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?