I was sorting clothes into tubs to donate, consign, or keep for my 1-year-old, and I came across a newborn outfit amongst a bunch of bigger kid clothes. I had gotten rid of all of my 1-year-old son’s newborn and infant things last year, but he still seems small and baby-like to me, compared to my 5-year-old.
But I’m telling you, when I held up that teeny-tiny outfit, my heart broke. It looked too small to be real. To fit anything other than a doll. But, it did. My older son wore it on his first Christmas. I know I’m done having babies—age, mental health, physical health, and numerous other factors make this a reality—but I’ll never not want another baby.
It’s so hard to step into that next phase of life permanently. Taking that test, waiting for those two pink lines, hearing that soft “thump thump” at your first ultrasound. Seeing your baby for the first time on that little black and white screen, wiggling around like a circus peanut. Dreaming about what they’ll look like. The fear, the anxiety, the joy. All of it.
Watching your belly swell and feeling those tiny kicks. Seeing those little elbows and knees push out, alien-like but incredible at the same time. Waiting to go into labor, reading into every little sign and symptom, wondering if today is the day. Folding those tiny clothes and packing the diaper bag up, preparing your home. Cleaning the baseboards furiously, because hormones. Waiting . . . all the waiting.
Then finally, it’s here. Nine months go by at a creep and a sprint—somehow, simultaneously. You both ran and tip-toed to that finish line. The pain sears, rendering you outside your own body. You’re both there, and not, at the same time.
Then, you wait, again. It’s almost as if time stands still, for that first breath, that first roar of life. There’s a moment between that final push and that first cry when you will question everything. But, when they place that impossibly small, wet, sticky warm little body onto yours. As you guide this life, that you literally created, almost out of thin air, to your breast for the first time. As you feel that first suckle, that first pitied connection between you and your child. There is absolutely nothing like that.
There is absolutely nothing like that journey. Nothing. Knowing you’ll never experience any of that again is a type of grief only mommas know. And I’ll forever live in denial that it’s over for me.
But . . . being able to watch your children as they go from a little squish who can only grunt and sleep and eat and poop, to an infant who smiles and coos in response to you, to a toddler who giggles and gives kisses, followed by a preschooler who thinks farts are uproariously funny, and then to school-aged and beyond. Standing by as they need you less and less. To watch these babies slowly become the adults they will one day become is a journey in itself. One I am eternally grateful for.
And so, even though I mourn a previous season of life, I am fully present in my current one because having three grown children, I know I will blink and it will be over. And I don’t want to miss a single moment.