When you're sure you're done having babies, when you know you couldn't possibly handle another child, when you finally feel confident you've brought your last newborn home, there's a feeling — something you can't explain until you get there. It's not that you'll really miss having a newborn, because that sh*t is hard. The cracked nipples, the postpartum bleeding, the all-night feedings, the confusion of nap schedules and bottle feedings as they get older, the cleaning up of high chairs and spit up, the diapers — it's certainly not all that.
I'll always miss that chapter, even if I've never been happier to give away rockaroos and bumbos.
It's that you'll never again be anticipating the arrival of a little human you can't wait to meet. That you'll never announce your baby's birth or introduce them by name for the very first time. That you'll never have that special quiet of a sleeping newborn in the house. That you'll never again be home in your pajamas wrapped up all day in your brand new little family.
That's what's hard about being done for me. That I've come to the end of a chapter that has included some of the most precious moments in life. The ones you get teary-eyed just thinking about. The ones you're nostalgic for minutes after they happen. The ones you try desperately to hold onto through pictures and videos.
It's the end of a chapter that has all the best parts highlighted. The sweetness of a new baby, the tenderness of an emotional mom, the excitement of an older sibling. The way visitors whisper when they come over bearing food or flowers. The way friends and family check in, send cards, and offer help. The way you've never loved your partner more than when you see them look into your baby's eyes. The way watching them swaddle those tiny little arms and legs is enough to make your heart burst.
I'll always miss that chapter, even if I've never been happier to give away rockaroos and bumbos. To be done buying diapers. To go all day without worrying about nap schedules or feeding times. To watch them play in their first soccer game and learn to read. To overhear their make-believe conversations and witness them say sorry without being prompted. To watch them grow.
But I'll always, always, look back so fondly on those sweet days. The ones that were beautiful even though they were hard. The ones that you may not remember the details of, but you'll never forget the feeling of.