My baby having days are over and it’s the epitome of bittersweet. Four kids was always my magic number and while the news of our fourth was a little unexpected, my heart was filled with joy and my head with equal amounts of terror. My husband and I both knew that pregnancy would be our last; it was time for us to move on from babies. And while I’m excited for what’s next in our family’s journey, I’m also saddened to watch my last baby grow up, knowing we’ll never again experience those baby firsts.
But one of the things I’m most saddened by as I move on in life, away from having babies, is that I won’t ever give birth again. And I’m not talking about those first moments of meeting, holding, and loving a new baby. I’m talking about the actual laboring, working, pushing a baby out of your nether regions part.
I know the actual giving birth part is not a highlight of most women’s lives and I can’t say I would have disagreed 8 years ago. It’s a magical thing that took me four babies to know.
My first birth sucked. I was forced into an induction by a doctor I’d never met because I was “over due.” The hours of laboring with Pitocin, strapped to machines with no support other than “let me know if you want an epidural” were pretty terrible. My second birth was natural, but the 21 hours of wandering the hospital halls after my water broke to have my baby birth so quickly all I could do was scream through her arrival wasn’t too grand either. And my third birth, in my bathtub at home, my son’s extra-large head left me thinking “holy crap, I don’t know that I can ever do that again!”
Throughout my fourth, and last pregnancy, I was apprehensive to do it all again.But I am so glad I did. Not only do I now have my amazing sweet baby boy but his arrival was when I found the beauty in birth.
My second son was born as his brother was, in my bathtub at home. I pushed all 9 1/2 pounds of him out in just 2 contractions and it was the most amazing experience in my life.
After hours of laboring in the dark while my husband and other children slept nearby to the moment when I knew his arrival was imminent, I was in a sort of trance. My body, spirit and child working as one.
And while I’m not really sad about not having to labor for hours again, I am sad to know that I will never know that magic again. The giving in to my natural instincts, letting go of my conscious mind, allowing my body to do the hard work. The sheer force of my body welcoming my son into the world, a complete loss of control yet having the strength and power of Wonder Woman.
We spend so much time trying to control our circumstances and micromanage every aspect of our lives. Birth is one of the only times I’ve been able to just let go of everything and allow things to take its course. I trusted my body and my baby and the resulting experience was one I’ll never forget. And the fact I’ll never get to do it again deeply saddens me.
I’m sad that I’ll never get to feel that rawness again, the push of my body doing something I never could have imagined. The feeling of something I couldn’t control doing amazing things. Of just letting go and letting nature take it’s course. The knowing there was nothing I could do to stop it nor help it.
Birthing each of my four children is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But I’ve also never felt so powerful. I have never in my life felt such raw strength and intensity as I did in the wee hours of the morning my last baby was born.
Birth is hard work, it’s no joke that it’s called labor. But it’s also powerful and magical and wonderful if you let it be. If you let go of the fear and worry and “what ifs” and just let your body and your baby be, birth is not only a beautiful beginning to a new life, but it can also be a gloriously powerful ending to a one of a kind journey.
Melissa is a homeschooling, ballerina mommy of four and lives by the motto “Life is never boring when you’re never alone, but I know somewhere out there, there is life Beyond Mommying.” She shares her parenting adventures on her blog Beyond Mommying. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.