The girls are running around the house. Singing bits of Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding and Dolly Parton. The kitchen is almost clean and my floors need sweeping. It’s a cold day, but there’s warmth here and I am as content as my restless soul allows. I like our family. I like the place we’ve found after the post-partum depression, life path uncertainty, and loss. It isn’t perfect. But it’s more than I expected. And at times, I can see the glints of perfection hitting off of the everyday and well-worn. I love my husband. I love the family we’ve built. We’ve got two babies and, right now, it feels like enough.
I don’t really want one more.
A few years ago, we sat at dinner with a couple dear friends. They had two boys, but she said she thought it was about time for another one.
“You know, we’ll have a big gap between our middle and our last. We’ve waited a long time. But the past couple of years we’ve been building other things. Our relationship, his business, a better understanding of our life work. I feel like those things together were our third child. This next baby, whenever it comes, will be our fourth.”
Her wisdom struck me and stayed with me. There are many things we women can give birth to in our lives. Babies are just one of many lasting and worthy creations we bring into this world by great labor.
The last two years have been brutal, unrelenting, sanctified and pierced with light. Riley and I have labored together, birthing sorrow and peace and hunger for endings we cannot see. We’ve born a better marriage, kinder parenthood and a grace that was not our own. I’ve contracted and expanded and been bloodied and bathed in the eternal waters. I have sought Him and have felt myself delivered.
We’ve had our third child.
And I feel like it’s enough. That I love enough. That I’m scarred enough. That I’ve felt eternity in the hands I hold now.
Then the babies are really no longer babies, are they? They are children reaching towards the things outside their childhood. They’ll leave that gold flecked space before I can breathe deeply. And I, oh I dearly, love childhood. I love its belief, I love its expanse, I love its wonder. Funny, that it only recently occurred to me that my house won’t have childhood without children.
And slowly it begins to settle into my bones one last time. The greatness in the work of motherhood. That grandeur that is so often buried for me beneath the birth induced depression, the sleepless nights, the consuming nature of the work that sometimes eats at my core. The joy of shepherding a fellow soul through the delights of life. The heart bleeding honor of leading them through the sorrows of mortality. Holding them tightly and then letting go, because they never really belonged to you anyway. Motherhood is the sacrifice that I fear and love the most.
I might need one more.
I think my love is going to prevail one last time.
It’s time to try for our fourth baby.
I love your words. Comment on this post and others (or just connect with me! HELLO!) on Instagram, FB or any other of your favorite social media platforms. Click the links below and let's talk.