Recently Bacon Beer Hubby and I came to a decision: no more babies. Deciding not to have more kids is a far more complex decision, conversation, and fountain of emotions than I ever thought it could or would be.
I’m not having any more children. No more squishy baby faces. No more tiny baby toes to tickle or tiny baby hands to hold my finger tight. No more baby laughs (baby laughs are amazing, and we all know it). No more baby smell (the good smell, not the smell of rotting bottles, or those hellish diapers that go all the way up the back and smell so bad the neighbors gag). No more baby snuggles, baby coo’s, no more babies. Right now I could even get nostalgic and weepy abut all the no more toddler moments.
Tucker is 16. Harper is 6. And, I’m not going to have another baby. Not because I can’t physically, I could, I’m just not going to. And, that realization is one that has finally hit me and I mean really hit me. And the emotions tied into that are as complex and varied as all the reasons why.
So, why? For the longest time I have said, “This Mama was not having anymore kids after 35.” I’m 37. The reason I set this deadline has nothing to do with the increased risks of issues in pregnancies after the age of 35. Nor is it in anyway a judgment of those Mama’s who wait until later in life to have children. The real reason is my Mama and Daddy had me when they were 23 and my sister when they were 29. (No, we don’t have some weird family bylaw capping childbirth ages.) My parents got “cool” in their 50’s. Once their daughters were out on their own my Mama and Daddy started going to concerts (ones I would have gone to if I wasn’t knee deep in Tucker’s toddler years). They went on trips, cool ones. They got a hot tub y’all. And, it clicked for me, their kids were out of the house and n their own and they were still young enough to have fun. I wanted that, and so I swore, “No new babies after 35.” Yet, now at 37 (breaking in on 38 way too fast) part of me thinks, “Well, maybe I could wait to do cool things a little longer.”
But, kids are expensive. Seriously, the costs never end. And, we should probably be saving for retirement sometime before we die. Babies are expensive; all the doodads, equipment, and supplies. Toddler are expensive; the clothes they don’t grow out of in a week they ruin in a day, preschool, and you have to feed them. And, let this Mama tell you, when kids get older they are still expensive, and they can now ask for money. And, boy do they ask. Money for sports, money for activities, money for everything, every darned day (okay, not everyday, but man do they need money for something awfully often). Yet, part of me thinks, “We could afford another one, if we tightened the budget a bit. Who really wants to retire?”
But, you need space for kids. And, we don’t have another bedroom laying about just waiting to become a nursery. And yes, Harry Potter did live in a closet and he turned out okay, I mean he did save the Wizarding World. But, he didn’t seem too happy in the closet, and I think most people felt his closet-life was a bad thing.
And then I have to take into account the other members of this family. Tucker and Harper are dead set against a new sibling. I have never asked them, yet they sure have made sure to let me know, this is a two kid family, and they are those two kids. Tucker has made sure to let Harper in on how much babies cry, smell, and break your cool stuff. Well played Tucker, well played. I am absolutely certain I could get the Beagle on my side, but the cats are more than content to no longer have to hide in fear of toddler love and snuggles.
All of what I have shared with you has been reality for a while. Yet, a part of me always thought, “Well, maybe, someday, maybe, possibly, we could have one more.” There is something about actually deciding to not have more kids, actually declaring it, that feels too darn final. So I dodged having that conversation with my husband, putting it off over and over. Finally, I brought the subject up to Bacon Beer Hubby. We were looking at old pictures of the kids when they were little, and I was feeling extra baby-feverish. I don’t even remember what off-hand wishful remark I made about having one more, but my Hubby’s response was pretty darned clear. NO MORE BABIES. I tried reminding him of baby laughs, baby snuggles, and soft, sweet baby feet and that Harper’s feet were no longer soft, and honestly a little stinky.
For a while I was hurt, mopey, and a little heartbroken. Heck, part of me wondered if he didn’t want another baby with me. Of course, a part of me had long ago realized that door was closed, for all the reasons I held myself. But, maybe I thought there was still a window open in babyland. I certainly didn’t realize my husband had closed that door himself. So, I asked him why. And, his reason wasn’t one that I had on my own list. And, it wasn’t me either. His reason was he didn’t want to go through all the worry, stress, and fear again. The worries something will go wrong during the pregnancy, or during childbirth (Harper’s birth was traumatic for my Hubby, he goes pale anytime he recounts the story). All of his fears came tumbling out, SIDS, the trips to the ER when the kids were little and sick, all the moments he had worried (way over-worried) and fretted over what could happen, what could go wrong. He admitted he loved babies, he loved raising our kids together, but he didn’t want to go back and do it all over again.
I think in my heart I had long ago realized we weren’t going to have any more kids. But, as the day rapidly approaches that Tucker will graduate and go off into adulthood a part of me longs for the days of babyhood. And then, I look at Harper, who may only be six, but is already so grown up. I look at my babies, and they aren’t babies anymore. They don’t need their Mama like they used to. Tucker no longer looks at his Mama as an all-knowing, all-powerful being anymore, and, the day will come soon enough that Harper won’t either. It goes by so damned fast. And, as I sit here and look at it (and yes y’all, I’m blubbering as I type) it’s not the fact that I’m not going to have anymore babies that makes me cry. It’s that my babies aren’t babies anymore. That time has gone.
I am not going to have any more kids. No more babies. And, that was a complex, emotional realization. But, it will be okay. Because, no matter how old my kids are, they will always be mine. They may not smell as sweet. Their feet my be downright offensive in odor. Whether Tucker and Harper are 16 and 6 or 46 and 36 they will always be my babies. I’m not saying I am ready to let Tucker slip off into adulthood. Or, that I won’t steal every snuggle I can from Harper. But, I’m not going to have any more babies and I think I am okay with that.
I’m not here to tell you how fast it goes. We’ve all heard that a millions times. What I will tell you, is that some random day will come and you will go from maybe someday to deciding not to have more kids. The day will come when you realize you’re not going to have any more babies. And, for a moment there will be this hole, this void, as that door shuts. You will cry a little to yourself that the children you have are going to grow up and leave you. And no, Mamas, they won’t need you like they used to. They won’t have sweet soft baby feet, or deep baby belly laughs, or tiny hands that grab your finger and hold tight. They won’t crawl into your arms and fall asleep while you breath in deep to smell their sweet baby scent. It happens. And, it’s okay to mourn that. It’s okay to cry a little. But, after you have that cry, go steal a hug from your babies, because no matter how old they are, they will always be yours. They will always be your babies.