There comes a time when every parent gets the feeling that the baby they have may be their last baby. Maybe your partner and you decided that you’ve had enough kids or maybe you instinctively know that the baby you had will be your youngest. Either way, this is a special moment in a parent’s life. You may be feeling a whole mix of emotions ranging from elation to melancholy. The youngest is always special as this is the last time you’ll have to go through the baby phase. So all the cuddles, snuggles and kisses are going to be unleashed onto your littlest one. However, deciding to stop adding to the family comes with its own highs and lows. And it’s best to be ready to handle all the feelings you’re going to experience.
Here are 4 things you will feel when this baby is your last baby:
The first and most obvious feeling is joy. You are officially out of the baby phase. No more dirty diapers, baby bottles, mushy food and burp cloths! You finally made it out. You won’t even have to feel any morning sickness or labor pains ever again. If that isn’t cause for celebration, we don’t know what is. You can finally pack away the paternity clothes and bras and go back to enjoying your weekly sushi nights. Not to mention that you can purge all of the baby stuff sitting in your attic, closets, basement and litter all over your house. Now you can pass on all the swings, gym mats, baby clothes, cradles and infant carriers. Getting out from under the mountain of stuff associated with having a baby can be a truly liberating experience. You should pat yourselves on the back for successfully making it past the baby phase!
It’s okay if you feel sad instead of feeling happy. Sometimes making good decisions for you can also be tough and a little depressing. As much as parents dread the baby phase, you never know what you’ll miss until you lose it forever. As you come to the end of the road, you’ll realize that you’ll never again feel a baby growing inside your belly. No more snuggles with your baby well past midnight, no more rocking them back to sleep. All the precious tiresome moments will be memories, never to be repeated again. These are all good reasons for your heart to ache. Allow yourself to grieve and cry before you move on with your life.
It’s okay to be curious about the life you would have had if you had decided to have just one more baby. If you’re out in public and see a mom manage two toddlers and a baby, it’s okay to feel a stab of jealousy or disappointment, or simply wonder if you could have made that work. Sometimes moms go off on a tangent about what their baby would have looked like, what character traits they would have inherited from their parents and which sibling they would’ve liked the best. It’s okay to go into a world of make believe every now and then as long as you’re perfectly happy with the reality you return to. Many people might find this odd, but being curious about what could have been is a very human thing to experience.
Knowing that your family is complete can bring you a tremendous amount of relief and satisfaction. Now you can finally get to planning for the next phase of life. You can get an idea of what to do about future family vacations, schooling, college savings and personal career goals. Not to mention that you can go back to shifting some of your energy onto yourself. You have the chance to focus on your own health for a change. You can also start to prioritize date nights more now that you don’t have a baby that needs you 24/7. You are no longer tied down or limited by a sporadic schedule due to pregnancy so take a breather and live a little! It’s okay to feel a sense of relief and exhilaration knowing that you’ll never be pregnant again. It means that you are ready to move forward with your life with the happy and healthy family that you’ve been blessed with.
No matter if you have one child or five, knowing that this baby may be the last one is always bitter-sweet. You may find it hard to let go of the baby phase even if you weren’t a big fan. Or maybe you feel guilty for how happy you are to finally progress with a life without babies. Don’t be! This new chapter of life will need you to be present and engaged with your kids in new and exciting ways. The job of a parent is never really over. Happy parenting!