...And now I'm sounding like the crazy cat lady, only with children...
Anyway, the point is, I understood why some people choose to have big families. You love each little soul so much, and each one is so unique and special, you just want to see the possibilities and fill yourself up with that much more love and joy.
Here's the thing. I still want more kids. I want more newborn snuggles, more 1-year-olds, more silly jabbers and words, more hugs, more kisses.
But I can't.
It's not a fertility thing. I'm pretty much a fertility goddess. I've never had any trouble conceiving, even when I've actively taken measures to prevent it. Every act of, ahem, you know, is followed by vigorous crossing of fingers that I didn't just get pregnant. I wish I could give it away to someone who needed it, because honestly, it's more of a curse right now than a blessing.
The problem is that damn post partum depression. Things are fine for the first five or six months, then bam!, it hits, and it hits hard. The first time I managed to muddle through and climb out of it after just a few months without medication or anything. This last time, though, was brutal. I'm debating with myself as I type how much I should write about the specifics. On the one hand, depression really shouldn't be stigmatized, and I shouldn't be ashamed of it. Right? On the other hand, admitting that I nearly destroyed myself and my marriage and my family isn't an easy thing to do. So suffice it to say, it wasn't pretty. It's been a year since it started and I'm only just now pulling myself out of it. I can't do that again. I can't put my family through that again. Ever.
So. I have those maternity clothes in my closet. Not many, just the ones I'd miss if I were ever pregnant again. The ones that I'll never wear again. I have my Molly doll in the basement, with all the little accessories and outfits that my mom made, that will never be passed down to my little girl. I have the baby clothes that I just can't give away that will sit in a closet. The little ballet slipper socks. My pink baby blanket. The Hello Kitty baby blankets that my mom put aside, just in case. The baby bath. The mobile. The crib bumper. The pack-n-play. The bouncy chair.
I knew that Sean would be my last. I savored the little kicks and rolls inside me when I was pregnant, because I knew I'd never feel a child growing inside of me again. And in all honesty, it will be nice when the kids are a little older, when they can do more for themselves. I'm not a "natural" mother, and staying home with the kids has been extremely difficult for me. I'm looking forward to doing something else, something I'm better at, something--dare I say--more fulfilling.
I just don't know when the longing and that little bit of emptiness will subside.