I’ve seen so many articles lately about the sadness that surrounds your last pregnancy, the last opportunity to grow life. With each one I come across, I think “I can see how she feels that way, but nope. Not me.”
I’m grateful to the point of tears that we’ve been able to grow our family through pregnancy and childbirth. I am ecstatic that I will never look at our family and feel like we should have had more kids– four is all I’ve ever wanted. I know so many women struggle in this area and I do feel so thankful for what I have been given.
But as the end of my last pregnancy approaches, the emotion I feel most intensely is relief.
I am so incredibly relieved to know this is the last time I will ever be pregnant.
My babies have been so wanted, but they have also been so difficult for me. Some people move through their pregnancies with ease, but that has not been the case for me, not even once. The most difficult, most painful months of my life have been the months I was pregnant.
When I think about the fact that I will never do this again, I could cry actual tears of happiness (and I have).
There are certainly memories of pregnancy I treasure:
Feeling my babies moving for the first time.
Seeing their rhythmic hiccups in my belly.
Eagerly watching on a screen as their little heartbeats fluttered and they rolled and kicked in real-time.
–I recall these things with great tenderness and joy.
And of course, there is nothing in this world like the first time you meet your baby face-to-face. That thrill is just unparalleled.
But as I’m pregnant with my last baby, I also remember other things I’m so glad will never be again.
I remember being violently ill for months and months. I remember being barely able to move with nausea so severe; choking down medications I swore I wouldn’t try in an attempt just to survive another day or week of this; barely parenting my older children because just living took all my effort.
I remember cramping that shouldn’t be there and waiting anxiously for tests to confirm what we already knew — this pregnancy wouldn’t make it. Twice.
I remember the devastating feeling that this baby, our last pregnancy, was following the same course– being sent home to just wait and see but “not get my hopes up” as things went from bad to worse. (Thankfully, he was okay and the “threatened miscarriage” diagnosis remained only threatened.)
I remember the struggle and the anxiety that surrounds labor and delivery, especially after we nearly lost our second child in the process.
I remember trying to care for a brand new baby after being awake for 40 hours. I remember the pain and confusion of trying endlessly to nurse babies who just couldn’t do it. I remember countless months chained to a pump to give them what they needed.
The fact is, while I will always recall my childbearing years with gratitude, I am also so thrilled this phase is coming to an end.
One of my favorite verses, and one I have clung to–sometimes desperately–in this stage of life is Ecclesiastes 3:1. It says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven.”
Five or ten years from now, when I pass a very pregnant woman, I may feel a brief pang reminiscing about those sweet and precious memories that have passed.
Still, I know with certainty that pang will be overrun with feelings of gratitude that I’m not her, that my time in that season has ended.
Transitions can be strange, even hard, I’ll admit that. But I also know the changing of the seasons has always been my favorite time of year.
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