As I reach the final days of my pregnancy, I realize that this is more than that. This is closing a chapter of my life that I have wanted for as long as I can remember. This isn’t just the last days of this pregnancy, this is the last pregnancy I will ever get to experience. After four pregnancies in four years, I have opted to have a tubal during the delivery. So this is my goodbye.

Gone are the days of charting every bodily function in anticipation of getting the timing just right. Gone are the days of excitement as I wait for lines to appear on a stick. Gone are the days of crying with happiness from seeing little images of my child for the first time. Gone are the days of feeling little flutters that turn into punches and kicks. And gone are the days of picking out names and anticipating the first meeting.

I am grateful—so grateful—that God blessed me with this opportunity to grow four beautiful and perfect children in my womb. Motherhood has been what I have poured my heart into since I was a child. My focus has always been on having that happy marriage and raising a happy family. There was a point in my life that I didn’t think marriage and motherhood was going to happen. First, I hadn’t met the right man yet. Second, I was told that it was possible that children might not be medically possible for me. In the end, everything worked out.

And while I am grateful for the marriage and the children I have been given I am also grateful—so grateful—for modern medicine that will permanently prevent my husband and I from conceiving another child. Because while I love my children and prayed for those lives, this season of my life is over. To make doubly sure, my husband is also getting a vasectomy. And I am sad. So sad. But I am also happy. So happy.

I have cherished every moment of pregnancy, even the not-so-pretty parts. I have cherished the fact that God saw me and gave me the wishes deep in my heart.

Don’t misunderstand me—I am sad I won’t feel those things again. But I am grateful for what was and now I am grateful for what will be.

Now I can do more, see more, be more. I can focus on raising these little blessings and I can focus on myself. While I have little, very little, children that depend on me for everything, knowing that pregnancy has come to an end opens new doorways and experiences. I can make plans. I can have experiences that weren’t possible while being pregnant. I can focus on watching my children grow up and going into this new stage of life with them.

I am looking forward to all this next part of life has to offer—going to activities with the kids without having to worry about dragging along a stroller or cranky newborn, not having to time everything with nap times, having the ability to actually go out with my husband and have a drink or two.

There is so much more to look forward to and so much to give thanks for.

So thank you, body, for giving me these children and thank you modern medicine, for giving me the gift of deciding that my days of child-bearing have come to an end.

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Anastasia Smothers

Anastasia is a mother of four children under four and a proud wife to a veteran. When not with her children, she works full -time and also has a part-time position as a substitute teacher.