17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Do you want to know when it's your last?

I chatted with a friend recently who said she wanted to know when she was having her last pregnancy, so that she could savor it.

With the exception of that unplanned, "surprise" baby, arguably, in your relationship with your husband you could decide together: This is our last baby. This is the last one, final baby, no more babies, tie a bow on it, we're done.

Knowing that, how would that affect your pregnancy?

YES! This is the last time I am going to puke day after day after day after day.

This is the last time I will get those stinking stretch marks that debut the last few days of this whole ordeal (in some cases).

Of course there are a wide variety of negative pregnancy symptoms that I am sure most women would be glad to be going through for the last time.

But what about the good stuff?

Oh, this is the last time I will feel a baby kick inside me. This is the last time I will tear my body in two in order to present another human being to the world. This is the final chapter in smelling baby's breath, stroking their soft skin, inhaling their fuzzy heads...

God's will aside, if it is your will to have a certain number of children, and if you could control that or control that this child is the next or indeed the last, do you want to know that? Would knowing that invite sentimentality or relief? misery or joy?

I honestly do not know if there are more pregnancies in my future right now. If I had to answer on a test tonight the answer would probably be, No, I have had my last pregnancy. And if I could go back, would I have wanted to know that she was my last? Not on your life.


  • I'm not sure if I would want to know. But if I did know? I don't think I'd react any differently than I did with any of my pregnancies.

    My mother knew her last child was her last --and she was only 30 years old! I remember asking her if she felt remorse or relief, and she said she really didn't feel anything. She just knew it was her last child, and that was that. She was grateful for the four she had, and not very sad about being finished.

    I have a feeling I'm going to be like her, to be honest...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 6/12/2008 07:19:00 AM  

  • I have a 5 month old. We have already decided that the next baby is our last. The first pregnancy was ridiculously hard, and ppd has not been fun to deal with. I don't think I can handle more than two kids. In fact, I'd rather just stick with one kid, but I don't want him to grow up lonely. So I know that the next one is our last, unless God himself comes down and says YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER then I am done.

    I am relieved. Very, very relieved. The only thing that makes me not relieved is knowing I have to go through one more pregnancy. Sigh.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 6/12/2008 07:36:00 AM  

  • I always assumed I would have at least one more child, but I never did. Now my youngest is 6, and I wish I had known. I might have held her a bit tighter and longer, or inhaled her sweet smell a little more deeply, or cherished every midnight nursing right up 'til the last one. I often wish that I had paid more attention to the various "lasts" as they happened. Having two children 19 months apart was harder than I expected and those early years are one big blur of sleep deprivation, laundry marathons, and all the other crazy aspects of life with two babies. I wish I'd stopped more often to take a deep breath and focus, to remember every day that far too soon, I would have no babies at all.
    posted by Blogger Tamela at 6/12/2008 07:57:00 AM  

  • Yes I would like to know ahead of time. Shoot, I want to know now what my magic number is.

    I think I wouldn't stress so much about the new baby stuff, the lack of sleep and that I would definitely just enjoy it all and be in the moment more...unless my last baby turned out to be number 5 or 6 because any more than 4 and I might just not have any sanity left to deal with it all.

    However, I've also realized that not having a choice in the matter would be very difficult...if health or other reasons prevented that from happening and I didn't feel "done" yet I think that would be harder than I would have thought...see when my little Bean was born I struggled with some PPD and suddenly my dreams for a big family dwindled and I thought "wow, wouldn't that be nice if something outside of my control wouldn't allow me to have more than 2 kids? Then I wouldn't have the guilt of not making the choice but I'd still get the 'get out of jail free' card." I no longer feel that way.
    posted by Blogger miggy at 6/12/2008 08:14:00 AM  

  • I knew my second one would be my last and I tried to enjoy every pregnancy related symptom, but that pregnancy was so incredibly painful due to scar tissue from my first c-section that I was in constant pain for 5 months. I just wanted her out by the end and as much as I wanted to cherish my last pregnancy, it was just too painful. I did try to take time to enjoy every moment as she was an infant, something I was just too stressed out to do with the first one. I think I enjoyed the infant stage much more because of that. Knowing she is my last does make things harder when they go to school, etc. because you watch your "baby" spending most of their time with their friends & teachers at that point instead of you.
    posted by Anonymous MKC at 6/12/2008 08:51:00 AM  

  • I suspected Abby was my last, and it made everything sharper, clearer and more poingnant.

    I remember (two long years ago now) after she was born, with no drugs (surprise!) really savoring the soreness, exhillaration and power of her birth. I'm glad my probable last birth was drug free and raw- I know that sounds insane, but it's true.

    The thing I love best about birth is the pure, salt-water feel and scent of my body after birth. I never feel so beautiful? ...clean? ...pure? as I do after I give birth. I love that feeling, and am glad I savored it when it happend.
    posted by Anonymous tracy m at 6/12/2008 10:29:00 AM  

  • I am 99.9999999% sure the one we had 8 months ago is our last. Although I knew that during the pregnancy, it didn't make the pg any different. I've been surprised by my sentimentality since she got here, though. I savor the snuggles more with her than I did with the other two; I don't mind middle of the nights; I am not the least bit anxious for her to meet her milestones (though she keeps on meeting them anyway, darn kid!).

    Portuguese has a word for the way I feel: Saudades, a wistful longing sort of word. I'm not sad that she's my last and I don't regret our decision to stop at three; if we wanted more, we'd have them (no medical indications not to). I love watching her grow and progress, as I have with her sisters. But -- while it was just as true of the older two, I suppose -- there is something very bittersweet in the knowledge that you'll never have these baby moments again. Especially for me, who likes the baby moments so much....
    posted by Blogger RCH at 6/12/2008 11:56:00 AM  

  • i like what tracy said. a LOT.

    i would like to know. i love pregnancy and childbirth and breastfeeding and new babies and it will be hard for me (and him!) when those days are over.
    posted by Blogger makakona at 6/12/2008 02:02:00 PM  

  • I didn't think I would know, but as soon as I got pregnant with #4, I knew it was the last. And I've known it ever since. It's bittersweet at times, but mostly it's just awesome. I love knowing that I'm "done" with that phase of life. I didn't think I would feel this way, I expected to be more melancholy--but I really do love it. I thought weaning her would be sad, but it really wasn't. I enjoyed it while it was happening, I savored what was sweet about it, and now I just look forward to the next part.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 6/12/2008 02:23:00 PM  

  • I knew my now 6 month old (our fifth) was my last from the moment I saw the two pink lines. Well, and even before then. I savored the finding out, the telling the world, the heartbeats, the ultrasounds, the kicks, the labor, the delivery, all of it. I have soaked him up and begged him to stop growing and celebrated all the "lasts". I have so enjoyed giving away all my baby and toddler girl things as my baby girl (my 2 year old) grows and my baby boy things as my baby boy moves through the months. Oh yes, I L-O-V-E knowing he's my last, a little too much. It's freeing! I have definitely paid more attention to each moment knowing I won't have that moment again.

    After my fourth was born, I wasn't sure if she was my last or not. I felt so unsettled not knowing. I thought about it constantly. When we decided to go for one more THAT was freeing as well. I think that speaks to my personality. I just like knowing what is going on, to have a plan. I'm so grateful to have my fifth here in my lap (making it very difficult to type) because he completes our family just perfectly. I love the complete feeling.

    I rambled there at the end. :)
    posted by Blogger rebecca at 6/12/2008 04:23:00 PM  

  • I ditto a lot of the comments already made. I knew my last was my last, and I cherished every moment. I held her longer, and just really tried to take every moment, milestone in. It was in a way "bittersweet." But it is great to know that I am done with that phase and we are on to the next!
    posted by Anonymous idaho at 6/12/2008 04:42:00 PM  

  • I wish I had known my first might also be my last. I would have savored the good just a little more, and been just a little more tolerant of the bad. I'd not have demanded so much of myself. I would not have taken pregnancy for granted.3
    posted by Blogger SilverRain at 6/12/2008 05:08:00 PM  

  • I have to know, but that's because I have to know about everything (Kage knows this about me). I always have to have a plan; living in the moment and being present is a struggle for me. So having this nebulous "maybe this is the last, maybe not" feeling doesn't sit well with me.

    When I was pregnant with my 3rd, I savored every morning sickness moment, every fatiqued afternoon because I felt that baby was our last. I was happy to be in the pregnancy moment. Then I had a miscarriage at 12 1/2 weeks and spent the next year not being sure if/when/how/why another child was meant for our family.

    Still working all of that out...

    SEE! This drives me crazy...
    posted by Blogger Chloe at 6/12/2008 07:10:00 PM  

  • Yes!!!
    My third was 99% for sure my last. My fourth was definitely my last.
    I sooooooo preferred it to my second, where it was all hell and it sucked (pregnancy and new baby stuff).
    Having a first was also great though overwhelming with some baby stuff.
    I highly recommend having your last. It makes it so much easier to get up in the night, wake up before you want to, listen to your baby cry. You just enjoy it more.

    I am not really a baby person, so knowing there was an end to the crappy stuff meant I wasn't resenting it so I could enjoy the good stuff.
    I am SO glad I thought my third was my last, it really helped. Knowing the my fourth was my last...its all just bonus. Well, the pregnancy wasn't bonus, it was like closing my eyes and hoping I'd make it out without too much damage.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 6/12/2008 10:24:00 PM  

  • I am someone who likes spontenaiety... and not knowing whether one is my last or not is pretty okay with me! I don't think we'll know when our official last one will be until after the fact.

    I think one day we'll look at our family all together and say... we're done! And it will be just fine.

    And this may not be the time to say it since I JUST had my baby 2 days ago...but I honestly can see being DONE with being pregnant BEFORE I am done with babies... so maybe we'll end up adopting the last? Who knows!
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 6/13/2008 04:23:00 PM  

  • This whole post made me think the totally beautiful Trace Adkins song "You're Gonna Miss This". Even if you don't like country music, I dare you to watch the whole music video without tearing up at the end. You have to listen all they way to the last verse. Really, I dare you.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 6/14/2008 08:10:00 AM  

  • tftCarrie--good recommendation. I'm not a country music listener but that was a good song/video. And I teared up...good job.
    posted by Blogger miggy at 6/14/2008 09:21:00 AM  

  • carrie, just watched it, yeah, a little teary....and I do think that often actually....I try to savor it even when it's tough...
    posted by Blogger Kage at 6/15/2008 05:08:00 PM  

  • I don't/wouldn't want to know if a pregnancy was my last. We've been trying to get pregnant for over a year now and suffered a miscarraige in November, I would be so grateful to be pregnant right now. I think if we were to treat every pregnancy as our possible last then each one would be special, not just our last. I want to savor every kick, every smell, every ultrasound, everything...from every child I have.
    posted by Anonymous Ashlee at 6/16/2008 04:48:00 AM  

  • We just had our final IVF end in a M/C a bit ago, and I would say- cherish each one. It's a blessing, a miracle, and should be treated as such.

    No one knows how a pregnancy can end- many complete it fine, some have issues, some lose it, some deliver a still birth, so will never experience it. Be greatful for what you can experience.
    posted by Blogger Melzie at 6/21/2008 01:45:00 PM  

  • I am writing a post on this same subject. This is my second pregnancy & realizing now that this may be my last pregnancy. My husband wants it to be, but i am not so sure. I guess I will know better in another 2 years :)
    posted by Anonymous Melissa Parlaman (Graco Contributor) at 6/16/2009 11:03:00 AM  

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