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No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another.

No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles for the last time was the true end of a chapter I had spent so many years in. How could it be over? I thought I would be ready.

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No one warned me about the last baby. No one told me I would be grasping at moments I couldn’t possibly pause because I know this time how fast it really goes. The last first steps, the last first birthday, and all the other last of the firsts have been full of bittersweetness. I clap at milestones of rolling over and first words, but my heart aches at how quickly it’s going.

No one warned me about the last baby. The last baby ushers out an old life with a brand-new one. Instead of late-night rocking, it will be late-night waiting for them to return home. Instead of tantrums, it will be navigating adolescent hormones. Instead of hampers full of onesies, it will be sports uniforms.

No one warned me about the last baby. After spending nearly a decade raising babies and toddlers and little kids, I didn’t know how lost I would feel. Coming out on the other side, I don’t recognize myself. And the journey to find who I am in this new chapter is overwhelming and scary. But now, there is space to figure out who I am alongside my children who are figuring out who they want to be.

RELATED: Mamas, Please Quit Mourning Your Children Growing Up

No one warned me about the last baby. Despite the tears and the constant reminders to not blink, I see the excitement and joy that is waiting. The next chapter isn’t rocking to sleep, but holding space for troubled hearts. The next chapter isn’t about play dates, but for adventure and watching our kids discover friendship and their bonds together. The next chapter holds so many possibilities to continue writing our family’s story. No one warned me that the last baby wasn’t the end, but simply a beginning.

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So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Tiffany Reiger

Tiffany is a former teacher with a PhD who is currently raising children with her husband in the Midwest.

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