Thursday, June 30, 2011

First smiles...

Maeve will be six weeks old tomorrow, and she's smiling like crazy. It's so amusing to see somebody who still sleeps about 22 hours a day wake up and suddenly grin like she's absolutely delighted about something... it makes me melt. She's so cute and growing up so quickly. We took her to visit her new cousin last weekend-- they are almost exactly a month apart-- and it was so shocking for me to see Maeve suddenly look big next to her 7 pound cousin. At her one month visit she had gained a pound and a half and grown nearly 2 inches!

I'm trying to bite my tongue daily as I'm re-entering the world with my four children and meeting so many people-- acquaintances and strangers alike-- who find it their business to ask, only moments after they congratulate me on the birth of Maeve and mention her resemblance to the others or her adorable cuteness, whether I'm planning on having any more children. I really want to say, It's none of your fucking business whether or not I plan to have another baby... because really, how incredibly rude is it to be asking somebody you barely know about their long term family planning decisions? Honestly I don't mind when friends ask me, because it's usually in the context of a conversation, and because we've a history to back it up-- but I'm just amazed at how many people that I barely know who are asking this question almost without fail. Is it because having four children is so unheard of nowadays that they are just curious to know whether I'll continue to break the status quo and keep having more? Is it because my kids are so cute and well behaved that they are hoping I'll keep improving the human race by making more? (Just checking to see if you were listening).

Truly the reason why I probably hate the question is because probably the answer is no, I probably won't have another baby after Maeve, and I can hardly stand to think about this. I love having babies so much... I love every bit of it. I love giving birth (and I've gotten so good at it), I love nursing, I love teeny-tiny babies and everything about taking care of them... I love watching my older children adoring their little siblings, I love filling the chairs around my dining room table... I love all of these things. I would love, in theory, to have a few more babies. It's almost a romantic idea....

but really, I want to be available for my children at least sometimes. I hate having to say to Liam, no, I can't play catch with you because I'm holding the baby, and I have to make Fiona's dinner. No, we can't do that because the babies are napping. No, we can't have a friend over because Mommy is too busy!
I also realize, with each additional baby, that I also feel the stretch for the baby-- at this point a real treat for me (and Maeve) is when I can sit down to nurse her-- as opposed to nursing her in the crook of my arm while I make sandwiches, or in the carrier while pushing Fiona on the swing, or getting kids in and out of the bathtub.
The more babies, the less time I have for each baby, and I want to spoil them with love and attention.
And, I'm getting older, and I'm testing fate each time. And I have FOUR. FOUR healthy, beautiful, happy, amazing, LIVING children. This is a miracle.
So while I would never do anything permanent right now, it's probable that the end of almost a decade of baby making and having and rearing is over. Hard to imagine.

I really don't spend any time thinking about this when I'm taking care of Maeve, because I don't want to feel sad and wistful about her. I just want her to be Maeve and to love every minute of her. But I did, strangely, get a little sad a few weeks ago when I put my fifth and possibly final peri-bottle into the dishwasher to convert to a bath toy.

The end of my bleeding, which to me told me that I could no longer claim that I had "just given birth", gave me a pang of sadness. My uterus, retired.


Sara said...

It was wonderful to meet Maeve the other day!

Hope's Mama said...

Here's to a job very well done by your uterus! I get sad thinking you'll have no more babies so i can only imagine how you feel. Jealous Sara got to meet her but thanks for the announcement card this week xo

Olivia said...

When will people learn that is never a polite question whether you have no children, one child or more?

It's interesting to see you write about how much time you have to truly give to each of your children. I am one of only two children and plan to have only two, so I've always wondered how that works in a larger family.

excavator said...

I too hated to think about no more babies. Knowing my second son was most likely my last child was very poignant. My own baby gave me baby hunger!

Scribe said...

Your uterus deserves a standing ovation... job well done... Has brought so many emotions and brought forth so much love... time after time...

I dropped my youngest off to kindergarten a few weeks ago. For the first time in 11 years I had not one little child to take to a little school. They were all big now. Big kids.

And I wept.

I am deciding to choose joy in my new season (with tears in between)... I want to embrace them where they are... but not where I wish for them to be once again...

strange isn't it? That our beloved are not our own... they are little lights sent to us... to grow US up... to show US the way! What a brilliant reason to CHOOSE JOY!

And so I will.
I retired my uterus as well. (I think).