There’s a little piece of plastic sitting idly by on the bathroom counter. The timer on my watch passed three minutes ages ago, but still, I haven’t looked. The stinging pain of the last two negatives is still reeling in my mind, keeping me frozen in place.

Finally, I sense of wisp of courage and grasp on tight. One step, then another. A deep breath. I look down.

There it is, plain as day—my Big. Fat. Plus.

I’m pregnant. Again.

Standing in stunned silence, my cheeks stretched corner to corner, I remember this feeling. I’ve been here once before: four years ago. The jittery excitement laced with nervousness, the overeager desire to shout the news from the rooftops, it’s all the same. But something is different this time, too.

Down the hall I can hear my 3-year-old son playing with his Hot Wheels, their plastic wheels scratching across the beautiful floors I long ago gave up trying to save from him. That’s when it hits me. I hear the words ring clearly in my head.

These are the last nine months I’ll ever get as a mother of one.

It’s a realization that brings both warmth and sadness as I think about all of the things that are about to change.

No longer will there be an empty space in the back seat of my car where I can aimlessly toss my coat, purse, and trash. Pretty soon, when I look in that rearview mirror I’ll be greeted with not one, but two little faces smiling back at me, trusting me to get them safely to our next location.

No longer will I have a free hand ready to unlock the car door as I walk across the parking lot of the grocery store. With one fist clenched tightly around five toddler fingers, another securely holding a baby on my hip, I’ll feel open and vulnerable as I try to keep my children safely by my side.

No longer will I have an extra room ready for houseguests to drop by at a moment’s notice. Soon, guests will be shirked to the basement office or forced to sleep on the living room sofa.

No longer will my full attention be so easily cast upon one little boy. All of my time, my energy, even my patience will need to be strategically divvied up and spread accordingly.

Yes, my world is about to shift in a very big way. Life will be more chaotic, days will surely be more difficult, and I’m certain my daily coffee intake is going to double. But I’ve been here before. And because of that experience I know that change can be a very good thing.

Because having less space in the backseat of my car means having more space in my heart filled with the love of another child.

Because my hands may be full but my life will be fuller. Full of hugs, full of kisses, full of hysterical belly giggles that never seem to get old.

Because having less space for houseguests means having more space for my family. More space for my children to play together, read together, learn together. More space to make a house truly feel like a home. A safe space. A safety net.

Because dividing my attention means being more attentive. An extra opportunity to look outside of myself and focus on another little person. One who needs me for everything, yet I still need them more.

Yes, these are the last nine months I’ll ever get as a mother of one. I will cherish them, savor them, and, yes, even mourn them while I can. But then I will move on.

Because I know that the rest of my months—however many they may be—will be better than all the others.

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Kayla Runkel

Kayla is a former marketer turned stay-at-home-mom to two sweet boys. You can follow her blog, The Rustic Hideaway, or her writing page, K.C. Runkel. When she is not writing, Kayla loves teaching fitness classes, reading books, and spending time with her husband and sons exploring her favorite place in the world, Wyoming. Or as she simply calls it: home.