“So, do you think you’re going to have any more babies?”
It’s a natural question. No matter how many you’ve had, everyone wants to know if your last one is your last one.
Everyone want to know…including, me.
I genuinely don’t mind this question. I’m kind of an open book and I understand that we have a natural desire “to know.”
I know I do. Four kids later and I still don’t know – anything.
Was Montgomery our last baby? I don’t know.
Is our family complete with four kids? I don’t know.
Is this my last baby experience? I don’t know.
Will I ever be pregnant again? I. Don’t. Know.
What do I know?
I know that it is ok to ask questions. I know that it is ok to want to know. I know that I’m holding the answered and the unanswered questions loosely in my hands. I know that “knowing” isn’t my goal anymore.
Honestly the thought of moving on from the baby season makes me want to weep. WEEP, I tell you. And I’m not that big of a cryer. But there is just something so sweet, so sacred, so SPECIAL about this season. And even thought I couldn’t see it at first, now, on the other side of things, I see just how precious it all is. It’s so fleeting. It’s so transformative. It’s literal life itself, and letting go of it is not easy. I know there will be sadness and a mourning period that will happen no matter when we decide to move on from this season. Whether we decide we are done now, or not. There will always be a point where we move from what was, to what is. And that, friends, is never easy.
Four kids is a big job. Huge, really. And most days I can’t believe this is my life. I feel the weight and the work and the worry like any other mom. But I also can’t shake this deep and grounding sense of gratitude.
Four kids. What joy. What a gift. Raising four kids is all the things. It is all consuming and so much fun. It’s exhausting and inspiring.
Virginia Wolf gives me the words: “What a lark. What a plunge!”
Part of me would love to have a fifth. I don’t really have any desire to be pregnant or go through labor again. And at nine months, Montgomery is JUST NOW responding to our sleep training and not waking at midnight, four a.m. and six thirty a.m. (Give me all the praise hands.)
And yet…..Can you believe there is an “and yet”????
(Madness. Motherhood is absolute, unadulterated, madness.)
So this is where I am at.
As of right now, Mike and I feel confident is saying we are moving into a new season as individuals and as a family. We both feel it.
I was listening to a podcast recently on understanding our restlessness and one thing that stuck out was the idea that our restlessness is a natural indicator that something is ending, and that something is beginning. Restlessness is about energy and movement. Restlessness is about transitions.
Oh, did I mention that I’ve been feeling suuuuuper restless lately?
I know that I have a lot left in me to birth. To bring forth. To create and give to this world. There is A LOT of new life left. I just don’t think it’s a baby. I have ideas and dreams and passions and I think I’m ready to nurture them the way I once nurtured the babies in my belly.
But before I can move on to what is next, I need to take sometime to honor and mourn what is ending. I think I’m doing ok with that, but I have my moments. It’s hard to say goodbye to something that wasn’t bad, just over. (So be gracious with me friends, who are reading this from the other side. I know I will enjoy all the stages to come – I’m just not there yet!)
But here is the thing I’ve learned about open hands, versus clinging.
When you cling to something, you limit yourself to your current reality. And I’ve also learned that our current realities tend to be SO MUCH SMALLER than our potential futures. Opening our hands and releasing what was allows us to grow into what is next. And no matter who you are or where you are at in your life, there is always something next.
I don’t entirely know what is next for us as a family or me as an individual. But I know that it will be good. Because I look back over the past eight years of my baby season and I marvel over how hard and how GOOD it all was. What is next will be good because what I HAD, was good. Because it’s all from God. And, I hope this doesn’t sound overly simplistic – but I know what is next will be good because I know God to be good. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. I’ve lived it a thousand times over. The goodness won’t stop with the pregnancies and the labors and the newborns. It will continue to grow right along with us.
So, at least for now, I’m saying goodbye to a really, really good season. And excited to say hello to a really, really good season.
Something is growing here. What it is, I don’t know. But I know that when the time is right, it will be born with the same intensity and grace and complexity and joy and excitement and anxiety that surrounded the birth of these four little humans.
I’m ready. I’m waiting. I’m oh-so-hopeful.
Grace and peace to all of us who wait in expectation of things not yet seen, yet dearly hoped for. There is more to the story. The final chapter has yet to be written.
What a good story it will be.