Tuesday, January 6, 2009

On my mind

The other night at the dinner table, Joey asked, "Mom, do you think you'll have another baby?" I shook my head and said, "No, I don't think so." And it hurt, like an actual, physical pain in my chest, to say that.

I think about this a lot, and it's something I'm struggling to come to terms with, that that chapter of my life is most likely over. I love being pregnant, I love the magic of it all, I love giving birth and getting to know a brand new, fresh little human being that is a part of me and Michael. And every time I've had a baby, I've soon thereafter looked forward to the next one.

But it's different this time. There are probably a thousand reasons why Finn should be our last - among them:

~ Six kids is plenty!
~ Our house and truck are maxed out on space now
~ My stamina and endurance are just about maxed out
~ Neither one of us are spring chickens . . . isn't it time to move out of the having-babies stage and onto the next stage of life?

But in all honesty, even in the face of those very rational reasons, Finn's Down syndrome is probably the kicker this time. If it weren't for the fact that he has Ds, I very well might be trying to talk Michael into just one more. And there is a part of me that would in fact like to give it another go-round . . . but what if we had another baby with Ds? What if we had a baby with more serious health issues? And the truth is, at my age, the risk is up there.

When Finn was born and we learned that he has Ds, I honestly thought my heart was breaking. I have found over time, though, that my heart is actually pretty resiliant. It was bruised in the aftermath of Finn's birth and diagnosis, but not broken. And my heart has expanded for Finn, just as it has done with each of my children. But . . . I think my heart might truly break if I had another baby who wasn't healthy or . . . typical. Is that horrible? It feels horrible to acknowledge it.

But still. It's very difficult for me to close that chapter of my life . . . to accept that I will never be pregnant again, never experience the awesome process of sharing my body with a growing human being again, never bring a brand new life into the world again.

It's hard.

14 comments:

Kristin said...

I just wanted to give you a virtual HUG. I know that the words " no more children" can feel like a knife no matter what the circumstances are. Hope that you find peace with your decision.

Tara Marie said...

Oh Lisa, you just wrote a post that is so close to my heart. I have traveld this journey lately, as my biological clock is coming to an end, and I so adored be pregnant, marvaled in childbirth, cherished breastfeeding and just absolutely love being a Mother.

It is a hard thing to think of....no more babies. Hugs to you my dear.

Jeanette said...

HUGS to you. My pregnancies were both very rough, but there is something magical about the whole thing. We are done too, but there is a tinge of pain in that thought. I do take solace in that my Syd is the baby and she has her big brothers to take care of her and she can be the princess. Your Finn is the little prince in your family and has plenty of support around him.

JaybirdNWA said...

Since I have never been pregnant, I can't speak to that side of it. But I will say that both Joy and I love having and raising kids as all of her pregnancies have gone very easy....but, like you, the fact that our last child has special needs took its emotional toll on both of us....and we are ready for that what seems to be elusive next phas of life.

BTW, I like the new look. Very cool.

Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shannon said...

I've never been pregnant, and probably never will be (sadly) due to health reasons of my own, and the fact that I'm in a lifelong relationship with my partner who is the same sex. I can relate on different terms though. She got in an accident last year causing her permanent paralysis. She is now living her life in a wheelchair. We are only 23. Our whole life has been flipped upside down upexpectedly, and we often yearn for that "typical" feeling again. Things being "easy" and "normal". Not being stared at, or having to deal with finding accessibility and all the health problems that come along with paralysis. On the other hand, our life together has never been better. She's doing motivational speaking now, teaching physical therapy students what it's like to work with a spinal cord injury patient, etc. We see more of each other and our love has only gotten stronger. It's okay to feel the way you do, but when you start feeling that way, remember how you see Finn as a gift. The most special thing that could have happened to your family. Having him I'm sure has brought your close family, closer. God won't give you anything you can't handle. I don't know you very well, but I can tell you are a very strong woman, and a great mother.

Megan said...

While this may not change whether or not you chose to have another baby, ou may lose the part that worries about another "non-typical" baby. I know I am only a few months further along in this journey than you and our journeys will likely not be the same; but I know I am over that hump.

Jen said...

I know exactly what you're saying. Exactly.

The only reason Cal is here, after having a big brother with DS, is that he was a surprise. And I had all kinds of testing done with him, just to know. I couldn't go through a pregnancy and not know. And I have all sorts of guilt about that. But, there it is.

It's hard not to say "well, maybe just one more". As Cal starts to crawl up the stairs and get teeth and do all of those things that mean babyhood is rapidly disappearing, I'm struggling with it too. Thinking of you!

Carla said...

(((HUGS)))

Tricia said...

I always knew I wanted more than one child. I don't know how it might feel if it were not our FIRST child who has DS. Sometimes I think we are luckier in terms of the order...for a lot of reasons. Rainer is only 9 weeks and already...I don't know if I am done. Despite the fact that my pregnancy with Rainer was far from easy. Neither does my husband. I know it won't be tomorrow. But it's funny how that feeling persists. You have a lovely family. I hope you find peace with your decisions whether they are truly decisions you make or the "world" makes for you.

Alycia said...

Yes, 6 kids is a lot. Too many for most people but… you are NOT most people. It’s funny, when you ask people “are you done” they either have a “Oh yes,” or “I don’t know.” Most the “I don’t knows” end up having another. I bet the very idea of you thinking about it amazes most people. But, I have met lots of women who feel the same way as you. A childhood friend has 8 siblings and people would always say, “that’s crazy” but her parents never thought it was. It was normal for them and their family and it always felt right for them. I remember I used to LOVE going to their house. It was always so fun. My dad shared something with me once that really touched my heart… He asked me what people say when they hear that he had another baby (his 5th with his second wife). I said I don’t know, why? He said when he runs into old family friends from when we were kids (meaning us 4) they are always shocked and say things like, “You are crazy to do it all over again” / “Wow, 5 kids” / “All that work again” / “It will be another 18 years before you are able to travel,” etc.” He told me that he was always surprised by those comments because he never ever thought of us, his children as “work.” He said, “Yes, being a parent is hard work but my children were never work and I looked forward to each part of your lives and when I look back I would do it all again. I loved each phase and I ENJOYED it. All of it. I enjoyed coaching and being your guys dad and I ENJOY being a dad. Much more than world traveling or having quiet time or retiring.” He has said that no, he probably wouldn’t have had another child if his wife didn’t want to but never once did he NOT want to or think, “not again.” I imagine that is how you feel.

You will know when you’re done. Done done. Maybe you are and maybe you aren’t. Maybe right now you think about it but in 6 months you will discover that “YOU ARE DONE” or maybe not. But, I imagine you will truly “know” inside. Right now you are not “ready” to have another child but who knows how you will feel. Maybe you will never be “ready” and so you will never have another one. Maybe if you don’t think about it as being so permanent an answer it wont bother/ hurt so much. Maybe if you think “No, not right now” then that would help. Because right now is probably a “no.” Who knows… Like you said, your life has been full of surprises and predicting it seems completely pointless.

I think reasons to not have another baby should be things like:
I don’t want another one
I can’t provide for another one emotionally
I can’t provide for another one financially
I want to devote enough attention to each child
My husband doesn’t want another one
Etc., etc., etc.,

Not:
~ Six kids is plenty! For who? Most people but like I said, you are not most people!
~ Our house and truck are maxed out on space now Get another car! Downstairs!
~ My stamina and endurance are just about maxed out “just about” maybe in 6 months they will be “maxed” out
~ Neither one of us are spring chickens. You’re not in a retirement home either!

The truth is Lisa, regardless of Finn have Ds you would probably feel the same exact way… You probably would be thinking “I don’t know” regardless. I bet it wouldn’t be a “hell yes I want another one” right now even if Finn didn’t have Ds. Don’t beat yourself up thinking you feel this way just because of the Ds. You felt this way after Lylah. Remember…

Carla said...

Hugs to you Lisa. I think others have said it well. To say no more, when you are not convinced, hurts. But, Alycia makes very good points. Maybe, no more right now is a better way to put it. In a few more weeks, months, years, you may be more certain.

rebecca said...

I can relate to these feelings. I adored being pregnant, the birth experiences were amazing! My last was born by candlelight and aroma therapy in a water birth free of the sterile hospital scene, without any intervention.

She was my miracle birth in so many ways, all the way down to that extra 21st chromosome.

Qadoshyah said...

My brother with DS is almost 4 years old. My parents have 11 kids and would love to have more, if my mom could handle it. But, they are done having children because it would be too hard on my mother :(.

But, the fact that the risk is higher for my mother to have another baby with DS, is not a concern. We would LOVE to have another baby with DS, to be honest. Some day, I hope we will be able to adopt another one(s) with DS. My brother is such a huge blessing, I would LOVE to have another like him.

Yes, the serious medical conditions is a concern, but my brother is such a blessing, I would take another one like him any day. Even if the baby had more serious medical problems, it would be worth it.

Qadoshyah