My littlest baby turned one last week. ONE.
I know this is just another milestone in the sea of changes that come along with being a mother. But, wow, I didn’t expect to feel like this. The sadness I’m feeling has been hard to ignore. When we found out we were pregnant with Esme we immediately knew that this would be our last child. We took matters into our own hands and took that painful, yet necessary step that ensured us we wouldn’t have any more children*. In that moment I knew it was right. We both knew. We had a very feisty almost three year old and twin 9 month olds that were making me pull my hair out (little did I know it would only get crazier with those two). How was I going to manage another little baby?
We lived in Michigan at the time and had zero family nearby and our few friends were busy with their own babies. Asking for help has never been my strong suit. I was already doing everything in my power to keep the four of us alive and happy with Pierre’s work travels. I was terrified.
But now? I have an ache in my heart knowing that time is passing and Esme will only be this little for a short while longer. I’ve been so busy living in the “keeping us alive and happy” moments that I’ve missed some of the “enjoy this last ______” moments. The thought of not having a baby to carry or rock or nurse anymore is harder than I thought it would be. And I knew this feeling would come, I just didn’t expect it’s intensity. A new phase in my life where I can move on from pregnancy and nursing, that I found tedious and some days, I’m ashamed to say, a little inconvenient.
A lot has already changed since Esme was born, and in the 9 months previous. The major changes included moving from Michigan to Florida so we could be close to family and job changes for Pierre which meant more travel for him. I left the dear friends I made in Michigan, I had to swallow my pride and ask for help (I’m still learning how to do this) from my family. I had to overcome my insecurities and accept that my family was proud of me as a mother and my choice to raise my children differently than any of the women in my family had was a strength, not a weakness they looked down on. The twins had to grow up just a little bit faster, Eva too. I’ve dealt with guilt from knowing I haven’t given a particular child enough attention. I’ve had to make hard decisions.
So here we are, on the other side. The side where we move forward and can’t go back no matter how badly we want to. We look to the future with zero cribs and no more diapers. We look to walking and no longer crawling. We look forward to a time when I don’t have to cut food into little pieces. A time when no one needs me to wash their hair or lace their shoes. A time when I won’t hear “mommy” or “mama”, only “mom”. I challenge myself to look on to the future with a joyous heart. Because just like this unexpected heartache, I don’t know what the future holds, I can only prepare my heart and hold strong to God’s promise.