Those days are well and truly over for my body, it will never again make and birth a baby. I made my peace with this a few years ago and I have accepted that my family is complete but the desire for more children was strong for years before that.
That urge to have a baby hit me in my late 20s when all I could think about was being pregnant, it was an all consuming urge to have a baby. This desire continued after baby number one, and my second daughter was born three years later. At this point we were meant to be done and I thought we were but when the exhaustion of two started to subside, the desire for another baby started to consume me again. It wasn’t that I was not satisfied by my two children – they made me whole and fulfilled and I loved them with all my heart – but my body still screamed for more children. My third pregnancy was my most precious in terms of how challenging it was emotionally because of carrying a baby with a life threatening heart condition. Although busy with my girls I also knew that there was a chance I wouldn’t get to bond with my third baby later so I made my pregnancy count – work stopped and my world slowed down to a simple pace with my girls and my bump. Despite all the emotion of regular heartbreaking scans, they were some of the happiest times of my life. I cherished every kick and squirm, the girls hugged the bump, we decorated it with face paint, we read books to it and I would often lie hugging my bump at night, quietly talking to my baby. My boy didn’t make it and grief took over. I knew I wouldn’t have anymore children – I had my three kids and I knew I was done.
But my body still yearned to be pregnant, I would dream about it and a few times I thought I could have been but it was just my body playing tricks. And on those occasions when my period was late, I wasn’t happy, I was frozen in fear and anxiety would creep in until my period started.
I was overwhelmed by the strong yearning of my body to make a baby. I loved being pregnant and I loved the challenge and the accomplishment of giving birth. I was 35 when I gave birth to my last baby and it took another five years to accept that my body wouldn’t make another. There is something so miraculous and powerful about creating life that it could almost feel uncontrollably addictive.
Turning 40 was my personal cut off for more babies. My forties was going to be about getting some of me back while enjoying the ongoing journey – and challenges – of having older children and the yearning for another pregnancy softened. My body has done well and I am incredibly proud of it for making three human beings and for bringing them into the world.