Goodbye to the Baby

Pre-Alden, when I just could not get pregnant, I wasn’t sure what I’d make of motherhood. I knew I wanted to do it. I knew I would work hard to do it well. I believed that, overall, it would be worth it to me. I wanted a baby. I couldn’t get pregnant. We tried to adopt. That failed. I went back to trying to get pregnant. It hurt, but I don’t think it’s the rosy mists of time causing me to minimize that when I say that I don’t think I suffered as badly as some women do. For me (for me!) adoption was a fine solution and so, some day, some way, I could be a mother.

I had a clear-eyed view that not all mother/child bonds erupt with ferocious love the minute the baby makes the scene. I said we’d just see how it goes. I asked Damon to be mindful for signs of post-partum depression. I was eager, but not ecstatic.

Then John Alden arrived and I was every cliche of maternal joy. I would stare at him, fascinated, not counting the time. I laid in the hospital bed with him that first night, and I could feel the world turning. Struggling to describe it, I could only say that he rearranged my atoms and made me into something new.

I flipping love having a baby. I love having one around. I love actually, physically having one. (I got off so, so easy — very talented pelvis.) I would walk barefoot over glass to experience those first 30 seconds of my babies’ arrival into the world — over and over.

Fortune smiled and we had Elliot. The peerless, beautiful experience I had with Alden… totally matched. He came into the world serenely, joyfully and I was so happy that I might have collapsed on myself like a star burning out.

I am so fortunate.

I could, theoretically, have another baby. I’m 40, though. Still so sad from losing my father (and my stepdad before him), I am acutely sensitive to protecting the time my children have to be mothered. Also, if I can be mundane for a minute: I don’t like being pregnant, I don’t think my body would recover very well, the demands may tip me beyond the ability to do my job (which pays our mortgage) well, I have been nursing now for more than four years and am not eager to sign up for a multi-year extention, I like having at least a tiny bit of money, I don’t want to buy a minivan, what if I don’t have a girl, what if I have a girl?

So. I think I am finished.

I never saw it coming that grieving this would be so much harder for me than facing the idea of never having a baby in the first place.


10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeannie on October 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    You do have such delicious babies.


  2. So much of this resonates so deeply. At 43, besotted with Thomas and so grateful for his being here, part of me wants to try again, and part of me wants to walk away with my winnings. And when I come back to not trying, which I always do, there is the knowledge that it’s right, and there’s sadness too.


    • I almost get spontaneously pregnant just looking at your daily photo of Thomas.

      There’s a lot to be said for quitting while we’re ahead, though. Still, I have a pile of baby shoes I have no business keeping. I can’t let them go.


      • Support group alert! For me it’s little footies. The ones with the little owls and pine trees, organic even though found at a Big Bad Big Box store, which he wore the first full day he was home from the hospital, sleeping on his mama’s shoulder for two hours (… there is absolutely no way I can throw those in a bag for the Goodwill.

  3. I love this. Without my children, I cease to be. They make me as much as I make them. Everyday I am reborn and instilled with hope, invigorated with courage and stamina. Labor and birth was just a taste of every day for the rest of my live with them. I love babies and I loved them as babies. I am not having another baby. I was never sad about that until I read this. It’s more of a twinge than a pang. I guess this too is part of growing up. I miss their tiny baby beings and I love the people they are becoming, so inspiring. How can I look back when they are like shooting stars?


    • You make a great point. My boys are as thrilling to me now as they were before. It’s a comfort to hear it hasn’t dropped off for you, since you’re ahead of me on this road.


  4. Posted by Jodi Bounds on October 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Well I can tell you, that I felt exactly the same way about you, but I cannot put it so eloquently. Be assured that you have something wonderful to look forward too – being a grandmother. I love our boys with all my heart. I would give my life for them. I think the only reason I can stand being away from them is because I know they have the greatest mom in the world and they are getting the best when they are with you and Damon. It’s not quite the same as being a mom, but it’s pretty darn good. Oh, by the way, I still desparately love you too. It never goes away.


  5. […] ago I wrote a post called Goodbye to the Baby. I remembered that easily because I felt it so deeply. And now, doesn’t 4 & 6 sound so, so […]


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