To become a mother comes with a whole set of experiences. So many are beautiful, fulfilling and joyful and almost equally as many are hard, heartbreaking and bittersweet. One I didn’t anticipate giving me heartbreak was the decision of not having any more kids.
I’ve got three and am very content with three. And yet I love love love new babies. I have been transformed for the better with each of my pregnancies and births. And yet, I cannot imagine going through another 9 months of pregnancy and birth and fourth trimester and so on and so on.
Carrying, birthing and breastfeeding for nearly ten years means this body has not been solely mine for a long time. I know I do not want another cycle of those experiences. I am ready to call this body my own again.
And I am ready to focus beyond me towards my ambitions. Those who “lean in” will say that I never had to put my ambitions on hold. And perhaps for some people that’s true, but for me, I can only split myself into so many pieces while still feeling coherent. Some things do have to give way in order to raise children. Those are hard decisions we have to make as mothers and my choices have probably been 80 kids/20 me.
This is the path forward for me. And yet, my certainty is greatly contrasted by the grief I have in deciding so. I grieve never sniffing the head of a newborn. Never again feeling that flavor of wonder and joy and marvel of welcoming a new being who I cohabitated with for 9 months. Never again snuggling with a new spirit. Never again experiencing those first’s – first grasp of my finger, first steps, first words and so on.
Making this decision feels selfish because society says women need to be mothers and mothers need to give and give until we have nothing left. This is certainly a decision that is highly influenced by what is best for me – but it is not selfish! What is best for me is best for my family and for those who will be impacted by my re-focusing. I cannot make any more decisions based on what society expects of me. This is my body and my family and my life.
We all deserve to make such “selfish” decisions and come to peace about them within ourselves. Ending any stage of our life will bring with it grief and mourning. So often endings are thrust upon us, leaving us powerless. When we end things on our own accord, it has its own sense of power with it – one that we could all use a nice reacquaintance with.
I write everyday because it allows me to voice what is at the surface. Once that is out of my head, I can dig in another layer deeper. My daily writing practice has been my greatest exploration of self and humanity. Sign up here to receive these thought nuggets in your inbox on the daily.