Sometimes you just know things. I know that I was blessed with three sisters and a brother. I recognise the gift of siblings and the joys of a bustling home, but I also know that there is no room left inside this vessel for anymore sleep deprivation, back-ache and worry. I know that I will not be having any more children.
The lure of newborn babies is strong. I am not immune to the ovulation-popping experience of witnessing a random stranger cuddle their freshly made baby. To combat this I have hocked every breast pump, every sundress, every over-priced piece of useless baby machinery on Ebay. I will cuddle puppies.
I know that I am blessed. Lucky to be able to make these choices. I momentarily felt that pang of yearning when trying to conceive my second child and enduring the pregnancies of other women. I can’t fathom that on a grand scale.
I’ve seen people close to me suffer miscarriage. I’ve watched them sit slumped on a porch step while someone else played an ultrasound video to a room full of people. I was a self-involved shell of a person on a trajectory of time-wasting pursuits and I wish that I had shown more understanding.
Last night I drove to my local laundromat to pick up my husband’s shirts. It was on fire. No one was hurt except for about $500 dollars worth of our shirts – the same amount of money I just made hocking baby items on Ebay. Once upon a time this would have been upsetting but now all I can think of is that my babies are no longer babies and they’re already paying for the shirts on our backs.
A resident at my mother’s work once told me to watch out for the change of life baby – the one you have around 40. I believe her because despite a fading memory she’s still as sharp as a tack and speaks with a pleasant Scottish lilt. I told her I would heed her words. I tell myself to heed my own.
Do you think you know when you’ve finished having children?