My Last Baby Is My Last

“I’m pregnant!” she exclaimed.
My heart swelled and I replied, “Seriously?! Yay!!! I’m so, so happy for you!”
And I was. I really was! But as I shared in the excitement with her, my lip began to quiver and my eyes filled with tears, and I excused myself to the bathroom where I held onto the sink with all that I had, and then I quietly and sadly sobbed.
I want another baby, you see.
I want to see two lines on a dollar store pregnancy test.
I want to have an ultrasound after my first appointment at 8 weeks and see that tiny flutter of a second heart beating inside of my body.
I want to recognize the almost imperceptible feeling of a little body tickling me from the inside.
I want to feel the incredible tightening of my belly as I use my strength to push the newest life in the world from my body.
But I won’t. Because my last baby was my last.
I want to exhale, “my baby, my baby, my baby,” after each and every inhale after I push him from my body, as though my heart is so full with the words that I must send them into the universe for all the world to know that he – is – mine.
I want to squeeze his tiny body to my naked chest so that he can hear my heart beating from the outside for the first time.
I want to take all of him in – his eyes that he can barely open, his nose, his soft round cheeks – as he nurses from my breasts for the first time.
But I won’t. Because my last baby was my last.
I want to be drunk in love with this new little being.
I want to mindlessly pat his bottom as he falls asleep on my shoulder with his froggy legs curled up like he’s still trying to fit in my womb.
I want to wake in the night to pull him close under my arm so that he can nurse while we both fall back to sleep.
But I won’t. Because my last baby was my last.

She will, though. She will do all of those things, in her own way. Maybe she will have a c-section. Maybe she will bottle feed. Maybe she will adopt.
But I won’t. Because my last baby was my last.
She will, though. And I will be thrilled for her. I will share in the morning sickness and the nerves and the gender guesses and the round ligament pain. I will share in the Braxton Hicks contractions and the impending due date. I will share in the excitement as she goes into labor, and I will share in the pure and overwhelming relief and joy after the birth of the newest life in the world.
She will be made a mama in that moment.
But I won’t. Because my last baby was my last.
So forgive me if the first time I hold your sweet baby, I cry. Forgive me if I nuzzle him under my chin for a moment too long. Forgive me if I watch you with any amount of longing as you soothe him by tucking him into your arms and nourishing him in whichever way you choose.
Forgive me if I offer too much help. Forgive me if I stay 20 minutes too long. Forgive me if I offer to let you sleep while I watch your sweet baby because you’ll get to wake up in two hours and be mama to a sweet little squishy little newborn.
But I won’t. Because my last baby was my last.
So forgive me for my jealousy. My heart aches for what you’ve got. If you’ll let me, I will soak up all the baby that I can while I am with you. Then, I will go home where, instantaneously upon seeing my three beautiful children, my heartache will disappear. My heart will flood with love and adoration and awe at the three lives I’ve created and sustained with that guy I fell in love with in college. As they tell me about their days and say, “Mom, let me just show you one more thing,” I will sigh and remember who these tiny people were when they made me a mama. And I’ll think, fleetingly, about adding another brother to their ranks, because how can you possibly show your children that you love them any more than by giving them someone else to love?
But I won’t. Because my last baby was my last.
And thanks to you, sweet children of mine, that’s okay (well, mostly).
*A big thanks to Casey and Kate for helping me to pull these mountainous thoughts together into something cohesive.

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