Not a day goes by where I don't look at my children and count my lucky stars. I completely acknowledge how blessed and how lucky I am that I have beautiful, healthy children. Never do I take this amazing gift of motherhood for granted. Being a mum was one of the biggest, if not the biggest dream I had as a child. I thoroughly enjoyed pregnancy and I thoroughly enjoy being a mum, but after being pregnant and caring for babies for 5 years how do you just stop? How do you just not do it anymore? How do you accept that your babies are grown and you wont be having anymore?
For those of you that follow me you will be aware that I have four children (9,7,5 and 4). Pregnancy was a joy for me, I have always said I could do it again and again. Of course I had to deal with feeling sick from time to time (thankfully I didn't suffer with morning sickness), occasional back pain, hips playing up, stretch marks, swollen ankles (my ankles were huge) and I had heart burn with my last baby but that was all. That's all pretty standard pregnancy stuff. I didn't have any complications.
I find pregnancy absolutely fascinating! Our body creates a whole human being in just 40 weeks...what is there not to marvel at? and if I could do it all again I would, but I can't.
After Baby No 4 came along my husband and I decided we weren't going to have anymore. The practicalities and logistics of having a 5th child doesn't bare thinking about; we would need a bigger house, bigger car, more money etc. And anyway after just having had a baby the thought of having yet another was far from my mind. The decision to have no more was 100% a joint decision and we had a lengthy discussion about just how final the change was that he would be making to his body. Only now I feel like we may have acted too hastily.
My writing of this post comes as I saw the UK's largest family, The Radford Family, announce the arrival of baby No 20. Yes I did get that right, 20!
I have been following The Radford Family on and off since they first made an appearance on a TV show called 16 Kids and Counting! and I absolutely love them. They work hard running their own bakery business to support their family. I am completely in awe.
Whilst 20 children is a bit excessive by anyone's standards it bought it all back to me how much I wanted a big family. To some that is exactly what I've got but to me I feel a bit empty like there is room for more.
Whilst I know my husband sometimes feels the same way I do I also believe it is easier for him to shrug it off. Whereas I find myself ruminating about how I didn't do beautiful pregnancy photos, or the cute baby photoshoots, or cake bashing on their first birthdays, or the framed hand and foot casts.
Then there's the knowing that I won't ever have a Moses basket at the side of my bed again, or skin to skin contact with a newborn during the wee hours of the morning, or will I smell the newborn baby smell again.
It seems to me that us mums spend our time in a catch 22 situation. We forever encourage our babies to develop and grow and succeed but the moment they move onto the next stage we find ourselves longing for our babies back. It seems we have to learn to let go of them much earlier than I anticipated.
It's almost as if it's grief I feel. Like I've lost a part of my life that I will never get back or experience again. Friends and family would joke calling me a baby making machine but I loved that! That was exactly what I was and I completely and utterly enjoyed it. That was all I knew from when I was 19 years old. Now I don't even have babies; they are children that don't even look back when they run through the school gates and my littlun waves happily good bye as I drop her at pre-school.
I blinked and they were grown! My youngest is the last one left in pre-school and I for one am most definitely NOT looking forward to her last day there. When the day does come round I would have been going to that nursery for almost 9 years. 9 years!! That's a huge chunk of your life over. Just like that. Done.
None of these emotions get discussed with you at any of your meetings during and after your pregnancy. No one warns you that you may feel this way.
However, it's no good dwelling on what I don't have. Now don't get me wrong I adore my children more than words can say and I am so incredibly grateful for what I have and I do feel a little selfish and greedy complaining about not having more. So with that in mind I'm going to continue watching with pride as my babies grow more and more independent, while I continue to learn to look at what I do have with gratitude and fully appreciate my children as opposed to being miserable about what I haven't got.
I’m curious to know how other mums feel, is it just me? I appear to be the odd one out amongst my family and friends; they look at me as if I’ve lost my mind when I talk of wanting more children. So if you do get me or if what I have said resonates, or if you would just like to get in touch or share your story, please do 🙂