I am grateful for the fact that I have four healthy children.
I am grateful for the fact that I was able to get pregnant in the first place.
I am grateful for the fact that I have come through my pregnancies with as little long-term health troubles as I've had.
I just want to state these things up front.
After Mairi was born, I had the "baby blues" for a short while. I missed being pregnant. This makes more sense if you remember that I had pretty much normal nausea at the beginning of her pregnancy, and little-to-no middle and late pregnancy complaints. I also did not immediately find Mairi all that interesting—tho I certainly loved her from the very beginning.
I don't remember having much trouble with my mental state after Nora was born. Then again, between having her in the pediatrics wing at four weeks and me breaking my elbow when she was three-months-old, I might have simply been too busy to notice!
After Dorothy was born, I got downright depressed and was treated for post-partum depression for over a year. There was a good chance she would be my last baby, and I was simply not ready for that to be the case. Plus, I had other things in my life that were majorly stressing me out. I needed the medications I was on to get back to a more even footing.
When I found out I was expecting Jack, I knew he would be my last baby. Much as I love babies, I've never wanted to continue having them into my 40s. I made the decision early on to do all I could to be mentally in a good place by the end of the pregnancy.
Mind you, I'm not suggesting depression can be overcome entirely by a person's attitude. Sometimes attitude or intent have absolutely no impact. In my own experience, however, I've found that some things I do may help. If I stay healthy—eat right, get as close to enough sleep as I can, exercise—and if I face what's bothering me, I have a better chance of staying mentally healthy.
So, three-and-a-half weeks out, how am I doing? Mostly pretty well. I have my good days and my bad days, but more are good than are bad. If I'm overtired or dehydrated I'm more likely to have a bad day. Still, I have days I don't get teary at all, and when I do get teary it doesn't overwhelm me. I feel like I'm doing okay, especially given where I am in the hormonal shift back to not-pregnant.
So, what's still giving me trouble? How fast time is slipping by. Jack is already three-and-a-half weeks old. His looks are changing. He has baby acne. He's learning to smile. These are all good things, but somehow each time there's a notable development I feel both excited and sad—I'm always aware that I'll never go through this again with a child of my own.
I know being done is the right thing. It's right for me—given how I have been exponentially sicker with each pregnancy, I shudder to think how bad I might get in another. I have neither nostalgia for nor amnesia about being pregnant. And as I said, I've never really wanted to have kids in my 40s.
It's right for Chris—he was ready to stop after any of the previous kids, but is especially ready to be done now.
It's right for our kids, for our family—I know love multiplies, but I also know time doesn't. I like that with four kids, each child still has a parent's hand to hold. Our family feels right, feels complete to me now.
Still, there are days that I feel sad. As long as they stay relatively few, I won't worry. I'm too busy counting my blessings, even if I do sometimes shed a tear or two while doing so.