Tired, Sore and Hungry… for Babies

I’ve been feelin’ a wee bit tired of late but I really shouldn’t be.

Wanda sleeps beautifully. She eats beautifully. Most nights she sleeps around 14 hours with only one feeding in the middle. The problem is scheduling. She goes to sleep at about seven. I then stay up until around ten…er… eleven… er… twelvish? (If you thought you caught a niner in there as I was trailing off, you were correct) So I go to sleep after she’s been down for about 5 hours. Then she wakes up a couple of hours later to eat and it takes about an hour to feed and change her and put her down. “Put her down” sounds gruesome. Put her to sleep? Also very dire. Put her to bed? So then I get back to sleep at 3 or 4 AM and have to wake up at 7:30 if I’m being a very good mommy to get Laylee and Magoo ready for school while Wanda continues to sleep. I’m just not maximizing her sleeping hours so I end up averaging 5-6 hours of sleep each night with a 1 hour break in the middle. I’m tired.

I find that I am also sore. You may remember Magoo’s hugeness and the number he did on my body. I healed physically within a few months of his birth and expected the same or better this time. Wanda was normal-sized. My body was more fit. The delivery was easy. But here we sit at 4 months postpartum and I’m still in pain. My hips and pelvis aren’t doing so well. I have pain when I lie on my side or lift my leg to put on pants. Stepping over toys on the floor, if anyone ever left toys on the floor of my totally immaculate house which they never would because we are in all ways PERFECT, is a chore that requires careful planning and foot placement. It is uncomfortable to play on the floor with my babies.

The physical therapist says that if I continue doing my exercises twice daily, I’ll likely be feeling good in a year or so. That means 9 months of pretty intense pain during the pregnancy followed by a year of physical recovery. It’s rough but Wanda’s worth it. She’s more than worth it. She’s amazing.

She’s also likely our last.

I hope the physical therapist’s right. I hope my body is able to bounce back. I’m not sure. I’m really not sure if it could do this again. I’m eyeing my box of maternity clothes in the garage with a desire to say farewell and yet a fear of what that symbolizes.

Because tired, sore or broken, I love my babies. Sometimes when I’m feeding Wanda at night I get such a surge of excitement that I choke a little and catch my breath as I hear her little sucking noises and see her tiny fist clinging to my nursing bra like a handle. I always get baby hungry when my kids are around 3 months old and Wanda’s no exception. When she wakes up in the night crying, I go to her and she is overjoyed to see me. Her whole body grins and gasps and she looks up at me with total dependence and adoration. I am her best friend.

She lights up a room. She makes me hungry for more. And then after I catch my breath and squeeze her almost too hard, I realize that I’m a little broken and that I don’t know how much more broken I’ll be if I have another one.

And yet I’m hungry… for babies. I actually started fantasizing the other night about the smell of Tucks Medicated Pads and that sense memory was pleasant to me, making me think about our first several hours together, holding her and exploring her face, counting her fingers and toes. It didn’t make me think of hobbling to the hospital bathroom with the help of a nurse, in pain and bleeding from my body having recently done something that was both ridiculously hard and completely natural.

When I imagine that scent or look at that box of maternity clothes, all I can think about is my three little rays of sunshine, two of whom I sent marching off to bed with much relief tonight due to their foray into complete obnoxiousness, and how I’d like nothing more than to keep manufacturing them forever.

Does it ever stop? The hunger? Even if you know you’re done? Do you ever stop getting tears in your eyes when you pass by the maternity ward in a hospital, see a baby drooling completely vulnerable in his mother’s arms, or smell your older children’s hair right after a bath? Does the ache ever go away? In a way I hope it doesn’t. It tells me I’m alive, that what I’ve done, that what I’m doing, matters. Can I ever do anything better than making these three people? I’m not so sure.

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30 Responses to Tired, Sore and Hungry… for Babies

  1. Carrie says:

    Great post!

    I had horrible, high-risk pregnancies, and I’ve never been a baby person. And my husband and I both always only wanted two kids. So it totally made sense for us to take care of things (permanent birth control) while I was having my second baby.

    And I’m still glad that we’re done and that I don’t have to worry about it anymore, but I still get a bit sad when I see pregnant people or walk through the baby aisle at Target. I spent so many years thinking about having babies- it’s so weird to already be done!

  2. Aubrey says:

    I have three.
    my body gave out. at one… but I went on anyway.
    I ached for more….. agony.
    then… slowly…. subtly… I found my peace with now.
    12, 9, 6, good ages too. Not babies, but my babies.
    I can hold a friends and pass them back without tears now.
    most of the time.
    these three are my crowning accomplishment.
    as yours are clearly yours.
    strange how we can share the same crown.
    with different jewels.

  3. Leah says:

    Oh, the desire never goes away. I also have 3, and when I brought up a 4th my husband said “Hey, let’s get you a kitten!” Hee hee. So my 4th is a furry quadruped named Jack 🙂 But I practically start lactating when I see babies or hold them, and we both talk about that “new baby smell.” I found that I went through a long grieving period that that time in my life was over. It was really hard. But I knew it was the right thing for our family, so I knew it would pass. I am blessed with a lot of family where I live, and my brother and his wife just keep having babies, so I get to be a very involved Aunt 🙂 But I won’t lie, getting over it was hard. But if it is the right thing, eventually one moves on. And it’s true: my babies will ALWAYS be my babies, even if they’re 40!

  4. Mir says:

    I am eight years out from when my physical ability to carry a baby was ended via medical procedure. I was in so much pain, by then, that the surgery and the relief it brought was welcome.

    But the hunger didn’t go away. My then-husband and I made plans to adopt. Of course the long story of how that never came to fruition is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.

    Then I was a single mom, and still, babies brought tears to my eyes.

    Then I remarried, and we knew we wouldn’t be bringing any babies into our lives, but still, oh, babies made me ache just a little.

    Nowadays the ache is different — it’s a nostalgia, more than a desire. I still love babies. I have a passing sadness that that phase of my life is over. I will grab your baby and play with her for hours. But for the most part, my life is as it should be.

    And someday (hopefully far, far in the future) I’m going to be an absolutely kick-butt grandma. So there’s that. 🙂

  5. Christina says:

    My daughter is about to turn two and I have the ache. We want another one but we aren’t quite ready yet financially. Realistically, who ever is? But we want to wait a little longer to make sure we don’t over extend ourselves. I am about to go visit my newborn niece and I know that those baby vibes are going to kick in high gear!! Wish me luck! And I wish you peace, no matter what decision you and Dan make.

  6. a.men says:

    I have two kids. 7 yr old girl and 3 yr old boy.

    I had staph infection and an open c-section wound for 8 weeks after I had my daughter.

    My left hip clicked for a year after I had my 8 lb 11 oz son. (VBAC) I use the term click loosely. It was more of a catch. It was weird and annoying.

    Despite it all all I ache for another baby. Hopefully soon. Good luck to you…

  7. Pibble says:

    That video is hands-down the best thing I’ve seen on the internet in days. My 5-year old came streaking over to watch it (three times!) and demanded to know why his sister (almost 4 months) doesn’t do that. She has just started chuckling this week, so I’m hoping our house will be filled with those fantastic baby belly laughs soon!

  8. Maggie says:

    I have the EXACT SAME REACTION to the smell of witch hazel. It’s revolting, and I had to use it for revolting purposes, but OH THERE ARE SUCH LOVELY MEMORIES!

  9. Mother of the Wild Boys says:

    For me, the hunger hasn’t gone away. But the pain that initially accompanied that hunger has lessened. I still get a little teary-eyed when holding somebody’s baby…but I think you’re right, it’s because these little people are so important. 🙂

  10. Jeana says:

    Well, not when you post videos like that, no the ache doesn’t go away!

    Seriously, for me? No. It changes though–it’s not consuming and it doesn’t make me cry, but the twinges are still there.

    On a practical note, you might try getting Wanda up to feed her right before you go to bed. She would probably still sleep until her regular wake up time.

  11. grammyelin says:

    Wanda is incredibly precious. Anyone with a heart would want more of that bundle of sweetness; but anyone with a broken body would understand the decision to concentrate all of your love, energy and attention on the 3 precious children who already belong to your family.

    I know you will make this decision prayerfully and wisely and whatever you decide will be exactly right for you and your family. Everyone has to stop sometime. And there will always be a twinge, but the ache will subside. And grandkids (especially like the outstanding ones I have) are the perfect filler for any void that may remain.

    By the way, your house certainly looked immaculate in the video! Wow!

  12. Heather says:

    That video made my day. I’m baby hungry with that ache, and I’m about to have one… And my body is also hurting, and tired, and entirely too prone to contractions at this point…:) I think about this… and wonder how it will be when it’s over… but the cool thing is, it never really ends. All of my waiting… and my daughter who was growing older never stopped being a miracle to me…

  13. Amanda says:

    That video made me cry (happy tears). The thing is, I don’t get baby hungry and I don’t know why. I love my daughter, and I want more (and I am 14 weeks pregnant now) and I am excited, but I don’t feel that urge that most women do and I hope there isn’t something wrong with me. This video really helped though, thank you so much for sharing.

  14. Kork says:

    Such a tough place to be…am there now, and our #3 isn’t due for 10 more weeks!

    I think that some people (men and women) have that ache all their lives (why else would Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar have 19???), and some never have it. Some get over it, move through it…some never do. I have friends who know that they don’t want babies. Period. I have friends who are struggling with infertility, and are working through their options right now.

    Wanda, Magoo and Laylee are indeed such precious people, how can you not want more of the same????

    As for the physical healing and pain – does your therapist think chiropractic might help??? I know I suffer from some issues from prior to oldest and chiropractic helps much much more than any amount and type of muscular therapy…just a thought.

    And by the way…oldest wasn’t even home from the hospital before I was thinking about the subsequent children with which we might be blessed…

    Prayers for your decisions over the coming months…

  15. Rachel says:

    My mother had my brother, a miscarriage, and then me. The first delivery was incredibly difficult and having me just about killed her. She struggled for a long time with the fact that the doctor told them that if she had another baby it most likely would kill her. Then, she realized that she had one boy and one girl (as she said, “both flavors available”) and that my brother had so many issues that perhaps God knew exactly what he was doing. She could raise us to the best of her ability because she only had two. She still loves babies, but she knows now that there were reasons outside of her understanding at the time for her to stop.

  16. Melessa says:

    If you ever find the answer to this, let me know. I was so SURE I was done when I had my 5 year-old that I gave away everything with calm resolve. Then my precious 5 month-old surprised us all in the best way possible and now I just don’t know. Like you, my body is saying “don’t push your luck, Sister” and at the age of 38; I know my body has a point. But she is just SO precious, as were all my babies, AND my poor son now has four sisters and no brothers. I’m with you, I don’t think the ache ever ends and I know I will never do anything better in my life than bring my children into the world and raise them as the Lord would have me do.

  17. Heffalump says:

    I have six kids and I still get baby hungry…I think it’s a sign you love your kids!

  18. Tracy says:

    Oh my word! I have read your blog for years (you’ve far outlasted me in public blogging!) and only commented a few times. But I have to delurk to tell you that this is totally and completely beautiful! I know exactly what you are expressing and you have said it so much better than I ever could. Thank you for sharing this!

  19. emlouisa says:

    Totally bawling after watching that video. And way way way excited, cause I get to meet my cute little one in 11 more weeks!!!!

    I think that you will know when you are done. At least I hope so. I don’t feel done yet at all, but my husband does. I am secretly praying that this birth goes a billion times better than my last two, so that he will decide that having another one would be okay. It took me forever to talk him into have THIS baby. We won’t have another one without some divine intervention at this point. lol

    Love this post. And love you! 🙂

  20. Diana says:

    For me the ache never went away completely…that’s why I am a daycare provider! I get the joys of having a baby around yet I get nights and weekends off! Since my husband is the one that got the “permanent birth control” sometimes I’ll think…I COULD still have another baby…silly me! I’m also really looking forward to being a grandma.

  21. Carrie says:

    I really needed that reminder today – my first is two, and my youngest is 3 weeks old, and wow, today has been a doozy – possibly one of my worst mornings ever. I totally understand about the sleep schedule – my daughter goes down around 8 & usually eats at 2 and 5 or something like that, just an hour or two later would be perfect, to move that 2nd feeding up to a decent getting-up time! 🙁 And about the pain – thankfully my hips are doing okay, but my tailbone REALLY hurts – and of course I have to sit to nurse about 6 hours a day & then get up & you know, strenuous things like that make me literally want to cry! I also can’t imagine not wanting another baby, though, and losing that hunger like you talked about – it is SO worth it. 🙂 And I really needed to be reminded of that fact today.

  22. Stephanie says:

    Best video. She kind of sounds like a rubber duckie. LOL!

  23. Goslyn says:

    Yes, it stops. When you really know you are done, you look at babies and can appreciate their cuteness, but you can also fully appreciate how dirty and smelly and covered in spit-up and poo they are. So yes, the baby hunger ends one day, and that day is a very sad one.

  24. mamadeb says:

    My youngest of four boys is 8 years old next month. I always wanted five children. After four, my husband thought we were done. Our babies are gigantic. The doctors needed to open the “side door” to get them out. My body suffered. Some things healed and other things didn’t.
    I agreed to 4 and we were done. It took a few years for the hunger to return, but it did. Not very strong, but it was there. At the same time I am excited to enter a new phase in life. I am no longer a mother to small children and that has brought me to a point of reinventing myself. I find I don’t gush over other people’s babies….indeed they hardly seem to phase me. But sometimes in my quiet moments, when I least expect it, I feel a pang in my heart and a yearning to hold my infant close.
    I don’t think that will ever go away, and I don’t want it to.

  25. Brenda says:

    Wanda has a very infectious laugh! So cute!

    Our fourth and final is two years old. He is also our only boy but we were done no matter what flavor he was. 🙂

    I had all four of them c-section and I just couldn’t do it to my body again. Plus I was 37 when he was born and that was old enough for me.

    I don’t have baby hunger. We made the decision slowly and thoughtfully and prayerfully before he was conceived and while pregnant with him. I am thankful to be done with that stage of life.

    However, it made me very very sad when I realized my son would be our last toddler. He is a handful of course but he is so cute and small (for such a big boy) and still pretty cuddly. That is what I will likely miss.

    Good luck with your decision and most of all being okay with that decision.

  26. This is a magical post. I cannot relate because I’m not a mom but this really made me smile (and envy you?) 🙂

  27. Andrea says:

    I love baby giggles and that is the cutest video ever. I can see why you’d want a million of those cuties.

  28. bon says:

    Dude. I am done, as in D. O. N. E.

    As in I got the direct revelation and the surgery to back it up, and I STILL got the little flutter of hope and the twinge of sorrow a few months ago when I started a week late. The hunger doesn’t leave.

  29. Lori says:

    I must be weird. I never had the baby desire in the first place. Both of my kids were conceived while I was on birth control. I love them dearly! And yet, I had a procedure this past week to ensure I won’t be having any more – and it’s a relief to know I don’t have to worry about it.

    When I see babies, I can appreciate that they’re cute and sweet. But honestly, what I really think about is all the work involved, and the long, sleepless nights… I admit I’m enjoying my kids the older they get – they’re 6 and 9 now. I enjoy that we can talk about things, that they can use words instead of scream at me when they want/need something, that they can take care of some of the basics on their own – feeding, toilet, getting dressed, etc, and yes, I even enjoy that they help with chores (even if they complain while doing so)!

    There’s a part of me that wonders what’s wrong with me that I don’t have that “maternal instinct” and yet, it takes all kinds to make the world go round. I am who I am – and there’s no ache for any more kids. The ache I feel is left over from the procedure I just had done, but that will pass in a few weeks. Another child would last a lifetime. I know I’d love him/her, but I’m ready to reclaim my own life too. Working full-time, and just starting a masters program, while being a single-mom already… not the circumstances I want to find myself pregnant in! And maybe I’m selfish, but I know that by time I’m done with school and my life is stable again, I’m going to be pushing 40 and frankly, I’m already looking forward to a whole different phase of my life, not starting over.

    • You’re not weird. It’s one of those things where I post my feelings and everyone who feels the same comes on and tells me they feel the same way to make me feel normal. I definitely wouldn’t call your feelings weird. Some people are baby people. Some people are big kid people. Some people have 13 kids and some think zero is plenty. It makes life interesting.

      I can’t wait to be back in school. Good luck!

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