You know that feeling you get when you’re at a beautiful restaurant, you’re halfway through your creamy Carbonara, and you know you should stop, but you can’t, it’s so bloody good. ‘Just one more scoop’. ‘Just one more scoop’. That was me, but not with food, with kids. I was a child breeding hog. I had 3 beautiful ‘they drive me crazy but I friggin love them so much’ kids. My plate was already so full and yet I wanted my belly to be full again too.
Or did I?
I had been riding the fertility see-saw for the last year as my friends and family welcomed new additions to the world and surrounded me with that glorious newborn smooshiness (insert ‘The Circle of Life’ song here).
I wanted another piece of that. ‘I’ll have what she’s having thanks.’ That love. That everything. That feeling of the excitement that surrounds all the firsts – the first flutter, the first kicks, then the first cuddle, smile, food, even the first hard poo! Then I would take off my rose coloured glasses and remember what I already had – a great work/life balance, growing children with growing interests and activities, my body back after 7 pregnancies (including 4 heart-breaking losses which also played a big part in my indecision) and, eight un-interrupted hours of sleep each night (actually this should be at the top of the list).
When did you know you were done with having kids?
Other couples I’ve spoken to had all told me ‘You’ll just know’. But I didn’t know. I was still waiting for the waiter to come out, take my plate and say, ‘Here’s your cheque’.
Until then, I just wanted to keep going, more….more….MORE!… oh God, here came the heartburn.
I think in the end it was my lack of storage which helped me to finally decide. After years of holding onto the kid’s outgrown clothing, my space-bags were all full and tumbling out of our cupboards, like an avalanche of get-your-shit-together reminders. I decided to start sorting through the baby clothes and, to my surprise, I no longer found myself yearning. Yes, my heart was aching at the bitter-sweet memories of their newborn days, but I no longer hungered for more. Before my youngest came along, I always yearned for her. I felt a void, a deep chasm, which would only be filled once she joined our family. That longing had disappeared and was now filled with contentment – contentment with what was, and what might be.
After much reflection, I ended up parting with most of the clothes, but not before selecting a few items from each child to keep. Their coming home from hospital outfits. The oh so adorable but totally impractical fleecy baby bear outfit which was only worn once for the sake of a photo, so cute. I hugged these tiny mementos to my chest, closed my eyes and said goodbye to this chapter of my life. I would have even shed some tears were it not for the realisation that my youngest had discreetly removed her nappy and dumped it on the floor like a stinking landmine waiting to be stomped on….yep, I was done, thanks for that, ‘Cheque please.’
So, it appears the restaurant is now closed, and I’m outta there. I’ve had an unforgettable time and I’d highly recommend it to others. Compliments to the chef. But, for now, it’s time for this child hog to let go, move forward and see what new adventure awaits.
Written by Marijana Ivankovic