Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Saying Good-bye to a Season of Motherhood


There are no babies in my house.

No tiny diapers. No bottles. No middle-of-the-night feedings. No pacifiers. No tiny shoes. No diaper blow outs. No sweet baby's breath. No swaying side-to-side during a conversation to keep a baby asleep.


The baby-toddler stage of my mothering journey officially ended in October when Samuel turned 3 years old. A season of my life is done. Over.

In all honesty, I miss it. Yes, mothering babies and toddlers is HARD. It is all about survival - yours and the baby! But it's also very sweet and very basic. Food, clean diapers, and lots of snuggles are all baby needs and wants. It's physically exhausting to meet those needs 24/7 but it's also very fulfilling to know I am the only one who knows how to make baby most comfortable.

I know that our decision not to birth more babies is the right one for us. Four c-sections in 5.5 years is not easy. Homeschooling big kids during the day, nursing a baby at night, and wrestling with crazy hormones is overwhelming. Mix in fatigue and joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis and you really have the potential for disaster.


My head knows it's the right decision. My heart isn't so sure. My heart keeps whispering, "No! Don't let this sweet season of life end so soon. Just one more baby."

While my heart struggles to catch up with my head, I remind myself that no diaper bags, no naps, no strollers, and no cribs brings fresh adventures, different kinds of sweet moments, and fulfillment in not just surviving but enjoying our growing relationships.

One season ends and another begins. Eventually my heart will embrace this season of life, probably about the time we hit the tween years. Heaven help me!

Has your season of life changed recently? Were you excited or scared, happy or sad about the changes? Share your thoughts about the seasons of motherhood in the comments.

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28 comments:

Amy said...

This transition or entering a new season began to hit me last fall. Honestly, it is a range of emotions from sad to excited. For now, I find myself trying to intentionally pray and think through what this means for me now. It's different but I don't want to miss any opportunities found in this season! I want to live it to the fullest!!!!

Stephanie Shepherd said...

I'm right there with you. Like you, I know it's the right decision, but I would never ever say no to another baby, no matter how it arrived on our doorstep. : )

Stephanie said...

Amy, isn't it strange to think the baby season is over? I'm sad but also excited about the freedom it brings. And I'm ready to have full use of my van trunk space without a stroller. :) I've done a lot of reflection this month about what I would do differently with Will if I could start over again. I'm not wallowing in my regrets but I am trying to learn from them and make changes in how I mother now.

Stephanie, I agree! I wouldn't say no to another baby!! We've decided not to birth more babies but we both want to adopt more children. Right now that's several years in the future and I don't know that we'll adopt in infant or toddler. We're both feeling called to adopt out of the American foster care system and I'm thinking a sibling group. We'll see what God has planned for the future!

Christie said...

I am right here with you as "my baby" was 3 last month. I held a 6good week old little.sweetie just last week. She is so tiny. Something inside of me was processing the fact that my guys are years removed from that stage as I held my friend's new baby. Definitely a range of emotions!! I am finding that many things are easier in this season and less time intensive and I need all that extra energy to meet the current demands and "be all here "you in this season. I found myself digging into this year's One Year Bible, praying for wisdom for the unknown....just like I did before the boys were born. :)

Stephanie said...

Christie, a range of emotions is right! I'm finding that the baby years are kind of like my college years. I learned a lot, made some mistakes, but overall enjoyed the experience. But I wouldn't trade my current life to go back.

Flamingo said...

yes...I am VERRRY sad to have that stage over as hard as it may be. REALLY in a new stage of life as my kiddos are gone all day. i dream of the day when i used to entertain them with bowls of rice and water. ahh. the good ol' days:)

Ann said...

I did fine until this year. Steven turned five in August, and that's when the wistfulness began. Now that he's a full-fledged school kid, though, I think I'm in a period of mild mourning that the little kid years are over. I think maybe I expected to have adopted by now. I must admit, I love having all big kids and the freedom that grants me to do other things, but I wouldn't be sorry to welcome another baby or toddler into my home.

Carrie said...

I'm intentionally not thinking about this. (Right now it's easy not to because I'm in the survival mode you talked about.) And still I look at my youngest and think, "Why, she's almost all grown up!" Because she's mobile. ;) And then I sigh and wonder...

Honestly, your remark the other day about buying your last box of diapers completely threw me. I told Jonathan, "Can you IMAGINE *NOT* buying diapers??!?!?!?!?!?" This is a hard thought to wrap one's mind around at the present. But that day will come! I'm not sure when, but it's coming and that's a VERY. WEIRD. THOUGHT!

Stephanie said...

Flamingo, you really did enter a new stage this year! I can't imagine what I would feel packing my little guys off to school each day. Although I am envious of the ability to go to the bathroom without someone pounding on the door looking for you!

Ann, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one mourning the changing of seasons. I also welcome the freedom of big kids but wouldn't mind adopting a little one.

Carrie, it is a very weird thought! I've bought diapers for 8.5 years. Sam has regressed a little in that department so I may have to buy Pull-ups for another month. But the end is in sight!!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Oh, don't talk to me about this! ;-). My baby is 19 months and I already (& still, despite the fact that I know he's our last) have that little twinge of "awwww, it's over so soon!" when I think about it too much. Plus, he's getting his first haircut this week. . .sniff!

Stephanie said...

Amy, thanks for stopping by. I hate the first haircut. They go in looking like babies and come out looking like little men. How can something as simple as a haircut age a child in the matter of minutes!

Kimberly said...

as a mom to 3 high school boys-- each new season is just as wonderful and exciting. Don't short change the new seasons by fretting too much the passing of the completed seasons.

I started homeschooling when mine were 4-7. I can't imagine homeschooling with infants. I guess you get the strength you need at the time!

you can visit me at http://kabersblog.blogspot.com

-Kimberly

Stephanie said...

Kimberly, one day I'll have 3 teenage boys and 1 teenage girl. I can't imagine THAT! But I know I'll learn lessons and make adjustments when that season comes.

thatdesigngal said...

Oh, I can only imagine. My first just turned 8 months and I'm already sad... lol, I sound bad. I was packing up her clothes and her newborn clothes were just breaking my heart how big she is now. Wonderful, but sad she isn't a tiny tiny baby anymore!

Stephanie said...

thatdesigngal, I think that's the way we'll always feel as moms. I love the current season but I also loved the last one. Recognizing how fast each season goes by is helping me to be intentional about embracing where we are now.

2busy said...

They really do grow up way, too fast. I went from bottles and bibs to diplomas in the blink of an eye.

Stephanie said...

2busy, I believe you! It's funny - the 6 years we had without children seems so much longer than the 8+ years with children. Wonder why that is. :)

Classic NYer said...

There's always a season ending and another one beginning. I for one have just recently gone from being single to being married... and on occasion I kind of miss not having anyone worry where I am at 3am if I'm not home... but the trade off is so worth it. It will be for you as well. It always is, I think.

Happy SITS day!

Zeemaid said...

That's exactly it, our hearts have to catch up with our brains. I know practically speaking it makes no sense for us to have another child and gives our family so much freedom now that my youngest is about to turn 5 and start school fulltime in September but the other part of me goes.. perfect time to spend cuddling a baby at home. Sigh.

Tricia said...

So sweet! I'm still in the baby phase but see the end in sight. I know I will miss it.

Jamie H said...

Ohhh...makes me want to cry. We too left the baby/toddler stage in October when our youngest turned 3. Just after Christmas we cleaned out all the "young" toys. Made me sad. This summer I will be selling all our baby/toddler clothes...Can't even think about it now!!
Happy SITS Day!!

Ann said...

The years do swiftly fly by - let's enjoy every moment while it lasts. Then embrace whatever comes next : )

Lauren said...

That does seem like a hard season to bid goodbye, especially since you went through that stage three times. But you are right. There are new, exciting adventures to be had. I am on my way to a season of change when I graduate college in May. Eek! Both exciting and scary, but I absolutely cannot wait. I'm getting weary of undergrad. Stopping by from SITS! Hope you have a good feature day! :)

Marie said...

Wow, I think I would jump for joy and not look back. :)))

Venus said...

Oh my heart! I can't say I feel your pain, as we're only on number one so far. But I can imagine it, just from the way I feel as our little G gets older and his baby-ness slips away. I have a feeling I'll be in the same boat as you when we decide to stop having kids! Thanks for sharing, and good luck on this new mommying season!

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

I was excited to find your blog! We have four kids too.

My husband and I are in complete disagreement over having another. He's beyond ready to be done and I'm not so sure I'm ready yet! Though that may be the best decision for our family.

Tricia said...

I am currently leaving the infant stage behind for good. My son is now almost 16 months and I'm still in denial. All that really remains is the crib and pacifier. Otherwise, he's becoming such a big boy. I'm grasping at his "baby" moments while also rejoicing in the fact that I'll never use bottles again. Bittersweet.

Anjie Orlowski said...

I too will be very sad when this season of my motherhood ends. Luckily I still have time. ((HUGS))

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