When I was five months pregnant with the mackerdoodle, I was sitting in my sister’s kitchen in Atlantic Canada talking about babies and family and what was in store for us. Melissa’s youngest child “Bess” was nine months old or so and sitting on the kitchen floor at our feet. During the conversation Melissa said, “It’s sad to me to think that Bess might be the last baby we would have.” To be honest, I was shocked. I was eagerly anticipating the mackerdoodle’s arrival, but I wondered how someone with four children could think it sad not to have more. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it.
When the mackerdoodle was nine or ten months old I was in the same house, helping Melissa pack to move to Central Canada. As she put Bess’ clothes in a box for my mackerdoodle, she told me again that it was sad to her to be giving me these clothes, thinking that Bess was possibly her last baby. At that point I knew with Bess just about two it was the longest stretch of time in eight years my sister had gone without being pregnant. I didn’t understand how leaving that cycle of pregnant/nursing/pregnant/nursing etc. behind was a source of grieving for her. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it.
Three weeks ago my friend Danielle had a beautiful baby girl. I stopped by to visit when little S. was a week old, and I saw the little bundle wrapped up in the bassinet, and I thought of my (then almost) crawling, 27 inch long great big boy at home and I thought. . .
“I want another baby.”
I get it. I understand how brief that first year is, and how very brief that new born stage is. I understand that temptation to just want a perpetual supply of baby giggles, baby milestones, baby cuddles. I understand now that every baby brings something new and wonderful into a family, and grows the love exponentially. I get it.
I also get that every baby grows into a child who requires a lifetime of nurturing and training in righteousness. I get how easily children can become idols in our lives to which we sacrifice the affections that rightly belong to God. I get that God calls us to good stewardship in all areas of our life.
So I understand why my sister wanted (wants) a fifth baby, and I understand why she and my brother-in-law chose not to pursue that right now. I understand why she would be sad to think of no more baby giggles, and I understand why they didn’t let their emotions make such an important decision for them. I get it.
I really, really get it.