18 answers

Coping with Sadness over Last Child

I've got an almost 4-year-old boy and an almost 1-year-old girl and my husband and I have decided we're done. We'd agreed on two kids before we got married (I wanted 2 or 3 and he wanted 1 or 2). For every reason I can think of, we're ready to be done. However, I'm still really sad to be done with being pregnant (even though I was miserable through both pregnancies) and having babies (even though I'm not really a baby person). I don't quite get it. I'm happy that my kids are growing up and they're so much fun, but I just hate the idea of being done with that phase of life. Anyone else have this experience? How did you deal with it?

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I really appreciate all the sharing. It feels good to know I'm not alone as my husband thinks I'm crazy. =) It is getting slightly easier as I'm trying to focus on all the possibilities that having older (toddler and preschooler) kids means that weren't options with babies. I also keep reminding myself there are options for getting a "baby fix" without having a baby. Thanks.

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I know what you mean. I think it is important to realize that we just can't have everything we want. I know you know that already, but sometimes I have to tell myself that in the same tone I tell my daughter that I'm not actually going to pay for her to go see Selina Gomez in concert and while I understand that it means the whole world to her, I'm simply not paying for it.

By the same token, I can't imagine paying another private school tuition, college tuition, medical bills, etc. not to mention dividing my time up even more and spending less with the kids I already have. So I talk to myself in my adult voice. I can't have a baby just because I want it. Lol.

You have both my empathy and my support. :)

2 moms found this helpful

Know you are not alone. (((HUGS))). I think many of us go through these feelings. We have always said we wanted two and was even graced to have one of both; but in the back of my mind I always wonder "wouldn't it be sweet." When I sold my crib last year, I actually cried. It is just the maternal instict and the grief of loosing that baby stage. Now let me tell you what recently helped me... LOL !!! I watched my baby great nephew. He is 5 moths old. Getting up in the middle of the night, him needing attention when I was eatting, lugging the diaper bag, packing all of the gear to go, lugging that car seat and lugging that stoller... WOW; I was so tired when we were done. I looked at my husband and said "Gosh, I guess I do agree with you. That is a lot of work and my body must be getting old. I guess it is nice mine walk, dress themselves, get in and out of the car alone, wipe their own butts ;) So now I realize I can play Auntie but like being Mother & Mom rather than Ma Ma. Here is a (((HUG))) to let you know you are not alone.

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I recall weepy days when I put away my only child's baby clothes, toys, books. But life moves on. Don't get stuck there – you do have a choice.

It's wonderful how we moms are designed, physically, emotionally, hormonally, to really, deeply care for children. It is absolutely essential for the long, challenging work of parenting, and being able to give ourselves wholeheartedly to our children's needs.

What you're feeling is the downside of that wonderful gift. All our systems become attuned to parenting, and it's a huge part of our self-identities. That will change only slightly over the next dozen years or so (unless we choose to be involved in other identity-building activities). So of course it's hard to watch our children keep growing and developing, leaving our arms less occupied. It feels like our hearts have room for so much more – but only because it's true.

Reasons are for the head, longing is for the heart. Don't try to ignore those feelings – doesn't work. But you can redirect them, toward an active investment in the present and your children's future. You might even consider volunteer work with babies – if you have a hospital nearby, they need tender, experienced women to rock drug-addicted babies in the nursery. And you have a future "you" to start building, so you won't become a forlorn empty-nester.

3 moms found this helpful

I know what you mean. I think it is important to realize that we just can't have everything we want. I know you know that already, but sometimes I have to tell myself that in the same tone I tell my daughter that I'm not actually going to pay for her to go see Selina Gomez in concert and while I understand that it means the whole world to her, I'm simply not paying for it.

By the same token, I can't imagine paying another private school tuition, college tuition, medical bills, etc. not to mention dividing my time up even more and spending less with the kids I already have. So I talk to myself in my adult voice. I can't have a baby just because I want it. Lol.

You have both my empathy and my support. :)

2 moms found this helpful

I feel ya on this one! I always wanted another one too, but since my husband and I each have an 8yo boy from previous marriages and we have one "joint" child that will be 3yo soon (another boy, no girls :( ), we had to agree that it was time to stop. It made me SOOOO sad. We both wanted a little girl so badly, but we ended up with all boys.

One of the things that has helped me is to think about how much having another baby would set our plans back. My older son and our little boy both live with us and they're five years apart. This can make some things more difficult. Having another one would really make it even more difficult.

For example: I homeschool and we're all learning the major European languages together because we plan to take the boys backpacking through Europe when my oldest is 15 and his little brother is 10. Having another baby would set our plans back because we want them all to be old enough to keep up and have a good time, and old enough to get something out of the amazing history we'll be learning about. If we had another baby now, my oldest son would be in college before we would feel like we could take the youngest on this trip. That's not fair to him.

The list goes on forever, but sometimes it still doesn't help. Try it at least, and try to start looking forward in your life. Close the chapter and put it in the treasured memories section and move on. It's hard to do and sometimes is never fully finished. But know that you are not alone, many of us mamas feel this way.

1 mom found this helpful

Let yourself be sad! Even if you've made a rationally sound decision, your feelings are your feelings and you're right that you're moving on from that phase of life to another. It's ok to mourn that loss even as you rejoice in what is happening now and what comes next.

Donating our baby gear was something that helped me to say goodbye. We kept a few special items of clothing and the rest want to friends who we expecting, or a garage sale to raise money for a good cause.

1 mom found this helpful

I have 4 and my youngest is 12 years younger than the oldest. Every time he hit a milestone it would bring me tears. Over time I have learned to love and celebrate my youngest's journey through childhood.
I babysit for my friends every so often. It gives me a baby fix but now that the youngest is in 3rd grade I am so much more content. I love the little ones but not any more for me.
I will say the hardest two days of my life were the first day of kindergarten for the baby which was the first day of my oldest's senior year. And the day my oldest went ot bootcamp.
One thing that helped me a while back while we lived in VA, 2003-2006. We were emergency foster care providers. i was apporved for any age but always got the littlest babies and the toddlers.

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I identify with your feelings, and I have 3 grown birth children and two teenage adopted children. The remains of holding that sweet smelling infant and the delight of the toddler's accomplishments may not every really leave. Have you considered volunteering in a hospital, caring for friends or relatives small children, teaching pre-school Sunday School or any other option to be involved with the lives of young children? From my experience, being exhausted after one of those activities makes me happy I don't have babies any more!! The previous posters have wonderful ideas!

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I had a hard time when my younger boy weaned a little after a year. I was very sad and weepy whenever I saw infants and also a little sad thinking I'd never be pregnant again. We had considered doing something permanent but we're pretty young so decided to wait a bit. Thankfully for me, my husband (who had only wanted 2) decided he wanted a third around the time I thought I'd be okay with just 2. You don't have to make a permanent decision at least, which means if your husband feels that way in a few years you might have another. If not, it definitely gets better, but I think we always think about that one more child we might have had.

1 mom found this helpful

Totally! I'm pregnant now with our third, and I'm already feeling that way! Before, I was thinking Oh, I'm not ready to be done, and, totally selfishly, I'm not ready to be done with my childbearing years, I don't want to be that "old". Then, this winter, we hung out with our neighbors, who have three kids--a 7 year old and twin 5 year olds. My boys are 6 and 2 1/2...and we could go ice fishing together, even when it was cold out. Then we went on vacation. The boys were old enough to catch sleep as they could, and still be expected to function. It was glorious. We had so much fun. Now that I'm pregnant again, my almost 3 is getting ready to be done with naps, my 6 year old finished kindergarten...and they're ready to play hard this summer. This winter? This winter, we'll be returning to 3 naps a day. While I'm definitely excited about having another, I like the chaos of family, I also realize that this is probably our last...because we are ready to move on and have our kids be old enough to play like little kids, not be coddled like babies who can't go outside in cold weather or need to be nursed or napped. Being around a family who was "done" was huge for me...all of a sudden, I went from adamant that I wasn't ready to be done to hmm...maybe being done has its perks! Good luck...it's a very emotional thing, I know.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes! It gets less poignant over time. I honestly think that there is something biological involved that is very powerful. I still yearn, once in awhile, for mommy magic that is involved when holding an infant or steadying a toddler.

Deal with it? Live with it! I consider those feelings, however sad sometimes, a celebration of life! Our aching echos those moments and phases we treasure.

1 mom found this helpful

We have 3 kids, our youngest is almost 2 1/2. We are done. But....I can't help but feel the same as you. I don't know if I'm ready to say good-bye to everything baby even though I know we're done for many reasons. I've sold all out baby gear and toys and we're now thinking of selling our crib and nursery furniture and I'm fine w/ that, it's just that nagging feeling that we are closing this chapter of our lives and it's sad. My DH is going to the dr. this month to inquire about a vasectomy and just knowing that after that it will be final makes me weepy. Guess we all feel doubts even when we know we're done so you're not alone.
I read the other responses and I have to agree that babysitting or even just visiting someone w/ an infant or young baby makes any baby fever go away.:) I'm not an auntie yet but I know I will be in the maybe near future so I have that to look forward to, I can spoil them and then give them back to their parents.:)
Just know that you're not alone.

I have to laugh reading this because this is so me....HAHA I had that desire to have another baby even though we were done...So I am due with our 5th boy in 8 weeks and I just turned 40 last week....LOL This wasn't a planned baby, but god works in mysterious ways...My husband was going to get fixed for years as our youngest just turned 7 last week too. I just tell him he can't complain and he better do it this time or we will end up with another...and leave it in his hands......The sadness will go away...It will take some time! Enjoy the 2 beautiful children you have....Some of us aren't blessed to have a boy and a girl.... :-) (But I wouldn't trade any of mine)

Know you are not alone. (((HUGS))). I think many of us go through these feelings. We have always said we wanted two and was even graced to have one of both; but in the back of my mind I always wonder "wouldn't it be sweet." When I sold my crib last year, I actually cried. It is just the maternal instict and the grief of loosing that baby stage. Now let me tell you what recently helped me... LOL !!! I watched my baby great nephew. He is 5 moths old. Getting up in the middle of the night, him needing attention when I was eatting, lugging the diaper bag, packing all of the gear to go, lugging that car seat and lugging that stoller... WOW; I was so tired when we were done. I looked at my husband and said "Gosh, I guess I do agree with you. That is a lot of work and my body must be getting old. I guess it is nice mine walk, dress themselves, get in and out of the car alone, wipe their own butts ;) So now I realize I can play Auntie but like being Mother & Mom rather than Ma Ma. Here is a (((HUG))) to let you know you are not alone.

I know exactly what you're going through! When I was pregnant with our second child (and last, consequently) I would go through really sad days thinking, "This is the last time I'm going to experience this ever!" My hubby & I had also decided that 2 kids would be it for us, and that's what we've always wanted. I decided to make the most of every day, enjoying my last pregnancy to the fullest. It also made me feel better to think about my older son & what a fun age he is, how fun it is for the kids to grow into their own little personalities. I'm sure I'll have days of "baby fever" now and then, but it will also be nice to know that there are no more dirty diapers to change, no more midnight, 2 o'clock, 4 o'clock feedings, etc.

I guess I haven't really given you any advice. Just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one. :o)

I'm feeling like that RIGHT NOW! I made the mistake of going to Babies R Us the other day, and seeing all those pregnant women & teeny babies made me so sad to be done with that part of my life. I don't feel like my family is incomplete, just very aware that this is the last time for all those special, sweet & sometimes difficult times. I think it's better to be aware of those 'last moments' rather than suddenly waking up one day & realizing it's gone & you didn't appreciate how great it was at the time. I don't really have any advice either, but know that you are not the only one!

I don't really have an answer, but many of the blogs that I follow have families with 8, 10 , 12 children and some of them think that they might be done having children and they are also feeling sad - it seems that no matter the number of children, when either your body is done, or you and your husband agree that you are done - there is a definite loss. I worry more when mom's aren't sad that they might not have another child! I think the best things to do are focus on the new adventures ahead and volunteer to help babies in need whenever possible!

My husband and I agreed on two kids before we were married. After our second was a year old I was so sad but couldn't really justify a third child. We opted at that point not to do anything perminently. How ever five years later my husband got the itch to have another one. I was over the point of wanting a baby at that point but we did have one more. Neither one of us have had the desire since and our family feels complete. Mabey just give it time before you make a perminent fix. I finally got my tubes tied not to long ago cause we were both sure we were done now.

I knew after the twins turned 2 that I was done. My first pregnancy was a singleton, my second was a twin I was afraid to go for one more, plus we just don't have room in this house for another child.

One thing that does help when I get that itch for another baby my friend has a 9 month old and I ask her to bring her over for a play date or if she wants to run around without her I take her in a heartbeat. I also belong to a mothers of multiples group and offer to help out the new moms with the new babies whenever they want to take a break for themselves.

Hug and love your kids ~ You're blessed to have your two. Some women are sad because they can never have children or can never experience pregnancy. Enjoy the new phase you are entering and appreciate it. Some never get that chance.

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