This is the sixth in a series of stories to celebrate the five-year anniversary of Momania. We are flashing back to some of our favorite columns and blogs. We often talk on the blog about passages and new stages in life for us and our kids. Giving up my maternity clothes and weaning my last baby were very difficult for me. My childbearing years were over and many moms related to those feelings.
By THERESA WALSH GIARRUSSO
I never gave away any of my maternity clothes in between my pregnancies. I always knew I wasn’t done yet. They sat in plastic containers in the attic waiting for the next addition to our family.
But now with our last baby born and a move to another house upon us, I have no excuse not to part with these oversized garments — except that I haven’t quite been ready to give them up.
Parting with maternity clothes is acknowledging that your childbearing time is done. It’s the passing of an era: No more excitement of taking a pregnancy test hoping to see two lines show up; no more joy of hearing a rapid little heartbeat at the doctor’s office or seeing that little butter bean inside of you; and no more planning how to surprise your husband or your family with news that another miracle is coming into your lives.
All of that is over, and it makes me sad.
It also makes me feel old. Somehow if you’re still having babies, you seem young. But if you’re past childbearing, then you’ve moved on to menopausal.
I turned 35 in April so in theory I could have more babies, but I don’t think I could handle four kids, and this last pregnancy had its scary moments.
Even in college when we talked about getting married and having babies, it was always three. Even though I feel like our family is the right size now, it’s still a little heartbreaking to know I’ll never feel another baby kick inside of me.
As I was packing up my stuff at the hospital preparing to bring our last baby home, I cried because I knew I would never be back at Piedmont Hospital again for a happy reason. There are no more good things that can happen in my life at a hospital. I don’t plan on having a face lift or boob job, and even if you’re pleased with those results, they couldn’t rival the joy of giving birth. All that’s left now are heart attacks and cancer.
I got brave a few weeks ago and called the Quinn House, a homeless ministry in Gwinnett. I started crying on the phone when I asked the woman if they could use my maternity clothes. She assured me she had lots of mothers who could benefit from my donation.
About a week later the kids and I drove out there with the minivan full of maternity clothes, boy baby clothes and toys. During the trip to Lawrenceville, I kept preaching to my children the virtues of giving to the less fortunate. (I think I was trying to bolster my own confidence.) I started crying as my van was unloaded, and was still crying as we drove away. The kids wanted to know why. I told them while it was good to give our clothes and toys to other mommies who could use them, it was hard to let go of things that reminded me of when they were inside of me and when they were babies. I told them I was sad that time in my life was over.
I keep trying to convince myself there are benefits to knowing you’re not going to get pregnant again. For one, we can start making plans. We can say now, “OK in three years, all of the children will be old enough to travel to Europe.” We can actually start getting rid of toys and clothes as our baby passes the age she can use them. I can lose my baby weight and not feel like it’s an exercise in futility because I’ll just be putting it back on in a couple of years.
I keep telling myself that even if the childbearing is done, there is still lots of child rearing to go. I’m trying to focus on the joys that lie ahead as we help our children grow.
How did you know when your childbearing time was over? How did you feel? What are the benefits to know that time in your life is over? What were you sad about? Did it make you feel old?
Thursdays Flashback: Our introduction to helicopter parents.