The Ache

Today I lugged a huge bag of 0-3 month baby clothes and most of maternity wardrobe, plus a diaper pail and a baby swing, to a resource center for teen moms. This Saturday I will be gifting my boppy and My Brest Friend pillows, my Rock n Play Sleeper chair and bassinet, plus all my BornFree bottles and parts, to a friend who is expecting her first child next month. Slowly but surely I’m getting rid of all the baby things we no longer need, because there will be no more babies.

There will be no more babies.

I always wanted three. But I also always expected I’d marry a man who wanted that many babies with me. I didn’t end up with that man and so what I wanted had to change. Or at least I had to act like it did.

Even if we’d had no trouble conceiving I probably wouldn’t be planning for a third child. I had been stealing myself for that probability long before we struggled to conceive our first child and when were told we probably won’t conceive our second. I have written before that I’m thankful for our secondary infertility journey because I believe it allowed me to see our two children through a lens of gratitude instead of resentment.

But the ache is still there. Despite recognizing my good fortune. Despite preparing for this probability.

My son is barely four months old and I already ache with longing to do it again. I don’t want to be done. I don’t want to move on from this place in my life, from this age-of-babies.

I am one of the lucky ones. I know this. What I didn’t know was that I believed that by being one of the lucky ones, I couldn’t also feel the ache. I didn’t think I was allowed. I mean, I had my second baby, who was I to want more?

But this week I learned I’m not alone. And then, in case I didn’t believe it to be true, I learned it again. This ache that I feel, it isn’t just my ache. Other women feel it too. Women who struggle to build their families and women who don’t. Women who are still moving through their child bearing years and women who have long ago bid farewell to that time in their life. The ache is something many women share.

And for some reason, knowing that I’m not alone, that this ache throbs in the hearts of other women, makes the hurt easier to bear.

I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I never forget.

But that doesn’t keep the ache away. And now I know, that’s okay.

Do you feel The Ache? Do you think you will someday?

16 responses

  1. Even before I was fully healed from my c-section I was ready to start talking about #2! I loved being pregnant and finally having a child has been amazing. We are impatiently going to wait the year mark before doing a frozen transfer of our one embryo. Being a bit older we would like to finish our family soon by having the second child close to the first. If we are successful, I’m sure I will get the Ache for #3, but we will be done with completing our family at that time.

  2. I don’t often let myself go there. Maybe because I had a blended family and much older siblings Z’s situation feels familiar but just recently she saw Frozen and has been singing the songs and wanting a sister — I also realized how much of a sister role my best friend played. In watching Z play “frozen” I was almost overcome. Out of the blue. Yes I have it. I don’t acknowledge it — but my inability to get rid of our embryos is proof.

  3. I am feeling this a lot lately, even as we STRUGGLE with Bryson’s sleep. I ache for one more, knowing that it may nit happen. And even if it does happen (PLEASE, little embryos of mine, please!), I think I’ll still feel the ache when we’re all done. I just love having babies. I am jealous of every person who has one. I just love babies so much.

    I totally feel you here!

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

  4. Assuming we bring home Bean, this will be our last pregnancy. I’m not sure what will happen if Bean dies. When Jon and I were married, we talked about 3 kids: I’m one of 4, he’s one of 2, so 3 is in the middle. Then we dealt with primary infertility, so we were grateful to be able to get pregnant, but then Oscar and Bella died. We knew out how to get me pregnant, so while pregnant with Tittle and Gus, we didn’t really need to think about how many we’d bring home. Especially after Tittle died, we were so scared we would never get to bring any home. As we approached Gus’ due date, I knew that I wanted another. I think I’m meant to have 2 living children. I may feel the ache again, miss being pregnant and all that involves, but along with the ache of wanting more is the ache of another, potential, broken heart. It’s definitely not cut and dry.

  5. Pingback: Little Reminders | All the Sun For You

  6. I’m packing away Harvey’s newborn clothes (and half of the 0-3 mo stuff that’s already too small) and it definitely makes my heart ache. I always saw myself having 4 kids (I’m one of 5), and though I’m okay with having 2 now, it’s still bittersweet to think we’re done. 😦

  7. It does help to know so many (almost all?) mothers feel this ache, no matter how many children they have or what stage of life they are in. I am like Courtney- I really, really love babies. But then I was with Grayson at the doctor the other day and saw all these school age kids, doing their homework or fighting over homework with their moms and I thought- ugh, I am NOT looking forward to homework. For some reason, it really hit me that maybe I don’t want to do this again- because those sweet babies grow up and you have to fight with them about homework- ha!.

  8. Yes yes yes. I also always wanted three…but so many reasons not to, most important of which is that my partner won’t even discuss it! It comes and goes, hitting me at odd times, but it is there.

  9. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been needing it. I feel like I have more than ache. It really feels like heartbreak to me right now. But I want it to transition to ache, and then hopefully to learn to live with that feeling. We have two that I’m so grateful for, but my husband thinks we’re done. And I just don’t feel done, even though reason says I should be. I’ve been wondering a lot lately if it’s just because of the infertility. Just a left over habit of wanting that so bad, for so long. But maybe it’s normal, and that makes it feel a little less overwhelming. Maybe we all go through this. Maybe that’s why mothers want to be grandmothers so badly? It definitely aches.

  10. I feel the ache. And worse, my husband feels it. It sucks to be the broken piece of equipment that is preventing your spouse from having the large family he wants.

    I don’t think there is an answer for the ache. Maybe just feel it, dwell in it, then move on to something you can do, something that is within your control.

  11. I feel the ache something crazy. I just held my friend’s 1-month old today, and I wish so much to give M a sibling. I am trying so hard to be grateful for and to see the benefits of having a single child, and most days that is enough to get me past the longing, but it would be such a blessing to conceive another child for our family. I know it wouldn’t be without its struggles, and it is pretty unlikely (i.e. we aren’t holding our breath), but it would be a dream come true!

  12. Thank you for sharing.. I too have a similar story.. We were lucky enough to be blessed with a second child. I am 7 weeks pregnant with our very last embryo. I am already aching that I will not be able to have another. I too feel who am I to be sad when I haven’t even had our second.

  13. I still haven’t gotten rid of my baby girl clothes or my maternity clothes. My baby boy clothes are going to a friend who just had a boy. But in my head, I feel that there’s another little girl coming. I always wanted 3. so even though I love having my two, and I have my hands full, and we couldn’t afford it, and K doesn’t want more… i still feel like we’re not done. I guess I’m not alone.

  14. This is the most beautifully worded post. I love that you put into words what I’m feeling, so beautifully. I honestly think some of us will forever feel that ache, regardless if our families are complete or not. There’s something so final about “being done.” It brings about so many emotions, knowing that there will never be a pregnancy, squishy newborn, or first birthday parties again. My hubby and I are still discussing a 3rd, although I know 100% I’d like AT LEAST 1 more. He tells me often “you won’t ever want to be done having kids Heather.” And he’s right…I won’t. I love being a mom (even though my posts recently haven’t reflected that!), and I love the squishy newborn/baby phase, I love giving birth. I will be so sad to leave that behind, and I doubt that “The Ache” will ever go away. It may lessen, but I think I’ll always long for “another baby.” Hugs friend, you aren’t alone!

  15. Yes, yes, definitely feel the ache and I think I always will. The baby phase goes by so incredibly fast, they change so fast, it’s heartbreaking really. I am happy we have the embryo on ice, but it scares me at the same time. I feel I could be totally happy with two, but I’m afraid a failed FET will open up a huge gaping wound if it doesn’t workthat I will fight to fill again and I don’t think I have the fight left in me. I long for the finality of being done a bit, I am scared of loss and heartbreak and bad ultrasounds / outcomes. It’s highly emotional stuff, this making babies business. hugs to you.

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