Every single day of the last 9 years, I have longed for a newborn. A precious, squishy, sweet smelling, gurgling little bundle of joy and innocence and heaven on earth. My principal knows me as the teacher who sees babies and moans, “MY UTERUS ACHES FOR ANOTHER!!!” The first time he heard me utter these words in the staff lounge undoubtedly made him blush… Now if he is standing nearby at a baby sighting, he actually says it FOR me!
After some struggle, my husband and I finally met our perfect baby boy 7 years ago. He brought his momma 14 weeks of strict bedrest, was born 6 weeks early when my water broke way too soon, spent time in the NICU, and came home smaller than the average babe and with much medical guidance on how to get him over the first few hurdles of life. When I held him, the world felt right and I selfishly started plotting how to get myself another newborn.
His sister came along 4 years ago, again with much medical assistance but this time arriving after a scheduled induction at 40-weeks gestation. She was just as squishy, though bigger. Just as innocent, though with a toddler at home. My hours of snuggling were whittled to minutes only. To say that I craved a newborn (even while I was holding one) was an understatement.
20 months ago, our family was completed with the addition of a brand new, medically assisted, full term induced newborn that made me giddy with delight. With her birth, every new milestone and happiness was met head on with grieving the last of everything. My last time giving birth, my last time nursing, my last little onesie change. I watched as my last newborn baby turned into a toddler overnight. Although I knew this was our last baby (my husband reminds me of this fact EVERY day as I doubt our decision), I secretly wanted God to prove us wrong. I wanted just one more. My uterus ACHED for another.
Then, today happened. I was cleaning up the lunch rush and my three young children dispersed in happy giggles and rambunctious running that should have been saved for outdoor play. Above the dish soap in the sink, I yelled a “10 more minutes until nap and quiet time” directive down the hall. I don’t even know if the kids heard me…. They were too busy playing with one another. I washed the dishes, holding my breath for that fight that I knew would erupt. Anxiously waiting for one of the big kids to scream down the hall that the other one did something mean. Dreading the tears I would have to wipe away as the kids got on each other’s nerves (and mine).
But it didn’t happen. I finished the dishes and thought I should give them a few more minutes. After all, they were playing nicely and with a few extra minutes, I could straighten the counters and do some organizing. As a working teacher with summers off, it often feels like I spend my “vacation time” cleaning. I might as well seize the moment to do so in peace!
But the fight didn’t erupt. The big kids didn’t scream mean things to one another. The tears never fell. They played together. TOGETHER. Full inclusion of each of their siblings. Three young kids, using nice words and calm bodies. They set up a game of animals where they were dogs and horses. They visited “the vet.” They “ate food out of bowls.” They used their words when they wanted a change, instead of their screams and hands. They troubleshooted together. They were kind.
In this moment, I realized my uterus didn’t ache for another newborn. Instead, there was a different part of my body that had a strong feeling. My heart was full. My heart ached with pride and adoration and love for these tiny humans that I am proud to call my own.