When you become a mother for the second, third, or fourth time, you begin to wonder if it is the last baby you are going to have. The-last-baby you would want to conceive, nourish, birth, and raise. Do you feel a void? Maybe! Your body isn’t going to be a baby factory again – you have sought a voluntary retirement from manufacturing anymore cute and cuddly ones. Or maybe not, your older kids plus the new one will keep you so busy, (and often vexed) that you won’t feel the void of not making a new baby yet again. Ah, you are done with the joy of pregnancy.
There is this little secret that women carry within themselves – or maybe share with their closest pals that want to go on making babies – maternal instinct is too powerful a thing; it can make women both capable and desirous of procreating incessantly. But if it were not for the economic or financial reasons, if it were not for keeping up with those high standards of living, if it were not for personal health and overall well-being, women would love to be perennial reproduction factories.
But with the certainty that this one will be your last offspring, the emotion could be a bit overwhelming.
Perhaps you have just welcomed the newest addition to the family. And, if you know that this is also the final addition, there is an emotional side of it. Think about it. She is not just the last one, but also the last appraisal. The last medal. The last souvenir that directly carries your genes!
She will be the last in the family to join the family portraits. Of all in the family pictures, she will forever be youngest – even as she grows older year after year. She will be the last one to be fed those baby paps, the last to use the baby accessories, the last to use the crib, the last to be swaddled, the last to wobble as she takes her first steps, the last and the most to be pampered and spoiled.
The “over-attention” towards the youngest in the family would have the other children vie with each other for your affections. It’s a different thing that they will be all over your baby rest of the times, caring for her, doing things for her – sometimes it could baffle you that they could be so well behaved!
With each babyhood, you knew what you were headed for. You had had chalked out clear plans and goals – the house you are living in, your job, children’s education, how you were going to spread your resources around it all. And then the final pregnancy happened – either planned or unplanned, and it steered the lives of all towards a new direction – and more on a more joyful note, but with an element of surprise. Your husband will be nonplussed, but you will conscientiously make up your minds at having this last one.
And so it will happen to be the last one to kick inside you, sometimes with a jolt, sometimes with ripples. It will be the last one that will keep you smelling of the mommy-milk scent – or rather she would be the last to permeate that baby scent. She will be last to lay in that crib like helpless baby flesh in slumber or exploration of her little world. She will be the last to use a baby-seat in the car.
There would be so many lasts. There will be the last day of breastfeeding. There will be the last diaper-changing session. There be the last day of you giving her a bath.
And suddenly she is grown for her firsts of everything – her first day of brushing her teeth with no assistance; her first day of school, the first day of college, first date, first job…
The cycle comes around, doesn’t it! But you can’t go as far as to think of her marriage and her children yet…it’s too far to imagine her partner ;)
All those lasts will be dormant in your memory somewhere. They will not come to life until all your children are grown up and flown out of the nest.
That will be when you will reach out for those cute moments captured in videos and pictures. You will reach out for the last craft she made for you on Mother’s Day…her last pair of socks she wore while leaving kindergarten, the last comic she read, the last doll she played with….you will retrospect at everything that was her ‘last’ with misty eyes, but yet be happy to know in your heart that she is doing well, and it was only her lasts that have gotten her there today.