Where the Booties Go.


He grins slightly as I hold him to my chest.  He twirls my hair in his chubby one-year-old fingers, and I whisper to him, “Slow down… take your time… You’re amazing me… and devastating me.”   He smiles big and shakes his head.  “Uh uh”, he says – his new favorite reply to everything.  He curls up in my arms… he’s my perfect puzzle piece fit.

There is something in me so unexpected… a longing I thought I had conquered.  To grow another.  To nurse another.  To bury my nose in that top-of-head infant smell.  To watch yet another squiggly worm become an individual.

This unexpected longing is at war.  It battles the woman in me who was lost… the one who wasn’t struggling to keep up with laundry… the one who felt vibrant and alive.

There is room in my heart for another…

but not in my life.

Another round of colic would kill me.

The drowning sensation of the first few months with a newborn… two little ones already to care for…

A husband who works full time, is getting another degree part-time, and who teaches the other part-time…

No family, no grandparents nearby, no support system…

the time, the finances, the room, the logistics, the energy, my dead career.

We’ve reached the point…

I’ve reached the point…

where we are done.

We are full.

So I whisper to the one that still fits in my arms.  I inhale him longer and longer each day…

and I wonder…

If only I were stronger

If only we were richer

If only I didn’t want a life of my own

If only I weren’t so selfish

I wonder these things as I put the booties in the box…

the box with the other tiny things…

the box that won’t be dug through again for re-use…

the box that will soon go out the door…

the box that with it’s tape will close this chapter of motherhood.

I’m already missing them, but I’m done with missing me…

and I’m sad…

and I’m hopeful…

and I’m settled…

that with a heart both heavy and light…

I’ve finally decided

where the booties must go.




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Comments (17)

  • Shell 9 years ago Reply

    It really is such a hard decision to make. And one that I sometimes still doubt now even though my youngest is about to turn 5. But then I remember all the reasons why I’m done and those are stronger than the urge to have another.

  • Cindy 9 years ago Reply

    I am mom to an 8 y/o and twin 4 y/o girls. I still get the ache for another little one every once in awhile, to the point that I can smell that baby smell and feel the weight in my arms. We are definitely done growing our family, but I still sometimes mourn the “loss”.

  • Terram 9 years ago Reply

    This so perfectly captures how I feel. Or at least how I felt a year or so ago. My “baby” is almost 3 1/2 now, though. And while I mourn for her babyhood, with every passing month I also get a little more of myself back and it is wonderful. I’ve started a new p/t career and picked up long-forgotten hobbies (sewing!). And through all the holiday parties last month, I talked to the adults, sipped my wine, and held the newborns so their moms could eat, all the while knowing that my children were safe and (mostly) quiet playing with their friends. My point is that it has gotten easier for me to let babyhood go and I’m increasingly happy with our decision to just have 2. The booties only make me cry occasionally.

    Jenni Chiu 9 years ago Reply

    Talking to adults and sipping wine… that does sound quite enticing…

  • Terram 9 years ago Reply

    And not one time did I fish something deadly out of a little mouth, change a dirty diaper on the floor or scramble around trying to find a quite and semi-private place to nurse. And get this – my 6 year old even fixed his own plate (all cookies and cheese, but who cares he did it himself)! It was truly fabulous…

  • EB 9 years ago Reply

    Just hang in there! The day they are both out of diapers you will breathe a huge sigh of relief! Sooner than you relalize, they will both be in school full time and have after school activites and you wont have time to spare! and be glad you arent pushing a baby stroller while being a soccer mom!

  • Angela 9 years ago Reply

    This is beautiful. I totally understand how you are feeling. My husband and I just talked about how sad it feels to be done with that part of our lives–the new baby excitment and hope. But it’s also fun to see your babies grow into little people and get a little freedom (physically at least) as those babies get more independent. What you said is so true, “a heart both heavy and light.” Thanks for writing this.

  • Sharni 9 years ago Reply

    Awwwww. I haven’t made this decision yet. I am still too chocked full of hormones to be sure about it. Beautifully written, as always.

  • Adela 9 years ago Reply

    You bring back some poignant memories. Ahh… the longing. It never ends. (Mother of 4, grandmother of 12. My youngest grandchild turned two in November) The cycle continues.

    Jenni Chiu 9 years ago Reply

    So now I just have to wait until my babies have babies…

  • Alison 9 years ago Reply

    I’m almost at this stage – I know my second will be my last baby, but he’s still small enough that I don’t really have to think about that fact too much. They grow up way too fast.

  • Debi (@Truthfulmommy) 9 years ago Reply

    I am here with you.I don’t want to be.I long to hold another sweet baby of my own in my arms but the fear of a loss & the gap between the girls and another has convinced me otherwise. I hope it gets easier. Xo

  • Erin 9 years ago Reply

    Beautifully explained…and not unfamiliar to many of us:) thanks for sharing today 🙂

  • Jasmine Jones 9 years ago Reply

    So beautifully said! Similar words echo in my own heart and mind. Thanks for sharing

  • I am in this place. Loving the snuggling with my 20 month old, loving him more than anything I’ve ever known, wanting so desperately to do this again. We have two, a third would not be a financial hardship, my body, though now 40 could handle it and yet, wine is my friend once again. I have my libido and my humor back. Those are hard things to knowingly stuff in the back of the closet again. The smiling, the hugging, the giggles. Oh, the baby fever is a strong adversary.
    And then the dude hits me in the nose.
    Yup, done.
    I think.
    Hold me?

  • kathryn 8 years ago Reply

    Stumbled across this on twitter only 10 mins after having this exact conversation with my husband! Wish it were an easy decision for me but its not and im glad to know im not alone in it!

    Jenni Chiu 8 years ago Reply

    It’s not an easy decision for so many of us! Now I know why we used to live in villages…

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