May 4, 2011 at 5:50 am

After my son (third baby) was born, I was on cloud nine for at least six months.  Suddenly I wanted twelve kids… well, maybe not twelve, but I wanted more kids than I had ever wanted before.  Then we decided to surrender our bodies and fertility to God.  I really thought we would have at least two or three more children. But after my most recent baby’s birth, those fantasies about boatloads of babies went flying out the window.  I guess I’m going to un-surrender… if that’s even possible?  Oh me of little faith. Here’s what’s been on my mind over the past two+ months…

1) My husband would really like to be done. And I don’t blame him one bit. He’s the one who has to pick up all the slack when I fall short as a mother.
2) Four kids means a LOT of laundry, and dishes, and meals, and snacks, and illnesses, and… and…
3) I feel totally overwhelmed and full of anxiety from the weight of protecting FOUR precious little beings and sending them out into this crazy world.  The thought of increasing the weight of that burden feels terrifying.
4) I just don’t think I have the emotional/mental/spiritual stamina to be a mom of many.  (Thanks to my crazy childhood and family history of depression and other mental illnesses.)

And it absolutely breaks my heart.  I so wish I was a mom who could pop out loads of babies and still keep a genuine smile on my face.  Oh how I wish I could do it!  I have wept in deep pain over this subject multiple times in the past few weeks.  My husband doesn’t even know what to say as he watches me sob.  When I think that this sweet baby lying on my chest could be the last, when I think that I will never carry another child in my belly and feel their precious nudges and experience the powerful beauty of birth, I feel like my heart is being ripped out of my chest.

Though I would certainly not refuse any child that came to me, I feel as though it would be a supreme act of selfishness (and craziness) for me to willfully invite any more children into my home.  I want to be a kind, loving mother to the children I already have, and I struggle daily and deeply to do so.  I can’t bear the thought of becoming so utterly overwhelmed, exhausted, anxious, and irritable that my children are deprived of the nurturing and love they need and deserve.

So, as much as I ache and wish it weren’t true, I think I might be done.

If only she could stay a tiny, chubby, ball of sweetness forever. I will savor this time with all my heart.