when did you know?

Gruber Family Reunion, 1922
The thought that has been pinging around inside my empty head for months and years is this, "when do you know you are done?"

I envy the women that emphatically stated, "We are done!" and they know, and they are peaceful about it, and they can relax their uterus and sell all their maternity and baby clothes and give away the car seats and strollers and bottles and blankets.

I want to know. I want that peace. I want to relax.

Maybe because I am the seventh child out of seven, but I am strong supporter of the notion that sometimes there is just one more. It could be me! Imagine how boring my family would be without me. ha.

Nowadays, we laugh because mormons have a lot of kids (a lot!), but the new saying is that 4 is the new 10, which means 6 is the new 12, and 8 is the new 1,000.

Four kids has definitely stretched us out to our mental and physical limits and capacity. I really can't imagine having another baby...ever. Last saturday by myself all I saw was babies babies babies! And I didn't want a single one of them, and I cringed watching those poor tired mommas carry around those baby carriers and have to leave to change the diaper in the car. Oh, I forgot how much work they are.

But Rodney was a special baby. He was the baby that I knew the most that he was meant to come exactly when he did. He is a baby of obedience, a leap of faith. Having just survived 20 weeks of bedrest with Phoebe, I was surprised when my soul knew there was another. Another? How on earth could we do it again?

Well, we didn't on our own, I know that for certain. In my prayers I don't ask to know, I just say if there's another, then so be it. If I can physically and mentally handle another year of pregnancy and newborn neediness, then I will.

But oh! Those cute babies grow up, and you have to sit and help them with piano when clawing your eyeballs out would be more comfortable, and put them in timeout for touching their siblings bottom, and they get too big to sit on your lap, and they stop snuggling and grow up up up up and away from you. My heart breaks already when I remember that Rodney is only my baby for 16 more years. That's it! Sixteen short years and he'll be eighteen and out of the house and on his own. Maybe I'll keep him back a year in school, just for one more year. The girls you ask? Well, they are my baby girls for forever, and I'm so grateful for that.

But I want to know, how do you know? How do you relax? How do you not let the thought gnaw at you in the middle of the night when they are all silent and asleep and the world seems like it could never get any better?


Bowler Family said...

This is a deep question and I do not think you are the only one who is asking it. I think when you know, you will KNOW. There won't be a question. You will just have a deep peace of completion. You may have mourning for the loss of a part of your life that is over, but I think you will know!! Good luck!! I understand the confusion!!

Deborah said...

quick answer here but I wil pm you on facebook couse there is a longer one that isn't really appropriate for ALL eyes ( TMI yanno)

but--if there IS another spirit that beongs to you and only you I believe you will KNOW that--it will makes itselfknown.. however-- if you decide you are done and there isn't a spirit knocking loudly at your door-- you will STILL feel some remorse and longing and feelings of loss, maybe a little guilt--IMO it is the feelings of end of an era--moving onto a new phase of your life--not babies anymore but growing up kids with all the NEW challenges that THAT brings. there are ALWYS thse kinds of feelings when we transition--call them growing pains--it doesn't mean that the decision was wrong!

I still remember a woman in my ward( in the olden days LOL) who had FIFTEEN children and went to the Doc to find out why she wasn't getting preggers again--she was in her late 40's I think-- and the doc said--"honey, you're just done"--and she STILL mourned for quite a while before she really accepted it.

Andrea said...

I am not sure if I ever told you how I knew that Mattea was it for us. I was actually giving birth to her and I prayed and asked- do i have to do this again. I received the answer of no, this is the last one. You are done. I love seeing others babies, as you know, but I know that Mattea was meant to be our end so that we could start another chapter of our life as a family.I jsut knew- doubt was not there. i think if you have doubt, then prayer is the only way to ease your mind. Doubt to me means maybe there is another one. I had doubt after Luke and we had another one. So happy we did.

Annie Leavitt said...

i know this is such a personal thing, so thank you for your thoughts.

my mom said it is a feeling of peace, and she just knew. but she also had a hysterectomy shortly afterwards...definitely cuts out the "what if's!

i never considered the "mourning" part, i'm sure i will feel that when i am done. i've loved being a mother to tiny babies.

Tiffany said...

I have no answers, just wanted to say that I have that same inner battle that you do! I really think that I am the type who will mourn being done having babies. I don't think I'll EVER feel done. Even my mom who is in her 60's says she longs for those baby days and wishes she had had more, even though they felt "done" at the time. Such a hard choice and one that can only be made with your husband and the Lord.
Thanks for posting about this because this is on my mind EVERY single day! It's good to know I'm not the only one who knows for sure what's going to happen!

RunHeatherRun said...

This is a question I have asked myself a million times in the past 6 years. Obviously I found out the answer was no (enter Lainey :)) but here we go asking ourselves this question again or at least we will before too long. No answer to your question but you voiced something I have been pondering. Don't be surprised if I blog stalk you for the next few days to read other responses. :)

stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kay Hardy Barlow said...

This is a great post, and I have loved reading all the comments, and of course I have to add my 2 cents. During and after the the pregnancy and birth of each of my first 4 kids, I would think,
"wow, how sad would it be if I NEVER got to do this again." (But I did have super easy pregnancies and deliveries.) By #5, I was thinking it wouldn't be TOO sad, and then #6 came along who screamed 24/7 for the first year of his life, and suddenly, it wasn't sad any more :) And...I had always said I wanted 6 kids from the time I was a little girl. hubby likes even numbers so he always said, "If we have a #7, we need to have a #8," which was a little overwhelming. (No offense to you miss #7 :)

Annie Leavitt said...

ha kay! i have an odd number phobia too, so for me it's either 4 or 6. and 6 sounds like a billion today (phoebe's been sick).

i'm glad i'm not the only one wondering this all the time. i also think everyone has their "Limit", and it's all so very different. #4 turned me into a screamer mom for a year, luckily it passed but it was scary during.

stephanie said...

i'm apparently having commenting issues. not sure why my first comment disappeared. here it is:

i knew when i was laying on the operating table for c-section #4 that elliot would be my last. i just can't do that again. but that doesn't mean that it was an easy decision. i still think about having another baby sometimes. a new baby is always a blessing, and somehow we'd survive if i got pregnant again. but it would be really hard. and i'm afraid i would turn into the kind of mother who is always frazzled. and my kids deserve better than that. since we've "decided" i feel a sense of relief. i am more grateful for the children i already have, and i think i am a better mother to them. i love babies, but i am excited for this next phase of my life.

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