The spot where my IV was shoved into my vein has officially healed.
The bruise on my back from the epidural that half-worked is no longer visible.
The milk supply my body produced on its own has dried up, and my boobs are no longer the size and weight of watermelons. The bleeding has ended, my lady parts have stopped feeling like they’re on fire and the pain pill regimen I incorporated into my daily routine for an entire week has ceased.
The only remnants truly left from my recent pregnancy are the red stretch marks that sporadically span across my now shrunken belly.
This season of life has ended for me, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit sad.
There is truly no experience like that of welcoming new life into the world, and knowing it’s a season I’ll never experience again creates a pit in my stomach I can’t entirely explain.
The realization that there will be no more babies in our family is something my husband and I are okay with. After all, our hands and hearts are filled to the brim with four beautiful children.
But every now and again, I find myself slapped with a wave of grief that this season is over. There will be no more babies, and once our last baby outgrows the burp cloths, bottles and diapers—once he moves on from the sippy cups, highchair and Jumperoo—they will be put away forever, never to be seen again.
While it is true that our family feels complete in all senses of the word, and it is true that my husband and I love the unique ways in which our family was built, it is also true that I feel sad I will never experience the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth again.
I will never again experience the excruciating pain of my uterus contracting while a tiny human being makes its way through my body to enter the world.
I will never again experience the euphoria that is a living, breathing baby being placed upon my chest while I let out a sigh of relief—one my body’s been anticipating and holding in for nine whole months.
I will never again experience the shakes and hormone crashes that post-delivery gifts a birth mother. Or visit the labor and delivery floor of the local hospital to push out a level of physical and mental strength I didn’t know I had and be whisked away in a wheelchair while nurses take care of me and I stare in awe at the new life I helped create.
I’ll never again buckle a tiny newborn into an infant car seat and take him home from the hospital because this phase of my life has ended, and it is bittersweet.
This is my final baby season of motherhood, and writing that out loud makes me feel sad.
I am grateful with every fiber in my body that I’ve been able to experience this season of babies four times within four years. Maybe it’s because motherhood didn’t come easy for me, but there is something to be said when you feel this chapter closing in. I know how fast it all goes; I can see changes on the horizon.
This phase—this exhausting, highly-caffeinated, needed-all-the-time phase—will end just as quickly as it began. And little by little, my babies will stop needing me.
So these days I’ll squeeze my baby—my final baby—a little more tightly. I’ll hold him a little longer. I’ll roll out of bed and shuffle downstairs into the kitchen and shake up the last bottle before the rest of the house wakes up because I know all too well it will soon be over. And this season of motherhood—the one that’s been so healing and beautiful and fulfilling for our family—will never come back again.