I have spent a lot of time both personally and publically trying to figure out if I want to have more kids. It’s an achingly hard decision for many of us, especially when our spouses don’t always agree. But the other night, after holding a friend’s newborn and then finding myself looking at pictures of my own kids when they were tiny, adorable, non-tantrumming infants, what I realized is this: I don’t want more kids; I just want to have my babies back.
And I want to have my babies back now, as the mom I am today. Not the haggard, inexperienced, anxious mom I was then. Don’t get me wrong, I would never take back the time I had with my beautiful babes then. But I would love to hold and gaze at my babies as the mom I am today- slightly more stable and sane, with some idea of what I’m doing and what to expect. I think the “itch” I feel is really me craving more of that delicious baby time, but in my current phase of life.
Back then, while I did value that time as much as I could, it was a crazy stage. I was tired, sometimes cranky and uncertain. And I didn’t know what to expect. How fun would it be to go back now, with 5 years under my mom belt, and revisit those sweet snuggles? Breastfeed my babies, watch them babble, crawl and walk for the first time?
I suppose it’s natural to miss these moments, often with a ferocious intensity which can bring me to tears. I wish I could replay those memories in a way so vivid that I felt I was right back in the rocker, singing my child to sleep. Sometimes I am able to capture a glimpse of those moments; when I catch a fresh baby smell, or hear my child sigh in her sleep. But it feels too far away.
At least what I realize, finally, is that I don’t want another child. I love my family just the way it is. I just wish I could transport myself back to their infancy from time to time, to rock them, snuggle them, feed them, and love them, as they were back then, so tiny and fragile, with me as I am now, more aware and present, without bags under my eyes, lacking sleep and patience. And maybe I’d give my young mom self a hug too, and tell her that everything is not only going to be fine, but amazing.