nothing.. I’m not ready for the last but It May have snuck up and passed me by.

 


Experience #8

My last baby just turned one and my heart is sad that she will soon no longer be a baby. Babies are my favorite thing in the world. My pregnancy was very special with her too and she is my treasure of a child. All the feels. I wish I could have another pregnancy and birth but I do not want any more kids…so that wouldn’t work unless I was a surrogate. I just want to freeze time and get more cuddles for longer. 

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