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  • Stephanie

Mourning This Chapter

Time. It just keeps cruising along whether we are ready for it or not. One minute you're wrapping up your college days, eager for life to "really" start and the next you are ushering in your 40s. Each of us, every day, wishes time to move faster in one breath and in the next, we beg of it to slow down. We are excited for our weekend plans to unfold but also wanting to forever live in the moment of our newly announced promotion at work. We eagerly await the time we become parents and when we are, we long to travel back to our less demanding days as a twenty-something. We simultaneously want time to freeze as we watch our kids grow like weeds right before our very eyes and then wish them off to college (No? Just me?). The minutes just keep ticking by and as I age and my life unfolds before me, I find that I become more cognizant of the chapters of my life closing and I find myself in mourning.

As I write this very post, it is 5:30 AM and I am wrapping up a pumping session to feed my youngest little love. Just yesterday I started the process of weaning from the pump and wrapping up my days of providing milk for the last time. The freezer is stocked and this momma is exhausted! This is such a bittersweet time for me in my motherhood journey. I am looking forward to the days of not being tethered to a wall "cooking up the milk" as I so lovingly tell my twin toddlers. I am excited to have my body back all to myself and I cannot wait for my days to not be scheduled around my need to empty. There is, however, a flip side to that. This is the last baby I will feed from my own body. The last baby to smile for the first time, the last baby to roll over for the first time, the last baby to eat solids for the first time. The last baby.

I dropped my husband off two weeks ago for his vasectomy to ensure that the days of reproducing are, in fact, over, and I found myself in a parallel mental struggle between excitement over what the next chapter has in store for us and dreading leaving this one behind. We prayed long and hard for pregnancy, children, a family; we waited three and a half years for those prayers to be answered. Now, four years, three kids, and two pregnancies later, we are writing the final pages of this chapter and in the beginning stages of writing the next one. I am so excited for tomorrow, but I want today to stay here forever so I can freeze my babies' sweet, young faces still in time and forever live in THIS moment as their mommy.

The very last reminder of pregnancy is slowly vanishing right before my eyes, every day, as I look in the mirror. I watch as my linea negra grows slightly more faint, more today than yesterday, and I know that it is the last time I will watch this happen. Gone are the days of my big, round belly. Late night feedings and baby coos are all but vanished. While I look back at these incredibly fond and challenging days and nights with great joy, there is a deep feeling of loss that lurks beneath the surface. Experiencing this chapter closing feels like a part of me is leaving and never returning. And it's true. That version of me will never exist again. The role that I once played as the expecting mother, the new mother, that's a wrap. Because of that, because I am faced with saying goodbye to that version of myself, I can't help but feel a sense of grief and mourning.

Bryan and I dream up what the future holds for us. We talk of family vacations, extracurricular activities our kids might fall in love with, WHO they might fall in love with (and out of love with), what our kids will dream of being, retirement and all of its beauty. I love watching our lives unfold before us and discovering what each day brings our way. But saying good bye to the days that are behind us and the chapters we are closing, seemingly far too quickly, is something I may never get used to. While the other chapters were sad to bid farewell, none have been as painful as this chapter. Late nights with friends, freedom without children, college experiences, they were all wonderful and hold cherished memories for me but this chapter, this one of growing a family in my very own body and then feeding those babies, this one hurts to close.

Right now I am in limbo, finishing out the current chapter while dabbling in the next one; a chapter where I play the mom of young children, no longer making them, but molding them. I'm proud of the tiny people we are raising. All three of our kids are changing daily and my next role is more important than ever. Let me tell you, this role is HARD! Best of all, I get to usher in this new phase of life with this great man who makes all the peaks far more enjoyable and all the valleys much easier to withstand. I truly believe that is what makes saying farewell to what is behind us just a little easier. God has great things in store for our family and I cannot wait to see how our journey unfolds; the future is a vast land of unknowns and I love to dream up what it might look like.

So, as I eagerly await what tomorrow brings, I am taking my sweet time bidding adieu to the last little reminders of what was. While I do so, you'll have to excuse me as I drown in all the feels of writing the last paragraphs of this chapter.

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