From the time I was expecting my first baby, and ever since, I am frequently told how fast time flies and children grow. How one day you share your house with megalomaniac toddlers, and the next with moody teens. Nearly five years on, I can already see how true the cliche is. It’s only when I look back at photos or sort through teeny tiny baby clothes that I remember the stages of their lives, and ours, that have gone by, and that won’t be back.
For them there have been the big milestones – the first smiles, teeth, steps and words, and there are of course more of them to come. But it’s the small changes that blow me away – the things that change so slowly you barely notice until they are gone. Spidey’s beloved Woolie dragged everywhere since he was a toddler is frequently left behind. Yoda’s gorgeously mispronounced words are coming right. Even 3 month old Woodie is at it, demanding his fix of the in-house entertainment by fussing and grunting if his brother and sister leave the room.
Time changes for me too. It’s just three months on from Woodie’s arrival and – having dispensed with all the drama and the hospital visits, the reality of three kids under 5 is very real (if surprisingly manageable). But the biggest change is that the bump is gone, forever, and now I just have a belly. Three, it seems, is the magic number and my baby making days are over *.
* Now, writing these things tends to make me broody. If I’m here in 40 weeks waxing lyrical about my fourth and last baby let’s (a) forget this post and (b) remember breastfeeding is not a reliable form of contraception!
It’s the sane decision, the rational one, the agreed one. But man-alive I’ll miss being pregnant.
I’ve loved all of my pregnancies from the moment I just knew I was expecting, to the moment I got to meet a child I already knew, already loved. I’ve loved the weeks where just myself and my husband know a new baby is coming. I’ve loved telling my close friends and swearing them to secrecy. I’ve loved that I always seem to pick some completely random stranger and tell them I’m seven weeks due simply because I have to. I’ve loved sitting in work hearing all about some new project, and knowing that by the time it really kicks off I’ll be on my way out. I’ve loved making ridiculously ambitious plans for my maternity leave – generally involving getting fit and (ironically) making the perfect macaroons. I’ve loved buying something in the shop with a ‘best before’ that’s after my due date. I’ve loved the excitement of going into the Delivery Suite knowing I’m not leaving there pregnant. I’ve loved the sounds, smell, feel, warmth and squished up dampness of a newborn baby. I love the mouching of a newborn mouth desperate for a milky reward. I love the relief on my husband’s face knowing that we are all alright.
Yes, I’ve loved it, but it will be no more. I’ll now be that woman that inappropriately touches expectant mum’s bumps. I’ll the one happy to trade birth stories in a queue in Aldi. I’ll be the one who gets a little misty when she sees the couple with their neatly folded black and white scan picture, smiling as they come out of the Rotunda. I hope I’ll be that woman who sees the pregnant woman on the bus and gives her the seat (nudge to all you cows who never did).
Bye bye my baby making years. You were good to me. You gave me my happy ending.
I’ll read one each evening with a large glass of wine!!