Recently, one of my best friends’ best friends had a baby. So my best friend, who only has one child of her own, is experiencing what I refer to as baby madness. ‘Madness,’ because the truth is that all cute little newborns and pudgy faced babies grow up into bullheaded annoying kids whose life goal is to drive parents crazy. The madness comes in because each and every one of us falls for what I consider the ultimate betrayal of Mother Nature.
So, maybe I am a tad sour. With 4 kids, each of whom has their own opinion of nearly everything; my life tends to get crazy. Up until a few years ago, I was able to tone down the insane by simply pulling out baby pictures and remembering how freaking cute my kids were ‘back in the day.’Don’t get me wrong, they’re still kind of cute, but they have completely broken me from any feelings of ‘baby madness.’
Now, when I see a newborn or cute baby, I nearly run away – fearful that looking into their eyes, or smiling at them might spark some increase in my personal fertility. And that my friend, at my age – would be a personal nightmare!
The truth is that calling it quits on procreation is a completely personal decision.
After the birth of my 4th child, I KNEW I was done. It was almost as if a switch in my brain that had been turned on for many years, simply clicked off. I felt a great sense of peace and relief knowing that my family was complete, and had no anxiety giving away ‘everything baby’ in my home. I know women who still have outdated car seats, swings, baby bottles, maternity and baby clothes and infant toys sitting in their basements or attics ‘just in case,’ they should get pregnant again. For these women, the ‘baby switch’ is still flickering.
From my personal, Momspirational standpoint – I think that many women hold onto the baby madness with smidgens of relegated fear that the definition of who they are (a mother) will somehow change (or diminish) if they let it go. Let’s face it, there is a lot of attention and feelings of purpose that come from the ‘having babies’ phase of life. Being fearful of what comes next, especially after you have been doing one thing (raising children) for so long is 100% natural.
As I send my youngest child to kindergarten this year, I have to be honest in saying that there is a small part of myself that sees her rite of passage as the closing of a chapter in my own life. Sure, I am still a stay at home working mom. I still have plenty of maternal things to do each and every day of my life. But I am also on the cusp of a certain sense of freedom. A freedom that I have not experienced in 15 years.
With this freedom – just as with any freedom in life, will come questions (and hopefully answers) about who I am, and who I want to be during this next chapter. And while a little nervous and perhaps anxious, I am mostly excited. Will I shed a door as my daughter walks through the brick and mortar doors of her school on the first day? Probably, yes. But then I will get in my car, turn up the radio, and push the gas pedal to the floor knowing that I am moving forward, driving towards, – moving happily to the next phase of motherhood and womanhood. And this, I believe, is how it is supposed to work.