At some point in every mother’s journey comes a time where the realisation hits: this is my last baby. Maybe it was known for a long time, perhaps it is more of a sudden awakening brought on by yet another sleepless night that seems to almost crack through any glimmer of contentedness or calm. However it comes, it’s bittersweet.
Time is fleeting
I’ve mothered four babies myself, and as my eldest is turning ten this year and my baby is turning three – it’s acutely obvious to me just how fleeting time is. Sure, the days are long … some are so long the minutes seem to literally crawl by, but as I am watching my then-baby now-toddler achieve some of those exciting final milestones, the sweetness of all the lasts are dawning on me.
At a few months off three years of age, there are already no more nappies. Soon she will wean and there will be no more breastfeeds, then she will be out of our bedroom and there will be no more cots or sidecars – ever. My husband and I will have the room to ourselves for the first time in about, oh, seven years. We will be able to turn the light on in our room and chat and not have white noise blaring.
The “lasts” I’ve already farewelled
There is already no more teething (hallelujah), no more night-waking thanks to a gentle night-weaning transition and after ten years of being woken through the night I cannot speak highly enough of the lightness I feel from having a full nights’ sleep and knowing that there is only more to come. I’ve already said goodbye to teeny baby clothes (bar a few that I have held onto to eventually be made into a quilt) and I have happily passed the rest to onto my sister-in-law, and it is a joy watching my nieces wearing my girls’ beautiful clothing.
I’ve said goodbye to baby toys, I have said goodbye to the highchairs and I have said goodbye to the bibs and tiny shoes. Never again will I be able to inhale that amazing fresh newborn smell of my own offspring. I’ll never get to experience the sheer joy that comes from birthing another baby and bringing her to my chest in the birth pool. I’ll never again be able to baby wear a teeny tiny human reliant entirely on me for her everything and feel her breath against my skin.
Excited about what comes next
And as I hold those memories dear to me, and as I try and keep the memory of them alive in my own way – I’m actually excited about the next phase that is coming. The part where the layers are stripped back piece by piece as my children form a little more independence and their reliance on me changes in the way it comes.
I’m excited to find out the kind of woman I am when I’m not the mother of a baby, and when I don’t have a toddler permanently attached to my hip whilst also wrangling her sisters. I’m excited to find out what the universe has in store for me, not only as a mother of four strong, determined daughters but as woman in my own identity and my own right.
Who am I?
I can say for certain that although this is new territory for me, I am brave. And as I farewell the very last baby phase through my journey as a mother I can say with conviction that my identity as a woman has been stretched, pushed, pulled, twisted and shaped anew through loving and parenting my girls. I am eternally grateful for the privilege of being a mother to four, and I know that the woman I am now has endless gratitude for the bittersweet blessing that is the last baby, my daughter, and the journey we have walked along together.