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Mother's Decision to Not Have More Children

The Heartache of Being "Done" With Babies

Dare I say it: I think I am finished making babies.

I haven't shut down the shop, but with my current odds, I think that having another most likely will never happen.

I'm almost divorced. I'm in my late 30s. I'm building my career. I went through the hardships of hyperemesis gravidarum in pregnancy twice and dealt with miscarriage. The odds of meeting someone amazing and fast and being stable enough work-wise to leave work and get sick and pregnant (plus risk my health) are pretty low. So when my ex signed over our martial home to the bank, I found myself sifting through our daughter's old baby clothes picking which items to keep for myself, which to give away, and which to leave in storage for . . . a potential baby for my ex? For me?

I never imagined I would have kids.

And then I turned 30 and well, it was like this strong urge overcame me. That's the only way I can explain it as cliché as it sounds. I also never imagined I would be married, divorced, or a single parent.

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Yet here I am.

Life has this funny way of happening to you when you least expect it.

I'll be blunt: the idea of getting pregnant again terrifies me. The hyperemesis gravidarum was awful and scary, and I'm not sure how much my body could take again. Not to mention as much as other moms may hate on this, I really enjoy having time to have a career. Another child would mean less time. I like having my body back.

But there is something so final about never having another child again. Never feeling those kicks, butterfly flutters, and rolls. Never wondering what the baby inside will look like once on the outside. Never wrapping another baby in a swaddler complete with an infant cap, to have my very own baby glowworm.

Never nursing again. Never seeing a little being do all those wondrous firsts like crawl, sit, and walk.

My daughter's first year was one of the best years of my life. I can't find another moment in my life that compares to it. Not my wedding. Not graduating from college. Not falling in love. It was like nothing I had ever experienced and all the time I had with just the two of us that year into almost two and a half years is irreplaceable. I thank her father for all he did in that time while I was home for the most part, caring for her.

A big part of me enjoys having one child and the one-on-one intensity of the relationship. The bonding. Another large part of me loves the idea of never being pregnant and sick again. I am fortunate for what I have and like that my daughter becomes more and more independent each day, but there's this voice that says:

"I can't believe it's really over."

I never expected to have kids, BUT I had hoped once I had my daughter that she could have a sibling since I grew up with three. She was such a wonderful baby that I knew I had to try at least one more time for her, for me, and for my ex-husband, despite the hyperemesis.

Things did not happen as I thought they would, and life never does.

So it's this nostalgic goodbye I say to the baby I thought I would have but didn't. To the idea I had that being pregnant wouldn't be so difficult and that marriage was going to be forever.

However, as I say goodbye to these things, I say hello to a life that while different than what I had expected, is still full of so many good things. A career. A lovely daughter. The chance at love again.

Life is what we make of it. We get the ingredients and it's our job to simmer, savor, stew, test, and indulge in what we were offered. I may have expected steak, but I will enjoy my pasta instead. It's not what I ordered, but it's just as delicious even if I long for the steak I once wanted.

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