Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Letting Go

I have often heard about the moment a family knows they are complete. I have had friends explain that they just knew they were done adding to their family and were able to easily make the decision to stop having children. I sometimes worry that I may never get to that point. Erika wrote of having the same feelings and I am now wondering if more people than I realize struggle with this. Maybe it isn't always neat and tidy and tied up with a bow.

I have had five babies in under six years. I LOVE being pregnant and I LOVE having babies in the house. I never really get that "done" feeling. In fact I often find my five months postpartum self coveting the newborns of others while I snuggle my five month old sweetie. I adore the stage Hope is at now and wouldn't change it for a thing, but man I miss that newborn-ness. It is a sickness. :) I love everything about pregnancy and motherhood. I am addicted. :)

Given all we have been through and the lack of answers paired with the fact that my uterus was seconds from rupture when Hope was born, I know my body is likely done having babies. I look on the faces of my three children and count my blessings. They are healthy, and I do not take lightly the fact that we were bracing ourselves for a much different life with Hope and yet the Lord has shown us what only He can do. We have lost but man we sure do love. This house is just bursting with love and gratitude.

I have written before about the nagging feeling that I often have that someone is missing. The one where you in a panic twirl around to survey the back seat of the car knowing someone is not in their right place, where I see three full carseats and then I remember that there are two someones missing and this side of Heaven, that is how it will always be.

I sometimes wonder if I will ever feel like our family is complete this side of Heaven. I worry that this void I feel will always make me yearn for another baby, knowing that no new baby could ever take the place of the ones who have gone to Heaven before us.

I have recently been trying to clean out our basement so that we can use it as a playroom and have been really struggling with getting rid of things. They are just that, things, and I know that. Yet letting go of the bassinet seems so final. We have a basement bursting at the seams with baby things and outgrown clothes that I just have not had the courage to let go of. I love having babies how could I possibly be done? Yet I know that I want to be here for my kids and a pregnancy at least anytime in the next few years could put my health at risk due to my thinned uterus and that is a risk I am not willing to take. I have been blessed with the responsibility of being the mommy to FIVE gorgeous kids and I am thankful.

I have begun the hard work of letting go, knowing that if someday the Lord decides we should grow our family through adoption we would be ecstatic and we will obey and with that we know we will then be able to provide all of the things needed for any additional children. For now, our baby things could be of better use to someone who needs them. Each day I go down and choose a few more things to take to the Women's Care Center or sell on Craigslist and as painful as it is it is also addictive. (I am pretty sure my husband fears I will list everything not nailed down on Craigslist at this point) We have begun the hard work of letting go of the things, realizing that we will never let go of the memories or the hope we have been given.

I can only pray that the Lord will either lead us on a path where having more children makes sense or that he will take this nagging feeling from my heart and make me feel more whole this side of Heaven. Continuing to have more children won't fill the void that Isaac and Asher left and I am thinking I need to find a way to just come to terms with that. I am blessed. I have three beautiful healthy children this side of Heaven and two waiting for me on the other side. I am thankful for all the Lord has given me, and I feel so guilty that I still struggle with all of this. Sometimes it feels like my head and my heart are at war and I just wish they would get on the same page. :)

So tell me, how did you know your family was complete? Did you struggle with letting go of the baby stuff? If you have lost a child, do you struggle with similar feelings?

33 comments:

Heather said...

I did feel complete after my son was born. We only had two, but with 8 losses and very difficult pregnancies, we knew we were done. My husband even got a vasectomy.

It is hard to let go of some of their baby things; but for me, it's more of the memories I have of my kids with those things. I've just tried to find friends to give them to so that I will know the child who uses them.

It sounds very normal to feel incomplete when you've lost two, and I'm not sure how you would feel completeness this side of heaven, but maybe with time?

I will be praying that God brings you to a place of peace in your heart, and that if He has another child for you, you will clearly know that too.

Becky said...

Kristy...I have that sickness AND I'm addicted too. Sadly I had to have an emergency hysterectomy this summer and THAT was hard. I didn't feel like I was done. SO...I don't have the answers for you because I struggle with it myself. Thinking of you...

Sara said...

Kristy, I am at the exact same point. I want more kids, but its not safe for me to get pregnant again. I fear that I will always feel that our family is never complete, but part of me thinks it may always feel that way even if we did have more children. I too still have all the baby stuff and we need the room but I am not ready to get rid of everything yet, just in case!

My baby will be 2 tomorrow! Which means a month from tomorrow Garrett would have turned 5. Gosh, where has the time gone? I already dreading next month and we are barely in November!

The last time I got rid of a lot of our baby stuff, I got pregnant with my 3 year old! So I am worried about getting rid of the rest of it! Its a hard decision to make. You aren't alone!

Kelli said...

Prayers for you today! I have 3 sweeties and I'd love a few more. My husband and I are praying about adoption right now and desperately seeking God's will if more children are in our future.

asplashofsunshine said...

Letting go of baby thoughts is difficult. We made a decision before our son was born in 2005 that two children, regardless of sex would complete our family. I thought I was happy with that decision until about a year ago when I thought I was prego. The thought that I was made me WANT another one so badly. Once I realized that it was not the case, it took me a bit to "get over", but I am now completely happy with our family of four. Letting go of baby things is hard for me. It'll happen in its own time.

I've never been in your shoes, so I can't offer insight on that. I think it is part of being a woman and being a mom that letting go is so hard. Give yourself time and a chance to hang on to things or feelings if you feel it makes life a bit easier for you. You deserve it. I need to stop writing. I could write all day about how much I admire you, respect you, and so much more.

Alicia said...

I have lost a baby and I go through similar feelings. I have 4 live children. I would like to have more and I go through this battle as well. I have had 3 miscarriages as well, so ... I think I am nuts. I don't know if the void will ever be filled. I would also like to feel "done." I always think if I were to have another boy, would I then feel done? I don't know. My heart yearns for Jeremiah to be down here with us living. I definitely get what you are feeling and am praying for you.

Elizabeth said...

Kristy, I have three grown children. I always wanted more, the desire to have more never left me, but due to life circumstances I had only my three wonderful children. I can't imagine your pain of losing two and I'm sure that affects your feelings differently from those that I felt. Mine are close together, three in three years, and they kept me busy, so I couldn't dwell on the desire for more very often. I was always babysitter for my friends who had younger children. Loving aunt to my nieces and nephews that are spaced out quite younger than my children. I worked in the church nursery for years to get my baby fix. Now I have grandchildren and the joy they bring me is overwhelming and I can be relaxed, well rested and not stressed like I was so often with my own. I feel like these grandchildren (and I hope to have many more) are truly the blessing that was in store for me for raising the three I had of my own.
Your family is beautiful.

Patty said...

I've never had a biological child, but do have two children through adoption. I don't know that I will ever feel "done" either even though right now it doesn't look feasible for me to adopt again. I keep myself busy with my two and try to help other orphans of the world through many different avenues. I also pray that someday I will either feel done or the Lord will bless me with another child. If you ever want to "talk" adoption, I love to share my experiences with others.

Fireflyforever said...

Oh yes, yes.

Even before my losses I was not someone who could envisage the end of my reproductive life. I knew that I would grieve when there were no more to come. After a miscarriage and a stillborn baby daughter, I know that stopping will be even more challenging.

On the one hand I'm 7 months into the most emotionally difficult of my pregnancies - I still can't let myself believe that this sweet little babe will make it here - and wondering if I could put any of us through this again. On the other hand, I had my first two just two years apart and I love the relationship they have. This little one will, God willing, be 5 years younger than his/her youngest living sibling. There is a part of me that wants a playmate for a baby not even born yet ... crazy? Yes, especially as it seems much more clear cut for my husband who seems much more peaceful than I am about the fact that our family is "done".

stephanie said...

Kristy you wrote like you were in my head. I don't have that "done " feeling that I hear my friends speak about. Before Em was born I would look at the kids all together and there was always an empty spot.But.. after Emmie was born, well I still didn't have that feeling. In fact just as you wrote I too long to hold a new born, Emmie just turned one. I hope it's not a sickness because I have it too, LOL!
I do know my body can not handle another pregnancy and I have always been pulled towards adoption.If our finances ever straighten out I would just love another child. And honestly, I really don't think I will ever feel done.

Emily said...

Love this post. You know my answers, but I just wanted to say I love it just the same. :)

Trennia said...

I wanted more children and I was for sure GOD was going to bless us with more...after finding out Emily was not compatible with life then being told I had placenta previa but no big deal on the placenta problem...I held steadfast to God will give me a miracle and Emily will live but when she took her last breath and I was being stiched up I thought but God is allowing me another chance then my bleeding started as I watched my husband carry Emily around the OR I thought this was my last baby ad I loss her!!! I ended up with an hestorectomy so I deal with this terrible thing daily.It hurts somedays so bad I lose me breath...yes the Lord blessed me with five beautiful earthly children and three heavenly it's just hard somedays.(((HUGS)))

MY LIFE WITH BOYS! said...

Hi,
I have three sons ages 9, 6 and 2. I did not feel "complete" until #3 was born. Right after I had #2 I just didn't feel "done". It never went away and I knew I would regret not having another. My husband needed convincing though. I always felt like someone was missing from our family. Since having our 3rd son we feel complete and I don't have those feeelings anymore. If I see a baby (especially a girl!) I get a small "ooh!" feeling and it quickly goes away. Thank goodness:) I will never regret adding one more, but would have regretted not doing it. I know that now! Regarding getting rid of things; I have been able to give the baby things away as we use them. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I think this was because I feld "done"!

Erika said...

Kristy, well...you know my thoughts! :-) It is so hard. I think having children in Heaven complicates things because we will always long for their physical presence here on Earth. I struggle with that so much. We always wanted to have Annika, Vivian, Annemarie, and then one more. So four. But since V&A are in Heaven...it makes it complicated. I don't even know where I am with it all. I don't know if I will ever feel "done"- but hopefully my heart will heal a bit. I think what we are feeling is totally normal, though. (((hugs)))

Love,
Erika

littletinyfootprints.blogspot.com

Me said...

I knew the second my little girl was born that she would be the only one for us. I had a horrible pregnancy, blood clots, puking, IVs eery 10 days, doc visits every 10-14 days, losing 35 lbs. It just was so hard for me and then I had a few other issues after she was born.

I know that God sent her to me because she was going to be the only one. I know that if I was meant to have two then she would have been twins or someone would have knocked on my door with another one. Neither of those things happened so I know that she is my one and only.

I had a miscarriage before I had her and I swore I would never do that again. I was giving up on pregnancy...it hurt too much. But just 6 weeks later she was conceived, put there by God because I was doing everything to NOT get pregnant and still she was there.

It will all work out the way God intends it to....just believe.

Nic said...

I struggle with this also. I have been blessed with Four healthy children why can't I just be happy but when a friend calls to tell me they are pregnant I can't help but feel a bit jealous. I'm not sure that I will ever not have "that feeling". I have had four sections and plus my husband had a vasectomy. Glad to know I'm not the only one =) Thanks for sharing and God Bless!

Brookeanne said...

I have not experienced the loss of a child, but my close friend and I constantly talk about whether we will ever feel completely done with having children. I have a serious risk of pre-term labor, but have been fortunate that with my last child, 7 weeks of bed rest and medication got me to full term. I constantly wonder whether it is fair to risk having another child. What if I didn't catch things in time, and end up having a micro-premie with serious issues that they will struggle with for the rest of their life? I would LOVE that child with all of my heart and be there for them through everything... but is it fair??? My youngest is a week older than Hope (btw, your blog helped me tremendously to get through bedrest with her, and also helped me to remain thankful and upbeat... you're amazing and I appreciate everything you have been willing to share). Already, like you, I am feeling the urges to have another one. Needless to say, I will pray for you that things come together in a way that brings you joy and security

Trisha Larson said...

I don't feel complete at all. After 5 kids (the last one in Heaven) I still feel this intense desire to have another. I've prayed that it will go away but it doesn't. I don't know why God would put this desire on my heart if He didn't plan on fulfilling it -- but here I wait 18 months later!

I am pretty miserable pregnant. I am sick that I vommit several times a day for many months. But, I love having a baby and I love watching them grow. I think that I would have 20 if I could. But, I can't so I am just hoping and praying for 1 more. Until I'm sure that God is saying no I am keeping all of my baby stuff in the garage (we don't have basements in CA unfortunately).

Hugs,
Trisha

CHATTY CATHY 1975 said...

Wow. As I read this post - I repeatedly thought you had spoken from inside of ME. MY MIND. Not yours...

I'm also the Mommy to 5 children. Ages 11 down to 2 months. All but 1 of my babies spent time in the NICU after their births due to the preeclampsia I develop each time I'm pregnant.

I have 4 girls - and FINALLY now... a baby boy! He was born on Sept 11th - and came home from the hospital 6 weeks after his birth. My 9 yr old spent 90+ days in the hospital during the first days of her life... my 11 yr old spent over 2 weeks in the NICU... my 2 yr old spent close to 2 weeks... my 1 yr old stayed just as long as I did (2 days!!) - and was the ONLY child not admitted to the NICU.

I had my tubes tied during this c section... and have felt sadness from it too. I knew it wasn't safe to get pregnant again - and that it would have to happen this way... but I'm still sad about it.

It IS allowing me to enjoy many more moments with my son though - knowing they will be the "last" time I experience many things with MY newborn...

HUGS to you!!!

mommymeezer said...

I just know...although I do yearn for 1 more, but I think that yearning will always be there (I like babies too). I have three wonderful children(ages 4, 2 and 2 months). When we were first married we had no idea of that magic number. We planned #1 and #2 and soon after #2 was born, my husband and I were happy, but still felt something was missing. I was scarred to try for #3 since we have a small house and finances are not that great...so we decided to hold off until we felt the timing was right. God choose the time and spaced out children perfectly..I cried and was upset when I found out I was pregnant with #3, but in retrospect...it was a blessing (not just because every child is a blessing) because God choose the time for me...I didn't have to make a decision about what if or any timings. I feel whole and I have what I can handle...I think God knows I can not handle anymore children right now and keep my sanity. I have the love and attention to give to my kids equally right now and I am balanced.
I am planning to get an IUD next month. I just can't go throw with permantly sterilizing myself or my husband...so I am taking what I feel is the best method of protection for myself.

Penny said...

When my husband and I married, he had three daughters and I had two from previous marriages. (one previous marriage each, thank you ha) Anyway, we wanted one "together" because you know five girls is never enough. lol We had another girl (total of 6) and I would have had one more, but he was adamant that we had all we could afford--- barely afford them. Anyway, 12 years later I hit 40 and he hit 50, so... he finally got a vasectomy and we were done. By this time his oldest two daughters had children, so the grands filled the baby void for us. No need to have one when you've got someone to do most of the "dirty work" of parenting. I DO know that I've always loved having babies in the house and being pregnant just like you do, but after my last was colicky and suffered from chronic ear infections, then a blood disorder, I don't think I could have been fair with another child. I doubt he/she would have gotten the attention a new baby needs and requires. I think we made the right decision to stop, even though empty nest is staring us in the face. :( She's a Senior in High School!

Traci said...

My second daughter was born with numerous health issues and our doctor advised against any more kids. After seeing what she went through I didn't have the heart to put another child through that, so my decision to be done was easy. I can't imagine experiencing the losses that you have and my heart goes out to you.

Anna said...

I am wondering if I will ever feel done as well. I am 25 and have 2 children. A girl and a boy. We are so very blessed having one of each but I am longing for a #3. Financially we just aren't sure if we should. We are struggling between our minds and our hearts. And we are trying to trust God to lead us in the right direction. Each time we come to the same conclusion...to try in April....Maybe that is what He wants. But How do you know if it is your desire or God's? And also, if I pray about trying sooner which I would love I can feel it inside that that is not what I should do. So, we are waiting for April and then we will discuss again if we should try that month. Pray for clarity for us as we make this decision.

Stacey said...

I too share the feeling of wanting more children. I am blessed with 2little boys and 12 angels in Heaven. I have a garage FULL of baby things that I can't quite let go. With my inability to keep a pregnancy, I wonder if my effort to have one more is pointless. This is one of the most difficult aspects of my life. I love my boys (3 and 5) with all of my heart, but I feel a longing for one more. Hugs!

Rebekah said...

I knew my family was complete after my last baby. Of course his entrance to the world made someone elses family complete but I knew I was done. I was so so sad to (just a few months ago) get rid of my high chair and my pack n play, and in a few short days, my stroller will be gone as well. Its very weird for me because I have had babies in my house for so many many years, so I hardly know what to do with myself. Its just weird but I figure Im on to the next step of life. :)

Wendy said...

We had 5 boys and still felt there was another so after 5 years we had our first girl.(the 5 year gap was I thought that feeling would go away, plus 4 & 5 are twins.) We didn't want her to be "alone" and spoiled with the 5 year gap so we had another one, another girl. We felt finally that our family was complete so I had my tubes tied. One year later I found out I was pregnant again! We were blessed with a wonderful little boy. This just proved to me that our Heavenly Father plays a much bigger role in our lives and I don't know what my little guys purpose here is in our family but I know he was supposed to be here with us. Trust in the Lord. He has a plan for you too.

Lori said...

Kristy,
I have never responded to any of your posts until today. I live in Texas and I know how you feel. I am like you, I love having children around all of the time. Our own kids are now 23, 20, and 17. Ted and I decided to share our love by fostering children who are in need of a stable and loving place. We love to watch each and every one of them grow through Christ and realize that they don't have to be victims; they can prevail! You may want to consider doing this with infants later on when Hope gets a little older. There are so many children out there! We have helped 4 of our children go to permanent families and still keep in contact with the families.

Kirsten said...

Sending you love and hugs. Being mommy to Sophia is so amazing. She keeps me busy, but I love every minute of it. Just wanted to stop by to say hi. The updated blog looks awesome - such precious children. All 5 of them!

Blessings,
Kirsten

Crystal said...

Kristy

OOOH my goodness do I struggle with this too! We have one biological son--after I had him we had several miscarriages. We felt God was calling us to adopt--so we adopted a girl and a boy from Guatemala --and then out of the clear blue sky I got pregnant and I am almost nineteen weeks! CRAZY!!!! I KNOW God will tell you

And I can't help thinking your hearts longing is your answer and I have to tell you from someone who has adopted it was the utmost greatest thing we have ever did we still talk about adopting again!!!!!

aww Kristy you are awesome and I will say some prayers that oru Lord leads you where he wants you--I can't wait to see what he has in sstore for your family!

Vanessa said...

i would love to have more children, but i've had 2 c/sections now, resulting in a severely disabled child and a premie (who thank God is healthy). Needless to say, it scared the hell out of me. I'm thinking one more go at it in a few years when i can take a lot of time off and then i will be done. I'd rather be left with 1 healthy and 1 sick child at home, than suffer with more heartache of another sick or baby that dies!

Christa @ Quintooples said...

So. I could write a book about this. I did NOT feel my family was complete when the triplets were born. I had huge amounts of baby lust...even though I knew that I almost needed a liver transplant after they were born. Everyone said that my body could just not handle anymore.

I wanted more. I totally did.

I felt sad, and was feeling the same ugly feelings of hurt. WHY was God letting me have these desires, when there was no WAY I could have another baby. I would not risk that my children would be possibly motherless, or have a terminally ill mom, just because I desired another baby.

GOD TOOK IT AWAY! It was not instant, like some other moms experience. For me, the baby lust was ALWAYS at it's highest when I had a BABY. I am not the only one who has stated that.

When my babies got to be around 15-18 months old, it was like God flipped a switch inside of me. While I STILL love babies, and I desperately love my OWN babies....I no longer have any desire to have another one.

This MAY happen for you, and if it doesn't...maybe it's for good reason! ;)

Angela said...

Everyone told me that I would "feel done" and "you'll just know". That never happened to me either. Instead after much prayer and discussion, hubby and I decided it was time to be done after our third. We waited until she was 3 to make it permanent though because we wanted to be sure. It's been a little over a year now since his vasectomy and I still feel twinges of sadness here and there about no more babies. My head knows why it was wise to stop and that we really felt God's leading on that, but my heart yearns for "just one more". I keep thinking though, if we had a fourth would I really feel 'done' or keep yearning for "just one more." Getting rid of our baby things was very hard and helpful for me. It forced me to look ahead to the future with my children who are growing WAY too fast (10, 7, 4) instead of pondering their baby days...as much. :-)
I agree with you...even when it's hard de-cluttering IS addictive. God Bless You!!

Christy said...

Wow! You put on "paper" everything I am feeling and struggling with! I am a mom of 6, only two here on earth. It is hard and the last few months I have struggled BIG time with this.
I don't want to be done. I felt like after my son was born and we were able to most likely solve the mystery of the miscarriages, that I didn't have to be done.
My husband and I had talked about him having a vas. and he was scheduled. I tried to ask him to wait and I think he thought I was kidding. I wasn't sure I was ready to make that final of a decision.

I too love being pregnant and the newborn baby syndrome is a sickness. I would love to have one or two more at the most.

Recently we marked the passing of our last baby and it was exceptionally hard this year. Last year was the first but I was weeks from delivering my son. I was more than preoccupied so the pain was not as great. THis year, it was very hard. My son is to be one in two weeks and it seemed as though I was losing that "baby" time.

I realized though, I think part of my yearning for more children is in a small way a desperation to fill that whole you talked about, of someone missing. Sometimes I think that if I can have just one more it won't hurt anymore, maybe I won't think of them as much...it doesn't work. I know that but some days it just isn't easy.

I donated almost all my stuff to a girl I met that served me at a local restaurant. I donated the rest to the Children's Hosp as a way to give back for everything they have done for our family. I am giving the rest of the clothes and things we grow out of to charity. It helps me heal but it definitely has not been easy to watch it all go.

I will pray for you through this journey. Your family is beautiful and I absolutely love the new family pictures you posted.