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In which I am learning to live with the ache

Evelynn newborn

Evelynn at two months old, photo by Rachel Barkman Photography

Our old baby crib is now sitting in pieces in the garage. We will take it to the dump soon (it has one of those now-outlawed dropsides so we can’t resell it or donate it). Whole sections of the bars are gnawed to bare wood by little teething babies, there are bits of sticker glue and swipes of Sharpie marker here and there, the screws are a bit loose. It’s in rough shape after nearly eight years and three big babies-to-toddlers in quick succession. There are a lot of sacred memories hidden in that dismantled old crib. The day we took it apart, I cried over that junky old crib. Goodbye, old friend.

It is likely that there are no more babies for us.

I was never one of those girls who wanted to have a houseful of babies, who just wanted to get married and have babies and stay home with them. I mean, I was okay with kids but it wasn’t my thing. I quit babysitting at 14 because I figured there had to be a better way to make money than that. And even after our miscarriages and challenges with fertility, I was unprepared for how completely transformative I found motherhood, how I loved even the mundane dailyness, how I found joy here.

I know that everyone’s experience is different, and I’m not saying that mine is normative but it’s real and I can’t deny it: I came into myself when I became a mother. I was reborn, all over again. The experience of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding my babies profoundly changed me AND it changed my view of God entirely.

So, of course, it’s hard to know that stage of my life is done now.

But it is.

It’s likely that I won’t ever be pregnant again, that I won’t carry a baby within me again, that I won’t ever give birth again. (Yes, I’m one of those awful women who loves pregnancy and giving birth.) When I think about not breastfeeding – one of the most real things I’ve ever done with this body – ever again, I catch my breath with longing.

And yet, I love this new stage of life with the tinies. Just when I think we’re at my favourite stage with them, something new comes along and I think, “oh, wow! no, this part is my favourite!”

People tell you a lot about how much parenting will change your life and they’re right. But usually they mean that you won’t ever sleep in again (you won’t) and a few other things about how much we “give up” to become parents. No one tells you how much you’re going to laugh. No one tells you how much wisdom resides in these small humans, how much they will teach you about love and life and friendship and forgiveness and worship. No one tells you how good and freeing it is to leave your selfishness behind. No one tells you about recapturing your own wonder and innocence, about re-reading the Ramona books, about playing football in the basement, about birthday parties and snow days and every day beauty. All the best things I know about the big nouns and verbs of a life came back into my life because of them.

But there likely won’t be anymore Bessey babies for us. Our family is complete, it seems, we’ll always be a Five-Family, as the tinies call us. There are many personal reasons why we’ve come to this decision as a family.

In my head, I know that this is the right decision. In my heart, I know this is the right decision. Brian and I are in complete agreement.

And yet there is The Ache.

Always The Ache, right underneath my lungs, in the pit of my gut, the ache of what that means and the grief of moving on, of love, of knowing: No more babies. No more nursing quietly in the night. No more flour sack of milk-drunk baby bliss. No more gummy smiles. No more tiny diapers. No more baby clothes. No more crib. No more baby wearing. No more new baby smell. No more of the millions of moments that knit your heart so completely to another small soul.

The season of having babies – the one that so radically changed me – is over. I’m okay with that. Most days, I’m even very happy about it, relieved perhaps. It’s an intense season of life, make no mistake. We’re ready for this new season, looking forward with anticipation to new things. Other days, it’s hard.

I know we like to pretend like we can have everything all at once. It’s a nice illusion. But there are transitions in our lives: times for certain seasons and times when those seasons end. Are we happier for pretending that we can have everything anytime we like? Or are we better when we acknowledge the end of one chapter of our lives, grieve and sing and give weight to the passing of it, and move forward? To everything, there is a season.

I am starting to think that, no matter how many children we have, no matter the reasons why, no matter how old we are, when you’re done having babies, we always carry The Ache.

I have a friend who had six children, and she said that she had The Ache when they were done. I have other friends who had two, who had The Ache. Other friends who had four or five or six. I have friends who are in their thirties with toddlers, in their forties with teenagers, other women in their fifties and menopausal, and they still talk about The Ache: I miss that still, they say wistfully. That was a nice time in my life.

I don’t know that we ever lose that ache. I don’t know if we ever get rid of it. I don’t know if we should. Maybe it’s meant to be there with us. So I’m learning to live with The Ache now.

I’m learning to let it be there, part of me, probably always a part of me, without justification or change of circumstance. When you have been given the tremendous gift of being able to have a baby, to give birth to that baby, to love that baby, it marks you. It should, perhaps, and so this season has marked more than just my stretched-out body, it has marked my soul.

The Ache reminds me of the great and terrible beauty I have seen, of what love I have experienced, of the sorrow and brokenness of loss, of all the love that is still here, of the wonder and miracle of life, of the sweetness of co-creation, of the labour and release, of transcendence.

Praise God, my babies are growing up and that is its own joy and beauty. I’ll miss toddlers in the same way, I’ll miss preschoolers, I’ll miss their kindergarten self, their Grade Two self, as well, and so on through their lives.

Right now, the Ache is for no more babies in my life. This was a beautiful time in my life, please notice that it’s changing. But the Ache changes and grows as we move through our years, I imagine, perhaps in proportion to the life we live, the love we gather and give. Someday, I’ll miss these very days, talk about them with the same language, perhaps.

And in another few years, the blink of an eye, I’ll be sitting in a house, alone: the laundry will be done at last, the house will be clean – and it will stay clean, and the floors will be quiet, no one will be asking me for anything at all, my time will be my own, and I will feel the full weight of The Ache for which I’ve been holding vigil at last. 

It’s simply the Ache of time passing, because this is what time does, and our souls are noticing the passing of a season, and it’s okay. It’s okay to let it Ache. It means we’re living and it means we’re loving our life as it stands, loving it enough to notice a transition away.

I am making my peace with The Ache, holding a bit of space for its presence in my life today. Someday it will be my old friend.

baby, babywearing, family, giving birth, gratitude, journey, love, parenting, women
  • Elise Overcash

    Thank you. As someone without kids, it is discouraging that most of the talk about having children is so negative. It’s rare that I read something like this – about the beautiful and hard and worth-it parts of having children.

    • Joejoy Via

      You should be so blessed as you can help others with the nursery, sunday school or even just adult events!j My sister in law waited ten years to have children and then adopted two in four years. When she turned 41 she found out that she was pregnant. You just never know. There are always needs for kids everywhere. Please volunteer now and help the sick or the kids or whoever!!

      God Bless–Joy

      • noodlecheeks

        It is very painful to be around kids if it is something that you want yourself. Some days just being in the same room as a young baby and not crying is as good as it gets. That feeling of wanting folk to enjoy the gift that they have, and not take it forgranted is entirely understandable. I realize that you are trying to encourage, but I wanted to make sure it is balanced with recognition of the depth of pain Elise might be struggling with.

        • Ssaraharah

          I am years past the time I thought I would begin having my own children and yet here I am, not only childless but still single. So I can see both sides. Yes there are days that the sight of an infant can put me in tears but there is also the joy I find in loving and ministering to the babies, children, and teens in my church. So thank you both for your encouragement and sympathy.
          Sarah

          • Elise Overcash

            Thanks everyone for the encouragement. My husband and I have chosen not to have kids yet (we’re in our 20s) and are deciding if we ever want children. I meant that so much of what I hear from people that have kids is negative, so I’m thankful for a positive perspective as we make our choice.

          • Luigie

            If anyone had told me when I was in my 20’s that I would love being a mom, I would have dismissed that thought immediately. And yet, 15 years later, I gave birth to my first daughter and fell in love with babies, being a mom & taking care of kids (not just my own!) – yeah, not what I expected! The Ache is there for different stages. However, one thing I did not anticipate was the wonderful sharing of memories with my two girls (now 19 & 16) and hearing their memories of holidays, school days, beach days Mother Goose rhymes . . . The latest Ache was saying good-bye to my older one when we left her at the dorm for her week of college orientation. Her bedroom at home is clean and it doesn’t feel right. There is a hole in my heart that wouldn’t be filled again until Christmas and that really hit me hard – thank goodness for Skype! Looking back on all the trauma of skinned knees, lost homework or best friend betrayals, there were also as many if not more lovely memories of helping make pancakes (we make mousie ones with tails), picking out presents for grandma, singing and dancing to music, hugs and the hidden note with picture or scrawled words ‘I love you’. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

          • Carol

            My kids are 7 and 4, and I am not looking forward saying good bye to college. Maybe they will stay close and live at home? One can only pray

          • Annabella98

            I felt the same way, Elise — that everything I heard about being a parent emphasized the negative aspects. My little guy is 9 months old now, and it’s *wonderful*. Yes, I don’t get as much sleep, but nobody told me I wouldn’t *want* the extra sleep. Snuggling down to nurse him once each night is lovely and nothing like a chore. This coming from someone who LOVES to sleep and needs a lot of it! Don’t be afraid of parenthood, as you and your husband make your decision. It may help that I’m a late-in-life mom? By the time I turned 33, my life was changing a lot from my 20s anyway — less nights out, more nights in. I traveled in my 20s and loved it. I focused on my career in my early 30s and I don’t regret that. At 38, I had my son, and I feel incredibly lucky — and a little bit like I wish I could go back in time to start earlier, and have more! :) Still, life is very sweet.

    • Katie DeVine

      Even with three, I get comments from people all the time that I have my hands full (even when they are being angels). It’s very sad.

      • #4 On The Way

        But you do have your hands full! They might not always mean it in a negative way (although I’m sure there are people that do). I have 3 as well and I feel like I DO have my hands full, always…at any given moment I am trying to show each one that their opinions/feelings are important, make sure that their needs are met, and watch out for their safety. Is it a happy full-hands? Most of the time, sure! Do I feel like people are being negative when they say that? Usually not…I feel like they are empathizing with me. Like they recognize that I have a lot on my plate and yet my kids are being helpful in the grocery store, not throwing a temper tantrum. Yay me!

        • Carol

          I agree with you, I don’t think most people mean it in a bad way but empathetic. I am a single, full time working mom, of two kids under 8. Yes, my hands are full! I would not give it away or regret it. This will be the rest of my life, because they will ALWAYS be my kids. It’s not over when they go to college or move away.

      • E

        My standard response (also have three) is “Hands are full, heart is fuller.”

      • Cmat

        I get this comment a lot too.. and I have also given it. The way I see it is that it isn’t necessarily a negative comment. I have two boys and life is busy with them, they’re wild. I DO have my hands full, but its a happy way to be. So with three children you certainly do have your hands full, and your home, and your heart. Its a multifaceted comment.

      • beth

        I have eight and often have *only * three with me when I’m out and about. I hear that almost daily. I usually respond with, “better full than empty” while smiling.

    • Gma Judy

      Elise, the negative talk has always bothered me, also. I have 2 grown sons, ages 36 and age31. I was a working mom, but my favorite job title was “MOM”. Lol! My husband and I always included our children in our plans, except for occasions that my husband and I would have a “date night”. Whenever each son moved out, it felt as if part of myself went with each one. Even though I knew that they’d be back to visit, I knew that it would never be the same again. I’m so very proud of the young men, husbands, and fathers that they both have become! I have 4 grandchildren, ages 1 thru 10 who are my precious pride and joys! I’m able to see a reflection of my sons in them, which often so tugs at my heart. Elise, I had troubles getting pregnant, and I have empathy for you, as I know that you would’ve made a wonderful mom! God bless!

  • Taylor Rauschkolb

    Tears, oh big beautiful hot tears. My youngest–of 4–is 16 months and I am aching too. Thank you for this–there is so much big beauty and exhaustion in this “little” season.

    • Jennifer Warden

      I have 11 children ages 23-2 (and two grandchildren 2 & 4). I am dealing with that ache right now. Nobody seems to understand that…they think that because I’ve had so many babies and my life is so loud and busy that I would long for the day of no more. But I do not. I struggle with this every day. Thank you so much for writing this. You did a beautiful job of expressing this emotion!

  • http://sacredeveryday.ca/ Jenn

    me too my friend, me too. this post makes me achy. I’m cherishing these last baby days because I know they are my last.

    • Meadow

      In the same boat. I lived with the ache for years until we adopted our son– 13 years ago, and then had the ache again as we waited another 5 years before we adopted our baby girl just 8 months ago. And while I am enjoying this new baby– I am desperately trying to shove the ache away, because I know she is our last. I’m not out of the woods yet with that realization, especially as I am surrounded by people who can easily, regularly get pregnant and have the 4 kids closer in age I originally wanted than the two I have 13 years apart. But– none of our stories are ‘normal’, and I’m trying to make my story ‘mine’, and just live it without comparing to other people’s stories that are not mine.

  • http://jasonandkelliwoodford.blogspot.com/ kelli woodford

    Somewhere I read that no matter what the passing of seasons takes from us, it can never take the having-been-ness of THIS moment. I hold on to that when The Ache’s icy fingers grip my soul.

    (Well, that and a good bit of chocolate.)

    • Samantha

      I love that

  • Tara Porter-Livesay

    it all aches, that is for sure. love you, Sarah.

  • Tara_pohlkottepress

    oh sarah. yes. yes. yes. i had my babies a full decade before my friends, and they are right now opening their wombs and their hearts to these new souls and as i wonder at the new lives they bring into our tribe, i mourn silently that for me, this phase is done. i was just having this discussion with one of my newest friends sweetly cradling the whisper of her tomorrows within her – it is bittersweet as I sit across from math sheets and parent teacher conferences to know that it has come to a close. so many beautiful wonderful parts of today, but those yesterdays held magic too. its ok to feel it all i think. thank you for speaking my heart.

    • VP

      This. This is where I am as well. Sometimes the Ache feels confusing and almost like a broken heart… like I’m grieving for all of the babies that will never be.

      • Jane Topps Peterson

        Some day memories of those math sheets & parent teacher conferences will also be achingly remembered.

      • Tracey

        That’s how I feel too VP. My heart breaks a little each time I’m watching or playing with my kids (2 and 5) and realise that they might only do “this thing” for another year. Especially my 2 year old. So I grab every cuddle, snuggle, kiss, pat on the head, tickle and talk that I can, while I can.

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com/ Ed_Cyzewski

    You’ve put this beautifully. I have several friends who have expressed it just so. And I feel that you have also put both our story so far and our future into words here. I was downright fearful of parenthood, and now I spend my afternoons with a shark puppet on my hand, doling out snacks, and picking up the mound of crumbs my son made while I left a blog comment… It’s glorious.

  • Mary1912

    just lovely. I know exactly what you mean.

  • http://graceforjean.com/ Amy McG

    We are slowly starting this process too. We have one child who is five. We never intended to be a one child family but this is how life is right now and maybe how it will stay. There is an ache from discarding baby clothes and furniture–knowing our guy will never be that small again. And there is an ache from knowing our “baby phase” may have passed. But every age we’ve come to with our son has been my favorite age. I’m praying already we find some “favorite” moments of the teenage years :/ Anyways. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I love that women can connect in this way!

    • Guest

      We did nothing to prevent more children after our first…our second arrived 7 years and 10 weeks later! I had kept a lot of baby stuff in boxes or in the case of the crib mattress – wrapped in plastic – “just in case”/hoping…But I also know the ache of wanting and not having…#1 arrived after 5 years of trying and a miscarriage at year 4. Best wishes to all who Ache and wherever they are in that process!

    • Christy Dawn

      My parents impatiently waited 6 years for baby #2. As an only child, I prayed every single day for a baby sister, as I’m sure they did for another little one. It was not an easy road for them, but they didn’t lose hope. You never know what God has in store for you.

      • Jaimie McCluskey

        I was an only child for 5.5 years and I used to go under our dining room table every day and pray for God to “put a baby sister in mommy’s tummy.” And it happened! I was a premie so my mom was nervous to try to have another baby but my dad and I convinced her, lol! I am 27 and getting married next month–though I don’t have any children, I want to and am constantly surrounded by them and I love it! I am an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher for elementary school and I teach preschool Sunday School and occasionally baby-sit my good friend’s now 3-year-old. Though I personally don’t know what the Ache feels like, I have the “childhood ache” sometimes and I know my mom has expressed that feeling to me. To this day, whenever I hang out with my mom, she will always smile sweetly with tears in her eyes and say, “We had so much fun when you girls were little, I loved those times…” When I was a teenager and in my early 20s, those comments used to annoy me and I would say, “yeah, Mom, well we’re not babies anymore…” lol but as I got older, especially after graduating college, I felt the ache that she felt. I wished that I could go back and re-live my childhood because it was so wonderful thanks to my mom! But I treasure all those memories and look forward to creating my own memories as a mommy one day soon hopefully!

  • Karrilee Aggett

    “All the best things I know about the big nouns and verbs of a life came back into my life because of them.” So much amen! I am the Mama of an Only who is now our Nearly Grown girlie… each season – even this college-aged, having to let go season – has been my favorite! Love this!

  • Ladette K

    Yep…my baby is 7… on her way to eight and The Ache is still there. Of course, my hubby says, “You’re gonna make a great grandma..” now that our oldest is almost 18. And, while I look forward to being grandma (or whatever name we choose), it’s not the same as momma. The Ache remains. It eases, but it remains.

    • Debbie Tausevich

      Grandma is even better. I sat with my grandson just last week. 3 months old and snuggly warm. I burst into tears of gratitude… I never thought I would feel that feeling again and here I was holding this baby who I loved every bit as if he were my own and the feelings so overwhelmed me, came rushing back…you can do it again… you will feel those feelings again, only this time, it’s all joy. You don’t have the same stress of the day to day and you can go home and sleep through the night. Cherish your kids and the moments you have with them now but know that one day, you will feel it all again and it will be even more magical!!
      Happy Noni :)

      • little grandma

        that is exactly what I wanted to say…grandma is so wonderful and it really does help the ache.

      • http://www.artistichandsoffaith.com/ Faith Lohr

        Thank you for that encouragement. I have four (8, 6, 5, and 2) My youngest will be turning 3 in March. While I’m pretty sure we’re done, I struggle with The Ache. I’ve ALWAYS treasured each moment with my babies as though they were the only child I would ever have. I still cherish each moment, watch them grow and I know there are still precious moments to come. However the thought of no more babies…..It saddens me, but I’m hopeful for the future and look forward to having grandchildren someday. :-) You’re comment helped ease my Ache just a little bit. :-)

  • Amanda Steyer

    I experienced The Ache after my third when I thought we were done and after my fourth when I knew we were done, and after my surprise fifth when we were really really done. I gave my maternity clothes away. I was gently weaned after fifteen years of breastfeeding and it felt just as right to me as it did to my last weanling. I gave my birth pool away – knowing that I would never again make the walk from my dining room to my bed with a minutes-old baby in my arms. With each ending, I expected The Ache, but found it was gone. Now I get to cuddle friends’ babies and wear them in sling or mei-tai and play with their little toes and give them back and sleep at night. I get to enjoy my youngest turning six while dealing with the joys and challenges of teenagers. Every so often I think The Ache has returned. And then I realize that it’s when I’m looking at grandparents adoring their grandchildren. My kids better watch out once they’re married – I’m thinking I’ll be feeling a different Ache coming on!

    • Susan

      Oh, the grandchildren are so deliciously wonderful! Yet, the Ache is even more bittersweet when they grow up. Sometimes I think it hurts more because the grandkids were our second chance, our second season of blessing, and when they grow up and away (as they should), the Ache is sharper and deeper.

  • Heidi Cressman

    The beauty of it is, if you are lucky, you will get a taste of that again when you have grandchildren. Yes, it will be different but it is still good.

  • mel

    I’m so teary and aching. Thank you for this.

  • Trillia

    I share in that ache too! My husband and I think we are done because of complications…but we’d love more. Beautiful post.

  • Paige G.

    I have this same ache. Have for years. I’ve wanted more children for many years while my husband was done after our 3rd. He’s now 11. I’ve tried to get him to foster parent, brought up adoption periodically. Last year a friend got pregnant with #4 and I cried and cried. I was happy for them but jealous of how easy it has come to them to have more children. Two of my 3 have physical disabilities that require them to use power wheelchairs and whatever it is is genetic. So having more is not “wise”, whatever that means. I know that my husband is right in many ways, that we need to focus on the challenges we have instead of adding more, but I think because he didn’t carry them, nurse them, live them the way I have he doesn’t understand. Part of the ache comes from knowing that we could have had more children if we’d chosen to, but now I am getting to an age that that possibility is vanishing. Oh, I guess it doesn’t really matter why, the fact is, we will not have anymore babies. I wish I didn’t hurt this way. I wish a lot of things. Thank you for writing about it.

  • Julie

    what a beautiful way to describe it! Don’t have babies yet, but this was wonderfully written. I’ve heard moms talk about the ache, and this post helped me understand it a little more.

  • Diana Crump

    My ache is that the dream was never fulfilled and it never goes away. Love being a pretend gramma but ……

  • talk-downsyndrome

    Sarah, Beautiful. My friend and I were just discussing the Ache a few weeks ago. It’s that longing for those precious moments again. That twisty feeling when you are “late” and in your head know there is no way you’re pregnant, but in your heart…well…Ache. I used to think the best way to deal with aches was to mentally shut them out. Now, I say, “Hello there. You again? Well let’s have some tea and breathe for a moment.” Thank you for sharing – even the Aches.

  • Kelly

    Ah, Sarah, I feel it still many years later. I cried and cried after we decided our fourth would be the last. Now, at 45, I am experiencing a new ache, the one that comes with the babies leaving. I have only one left at home, and am very achy indeed. However, that being said, as they grow up, I have also been able to console myself with the anticipation of more “husband and wife” time. And, like Kelli Woodford commented, with a good bit of chocolate.

  • vitafamiliae

    Yep. I get this. Right on, Bessey.

  • Nurse Bee

    I know exactly what you mean. I’ve been slowing giving away our baby things since we had our 3rd. What really hurt was when my 15 month old quit nursing a few weeks ago. It just made me so sad.

  • Sarah Silvester

    OMG. *sob* I have nothing eloquent to add. I knew this would break my heart and it did. I feel you, sister.

  • Michelle Gunnin

    I love this. I have four grown children and even after I put away the crib and adjusted to The Ache I found that I still missed those years when they were little. A few years later, due to ovarian cancer, I had a hysterectomy. It took me a while to realize that I was kind of depressed…not because of the cancer, but because I would not be able to have babies anymore. Seemed odd to me, since I was well past the child bearing phase. My kids were in middle school and high school, but my heart felt it nevertheless. The Ache. The finality of my surgery. The permanence of this new stage. Now they are college age and beyond, I am cancer free, and I am waiting for those grandchildren to come along. All my friends tell me they are wonderful because they fill The Ache, without the responsibility.

  • http://www.maybeimamazed.com/ Nicole Jeannette Phillips

    This was so beautiful, Sarah. I don’t EXACTLY relate because I’m on the pre-baby side of things, but somehow I can relate. I saw my mom go through this same thing and I feel like this is something that connects all women. Very beautifully written.

  • http://www.handmedowngrace.com/ Jessica Hoover

    Thanks for putting that into words. “The Ache” is a ways off for me as my first and only is just two and we’re hoping for a few more, but the way you articulated the beauty with which becoming a parent changes you was spot on. I’ve had a burning need to capture that in words too. To hush the loud negatives of that change and encourage those on the fence about parenthood to not shrink away because of the horror stories or worse yet- the fear that they’ll have to give up something. Because we both know that they will, but what they don’t get is that the giving up, the tearing of selfishness is the thing that remakes us into more whole beings, better able to understand our helplessness and God’s overwhelming grace. Good stuff, my friend.

  • Orangeandpaisleystyle.com

    That is honestly one of the best log posts I have read in a long time! So beautiful, and so moving. What a great thought- to find peace with the ache. Lovely!

  • http://bloggingthroughthejourney.com/ Julie

    Lovey post!

  • charlottestice

    I remember The Ache BUT it does go away, at least it did for me. We move through this life, we age, we grow old and eventually we will die. That is part of the fall, I believe. So the key, I think, is acknowledging the ache, but also recognizing the impermanence of all things, of all stages of our lives. We will always have some sort of ache until we get to heaven. I am an empty nester, and I miss my kids, but I love this time with my husband. The key is seeing the good in this season, mourning and letting go of the past season, as we move through this very short journey called life.

    • Retired Grandma

      I am a 70 year old retired grandma, and I have lived through many stages of my life. All of these stages are a part of our life, with each stage to be cherished for the memories that they will bring to the future. I have 3 grown sons & 9 grandchildren & each stage, from the birth of each son & the birth each grandchild, brings on an “ache” of sorts, of times past, but also new challenges for the future. I have been very fortunate that my 3 sons & their families all live nearby & I can be a part of their lives ongoing, from “Hey, Mom, can you watch the kids today?” Or “Mom, would you & Dad like to come over for dinner?” You name it, from birthday parties, dinner invites, going on vacations, etc., all of these stages bring back so many memories, or Aches, of times past, but like you said, acknowledge those aches, 1 ache at a time, there will be more to come, they are all a part of our lives until we get to Heaven.

  • Katrina

    Oh thank you! I’m currently expecting #3 & both my husband & I feel like this will be the last which makes me sad, but also a little excited if I’m being honest. I can feel myself ache at the thought it will likely be the last time I am pregnant & so I hesitate to say this is it, for sure, but it is nice to know that this feeling isn’t just about the end of having babies but of time passing. So beautifully written & something I am going to save for the days, months, years to come. Thank you!

  • Ronda

    While I have an adopted child I adore and love as if I’ve given birth, I will always ache for what could have been!!!!

  • Melissa Joy Powell

    Thank you for this. I too was ‘never one of those girls’, who became ‘one of those awful women’ and have one of those old cots. I spent my day today sorting through baby clothes and paraphernalia to be passed on to friends, family and charity shops, and I feel that ache. For me this was a timely word.

  • http://wheremyheartresides.com/ Ashlee

    One of my favorite posts you’ve ever written, Sarah. And that’s saying a lot because they are all my favorite. It reminds me of the weirdest feeling I had after my son was born….we left the hospital five days later and I saw an update in my Facebook feed that a friend was having her baby that day. And I was, for lack of a better word, jealous. Jealous of the newness of it, the freshness of that newborn. My baby was only five days old and I was already aching for that birth date again, wishing myself back five days so I could experience it again. I told all of this to my husband who thought I was completely crazy, but I knew that I wasn’t crazy, because it was the start of The Ache. And now my baby is almost two and we are talking about trying for another and I can feel that Ache all over my body because that means we are one step closer to the end. The end of trying and pregnancy and breastfeeding and sleeping on my chest. It’s heartbreaking and wonderful because I know on the other side of that is a whole new dimension to parenting, one that consists of meaningful conversations and story-swapping and a million other amazing things, but it doesn’t lessen the love I have for this season of “tinies”. I love my tiny boy, my baby, the way he carries his blanket around the house like it’s part of him and the sound of his footy jammies scurrying across the hardwood floors. I simply ache just thinking about it.

  • SortaCrunchy

    I wasn’t going to read this, and I certainly wasn’t going to cry. We are soooooo done. I have positively danced jigs over getting rid of baby stuff this time around. Two at once – it’s so hard and I know how very FUN the Big Kid stage is and I just want to get through this hard stuff and on to the fun. So I wasn’t going to read this and there wasn’t going to be an Ache, and yet I’m sitting here wiping away tears. Dammit, Sarah. Every. Time.

    • http://www.lovewellblog.com/ Kelly @ Love Well

      This made me laugh, Megan because YES. Yes to everything you said, and yes to the ability Sarah has to suck us in and relate, every time she puts fingers to the keyboard.

      I have a theory that this ache, even when you know-know-know you are done, has something to do with time and our uncomfortableness in it. It’s not that I want more babies or can’t let the ones i have grow up as much as I don’t want to leave behind the babies I already know. I want to be all-present across the years.

    • Mickaella

      Oh my goodness, YES! I have three. A singleton and twins. We’d only ever planned to have two, so the twins meant a bonus kiddo. And we’re done. Done. Done. Done. But even so, there are times that ache creeps up on me, and this post pretty much slapped me in the face with ache.

      Beautifully written piece, Sarah.

  • Bindy Albury

    Thank you for this, Sarah. We have two kids, who are almost four and just about to turn one (next week). My hubby and I both feel ‘done’, but my ache has been bothering me a bit too, making me wonder if I should be open to one more bub. Reading your post made me more comfortable that the ache is normal, and that it can co-exist with my strong conviction that two kids is perfectly enough for our family. I say to our baby daily “don’t stop being a baby” as his first birthday looms ever-nearer.

  • Dalaina May

    My boys are 6, 5 & 5, and 18 months who is cutting his very last teeth today. We are done, but there is the ache. I love this transition and I anticipate the years coming, but there is the ache. Thanks for this, Sarah.

  • http://CindyTunstall.com/ Cindy Tunstall

    Me too!!!!
    I loved every word of this!
    Thanks Sarah!

    • Tamara

      This makes me so sad. What if you don’t even have children yet but you have had “The Ache” for years?? Every month, pretty much around my period, (I think my body is grieving the loss of what could be) I ball my eyes out because I do not have babies

  • Marilyn Myers

    Yes the ache is always there. Then seasons come and go and one day the ache is rewarded with the placing of a grandchild in your arms. The memories renew and you smile because the circle is complete and the ache has prepared you for your new blessings.

  • Holly Solomon Barrett

    I remember the day I realized I would not have any more children. To be sure about the decision is one thing but to grieve the finality of it is another. The good news is that every stage of growing children is exciting and mystifying and tiring…and all too brief! But then they grow up into the people you always dreamed they would be and you settle into an easy friendship with these adults who are still are yours. What an unimaginable and huge blessing motherhood is!

  • Kristal

    I relate to this so well. While we do plan on more having more babies (we have two now), pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding are all magical to me in a way that is hard for me to even put into words. When I think of that part of my life being done, it definitely gives me The Ache. While I think some women are happy to move past that season of life, I can’t imagine myself ever really feeling “done”.

  • Www.hesterhome.wordpress.com

    I am ready to be done because i am over 40, but i don’t think i will ever see a pregnant girl and not be jealous!! It is all so amazing and wonderful and weird (there is a parasite growing in you! :-) ) and there is nothing else like it. So i think this ache is the same anytime you realize you are _done_, whether planned or unplanned.

  • Allison Woodard

    Sarah, No one writes as beautifully about motherhood as you do. I just had my second baby, and though I am still hoping for one more, your words here resonated deeply with me. I will be saving this post to come back to later, when I know your words will mean even more. Thank you.

  • Elisabeth Grunert

    Well, shoot. I thought when one was done having babies one would “just know” as they say and the Ache would be gone. Shoot and double shoot.

    I do not have the courage for the Ache, I’m afraid. Can’t I just have everything and also preserve everything forever??

  • Jennifer Miles

    Ahhhh, I wept my way through this as my last little one, now almost 17 months, held onto my leg and baby-babbled her joy at me. Four is our final number, it seems, and though like you said, I know it is right and even delight in the decision…how it does still ache.

  • mundanemusings

    This is beautiful, Sarah. And so timely. My last baby turned three yesterday. We threw away the last pacifier, we declared her “BIG” now. I mailed my last moby wrap to my sister-in-law for her new tiny. And as I sealed that box I sat and cried. For the beauty of it all. For all of the what once was and for all of the what will come and for the fact that God gave me this last little blessing and because of her I’ll live to see so many more moments after beating that cancer that could have only been found with one last pregnancy wrecking my body. I know The Ache. But I also know that the best is yet to come – my 16yo reminds me daily that the favorite season is always the one you are in.

  • orillia246

    My youngest is turning 19 this year, and I wept as I read because the ache is so bitter sweet,,,babies are so special.

  • Joy Willwerth

    How beautiful are your feelings and your words. Having only one child who will be 30 this year, I can tell you that the ache will be there for every stage of life. I can reassure you, however, that when your grandchildren are born, the ache will have come full circle. You will hold babies in your arms again and luxuriate in their sweet, baby smell. You will kiss away their tears and fall in love with their smiles. You’ll remember the joys of having and raising your own children but you will thank God every day and rejoice in how much you love being a grandmother.

  • Rachel

    Oh this totally hits a nerve. I read this last night, at that time just before my husband got home when the kids are squirrely and fighting and I had totally zoned out because I didn’t have any more energy for the petty battles. So in he comes to them squabbling and me all teary-eyed because the thought of no more babies is hard, and yet I barely have enough for the ones we have…Tough decisions!
    I wish we had societal ways to acknowledge these transitions that are so big and yet so ordinary. I said the other day that I feel like I need a ceremony or something to close the season of breastfeeding and acknowledge what an important and valuable thing that was.
    Glad that you are able to have certainty in your Family of Five and hopeful that you will know peace as you move into knew stages of motherhood.

  • pastordt

    Ah, yes: The Ache. It never leaves, you know. I still ache a tiny bit that there will be no more grandbabies. And NOBODY warned me that menopause, even menopause in a body that decidedly would not bear more children cuz I made sure of that – it rouses a humungous ache. Stunning, actually. Robin Dance just wrote about it this last week, and she’s right on target. It is the end of something. But also? The beginning. And there, right there, is where the Spirit kindles and warms and urges us forward, carrying remnants of The Ache right along with us. Thanks, Sarah. You caught it so very well.

  • Cori

    What an absolutely beautiful story. So glad I tuned into your blog through a former writing student! There’s beautiful poetry here that so resonated with me. The ache…yes, learning to live with it here too. Thank you!

  • http://imanna.wordpress.com/ Anna Armstrong

    This is beautiful. I’m on the brink of another move, one that I hope may be the last for a while, and I feel this heavy grief, this ache, in facing all those goodbyes again, all that change, transition. So it’s not about babies right now for me, but I think there’s just an ache with the passing of time, with the changing of seasons. Thank you for articulating some of that – that it might always hurt, but it’s beautiful to learn to live with that ache.

  • http://simply-rea.blogspot.com Rea

    Oh my goodness, thank you for this. I have always thought that The Ache was because I failed as a mother, that I wanted a do-over for a chance to do better. I didn’t realize that everyone has that Ache. Maybe now I will learn to embrace it as a reminder that I miss the sweet times, not an accusation pointing out my failures.

  • theblahblahblahger

    Is it possible to pre-ache?

    Beautiful post, as always…

    • Boymama

      Yes! I pre-ached. I know exactly what you mean. It went away and I was able to be happy. Now they are 6 & 8 and I don’t think about it as much.

  • http://dlmayfield.wordpress.com/ D.L. Mayfield

    i have been thinking about this all day. i have so many aches, and it never feels safe to verbalize them, somehow. but i’ve got to, if i want to move past it. i ache that i only have one baby, that she doesn’t get to be a big sister. i ache that i never was in labor and never got to nurse. i ache that there will be no more bio babies and if we do grow our family it will be so very hard and so tied up with the heartache of our neighborhood that the ache threatens to swallow me whole.

    so i’m going to do what you were talking about here. i’m going to live in my ache today and not worry about tomorrow’s. i can’t live in all the seasons at once, just the one i am in.

  • http://www.pamhogeweide.com/ pamhogeweide

    Beautiful.

    My fave sentence:

    “No more flour sack of milk-drunk baby bliss.”

    I loved nursing my two little ones, who are now 19 and 16. I am LIving with Ache, too , as my 19y Rose just flew to Ireland yesterday for four months of study abroad — our longest separation ever. And I miss her already. I ache for her presence in our home. (So grateful for technology. She just texted me from Limerick, Ireland!!)

    This ache, I am afraid to say, is the first of more aches to come for you with your tinies. The ache of letting go has been the hardest one for me. Yet the gratitude for having these amazing human beings in my life comforts me and I breathe and release and cry a little and then Smile as I know I am a blessed, blessed mama.

    It is a blessed kind of ache.

  • Bridgette

    Thank you for posting this, for bring this out in the open. I always thought it was because we only had two kiddos that I had “the ache”. But, reading this so beautifully confirms my feelings, thoughts and “the ache” its self. Yes it was a great season of life. The next season will be great as well. Thank you again!

  • Grandma B

    It all comes full circle! I totally remember going through all these emotions when we decided to be happy with a daughter and a son. I came from a family of 6 kids, and always thought I wanted a big family? We finally decided when our son was 5 years old that we were happy with two, and ready to move on to our next new adventures! I can not describe the emotions that ran through me when I first glimpsed my son holding his firstborn son!! We traveled 4 hrs. to be at the birth, but this little guy was ready to embrace the world before we arrived! The love I felt for this precious grandson when I met him is just indescribable! So we ache for awhile about what could have been, but then move onto the next stage of life, and on and on, until grandchildren arrive, and we can pour all that love into them, and we realize we did something amazing with our lives. We created amazing people and they are doing the same! We were blessed to have our kids move back to town, and we now have 3 adorable grandchildren so far! I need to close this comment now, as I have 3 amazing little people who are waiting for grandma to come over for a play date! <3

  • Tasha

    My husband and I were delaying the morning routine and snuggling in bed talking about this very thing this morning. I’ve wanted a fourth not long after our 3rd was born. She’s now 5, soon to be six, and the longing is worse than ever. My girlfriends don’t long for more little ones so I don’t talk about it much. This came at the perfect time. I needed a good cry about the longing for another one to hold and cherish. Thanks!!

  • erin

    Oh my, what sort of freak am I? I have no Ache. My kids are 2 and 4, and I. Have. No. Ache. All my life I wanted babies. When I was a kid playing barbies, I’ll never forget, my mom told me “Barbie can do more than have babies.” Whoa. Then I had mine and it’s hands down the best thing ever. If I accomplish nothing more in my life than raise happy healthy kids, I will be content. But I don’t ache at all. What’s wrong with me?

    • Melissa Joy Powell

      Not a freak. Everyone experiences parenthood differently. It’s ok not to resonate with the ache.

  • Lily

    I am 37, no children, never married with no current or foreseeable prospects…and I feel that ache every day. The longing pushes me towards Jesus.

    • Melissa

      I’m in your boat too, only I’m 38. Makes me sad when I think about it, but I know that God has a plan and maybe I’m not meant to have children. But it still hurts and stings :(

  • Lily

    I am 37, no children, never married with no current or foreseeable prospects…and I feel that ache every day. The longing pushes me towards Jesus.

  • Megan Lubin, His Middle Name

    What a beautiful post! I have arrived at the same place as you, yet not by choice or time. I had my son three months premature after a complicated pregnancy and a well fought battle with a fibroid tumor. My son, weighing only two pounds, was and is such a blessing. After our miracle baby came home from the NICU, my husband and I were already yearning to have more children. We were so in love with our son that we couldn’t wait to have more! But it was not to be: one year after having our son I had to have a total hysterectomy. It was the most emotionally painful experience of my life. I had to let go of so many dreams that had been planted deep within my heart. I came face to face with “the ache” you so eloquently write about. My faith has really healed my heart, as well as mothering my son and the unwavering love and support I receive from my husband. But posts like this do the trick too – it’s like hot cocoa for the soul. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Fran

    Makes me ache for those women who cannot have children.

  • Vicki Judd

    I know that ache. My last baby (of four) was born when I was just 27 and it didn’t go away until five years ago when I watched my first grandchild being born and held her, just minutes old, in my arms for the first time. My arms and my heart are full, full, full, again. Number five is coming in just a few weeks and there is a distinct possibility of more babies in our future. Some days I still miss my own little ones (they are all in their 30s now!) Mostly I miss being that younger version of myself! I loved every stage and season – even the hard ones. Thanks for sharing. As always, it was beautiful

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  • gwally

    As a fairly new grandmother I can tell you that grandkids make the ache so much better :) Thanks for this, Sarah – I needed a good cry today!

  • erica

    One word: grandchildren :)

  • http://littledidsheknow.net/ Cara Strickland

    Oh Sarah…so much gorgeous. I’ve never heard it this way. I’m still not sure if children are in my future, or if I want them to be, but I felt this right along with you.
    Thank you dear one. xoxo.

  • Carla B.

    Tears. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • robyn ferrier

    okay… so I know this isn’t the point of your post – which I love by the way – but before you haul that crib off to the dump, how about re-purposing it in the garden? Kind of like this: http://www.hometalk.com/1437074/herb-garden-from-an-antique-crib and have it still generate new life…

  • Emily Lamberts King

    This is so incredibly beautiful. I’ve always felt that the ache will always be there. After having 2 babies of my own, I have days where I stomp my feet and rejoice that we are done, and then there are the achy days. I think it’s why Grandma’s and Aunts are so good at “what they do” in their later years. We are born nurturers in many ways. Thank you for this Sarah. I’m sharing it with all of my friends! <3

  • http://www.vanderbiltwife.com vanderbiltwife

    I promise I rarely cry at blog posts. But big WAHHHH over this with the quiet notes of Thomas the Train in the background. My baby is 10 months and I don’t think we will have any more. And so each milestone he hits is so bittersweet.

  • GreenLinnet Bird

    i don’t understand the ache. i am so happy and excited to see my two grow and mature and learn at every stage they go through, that i don’t long for anything aside from what i have. my son had lovely chubby thighs like hams (as my father once so eloquently put it), but i don’t long for him to have them again, instead i revel in his 2.5 year old climbing, running, skipping, jumping, learning-to-hop-on-one-foot abilities. i don’t feel the ache and wish for something that won’t suit me/us. i love who and what i and my children am. i am happy. i am fulfilled.

    • singingsoprano

      I totally understand that, and you might never have the ache but the busyness of 2.5 can also preclude even thinking about it. It’s when you see a picture from a tiny squishy, when you go through the baby clothes and find the favorite sleeper, and you remember just what it felt like to hold your new little one, when you realize that it’s really just not going to happen again. And it’s so awesome to see them grow, and they’re so funny and smart…I’ve never wished for my daughter to “stay where she is” because every day she does something fantastic. I think it’s in part the realization that an era in my life is over. It’s one more step in my own life, and I LIKE this life.

  • thegenealogygirl

    I love this post. We had two children and then an eleven year gap before we were finally blessed with another. My first and third were preemies and I was on bed rest with all so we feel confident that being done is for the best. I lived with the ache for a long time while still hoping for more – that is painful. Now, I feel like I am done and the ache I feel is just as you describe – an ache for the passing of a season that is so beautiful. There is nothing like having an infant, the breastfeeding, the heavenly smell, the sweet noises that come while nurturing a tiny, tiny human. Thank you for sharing.

  • Storey Cook

    I am aching as I type. I recently potty-trained my second (and likely last) child. While I am celebrating the pay raise that comes with removing diapers from the grocery list, I grieve a little every time I stroll past the baby aisle with NO need for anything on it. Said son is three-years-old and STILL using his crib, and likely will be until he goes to Kindergarten (kidding- maybe). Thank you for the reminder that my ache is a GOOD thing- a blessing, in fact, that I was able to take part in such a journey.

  • The Housewife Rookie

    I have been thinking about this post all day after I saw is posted on a friends FB wall. I shared it to my wall and a wonderful discussion has come from it. New mommas and veteran mommas expecting grandbabies, all know The Ache. It is a bittersweet blessing to know it. What a joy and privilege. Thank you for writing exactly what I’ve been feeling. I just pray that the Lord would bless me with just one more little bundle of sweetness…although I may never leave my house or sleep from never wanting to miss a minute.

  • Amy S

    This article was so timely for me. Thank you for putting into words what I have been feeling over the last few months.

  • Meloy

    My friend posted this to facebook. I am having that ache right now. My youngest is about to turn 2. A lot of my friends had babies recently. Many of them are having their first. I just keep reminding them to love it all because it goes by fast. People may say that to you a lot but they are not lying. It goes by fast.

  • Froggiefamily

    Hey! Don’t throw that crib away – you can take the sides off and use them as well as the spring bottom or wooden slat bottom instead of a tutor to grow beans or peas in your garden! Or climbing vine-y type flowers!

  • Paulette McNeill Arnette

    I had the ache too. My 3 children were conceived after I asked God for them. I feel my main purpose in life was to be a mom and now a “nana”.
    Sadly there is another ache I feel now, and that is the loss of one of my “babies”. It is the most painful experience of my life, but I have no regrets. I loved my only son unconditionally and he loved me. We had a precious relationship and I am grateful to God for allowing me to be his mom for 37 years. I am also grateful for the little ones He gave us through my son, and the relationship I have with my daughter-in-law (my “other” daughter).
    I will cherish my girls, my 6 wonderful grandbabies and my new great-grandbaby, and count myself as one of the most blessed women on earth.
    Thank you for this article – it goes straight to the heart.

  • BrinaHarwood

    When I’ve attempted to describe this feeling to my husband he assumes I’m suggesting we have more children. However, four children seems to be the completion of our family, future spouses notwithstanding. I haven’t known what to do with this ache, though I have gotten the feeling that it isn’t going to pass any time soon. I hadn’t thought to give it space. I am saddened to think of a house free of laundry and clutter and toys and noise and commotion.

  • Katie

    oh Sarah, I am a mess right now reading this while listening to the sounds of my sweet 6 day old daughter. I am forever lamenting the passing of time; I just can’t seem to stand it. I am already sad that tomorrow she will be a week old! It is all just so beautiful that it hurts, you know? It feels good to know that I’m not alone. I loved reading through every single comment and weeping alongside these other women. wow, postpartum hormones are really intense! I probably shouldn’t even be reading this or commenting….

  • Penny Bliler

    I too, felt that ache…27 years ago. After 4 pregnancies and 3 wonderful kids in 5 years. I dreaded teens, kids growing up, moving to college, marrying! Yikes! But what happened instead was this. I enjoyed each stage of my kids lives even more than the one before. Yes, it hurt for a bit, as each one flew from the nest. But they are my friends now. With little babes they share with me. And I enjoy those babes as if they were my own! But without the pressure of being their sole caregiver…or daily laundry…meals…routine. It is a grand plan, with the reward for your well-spent time nurturing those little souls into responsible adults greater than you can imagine!

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  • Janelle ortiz

    This is why being a grandmother is so sweet. The ache transforms into blissful joy. I am ready to sell everything I own so I can enjoy my grandkids over and over!

  • Sally

    Oh, this brought tears to my eyes… yes, yes, YES, that ACHE is so real… so poignant… so bittersweet. I help ease the pain by subbing for our local preschool, helping with our local MOPS group, etc. Thank you for putting in words what we surely all feel, but squash down as the world mocks us for being sentimental and “not letting go”.

  • anjuli

    this was beautiful.

  • J Stults

    Giant lump in my throat! I’m moving into a new season of motherhood as well, and this year we have two major milestones to deal with – a son moving up into high school and our youngest two heading to kindergarten. I will be a complete mess in the fall, haha. :) It’s hard to fathom all of that alone time after nearly fourteen years of mothering all day long. I like the idea of making space for the ache. Because it’s oh-so-real.

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  • Adrienne Graves

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing your heart Ache. I was a “take it or leave it” woman as to whether I wanted to be a mom or not, but knew my husband would be an incredible dad. I’ve been pregnant 5x. Never did I feel so beautiful, especially carrying my two boys, for whatever reason. And, like you, we just dismantled the drop-side crib that each of our 3 tinies slept in so peacefully…it’s in our basement, in the way, and I know it needs to go to the dump, but a lot of prayers and tears and laughter and stolen peeks have been poured over the lives who graced that crib…so, I’ll milk my Ache for just a bit longer and keep tripping over the pieces, moving them around as I need this or that from the cellar…at least until we finish the basement…

  • Jesse Hoover

    Well said. I think there will always be ‘The Ache’ in every point in our lives. You said it best here, “It means we’re living and it means we’re loving our life as it stands, loving it enough to notice a transition away.” Thank you for this.

  • Janelle

    You’ve so beautifully written what I feel inside my heart. Oh The Ache is such a strong one.

    Nell

    • Wendy Marsh Crane

      So excellent. After six pregnancies and four beautiful children, the ache is there.Even on the days my four seem to “tag-team” me with whining or complaining or their “needs”, I ache for the days when they needed me for everything from nursing to rocking, to changing diapers. Thanks for this beautiful post.

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  • http://www.mommylifeafterphd.com/ Jennifer MommyLifeAfterPh.D.

    Beautifully written, and very true. Even with four babies in five years, I STILL feel the ache.

  • http://www.thesesmallhoursblog.com/ Emily

    This is absolutely beautiful.

    But you know, there is one part of it I experienced very differently. I feel like all I ever hear about is how WONDERFUL parenthood is, and how it’s the best thing that ever happens to you, and I had this expectation that I would be dancing around deliriously happy all the time.
    I feel like no one talks about how incredibly freaking DIFFICULT it is until you’re over the other side of the fence. You’re in deep now so we might as well tell you that actually, as well as being wonderful, it’s freaking HARD!

    When you’re overwhelmed by the difficulty of being in the midst of it, it’s really hard to hear other women talk about how mind blowingly happy they are as parents. It makes you feel like there must be something wrong with you that you are living a daily struggle between absolute pure love and absolute pure insanity and frustration.

    I know for sure that one day I will look back with rose tinted glasses and miss all of this. But in the midst – it’s not all roses.

  • jbrown23

    Thank you. My boys are 16, 14, and 10 and I feel this all the time. I wished we could have had one more, but that’s just not the way it’s going to be. Thank you for saying so much of what is in my heart every day.

  • Alexander Dukas

    If it means so much to her, she should look into being A Gestational Surrogate, sounds like she’d be perfect for the role…<3 @ :-D

  • MotherHen4

    I felt the same way after my fertility-assisted eldest and then fertility-assisted twins. We were done. My body was done. We knew it and we were sure God agreed. My husband even took “medical action” to seal the deal. But…for me the Ache was always still there – I even named that fourth boy that was not to be in the dark of a sleepless night. Then in a true miracle that no medicine can explain, boy 4 was conceived, carried and born. He was named Luke, after Dr. Luke in the Bible. The card we received said it all: “More is being planned for you by God than was prayed for by us.” I guess you just never know…

  • genivieve

    I think your article is charming…..BUT I find it a little disconcerting that babies chewed through paint and/or stain as well as wood from god knows where…..that was all glued together with god knows what from China?????

  • Nichole Giles

    The Ache grows with each stage of life. I felt it when I nursed my fourth child for the last time–knowing I would never nurse again. Felt it when he started school and I knew I’d never again have a little one home while I sent my others off to learn. Felt it when my oldest started high school and I knew we’d reached a whole new phase of life, and again when my youngest started junior high and I realized I’d never again have a child in elementary school. That child will start high school next year. My oldest is now in college, living two states away, and my next in line is about to graduate from high school. My third child gets her license next month, and will start dating. It feels like time is going at warp speed these days, and new phases creep up on me like a well-trained ninja. It all aches a little more.

    But with every stage that flies by, I find something new to look forward to. While my children are getting older, so am I. I am scared to death of watching my own offspring find love and get married. But I am also excited by the possibility because I know that someday in my future–the future that’s not so far–there will be grandchildren to love. I may not get to carry those children, or nurse them. But I will get to love them through all the same phases I loved my own children through. And that is a phase I look forward to, even as I live in denial that I am anywhere near “that” old.

  • AnotherJen

    I’m enjoying The Ache. It sure beats the other ache that I live with – the ache for the child that died before this one came along. Cheers!

    • Lara

      Im so with you there. The ache of no more babies is so much easier than the ache when your baby dies. I know what one i would rather have.

  • Lauren

    I’m only snuggling my first babe and this makes me feel so grateful to just have her so far… <3

  • Alyce

    Have you thought of turning the crib into a bench, so you can cherish those memories for years to come? Many links on Pinterest for it :)

  • Tay Gudmundson

    Yes, yes, yes. I’m done, I’m exhausted, I am a terrible person while pregnant, but oh it aches to think about not have another child. I think I could have babies until I can’t conceive anymore and still feel the ache. It took me all summer to decide to get rid of the baby clothes (except the favorite, special ones) and that just was so sad for me.

  • Chris

    My mother had six kids, was pregnant ten times, had four c-sections, two natural births, me the oldest, my brother the youngest. When I was a senior in high school her uterus just sort of imploded and he had to have a hysterectomy. At the time I was 17 the baby was 2 and she was done, done having babies but she later told me that when she came out of anesthesia she cried and said, “does this mean I won’t be having any more babies.” I didn’t understand her until now. We have a crazy full house with four wonderful children and are pretty sure we have reached our capacity but when I think of the fact that we are at the end I definitely fell an empty place. Those were hard but magical years. I will miss them!

  • Rina

    Oh yes, The Ache! I had three children by birth. After our last my husband and I were in complete agreement that we would have no more, but that didn’t stop The Ache. (God laughed and gave us three more by adoption, but they were 9, 14 and 17 when we got them.) I continued to feel it’s presence- most profoundly when observing mothers of little ones while shopping. Then one of my adopted daughters got pregnant and I had twin granddaughters! Once again life revolved around the ever demanding needs of two little people. There were also those precious moments of just starting in awe at the beauty of a sleeping infant. I watched my daughter wrestle with the demands and I remembered how I too struggled. It was overwhelming at times, but give and care you must! My daughter is battling depression. She has for years and it is never pretty. I asked her sister if she was noticing the tell tale signs that things were getting bad. She told on me and now my grandbabies have been taken from me. I am told I will NEVER see them again. Please pray that they will be safe and well cared for! I can deal with The Ache but I am not sure I can deal with The Grief if something does happen to them!

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  • Kate

    I’m not done having babies yet but I still cry when I read this. I look at my kids (four of them) and how much they’ve grown, and I know I will never have *those* babies again. There might be others and I look forward to that, but watching how quickly they grow still makes me sad sometimes. There are such precious, perfect moments I wish I could keep forever. I cannot, except in my memory. My oldest turned 6 today and I still remember a still, quiet night when she was a newborn, and didn’t want to sleep. She was quiet, and awake, and we were alone, and I sat in the dark and rocked her. I may rock more babies, but I will never rock her like that again. They really do grow too fast.

  • dianadknowles@yahoo.com

    I had three beautiful daughters and then
    knew I was complete. But in 1994 I had to have a hysterectomy. I mourned for days because I could no longer have children. I believe we as women are predisposed to breed. It’s God’s way for reproducing our species. When we can no longer do what God has called us to do we grieve. But God gives peace to accept where we are and love what He has given us.

  • snapcrakklepop

    I wrote this a week after my first, now-3-year-old son was born, and thought I’d share…

    Ugh… I’m such a hormonal mess right now! Ethan is… indescribable. I was going to go with “incredible” but that didn’t seem right; neither did “amazing” or “fantastic” or “wonderful”… nothing seems to fit. There aren’t words. Babies are an as-yet uninvented or undiscovered… something… something that’s a mix of “marvel” and “wonder” and “awe” and “nerves” that is undefined. And it’s universal, too! In bare facts, babies are needy little selfish things who do nothing more than eat, sleep, poop, pee, cry, and repeat. But you never hear about that… not much, anyway. Instead you count the milestones and discoveries, the “firsts” and the achievements.

    For all you hear about the pain of labor and delivery, the beautiful violence of birth, the nights when your baby cries so much that after a while all you want to do is join him, you hear exponentially more about first words, fingerpaintings, and funny faces. Frustratingly sleepless nights of inconsolable crying get looked back and laughed upon as a father sheepishly rubs the back of his neck and shakes his head with a smile. Bruised, torn, and tender body parts get grumbled about and winced at with every move, but eventually get shrugged off with a smile as a mom gleefully declares that her baby has taken his first steps. And don’t get me started on the very first time a baby’s lips form the words “mama” and “dada”…

    My son, my Ethan Luke, will do these things. And he’ll do other things that will make my heart want to soar right out of my chest with pride. I know this. I know this. But sitting here, watching him sleepily doze off on my lap, I’m seized with a sudden sense of anxiety about that first bully. About people and things and words that will make him look in the mirror and feel like less than a human being. About getting teased for being different. Tears are rolling down my face as I think of potential moments when he will see someone else and feel inadequate in comparison; feel less strong or less intelligent or less attractive… Moments when nothing neither I nor my husband can say or do to make him feel better, even if what he hears from others are lies and what we speak is truth. It breaks my heart.

    Granted, this ridiculous emotional upwelling is caused in part by the video for P!nk’s song “Perfect”, which chronicles the life of a girl who goes through a few of the things I listed and then some. For the first time, I don’t see myself as the girl who scowlingly glares with jealousy at the “skinny bitches” trying on prom dresses that she’ll never fit into, who gets punished for things she can’t control, who sinks, crying, into a bathtub as she carves the word “perfect” into her arm with a razor blade. I see myself as the mother of that girl, the mother who sees the pain beneath the jealousy and the empty loneliness under all the angsty, stubborn attitude. I see myself of the mother of this person- this child- and I want to hug her and hold her and rock her and whisper that she’s nothing less than perfect. Happily enough, the video ends with a shot of the girl as a mother, heading into her own daughter’s room to give her the teddy bear that got her through her own roughest times growing up. Happily enough, the girl has become a confident young woman. And depressingly enough, here I sit choking back sobs as I try not to get tears and snot in my frozen yogurt. *shrugs*

    I never really did get out a good “pregnancy cry”, despite a few days here & there when I felt more low than high in dealing with my HG. [Hyperemesis Gravidarum… I basically couldn't keep anything down & was on a feeding tube for my 2nd trimester.] I don’t think this is postpartum depression since I sure don’t feel depressed; rather, I feel daunted by the idea that this little baby is not and will not stay just our baby. He is our SON. He’ll always be our son. And I’ll always be his mom, regardless of whatever else I may be in my life. That makes my head spin. I guess I just needed to vent the thoughts that were churning in my brain about the future with our lil boy & what that means. I’m gonna go back to my frozen yogurt while it’s still frozen. Thanks for reading.

    And I seriously doubt he’ll ever read this, but… your mommy loves you, Ethan Luke Fogle!

  • Gaga

    Love your post. Keep a piece or two of that crib and do something creative with it so you’ll always have it for the memories. I can’t think of anything right now but Google or look at a DIY site to get some ideas. You can probably find a way to make it into something that you’ll cherish as much as the crib itself. Good luck.

  • Zeke

    As a 60-something male, you might think I wouldn’t understand. But every time I look at my 3 year old daughter and realize how short my time with her will be, and how much I love that time, I feel that ache.

  • POTUS mime

    Being a mother isn’t about having a baby. It’s about rearing and loving and caring for the baby. It’s what happens after the birth that is what’s most important. Anyone can have a baby, but not anyone can be a parent.

  • Tracy lee

    So true. And on an entirely separate note; turn the crib into a desk/work station. Had a drop side crib as well. It’s super easy and cheap. I found the DIY I used on consignmentmommies.com

  • Michelle King

    Funny that I came across this post on the day I am registering my oldest girl for kindergarten and am feeling a bit nostalgic. We all feel that ache which just reminds us of all the great things we have been a part of: snuggles, quiet nursing moments, arms filled with sleeping babies, giggles, sloppy kisses, hugs, silly words & stories, etc…All of it comes from a great love that maybe we never fully understood until we had children. Yes, there are sleepless nights and moments where we wish there could just be some peace and quiet, but the moments of “Mommy, I love our family. I am so lucky!” make it all completely worthwhile. Beautiful post!

  • Nikki

    If you haven’t taken your crib to the dump yet, you might want to consider repurposing it. There are all sorts of crib repurpose idea on Pinterest. We’re using our 2 cribs for about 3 projects around the house. Plus then I don’t have to give them up completely.

    • Brian K

      Good idea.

  • Marcy

    Sarah, you wrote your feelings so well, I felt each word with my heart. I’m 63 now and no longer work but have found my true love in writing poems. I wrote a beautiful one for the baby I lost when I was four months along. Out of the five times with child I got to keep three but wanted more. My husband didn’t more children so that ended that. I’m thankful to God for having my children young, when my Mother died I was about 35, went into a deep depression and straight into menopause. I simply mourned with grief, it’s over, all over for me. I loved being a hands on, stay at home Mom more than anything in this world. When I lost that second baby I was but in a wing of the hospital all by myself for three days. Across the hall was the other wing, you know, the woman with their babies. No one visited me, really no one knew, I’m petite, tiny, never really showed until my sixth month but I knew. They rolled me out, went home and none of the family spoke about ever again. There wasn’t one soul to share my grief with so I just locked it away in my heart. When I was in my 50’s I allowed myself to finally mourn the lost of my baby, my husband felt nothing toward that sweet baby. This is long before ultrasounds and finding out the sex of your child. Right now I’m weary just thinking about my baby and yes, I going to cry. What would that child be doing now? Married, how many more grandchildren would there be? What does my baby look like, the color of eyes and hair? The love that this Mother would have given that baby if only it had lived. I’m not the only one by far but you never stop missing, wondering, longing for what could have been.

  • bbbbarry

    Ah, but soon they’ll be able to write songs — real songs that sound pretty much like professional ones — and disagree with you about a movie, and make real and lasting choices, and a zillion other things. Motherhood keeps going.

  • Katie DeVine

    Perhaps that ache is God? Could it be that this world wants us to limit the blessings of God, but He, in fact, does not? I am not Catholic and only thought that those who were Catholic (or Mormon) had large families, but in reading my Bible more and more and looking into what God thinks of children and contemplating the fact that we don’t purposefully limit God’s other blessings, I’ve come the conclusion that God really does give us each child and sometimes chooses not to give us children for a season. As scary as it sounds, my husband and I are giving this over to God. He says He will provide for us. He says children are a blessing, a gift, a heritage from Him. We are stepping out in faith to have more children. We have three and when we say we will likely have more, we are looked at like we are nuts. Crazy to let God have control? I don’t think so, but perhaps others do. I just wonder if that ache that plagues so many women is the ache that God himself put there. The same ache when we want to help those in need. Or to fulfill the ministry He has called us to. Perhaps it is the Holy Spirit tugging at our very hearts. Just a thought. If you want to find out more, I would check out Above Rubies on facebook or online. They have a quarterly magazine (free) that is sent out. They often write about large families. This modern-day society has sold us a bag of lies and we continually buy it; that we should limit God’s blessings, that we can’t afford more children, or that we need to focus more on ourselves (which can’t happen so easily with young children around).

  • Heather

    Wow! You hit the nail on the head! I, too, have the ache! I am so sad that this part of my life is over…. Thank you for putting it into words.

  • laura

    don’t take your crib to the dump, you can turn it into either a bench, desk, so many great options to turn a drop side crib into :)

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  • Loretta S.

    But then you’ll have grandbabies….

  • Manette Mattingly Gutterman

    I know EXACTLY how you feel! First I thought it was hard to deal with the ache when I packed up baby clothes. Then I thought it was worse when I turned 40. Now I’m 42 with many young friends who are just starting their lives. I’m hoping I’ll get to enjoy their babies!

  • Gertie

    I am not sure I was ever allowed to feel that ache. My first baby, now 43, was born very prematurely, required heart surgery, etc., so it seemed there was never a time to relax and truly enjoy. My next little one passed after 3 1/2 hours on this earth. My last, that lived, was three pounds and had many medical problems. Before, in between and after, I had ten miscarriages. But I do now have the Ache for my grandbabies that are growing up so fast. They were all healthy and happy little ones. So easy to just relax and enjoy. I have many great grandbabies and know that will go on for years to come. A new one is coming in April and I pray to be there when she is born as her mommy home births. I was there for her last one and that is the first time I ever held a brand new baby in my arms for more than a minute or two. I did not know that newborns wiggled and made chattery noises and looked right into your eyes. That was one of the happiest days in this great grandmother’s life.

  • ???

    What a bunch of ungrateful bitches you all sound like! Seriously, do you hear yourselves?! Get a grip on reality!

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  • LovingBirth

    I am holding my youngest in my arms right now–he is three weeks old, born upstairs in my bedroom. The first thing I said after each of my children was born came out like a prayer each time: “please God, let me do this again!” I said the same with my tenth as I did with my first. And I pray daily I may yet be blessed with more babies.

    But if my tenth is my last, I will carry the Ache the rest of my life, even as some things give me peace…grandchildren, of course, and nieces and nephews. Also the babies born to the moms who hire me as their doula.

    Most of all, I will have peace in the knowledge that I was open to life, and these were the lives gifted to me, my children. Why God entrusted these souls to me, a crazy cat lady at heart, I cannot imagine. But He did, in His infinite generosity and wisdom and mercy, even though I did nothing to deserve such blessings.

    It would have been too much of a burden to take that control in my own hands–then the Ache would have been too sharp. But letting Him have control is also nothing I did on my own power–that was grace, too. And I am so grateful, so thankful.

  • SK

    Thank you for this. Thank you thank you thank you.

  • Isis

    Thank you so much for this. I have been feeling “the ache” so intensely as I have finally come to terms that I will not be able to have more children and started to give away the baby things. I have one beautiful miracle and I feel gluttonous to “ache” when I have been so lucky. It’s just so hard. I loved my pregnancy, the birth, the nursing, everything… honestly. No sugar coated rose colored glasses. I almost didn’t get the chance at all so I relished and still relish everything. How I wish I could have another child. I am making peace with the “ache” and comforted to know it’s normal. I guess it’s better than feeling a sense of “good riddance” for it means a moment one has relished. Reading your words/my feelings so beautifully articulated was so comforting. Thanks again!

  • LF

    When I returned to work after my baby, my male coworker was excited to hear about it. He had 4 adorable children of his own. I encouragingly told him, and at the end of the conversation said “But, it really is a constant heartache isn’t it?”. I’ll never forget how confused he looked! I have told that story many times. And, the ache never goes away – thank goodness! My husband reminds me that on the evolutionary tree, us moms have done pretty well (with their help of course) protecting our kids by feeling this way.

  • as

    This is beautifully said. Perhaps this is the very reason mothers look forward to hopefully becoming a grandparent one day and once again having a little babe to love and to hold.

  • guestposter

    A lot of this ache has to do with babies but babies do grow up and there is so much more. I have one, and it was a very difficult start because of physical problems. I knew it was not going to work to have more and I put that idea away. And, you know what, I’m fine with it. For the most part this is what I can handle and I truly hope that having an only is not going to bring up all those old, ignorant ideas about how sad or spoiled she will be. I thought about the future and how I can give this one all she needs without cutting corners because I’m too tired or not able to afford to give her opportunities if I have to stretch the budget even more. Babies are wonderful but the world is now supporting so many humans and the future is going to be difficult for the babies growing up. Much more competition for resources, jobs and in general life span is looking shorter than it did for their parents. Take the yearning and learn to direct those desires towards the kids already here and in need of help because their parents can’t care for them. There are premature babies that just need to be held in the hospital. There are special needs babies that need loving arms. There are babies that would love a comfortable crib donated by a caring person. Just saying, babies are being born without mothers who yearned for them and they need all the love from the world that they can get.

  • JH

    Oohhh, this made made me realize how badly I would love to have another baby! But we already have six, and as I type this my youngest two are throwing things at each other….yes, the ache. I know we need to be done, (we have a 16 year old for heavens sake and before I know it I’ll be a Grandma.) But knowing that the power is there for my husband and I to bring another beautiful soul to the earth but that we just can’t do it is hard. For those who have the ache of being unable to bear children, it obviously is a million times stronger, I can’t even imagine that pain. My heart breaks for you.

  • Serena Livingston

    Mine are now late teens and early twenties and I loved every phase – babies, toddlers, preschoolers, school age, teen years, college, and young adulthood … I love the closeness that we have enjoyed through the years. Even now, I treasure the relationship and that we were blessed with two wonderful girls who love the Lord. Thanks for writing so beautifully about motherhood. It is a joy and an honor to nurture your children and bring them up in the faith. God uses the process to shape us and to shape them.

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  • Cathi Springer-Hinshaw

    Your story is beautiful. Before you get rid of your crib, try taking it apart and making a bench seat out of it. You can put it on your porch or in your yard. If it is not sturdy enough to sit on it can hold plants that you all can nurture and grow together and watch as God makes them grow. Another chapter of togetherness. Thank you for shariing your story. God Bless You.

  • kmay

    Thank you. I am going through this now. I have three, my youngest is 20 months old. My husband was done with two but I pleaded and we got another sweet baby girl added to our family. So really there is no room for negotiations–it’s just this darn ACHE that doesn’t go away. But I know even if I had six kids that ache would still be there. It really is the ending of a beautiful time of life–the years that I brought life into the world. I guess it is time to live with the ache and move on to other monumental moments before me.

  • a

    Oh my goodness. My little one is 7 months and we just had the “we’re done” talk. And I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel so sad about it…. Thank you for putting it into words.

  • Robbie

    No, inevitably the grandtinies will be there to refill your soul!

  • Sandyleigh14

    Now compare it to the heartache of not being able to ever have a baby. Infertility causes heartache beyond words. Nothing can replace or fulfill that. I think you can live with your ‘ no more crib ache ‘ just fine.

  • Bridget

    Wow! If I didn’t know better I would have thought I wrote this article for I felt and feel this ACHE, The ache has eased as my daughters have grown and have become my best friends, the trade off is priceless! Hang in there it will ease and one day there will be grand babies which I am told is better than having your own babies.

  • MC

    Love this. thank you

  • http://wordsfromthehomefront.com/ Nancy Smith

    The ache fades after a while but then it comes back full force each time another babe is in the arms. I’ve experienced new life of grandmother-hood 8 times now and #9 is on the way, there is no other way to describe it- all those feelings I had when my own were babes and after waiting ever so long for them to arrive and the joy of the infinite love in their eyes when nursing- it all comes flooding back when I hold their babes and look into their eyes. It’s a blessing like no other and a pain that can not be adequately named only felt- whether you are single and have never had a babe, may never have a babe, or even if you don’t even know if you want a babe of your own. Exquisite pain/pleasure that defies all other loves on earth. I’m so grateful that God chose to bless me with them- and I pray for those who read this and have empty arms that have never held their own babe- that pain too, is purposeful and hard to get past. But babies and kids turned into my calling- I cared for others’ babes and kiddos as a pediatric nurse, and later as a school nurse. So He prepared me for a life with them in my own experience. May each woman be blessed in her estate today- there is a purpose for you and His plan is perfect.

  • Massageacat

    I was 27 years-old when I gave birth to a healthy baby boy via cesearean section. They decided for me to do a c-section because I had “failure to progress in labor”. I dilated 2 cm in 17 hours of on again off again induced labor.
    About two weeks later I started hemoraghing (sp?). Back in hospital for a D & C. Bleeding stopped. No idea what caused it. A week later it started again. It wouldn’t stop. They couldn’t stop it. I woke up to someone telling I had had a hysterectomy (uterus only) to save my life. Was in hospital for 10 days! Well, I got my boy and I’m thankful for that and for being alive to care for him. Nevertheless, my ‘ache’ was every day for years. I felt guilty that it was my fault somehow. I felt useless. Sometimes, I liked the idea of no more babies. Most times, not. I’m 60 now and I have two grandchildren. What a blessing they are to me and I love them with all my heart. Because of this, my ‘ache’ has lessened but it never goes away completely. I’m learning to embrace and make peace with it now. Your article says it all. Thank you for sharing your ‘ache’ with us. We love you. <3

  • Kristina

    Loved this article. My daughter is 6 and will turn 7 in a few short months. I never wanted just one child…I always wanted more but after 2 years of trying and me almost 38 I fear the end to the “multiple children” dream is near. I ache for not only my baby not being a baby anymore but also for not treating her as if she were my “last.”

  • amber~.

    love that last line – the ache will someday be my old friend! this makes me smile, and sigh all contented like.

    such a beautiful post. the kind that unites every single mother’s heart and causes us to realize all over again how so not alone we are with what we feel and experience! so glad i’m a woman and part of this sisterhood.

    your baby evelynn is gorgeous. those eyes!!

  • chris c

    I also know this feeling all to well and have had it for around 20 years. my one and only baby turned 22 on jan 20th and for decades I have wanted nothing more than to have more babies…but apparently God had other plans for me as I was told at 23 that I could never have another child. every time I hear a baby cry, coo or laugh I feel that ache, every time someone at work gets pregnant I feel that ache, and every time I hold a baby the ache is there. reading this and all the other posts lets me know i’m not alone. thanks

  • Sara

    <3 I too have the same, the ache, the fear. Our pastors wife transformed her children's crib into a new pieces of furniture. Pinterest if you still by chance have it.

    Many prayers and hugs. Xoxoxo

  • LDS Mom to Many

    Oh, do I ever agree. I set out to have a few and had 7 because of this ache. Not that 7 is right for everyone, but it sure was for me. :)

  • http://www.ajourneytosparkle.com/ Heather S

    I miss the new baby smell soooooooooooo much. What an honour it is to birth babies!

  • http://charissagrandin.com Charissa Grandin

    The way this article is written I thought you lost a child at first. I thoroughly enjoyed my daughter when she was little and gave her my all 24/7 nursing her for 2 1/2 years… but I am so thankful she is growing into an independent person and is a bright 5 year old who is a delight to hang out with. I must be odd b/c I feel like I’m the only one who’s happy to be raising an independent human being rather than being sad and longing for the past…

    • http://wordsfromthehomefront.com/ Nancy Smith

      I don’t think it’s so much sad and longing for the past, I get the feeling any time I hold a baby or I’m thinking about them. I fully agree that raising our kids to be independent, responsible, contributing members of society is our calling as mothers. It’s just that there’s something about holding a babe and looking into their eyes and I’m fully in love and a total sap- I do love that feeling and I’m willing to hold a baby any time any place. For some it may be a longing for what once was; but at the same time realizing that time does move on.

  • dshaw

    There are many aches that come along in life. I feel the ache she speaks of as I also feel the ache of children that have moved out. Having a 25y/o a 22y/o and a 12 y/o i experience several aches. This is beautifully written and touches my heart.

  • Lisa

    This is absolutely beautifully written. Thank you for putting onto paper what is in my heart. My babies (twins, the youngest of five– in 6 years) turn 16 next week. I think we mourn each season as it passes. I miss the season of five little ones and now I’m missing the season of five teenagers. My oldest daughter has been married a year and my oldest son is far away on a mission for our church, with the next son leaving on his mission this summer. Our family will never be quite the same again; it will never again be just the seven of us at home. Although I love the changes (and I absolutely love my son-in-law), there is a sadness that I can’t just hold everyone in the exact spot when we all really liked each other. We’ll be starting the grandparent season soon and it will be joyful to watch the seasons repeated in our children’s lives.

  • Nesta Willows

    I loved it when my children were 1 – 12 yrs, not so much when they were infants nd the teen years were awful with MUCH more responsibility to be a good & guiding parent. However, the grandparent years are the best years of my life – I so love my grandchildren & love being able to sit back and watch them grow & develop their own personalities & talents without the responsibility of being a parent. Plus I feel so proud of my children as parents, both my daughter & their spouses are such loving & caring parents. This reassures me that my husband & I must have taught them well. But, in saying that, worrying and loving your own children & grandchildren remains with you til you die.

  • Angie

    I love this and am in exact agreement.

  • Cerissa

    I talked to my mother about this, when she had her tenth baby that ache you’re referring to went away for her. So just have 7 more

  • Katie

    You have no idea how poignant this article is to my own life right now so I feel it was meant to come my way! Thank you for understanding, for so accurately & so beautifully describing the very thing that’s been plaguing me most recently. Mostly, thank you for reassuring that we have the right to grieve yet remind us of the gratitude we must also remember while doing so.

  • Erin

    Thank you so much. I’m 37 with two boys, ages 6 and 10, and I’ve really been feeling this lately.

  • Karina Arshad

    As a mother of 2 kids who are now 16 and 12, everything I read rang true to my situation in life right now. Just today, a friend and I were reminiscing about the days when our kids were little…and we ached!! I used to be so scared of the future…of the outside influences in my kids lives…will they make the right choices? I can say that I have taught them right principles and it is now up to them to choose. I love looking through pictures of when they were little…but I also love to hear my now teens say “I love you, Mom”.

  • Sarah Miller

    This is a practical response, but there are soooooo many cool things you can make out of that crib on pintrest and preserve the memories of past days… there will be many stages that past never to return and it gets easier as you get older, surround yourself with memories it helps!

  • Margaret

    I am in my sixties and after reading your thoughts….I realise they reflect mine so deeply…..Ahhh now I identify it…The Ache…it goes with you into the later years too and is compunded with the passing seasons of your grandchildren as well….while it is good to see them grow….The Ache is rekindled in your soul with every passing season…..

  • Margaret

    The Ache…it goes with you into the later years too and is compunded
    with the passing seasons of your grandchildren as well….while it is
    good to see them grow….The Ache is rekindled in your soul with every
    passing season…..

  • Christy Dawn

    Well, to be completely honest, I’m not really sure what compelled me to read this blog post (I guess God led me to it)… I don’t have children, and for the past 30 years I have said decidedly, that I don’t intend to have children. I typically skim right past posts like these, because they seem un-relatable. But I am really, really glad I read this.
    My husband and I have always been on the same page with the no baby thing – even back in college when were just friends – but there is something about thirty – 3.0. that makes this decision seem so final. We have both been talking lately about this decision. Both of us coming to the conversation with a mixture of confirmation and questioning how sure we are about this choice… A baby was not part of “the plan,” but this decision that seemed so definite is becoming murky… We are both career oriented, we travel a lot, and we have an extremely happy and fulfilling marriage. Why change when things are going great? Right?
    BUT… the words Sarah shared about never really being that interested in babies, but being completely transformed when she had her own, seemed to speak directly to my heart. No, I don’t understand The Ache. I’m not a “baby person.” When someone has a newborn, I’m not drawn in by it. **But I have NEVER looked at parenthood through this perspective.** I have only been surrounded by women who have ALWAYS wanted to be moms. Women who almost obsess over their ovulation cycles, baby names and finding preschools before they even conceive. And I think, “Oh my gosh! I am not designed for this! I don’t have it all figured out like these moms do.” But after reading Sarah’s post, my heart tells me that IF we decide to have a baby, we are both going to be fine. Our hearts WILL be transformed; smitten by the precious creature that our love created.
    Thank you Sarah, for telling me that it is possible to be a great mom, even if it wasn’t always a part of the plan. Truthfully, you haven’t made this decision any easier, but I do like looking at it with a new perspective :-)

  • Hannah

    This is beautiful. I cried at the beautiful truth of The Ache. Thank you for sharing!

  • Hannah

    Beautifully described! And I remember it well, wondering if I would always have that feeling or if it would develop into a real regret at not having more. But, I moved on, engrossed in my little ones and one day, sitting in a cafe with my kids, another young mother came in with a tiny baby. Several people smiled and made nice comments, then I heard two women behind me say quietly how relieved they were not at that stage any more – and at that point I realised my Ache had gone!! I was happy with my boys, had loved their baby stages, found it hard work at the time, but had moved on. For me, it was only once my youngest got to a certain age and I knew I couldn’t go back to having any more. Now they are 16, 14 and 12 and some nights I’m as shattered as when they were tiny as they come in late and I worry where they are, but they are lovely boys and my family is happy and complete – without any Ache. I suspect there will be a different sort of Ache though when they leave home……

  • stephanie stryker

    Such a beautiful piece of writing….thank you for articulating how I feel as a mother.

  • sarah

    I just had a hysterectomy and never expected the “Ache” to be as painful! Thank you for putting into words what my heart has been screaming since the surgery. I have been afraid to admit it because I usually just solider through the hand that life has dealt me without admitting the reality of my hearts cries. Through your words I can now release the “Ache” and accept that it is ok to love where I am now but miss where I was too!

  • Amanda Brannan

    Thank you so much for this. My twins turn one in a couple of months and it just hit me the other day. They aren’t going to be babies soon. They are the youngest of my 4 kids and even though I had all 4 of them in 3 yrs. The thought of no more babies hurts, but four is plenty enough. This really hit home with that feeling.

  • Debbie

    Yes, thank you for naming it The Ache. This describes my feelings exactly. I have two here with me and two in heaven that I so long to see and to know intimately. My heart aches as well as there will be no more for us also (at least biologically).

  • Dancenikole

    I have no ache. I have joy and utter gratitude that my one beautiful son was born without complication, in perfect health and is thriving. I have spent most of my life looking back. And while your blog is beautiful and understood I just felt the need to say I am grateful for every moment and cherish every memory. Most importantly cherish all the moments to come. God willing.

  • Esther

    Yes, you will miss it all when they are all gone and the house is clean but…..not for long. Soon grandchildren will be coming, and the place looks like little ones are here again. You will be babysitting when your adult kids need help and just letting those little ones have sleep overs while it is still fun for them. Here you are again, walking the baby to sleep, reading to the toddler, etc. And, for the record, one of my favorite times was the teenage years–all the chaperoning activities and meshing with the merging adult child. I really missed that after it was gone. Now, the college years–um, not so much–but soon after you will start all over with the little ones, but without the sleepless nights. Great, huh?

  • BabyLove73

    I am a mother of five children – two I gave birth to and three I married with their father. I am young – almost 41 – and all of my children are 16 and older. We do not have any who live with us as they are all either married, in college or the youngest who lives with his mother several states away. I have The Ache every day, but we also have chosen to have no more babies. This past year, I became a grandmother, and my ache has subsided enough to enjoy the babies who I don’t have to raise 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s even better than children. When you get to be a grandmother, The Ache dissipates just enough to let you enjoy the babies your babies had and you still get to remember all the wonderful times, the quiet moments, the gummy smiles…only this time, you will get some sleep. :)

  • Greg

    This was beautiful. My wife and I are about to have our fourth and final (she’s 40 weeks today) and it’s already hard knowing this is our last baby.

  • Guest

    This is one of those articles you read and you feel the immediate authenticity of it. It feels real and raw and it’s both beautiful and sad. It’s meaningful to many, but it is not so just because of motherhood itself. The Ache, as it is so eloquently put, is also meaningful in the context of other experiences in life and even for women who
    will never experience it.

    That being said, I tried to ignore a comment made by one woman in reply to someone who praised this article even though she did NOT have children I attempted to forget how this woman excitedly tried to fix this woman without kids and make shallow observations. I wanted to NOT see that it was lacking in sensitivity to those of us who do not share the experience of motherhood and was said without empathy or respect to women who cannot and will never give birth to and raise our own children. I didn’t want to see another ignorant, empty retort to the ache of not being able to conceive, but I did, and I cannot just let it pass again.

    It is not as if I have not heard these same things before. I am simply tired of hearing people try to fill my barren womb with false hope, with disingenuous wishes and with actions that in no way FIX anything with my life. Let
    me be clear. My entire response is not just about this woman, but it encompasses my thoughts in relation to this article and my own experiences. I do not claim to speak for everyone in my position, nor do I claim to be wise or without fault. However, I am a woman and I am human and I have something to say that must be said.

    I am sure that her suggestions and comments were made in her eyes as positive, and were about “making lemonade out of our lemons” as the saying goes. I am sure that by sharing the experience of one woman over the age of 40 having children, she was certain this would make someone like myself happy, because there is hope. I am sure that she intended nothing, but “being positive” when she blindly recommended and claimed exuberantly, that joy will be had by all of us childless women, if we but flocked in the streets to volunteer, educate, mentor and play with all of the children of the women here.

    I am not making less of The Ache-that couldn’t be further from my point; I am simply stating that people should not make less of ours, by insinuating that there is anything on earth that can possibly replace the experience of creating a life in your womb and carrying the weight of a baby, giving birth to life from your own body, nursing your own child, watching that child grow and being a mother.

    It is ignorance like that, which makes me weep. It makes me sad that there are women raising children who think like this-who think these types of comments are kind or thoughtful. Who believe that those of
    us who have tried to have our own children and cannot, should simply be fulfilled by the community in which your children exist, and by your children’s very proximity-that this vast chasm of raw pain can be fixed by your kids when we come home where ours will never play, nor draw on the wall nor take their first steps. I am NOT saying this applies to a majority of people or to YOU, I am saying that it exists and it is common enough to cause pain to me and people like me.

    I do not desire the solution you propose or the advice that inevitably ensues. I am sure by other comments I have read, that this helps others and I am just as sure that there are many more women that this does not. The Ache that you feel; a very legitimate and touching one, one that upon reading this article made me cry for its poignancy and rightness and for the amazing and wonderful thing that motherhood is; the ache for all of the things mentioned that pass with time and become memory…

    I ACHE for your ache.

    I ache for the child I have miscarried. I ache for the second. I ache for the two lost jobs that I have gone through because of clinical depression. I ache from the bankruptcy I went through because of my lost jobs. I ache because I cannot and will not take medication for my depression, because when I am still trying to get pregnant…it can cause very negative side effects and birth defects, in the very remote chance that I
    should EVER get pregnant again without miscarriage. I ache in my soul for the 13 years that passed with a man that I married who told me at the age of 30, he decided he did NOT want children. I ache for the divorce and pain I went through to have the HOPE of having children. I ache for what my ex-husband said
    to me during our divorce, ‘that it wasn’t that he didn’t want children…he didn’t want children with me.’ I ache despite by some miracle that I found my Soulmate after my divorce, married him and moved cross -country…because after trying for 7 years, myself reaching the age of 38, I am still childless. I ache for the eggs in my womb that sit, the little souls of my unborn children that cannot come to the light.

    You ache for the box of clothes of little baby things, with memories and smells and children growing like weeds near you as you fold them and whisper goodbyes. You ache for the cribs you put away and the toys that go to charity or to a friend who just had another child. You ache for baby fingers and toes that will never come again. You ache for memories of new babies that will not be repeated. I respect your ache and I acknowledge it.

    I ache for the box of clothes in my closet. The one with baby clothes I may never use. The tiny knitted pink top a dear friend made-who died from cancer, the tiny baby socks I found with little frogs on them that reminded me of my grandfather’s frog collection. I ache for the empty baby book with a list of names I penned of children I might have, with a spot for tiny footprints that will never be there. I ache for the little girl with curly hair like mine I have seen in dreams, who I have birthed many times there…and laughed with in the fallen leaves of our yard. The yard which is empty…That must be filled with my Jack Russell Terriers for want of children. I ache to see the handsome face of my husband, in the eyes of a son. The same amazing hazel brown eyes with emerald green around the iris. To see his smile reflected in an adorable cherubic face.

    You are a motherhood, a sisterhood, a coven. You are a group of amazing women who bring forth new generations, who sacrifice much and receive much in return. I do not say these things to take
    away from such a lovely writing or such an amazing thing as motherhood. I say these things because I ache too. I say these things because at the end of your ache you have children or grandchildren to fill some of your void. I cannot fill my void with other people’s children. I do not wish to say that my experience is the same for all women who cannot have children who desire them, but I am sure the ache is there, and it is not made better by thoughtless words of others who are in ignorance of it. I am saying these things to simply make
    you aware.

    Do not desire or aspire to cheer a woman with an empty womb and a childless home by trying to fix us or suggesting how to make it better. Just acknowledge our ache. Do not cheapen or lessen it. Do
    not tell us that we must get a lot of sleep because we have no kids. Do not tell us that “we would understand if we had kids” or that “you are envious” of our freedom. I don’t sleep. My ache of not having children does not give me freedom, it gives me pain.

    Spending time with my nieces, who unfortunately live on the other side of the country, is both an amazing gift and a curse. I see my sisters with their girls and I see the faces of our family in past generations in their features. I hear their laugh and I hear my own. I also quietly go to my room after a long day with them and weep. I cry silent tears so no one hears me, so I don’t wake up my husband. I try to not wake him up, but he always knows. He wakes up and puts his arms around me and says he’s sorry. He says that there is still hope. His big arms go around my body and he rubs my back and puts his hand on my tummy and tells me we’ll be okay.

    I have gotten to the point when someone asks me-as a woman of 38, who is often mistaken for a woman of 25, when I am having kids or do I have kids-that I simply answer them truthfully. As much as the truth hurts them and me, I hope it discourages others from asking questions that are none of their business and are hurtful. When someone asks me I answer that I am unable to have children. Most people don’t know what to say or some people give inane advice, which I acknowledge graciously, but I watch their face change and they find somewhere else to be. It is painful to relive this grief on a daily basis. It is very often repeated.

    I am always wary of talking to women with kids now, because the question always comes up. That you cannot relate to a woman next to you without referencing your children may seem natural to you, but I implore you if you do not see children with a woman, the next time you meet a woman such as this, do not ask us if we have them or if we intend on having them. The woman who does not volunteer this information is the most
    likely candidate for someone who does NOT have them, or possibly, like me, cannot have them.

    I am not a pessimist. I am not a negative person. I am not bitter. I am simply sad. I grieve-and it is, like the author of this lovely article said, a time of life that passes and you watch it go, but I have no children to lessen this grief. I have days where I am hopeful and happy and I laugh. I have experienced periods of time where I give in and spend time around kids and for a time it makes me smile, but it is a hollow happiness. It ends when I come home to a house without children. It ends when I take another pregnancy test and it’s negative. I don’t want pity, but I do want awareness from mothers about these things that I have said. I feel them greatly.

    I wish you all well and I have nothing, but warm blessings to all of the mothers everywhere, including my own. Those of us who are not mothers are mothers in our hearts. We have an ache that is no less than yours and just as equal and just as real. It is an ache that needs a voice too.

    • momof4blessings

      This is very well said. You should create your own blog post with this valuable information. You are right, there is not enough awareness about this subject. I have learned before never to offer advice for what someone in your situation should do; there are different paths and what may be right for some may not be best for another. And people don’t need advice, they need support and understanding. I commend you for being able to recognize that the comments that cause pain are not coming from a place of meanspiritedness but rather ignorance or insensitivity. Blessings to you on your journey.

  • Marianne Prescott Abell

    I have never cried so much from a blog. The Ache. So perfect and true. The Ache started for me before I even have birth to Everett, my “caboose”. It may have even been responsible for him. I OWN the Ache today and most days lately.

  • guest21

    Thanks for sharing. I always feel alone with that ache of no more kids.

  • Anne Nagle

    I had 3 kids and at different times, 4 stepchildren. they are all grown and so are most of their children.

    When my house became empty and my heart ached for the laughter and dependence of the children, I filled it up with little dogs. I now have 5 little dogs and 3 cats. They keep me busy, make me laugh, depend on me, act like 2 year olds and never grow up. I am committed to them for their lifetimes and when they are gone, I will replaced them with more rescues, orphaned dogs, who need a home. I also volunteer at Chihuahua Rescue and Transport – Southeastern Region. the dogs make me happy and I , in turn, give them everything they need to be happy, as well. For me, its the perfect way to spend the rest of my life.

  • Gigi Jones-Tackett

    Mrs. Bessey, you were my RA during my very first semester in college. I always felt that you had a motherly heart! So I read this with tears in my eyes because, after birthing four and losing one, we are also facing this period in our lives. You bear your heart so beautifully and I feel it right along with you! God bless your family as you walk into this next phase of love and discovery!

  • Lisa Stapp

    Don’t take the crib to the dump. Check pinterest. There are so many things you can make out of your crib that are useful and you will still have it to look at!

  • Lisa Stapp

    The Ache is always there. My kids are grown and the house is lonely. Enjoy each season but especially the one where your children are home. Don’t take it for granted. The time passes quickly, more quickly than you think possible.

  • Marla Lott

    I am reading this as my six month old grandson is sleeping beside me so his mother can catch up on some much needed sleep (he is a terrible sleeper). He has pushed me to the edge of our king size bed and is nestled under the side of my body, warming mine. I hear his little breathes and smell his baby smell and my ache is put on hold for the moment. Continue to enjoy every moment of your children, good and bad and know that you will feel it again sooner than you think in the next chapter of your life. And you will thank God all over again for this new blessing.

  • disqus_Jx4vklnzgv

    I’m 52, empty-nest now, and I’ve had the Ache for nearly 20 years. I have learned to live with it, mostly. 4 children in 6 years was very intense, sometimes very difficult, but also wonderful! I love that my munchkins have grown into wonderful young adults, and there’s a lot of fun in that, but I sure miss those babies and children they once were. I hope someday there will be grandchildren to help ease that Ache? -Linda

  • Lela

    Thank you. I don’t know how to express what I’m feeling as I read this, but I am sitting here, nursing my 6-month-old, crying. You have expressed something I have been feeling, as this is my last baby, and I didn’t know that others feel this, too. I am not ready to be done. I am not ready to move on. But it helps to know that it’s okay to miss this sweet warmth in my arms.

  • Susan

    That’s why we are meant to have LOTS of babies in the eternities–families forever.

  • allie

    Take your crib and re purpose it into a bench.. there are some really cool projects on pinterest.. then it will always be with you!

  • Ashlee

    This was beautifully written. I would never be able to tell you how much this meant to me as I have 4 and the thought of 5 is often on my mind. This is helping me to discover if what I am feeling and thinking is just “the ache” or if I have or a true desire for another.

  • Thomas OKeefe

    Never throw away such a wonderful momento. Use the wood to make a bird house, doll furniture, garden art, tree ornament, something. Save it for your grandchild. Leave a tooth mark if you can. You can’t take it with you but you can leave it behind.

  • Mariah

    We are now done having kids and my baby is 7 months. I try to express to my husband how I feel and this ache that I have but I don’t have the right words. Thanks for describing my experience, thoughts, and emotions so perfectly.

  • katie f

    so incredibly true. as a mom of four little girls 6 & under the end of babyhood is upon us…our 16mo old is up & running through life trying to catch her three big sisters. So fun but so heartbreakingly fast. thank you for your post.

  • Sheree Phillips

    Tears of grief. Relief. Longing. Memories. Regret. Joy. Gratitude for having the children I was never supposed to have. For years of both gut level weariness and deep joy that I never knew possible. And as seven of my grandchildren play noisily nearby after an exhausting day of homeschooling them for mommies either out of town or adjusting to a new baby while spaghetti sauce simmers on the stove and I sit down for the first time in hours, The Ache has subsided…for now. What’s most prevalent in my thoughts is eagerness to go home to my quiet house. But The Ache will undoubtedly return because even at nearly 60 I still remember the day I realized there would be no more. So far they’ve given me 14 Little People to cherish and love. And remind me that The Ache will probably be there — on and off — until I’m too old or forgetful to feel it. :-) Thank you for sharing this. And for loving motherhood so passionately.

  • Jasmine Shorten

    You’ve taken my thoughts and put them into words that I’m pretty sure I never could. I am in the exact. same. place. We have three beautiful babies, but are done because of health issues. I actually just wrote about it here on my blog http://www.sometimessasmine.blogspot.com/. Thanks for your words!

  • Amyway

    “The ache” is curable! Its called GRANDCHILDREN. God’s answer to “the ache”.

  • amber

    Beautiful. I agree. My husband couldn’t believe I cried when I talked about getting rid of the glider chair that I rocked, nursed, and comforted my three babies in and then read books to them in when they were toddlers. It held so much meaning and memories for me. I was very sad to see it pass away as it represented the time of my life with my babies that now I will only have as memories.

  • Bernadette Hill

    There is one thing you have forgotten…one day you will be a Grandmother and do it all over again except this time you can send them home at night!

  • http://www.artistichandsoffaith.com/ Faith Lohr

    Perfection. This is so beautiful spoken and resonates with my heart. I have four children and my youngest will be three in March. Part of me is ready to clear out the attic of all the baby clothes and other infant items; while the other half of my heart struggles with The Ache and longing to do it all again. But you’re absolutely right, I believe no matter how many children I have The Ache will always come about some day. Having more children, while still a blessing, will only delay the inevitable. Someday I will be done having children and someday I will have to face The Ache.

  • KTBug

    But just think; God willing, you will relive most of those joys when you become a Grandma!

  • erin

    You be thankful for the children go. I am auntie of three amazing kids..my sister’s family is complete. Time make new memories!

  • Susan

    You may want to go on Pinterest and find a cute Do It Yourself project you can make with your old crib. You can make entry tables or benches with the ends and sides of the cribs. My daughter even got an old crib free so she could make a baby gate from it. Someday you could even give it to one of your children. Just a thought…

  • Colleen

    I just read this at work while pumping the little bit of milk I have left for my 10 month old baby. My 2nd baby. My last baby. I’ve been feeling The Ache a lot lately and cried over giving away some baby items this week. We are in a good spot, but I already miss these days that are going by too fast!

  • ChristineG

    Wow. I hardly know what to say. What an incredibly beautiful, gifted piece of writing. My dh and I have decided to complete our family. I have 8 children (ages 19yo down to 14mos) and The Ache is tremendous, even though no more babies is also a choice. Thank-you for writing all of this down in words. I know it will minister to others in the same way that it has ministered to me.

  • Barbara Jean

    What a beautiful reflection on the joy of having babies. Watching your children grow is such a bittersweet experience…what an amazing blessing it is to watch them get bigger and smarter and funnier and sillier but, oh, how you long for that squishy baby, again. It is such a thing of marvel and beauty, you don’t want to let it go.

  • April Lowe

    Thank you! I always wanted 4 or 5 kids and was only able to have 2 through fertility treatments. I have the ache every day. My youngest is 5 1/2 and I am accepting that there are likely no more babies. Many tears have been shed lately while cleaning out all the precious memories and teeny tiny clothes, blankets, and baby paraphernalia. Life is good with my 5 and 6 year old but I ache knowing that the baby stage has passed and accepting that I likely can never give birth again.

  • Darlene Berry Lauth

    OMG tears on my face. I am coming up on my SIXTIETH birthday with my twin (and I’m yelling because (a) didn’t know I’d make it this far and (b) damn. What happened?? lol. I have this ache ALL. the. time. My two boys are now grown; right now they’re living at home but that won’t be forever. It’s the time I miss. Exactly as you described it. Write on!

  • justme

    Beautiful post. I have 2 boys (ages 4 and 8). I so desperately want another child but am about to turn 44. Had been trying for a third (no extreme measures though) – not having any luck. Feel like I will be judged harshly if I tell a doctor that I still have “the ache” and want to keep trying. I am terrified of the risks involved but can’t seem to convince myself that I am done.

  • Dawn

    I’m so sorry for your loss…of being able to successfully conceive and deliver a child after fertility struggles. I believe the Ache you’re referring to is what most people call an Identity Crisis.

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  • Jenn

    It’s like you tore a page from my soul and poured it into this post. Except I haven’t made peace yet with The Ache. I’m sitting here nursing my 9 month old baby boy. My 6th baby. My last baby. And already I’m overcome with Ache. Your post was timely, and maybe I’ll someday, somehow make peace with this eternal Ache. Or at least just thank God for the privilege of having six perfect little beings grace my life. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Kathryn Hughes

    Lol…ty Sarah for your story. I too felt the ache …..then that quiet time came and guess what!!!!! There is still unfolded laundry and dirty dishes but I also found joy greater than that which I found as being a mother. It was being a grandmother. Oh just wait. Just you wait….I promise….its even better!

  • NoVA Mom

    You might appreciate the Andrew Peterson album “Light for the Lost Boy”. Especially tracks 6 & 10. Someone gave it to me just as my first was approaching a year old and it captures so much of the emotion and spiritual ache that I feel so acutely each time I have a chance to realize a day is past and gone!

  • K

    Wow. I wish i would never have read this. I lost twins in August. Be thankful for what you have. Pathetic. Mourn and be sad when you have a real loss

    • BS

      Just because she didn’t lose a baby doesn’t make her feelings any less valid. I’m sorry you lost twins. I too lost a baby many years ago. It was heartbreaking. But now I am the mother of four children and I feel blessed with everyone of them, but I know the author’s feelings. You can’t dismiss it, until you have lived it. Let’s be supportive of each other, instead of tearing each other down. XO

      • Dawn Dawn

        Ah, the classic “you’ll never understand unless you’re a mother” argument. K, I agree with you, and I don’t think you’re tearing anyone down. The headline is misleading and makes it seem like the article is supportive to women struggling with infertility, but instead it’s a slap in the face to those who can never experience childbirth. The author’s feelings may be valid to her and some others, but in the act of sharing her feelings to the world, she’s broadcasting nothing but deeply self-absorbed, naval-gazey, highly romantic contemplations about motherhood. Ache, schmake.

        • momof4blessings

          K and Dawn Dawn, I understand that this subject matter would be painful reading for someone dealing with infertility or loss, and although I can see how the title may have caused confusion, I don’t think that was intentional. The point of the article is that leaving a chapter of life that has caused great joy is, in a very real way, sad. You would not be happy if a mother focused an article on all the “lows” of motherhood, would you? (ie, ‘Stop complaining, at least you have children.’) But when someone focuses on the parts she loves that she is sad to be leaving behind, you complain about her romanticized reflections. Childlessness can be so painful that any mention of motherhood feels like a slap in the face, or a punch in the gut, but as hard as it is, somehow you have to come to peace with yourself and to a place of healing where you don’t falsely interpret someone else’s comments as selfish or offensive. The very things this mother (and many like her) is grieving are over are the very same things that make the childless long so deeply to have children.

  • Jenna

    Oh, but then come the grandchildren! Tiny babies again to enjoy! Save some of the stuff for when they come to your house.

  • Always A Mom

    I am 60 years old and you expressed so beautifully what I have felt since I had my last baby at age 38. Yes, you live with The Ache but if your really lucky something new comes along called Grandchildren. Not the same thing but a different wonderful experience. Thank you so much for putting into such elegant words my feelings.

  • Cheryl Middendorf

    I am the mother of 4. 1 girl and three boys. Ages of the first three was close the last 12 years later. I went from the youngest mother putting her children in kindergarten to being the oldest. I swear, I sad when they were ,2,34, ,I couoldn’t wait for them to all be in school ,and it was a hearbeat they were graduating. You just don’t realize how fast it goes until it’s over. I now babysit my two grandchildren that are twins. they are now 4 , and I’ve babysat them since they were 6 weeks old. Tiny, Tiny babies . Almost 2 months Premature. Oh I got those years back and enjoyed them even more than when I had my own children. Age gives you insight on how they grow and enjoy the little things they do. When your raising your own, you sometimes don’t have the time to enjoy the little things. Busy with everything. Work, cooking, baths. bedtime. Oh yes I wish I could have those years back, but these years aren’t so bad. The twins, Boy and Girl, by he way, are from my youngest son and I was an older grandma. I was a young grandma at 38. The oldest right now is 28 and the youngest is 4. Oh did I mention that I have 3 Great Grandchildren. A set of boy twins and a little boy that I just saw for the first time and he is a year old. They live very far away. Really got to enjoy my week with him, and enjoy the baby things all over again. First word, first steps. Enjoy your motherhood. Pregnancy was great. I know some of you don’t want to hear that, but I was made to have babies. They are all beautiful. Rather have a baby than go to the dentist.

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  • Darla

    this was a wonderful thing to read. If you can without aching just a little. I am in the grown kids season and it is not all it is cracked up to be. I would raise my kids all over again, maybe not better, just with some experience. It was a GREAT season! Thanks for sharing!

  • P.K.

    It is very hard to see this stage come… well, at least it was for me. I am one of those woman who longed for a household of babies and fell in love with a man who was wonderful with kids, everyone’s favorite uncle. We both looked forward to what we hoped for, at least 4 kids. After only 3 months of marriage we found out I was pregnant. Yes! We were on our way. And only 3 months after the birth of my son we discovered I could never have kids again. Well, I could get pregnant but there was a 99% chance I would die before the 9 months was up. We now have a handsome 8 year old boy and I still dream of a little girl with all the frills. My husband does too. Every time one of my 5 sisters announces they are pregnant I am thrilled and also pained. I cry in private because they already know my pain and I don’t want to discourage them. I’ve watched 10 nieces/nephews born since then and 2 more are on the way. Just walking by a baby in the mall makes my heart ache. I wonder, will the pain ever go away? Yes, I suppose someday it will… at least, I hope it does!

  • Ashley

    This is exactly right on so, so many levels. We are unable to have more children and the Ache is unbearable most days … Perhaps because it wasn’t my choice, the Ache is even worse … Anyway, thank you for writing this. It hits my soul in ways you can’t imagine.

  • Debajoe

    And then…..the ache is set at bay once again when you hold each precious grandchild in your arms and you participate in the joys all over again….only THIS time you share it with that beloved child who will always be yours.

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  • austin3mom

    Oh, I love this. It’s like you’re writing my thoughts. My ache is in that exact spot. My husband says 3 is enough, but I think I’d have another just to extend this phase of life a few years longer and alleviate that ache.

  • MamaMia

    It always gives me a warm feeling to read something about the concept of child bearing and to know, at some point, it will be behind us permanently….I, too, was one of those women who loved being pregnant (even though I had some mild complications with the first pregnancy/got kidney stones, had to be in hospital). I am also a nurse and by the time I finished school, I had fallen in love with obstetrics and pursued that and was able to work in OB/Labor & Delivery for over 20 years. I had a second child sixteen months after the first. Loved it all over again. To me it is just such a sense of – magic – that you can grow another person to fruition and bring them into the world. I also had my children in an era (in part of country where I worked, at least) where it was accepted that unless you insisted otherwise, you would likely do some form of Lamaze type childbirth. I grant that I was lucky and had fast labors. Worked a day shift, went home, contractions at 6pm, to hospital at 8 and a baby by 10. I believed for myself and my patients that the experience could be very empowering to a woman, to know she is capable of that. I got the ACHE when I realized baby #3 was not going to happen. I really wanted more (I was an only child and wanted a bigger family). I somewhat foolishly listened to my husband’s reasons of why we should not….and then within just a few years he decided to leave – so it would not have mattered if I had had #3, something I still wistfully wonder about sometimes. Now I have five grandchildren to keep me moving along as a grandma and it is another type of joy. When I knew the last grandchild born was the end of them, I had the ACHE too….no more soft fuzzy heads to snuggle….

  • Sleuth

    Relishing and savoring holding my 14 month old, kissing his chubby cheeks and hands, smelling his baby smell, smiling as he tries to walk and tries new words. He is my last of two. Really trying to make it count, I wish I had savored these moments with my first born. Really a beautiful article.

  • gypsarella

    I’m so envious that you were able to have three babies. I suppose I’m lucky and certainly grateful that we had one healthy boy. For health reasons, then financial and age reasons, we were not able to have anymore. I still cry over this, 25 years later. He always wanted a brother or sister and because we couldn’t give him one, I was supermom. I took a role in everything he was involved with. We held craft and cookie baking gatherings at our house when he was young. Now, I fear he will be alone after we pass. Neither my brother nor sister married or had kids. My husbands siblings had kids 10 years before we did. You can go in and out of marriages, relationships, co-workers and neighbors, but your siblings remain the ones who knew you all your life. I remain heartsick. So try and look at the positive side of having three children.

  • Tottsmom

    This was beautiful. I cried. I cried, because it know the ache. I had come to terms with it. I did not really WANT a forth child, but sometimes I wanted to breast feed again.( unlike you, it was not a plesant experience so this thought is kind of odd). Then God had a surprise for me, at 45 we found ourselves expecting. At first I was terrified, too many complications with the last one would make carrying this one stressful. But we adjusted to the idea, got to hear the heartbeat, started talking about buying a mini van again. We finally told the kids, my parents and a few friends. Then it happened, I went for a routine checkup and they decided to do another ultrasound. No heartbeat. At 11weeks I misscarried. I don’t miss being pregnant, but I do find myself crying over little things like, baby shoes and clothes. The Ache is different now, transformed.

  • Tabitha’s Mommy

    What a wonderful essay! Hopefully you can feel blessed that you were able to CHOOSE to be finished with that part of life. We have one beautiful, smart, wonderful daughter, but wanted her to have a sibling. Unfortunately, mother nature and father time have conspired against us, and after four miscarriages in the past 2 years, I have “the ache” of knowing that I won’t ever have a second baby. The specialist we saw helped offer some perspective, the reality that there are those who will never know the absolute JOY and WONDER of pregnancy and childbirth. When the ache washes over me, I try to immerse myself in the wonderful memories of my pregnancy and my daughter’s birth, and then focus on creating and imprinting as many memories of each day as possible. We are so looking forward to every new phase of our journey with her. The ache still comes, and at unexpected moments, but I’m learning to hug my child and move forward.

  • Becky

    The Ache never goes away. Mine are grown and I now have six grand babies – chances are, the sixth will be the last so now I have the grand baby ache. I don’t know which ache is worse but they both hurt. I loved the days of motherhood and truly cherish the grandma days as well. I am truly blessed but sometimes wish I could just make time stop. Enjoy them now ladies, they will be grown before you know it. I hope I am around to have the GREAT grand baby ache.

  • Debra King

    This is such a beautiful way of expressing what so many of us are feeling. As a mother of four who would love to but can’t have any more, I am so grateful for the ones I do have, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t feel that ache every day. Thank you for writing this and helping me to acknowledge these feelings and be ok with them.

  • Dani

    Wow- Thank you so much for writing this- it put into words something I feel everyday. We are so blessed to have The Ache- to know what we are missing. Wonderful things to look forward to though- someday (God willing) we will have grandkids! :)

  • Krs

    If you want to keep your crib, there are instructions on Pinterest to show you how to make your crib into a desk… Just FYI

  • http://sheridanvoysey.com/ Sheridan Voysey

    Moving words, Sarah – moving words. I released a book last year about my wife and me journeying through 10 years of infertility without getting our child in the end. Your thirteenth paragraph above reminded me of some words I wrote in that, reflecting on all the baby stuff we’d accumulated in preparation for that ‘big day’, but then needed to relinquish,:

    No more highchairs in the kitchen.

    No more port-a-cots under the bed.

    No more children’s books in the closet.

    No more. Farewell.

    Farewell to the reminders, the remnants and the symbols. Farewell to the
    dashed hopes that made the heart sick. Farewell to the heartache, the cruel
    twists and heartbreak.

    Farewell to the broken dream.

    Farewell to what has been.

    ***

    Funny that our experiences have been completely opposite, and yet there are similar emotions experienced – and similar griefs to journey through.

  • c.k.

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  • http://themeandminebook.blogspot.com/ Christa Dawn

    what a beautiful post. Sitting here reading it at work, thinking of my teenagers, and now grown children, and being reminded of The Ache. Beautiful, beautiful post.

  • Christine

    This is beautiful. So poignant and dead on. Thank you for sharing it.

  • MadMikey

    I have had three children. The first one, with my first wife, was killed at 22 months by her childcare person. I remarried and had two more. My first experience taught me to love these two with everything I have, and even die for them if necessary. As I watch them grow, I relive my life through their eyes..their first loves, their first broken hearts, their first jobs, their graduations and the pride they have in their successful lives, etc.
    The only bad thing is now they are both grown and independent. Now the depression sets in as I feel like I am no longer needed. But the pride remains in seeing these two so happy!

  • MadMikey

    Anyone these days that demean a woman for staying home and taking care of their children just don’t understand. You ask her: “Don’t you feel deprived of a life and career on your own? Look at your husband climbing the corporate ladder!”
    What they do not realize is that she IS involved in the most important career there is. Do not denigrate her for not being like her husband, just understand that in both his and her eyes, her current job is absolutely the most important to both of them. SHE is the hard worker to maintain the family, HE is only supporting her work financially. Whenever you say his work means more than hers, then you obviously have your priorities scrambled. There are millions of families where the husband is the ‘stay at home Dad’ and the wife is the breadwinner. Whoever has the
    job of taking care of the children takes ‘first place’ as far as I am concerned.

  • http://stephaniesheaffer.com/ Stephanie Sheaffer

    I have the Ache too…but I haven’t quite decided what it means. ;)

    Is it the Holy Spirit nudging me to make room in our hearts and our plans for one more? Is He whispering that there is supposed to be four little heads around our dining table?

    Or will there be, as you so beautifully described it, an ache no matter how many children we have?

    I often hear women who say they KNEW with finality when they were done. I desperately *want* to feel that, but…I don’t.

  • chelsea

    you’ll have grandkids! never fear! I thought this post was going to be about the ache of losing your only child.

  • Diane

    So so good and timely for me to read this. Thank you for sharing my exact feelings.

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  • Dani

    Sarah I saw you at IF:Gathering – still undone by it all…So glad I found your blog and this piece that describes exactly what I feel as my two tinies are suddenly not so tiny and headed to school and leaving a silent house behind. At night, when they are sleeping, if I look just right, they look like they did the day I met them. I know when Christ formed our hearts He did it will a longing for eternity and a never-ending story. And in all the chapters done in our lives, our hearts go on longing! Longing for forever; for no goodbyes and the company of an unchanging, wondrous God. The brevity of our season with kids is a very real Ache, and I’m so grateful for Jesus who seems to multiply and stretch out these wonderful times with our tinies in our hearts and minds.

  • Maria

    Today is my last baby’s first birthday and my heart is breaking! I have boy/girl twins that will turn 3 in April and my now 1 year old girl. We too have come to the decision, for many personal reasons, that we won’t have any more children. My heart longs for them even though every day is incredibly hard with 3 children under age 3. Some days I just want to give up because it is so difficult with all the fighting, temper tantrums, potty training, you name it. But there is so much joy in these little people! I pray that I will find a way to live with the ache, too, because I really didn’t expect it to feel this strong!

  • Alicia Anne Brown

    The ache is alive and well within me. Thank you for giving it a name. I have some clarity now. I can begin to heal on the inside and out. No. It will never be the same. It’s not supposed to.

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  • Melissa

    I had my first daughter without much fuss. And, like you, I enjoyed being pregnant. So, seventeen months later when my second daughter was born SO very early, I was blindsided. It was SO hard and I probably complained a lot. I know I didn’t sleep at all. Only 9 months after that, when I was dealing with a toddler and a deaf preemie baby, I lost my third child – a second trimester miscarriage. A year and half later, I lost my fourth, a son, at the end of the second trimester. Fourteen months later, I lost my fifth, another son, at the beginning of the third trimester. I always thought the Ache you described was because of the trauma of losing my sons. We decided not to have more because we couldn’t stand to bury another. I’m glad to know that people with perfectly healthy pregnancies and children have the Ache, too. Maybe isn’t just grief or loss. To those who hear others complain about being parents, I say this: I would do it again. I complained about lack of sleep. I complained about not having any idea what was on t.v. or in the theater (I missed entire series’s of pop culture). I complained about how my body changed/ how my marriage changed/ etc. And, I would do all of it, again. My daughters have brought me more joy than I’ve ever known. The losses taught me to enjoy every minute because you aren’t promised the next one.

  • Grammy

    I am 53 and still feel the ache. I often have dreams of having a baby. I have 4 wonderful adult children and would not change one minute of our lives as a family. The bonus is that you do get to experience those wonderful feelings again when you become a grandma:) you may not think it could happen but you love those grand babies just as much as you loved your own babies. Baby smells, kid cuddles, messy house and awesome hugs all over again! Beautiful article!

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  • Patty :)

    I have 8. My youngest is now 6 1/2 and you made me cry….thank you for sharing! I think we WILL always ache for what we have experienced and learned from! I look forward to loving grandkiddos, although even with a 25, 23 and 21 year old, I am no where close. Someday! Maybe that will help fill a small part of that void and ache. Just food for thought! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts! :)

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  • Floretta
  • Amateur Nester

    Sigh, oh I am living with the Ache, too. Only it’s for my yet-to-be-conceived firstborn. Thank you for capturing it so beautifully from a different perspective.

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  • Hannah Wallach

    I’m not a mom yet but I found this post very beautiful.

  • Liz Self

    This is a great post. My youngest is 18 months, whom we adopted at 6 months. I was fully ready to be done with childbearing when we adopted her, and I’m just now feeling the “ache” of not carrying or bearing or nursing any more children. I want one more (we would adopt again), but my husband is not sure, and I’m left in a void of wondering whether I will get to do “one more.” This post helps me realize that “one more” or not, the ache will be there. Thank you for voicing what I feel so well.

  • Pamela Strieter

    What a very beautiful and achingly real piece you’ve written about the life of motherhood! Please know that even when they are gone and the house is empty, the ache and the memory of it never leave you. It is a quiet friend that waits for grandbabies to fill the times when we need: play and stories and diapers and snuggles and rocking chairs and all the things that remind us of our ‘babies’. What a wonderfully complex and sometimes difficult job God has blessed us with! Thank you for this sweet reminder amid salty tears. :)

  • Karen

    I have been struggling with “the ache” for a couple of years now. Thank you for writing this, and letting me know I am not alone.

  • A Dad I Wish I Could Be

    Ache from a child you had which can grow up? How about the ache of not being able to have any, and the remedies of IVF and adoption are such expensive and logistic hurdles that those options which are available to those better financially endowed, are simply not available to you?

  • Sarah Barker

    Thank you for writing something I could relate to even though my story is different. Much different.

    I didn’t decide my family was complete, God did. We have one son and 8 angels in heaven. It hurts me everyday, seeing people complain about their pregnancies, their babies teething, how much their labor was horrib;e when I wish more than anything that I would have gotten to complete my family. That I could have been at the hospital giving birth instead of the 7 times I had to go to the hospital, 5 times for D&Cs, 1 time for bleeding during my pregnancy, and once because I was hemorrhaging… losing way too much blood. After you have a D&C my hospital wheels you right by the maternity ward and I remember that stinging. I remember when it was MY day to go back there. I remember the week we spent at our son’s side while he was in the NICU. I remember carrying him out of there and “knowing” I would be back in a few years to give him a brother or sister… but I never did. It’s hard to know you are done… especially when you know you didn’t get to have all the babies you wanted.

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  • Erin Bryson

    I understand this so well. My Lydia is growing up so fast. Due to complications in her birth, a difficult c-section, my life could be in danger if I ever get pregnant again. Also, due to the complications surrounding her birth and the fact that my body was in shock from blood loss and infection, I was unable to produce enough breast milk to sustain her and wasn’t able to exclusively breastfeed as I had dreamed. I loved pregnancy, and I’ve loved every stage of Lydia’s life so far: her squishy newborn-ness, her little voice developing, her fascination with her hands, the joyous vigor with which she shoves things in her mouth these days…to know that this is my one and only shot at raising a baby, at watching a little one blossom and grow…it breaks my heart sometimes, but mostly, it makes me thankful for every day with my beloved daughter.

  • MommaK

    I love this post. We are a “one and done” family – mostly due to advanced age and pregnancy complications, but also due to a similar experience – one that was so powerful and soul changing that I am not sure I have it in me to do it twice! My son was colic-y and GERD-y which made parenting a newborn the ultimate challenge, but still incredibly powerful – also, after nursing for 2 1/2 years I know we both had enough of it and were both happy to let it go too. Interesting perspectives one and all. As a pediatrician and a mother now, I am in awe of all parents but mostly of those who truly “become” when they become parents!

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  • Julie Bryant

    I am almost 55, with 2 daughters who are adults, now. I keenly remember the Ache. I still experience this feeling. Their babyhood, childhood, teen years, high school and college graduations, and their weddings. I’m so thankful for all of it. The pride, the worry, sending them on their way, and missing them..SO SO much. There’s is nothing that compares. The journey continues. :-)

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  • Emily

    I am headed back to work on Monday after my 3rd (and last) maternity leave. I sit here tearing up while reading your words because they are so true and fitting. I know mentally and emotionally that having a 4th is not right for our family, but the past 5 and a half years of the pregnancy/baby merry-go-round have been so wonderful and transformative that it’s hard to accept that they’re ending. Like you, I was not a “baby person,” so this experience has caught me off guard in the most amazing way. Thank you for composing such an honest post.

  • Crystal Walburger

    Thank you so much! As someone who has carried one years ago and now being told my miracle is all, this really hit me. I needed this today.

  • Sharon

    http://www.pinterest.com/ribbonnut/cribs-changing-tables-repurposed/ Please don’t take the baby furniture to the dump!!

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  • Danielle Shaub

    I am one of the women you described as yourself once upon a time “I was never one of those girls who wanted to have a houseful of babies, who just wanted to get married and have babies and stay home with them. I mean, I was okay with kids but it wasn’t my thing”. Part of me feared that I would never have the “mom” instinct kick in.That combined with the way women talk negatively about their kids made me fear that I would resent my children. But reading make me feel like Im not crazy, but im just not like everyone else. Gives me hope that the mommy pull will be there for me and that that I will find joy in that season when it arrives.

  • Dona Smith

    i am giving this testimony cos l am happy My name is mrs. Dona Smith from Houston,taxes.i never believed in love spells or magic until i met this spell caster once. when i went to Africa in December this year on a business summit. i ment a man called dr. ADAGBA.He is powerful he could help you cast a spells to bring back my love’s gone,misbehaving lover looking for some one to love you, bring back lost money and magic money spell or spell for a good job.i’m now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 3 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 2 years… i really loved him, but his mother was against me and he had no good paying job. so when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him..at first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. and in 6 days when i returned to taxes, my boyfriend (is now my husband ) he called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married..i didn’t believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do… well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid,and my husband also got a new job and our lives became much better. in case anyone needs the spell caster for some help, email address adagbaspiritualtemple@yahoo.com Great ADAGBAi thank you very much thank you in 1000000 times.. if not you i would have been losted and wasted thank you. please make sure you contact him for any financial difficulties okay.. What a powerful man such as Dr ADAGBA.. he is so much powerful..\ email him for any difficulties.. adagbaspiritualtemple@yahoo.com

  • kelly

    Thank You. This is something that is never talked about. The mourning of no more babies. Something that I have been struggling with for the last 5 years. Hoping someday it would happen again, and so sad that I know it won’t. Thank you for sharing this. That I am not alone.

  • http://www.chambanachik-live.blogspot.com Erika

    I stumbled on this tonight, and cried, for the first time in a very long time. My daughter is 4 this month, and my son just turned 1, and I have about 5,000 feelings about it all. I desperately want one more, and I also don’t. But this post gave me some hope that, one way or another, it will be there, and it’s okay. So thank you.

  • Vannie

    And now God has blessed you again with another little tiny!! it’s amazing how He works isn’t it?

  • shawna

    This was BEAUTIFUL! I am a mom of 2, desiring more……but so unsure at the same time…..either way I LOVE all the same things that you do—breastfeeding, being pregnant, delivering babies…Im one of THOSE ladies ;) but even now as my first born is turning 3 in the fall and my boy is almost 14 months….I have that ache. Even though there may be more children in my future, I ache for these precious ones being small now. the newness, the peace, the learning……….but every stage is my favorite. You seriously said everything I could think about being a mother. It is such an amazing breathtaking experience, in which I have been sanctified, refined, molded more. Thanks!!!!

  • Dawn

    I know the ache as my 18 yr old has moved out, I still have 3 left at home,but I realized all that time I spent complaining,and screaming, I would do it all over again. I would love for all my kids to stay small, and need me all the time,but I have come to realize I like seeing them take off too, they have to experience lifes ups and downs, good and bads. I often see mommas with little babies and say I so wish I could have just 1 more, after all,all the baby names I had picked out are still not used up.lol.But, financially, and even mentally, I don’t think i could handle another one. I am trying my best to love all my kiddies,and have fun as they all go through there diff fazes in life,and how they react to it,and seeing them do silly things that I used to do,and seeing them achieve more than I ever did.:O)

  • Liz

    Thank you for writing and sharing such a beautiful piece! I have four beautiful blessings and was hoping for more, but my body is currently trying to miscarry a second time after our fourth. I know it’s certainly possible to have a perfectly healthy and normal pregnancy after two miscarries, but to have two miscarries after four healthy births makes me a bit a fearful that God is preparing me for The Ache. I am not ready. I will be 36 next month, so I feel I still have time to have one or two more. I’m trying to trust God’s perfect plans. There are too many joys to give up.

  • A.

    Oh my.. this made me think how someone understood how I feel! I am married, have 2 amazing stepdaughters (18 and 21) but I am not a ‘real mom’.. I LONG to have a baby of my own.. my hubby is older than me and had a vasectomy long before we were married. Due to finances, IVF / fertility treatments were not feasible. My heart crushes over and over with the Ache. I like many, do my best not to cry when I hear of someone I know expecting a baby, or when I am around a baby, I hope it isn’t obvious how much pain I feel hearing stories of their bundle of sweetness’ firsts. I get the excitement when I am ‘late’, but need to quickly get over the hope and Ache that my mind is telling me is not possible. It feels like an elephant is on my chest when I see babies and more so when I am asked if I would like to hold them. I feel empty and incomplete not being a mom. It saddens me that I will not get to experience the many miracles that new moms experience. It crushes my soul and spirit. There are no words that can make me feel any less ‘Ache”. It is the “Ache” that never happened for me and never will. Thank you for sharing this story.

  • http://thecarolinafarmhouse.com Courtney

    This made me tear up. So beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  • meg

    I’m 48 next Sunday and gave birth to 7 babies and had a few onto heaven before they were ready for earth….EVERYDAY ‘the ache’ is there….I tell people I will be eternally clucky….

  • emma

    I love this post so much. I have a daughter and she has changed my world forever, seeing her grow up is bittersweet. We want more children and I feel we will have them but who knows what the Universe has in store? I watch her as she nurses, sit with her as she plays and try to remember the time I have with her is a blink. Thank you for helping define what that longing, the emptiness feels like….

  • Kelly Voros

    OH….ohhhhh….YES. i know exactly what you mean. My forth will turn two in October and the ache….it is always there.

    THANK YOU FOR THIS POST. SO BEUATIFUL

  • Laura Hardesty Brague

    I often get frustrated hearing about people who have children and ache to have more. I often feel like there is a lot of time spent wishing what could be instead of focusing on what is and the blessings that have right in front of you. I have two children, 9 and 12, and feel blessed beyond words that I am the one they call “Mom.” Although there has been a time or two that I’ve wondered what it would be like to have a third, I know that God’s plan was for me to have these two beautiful kids. This has become even more apparent to me over the last few years since my son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. I’m able to spend the time with him that he needs to help him succeed. I’m not sure if that would’ve been the case if I had opted to have more. God has a plan for all of us.

  • Rhonda Gayle Nash-Hall

    I miss my three grown daughters being at home so much but then God recently blessed me with the first grandchild….she is such a blessing and gift!!!

  • Susan Maccarelli

    Wow! My experience with babies was completely different and I don’t have the ache, but I could relate to parts of this and love how well you shared how you felt, because I felt it right along with you.

  • Carolyn Putney

    This is beautiful. At age 65 I still feel the Ache. But, with acceptance comes anticipation for what lies ahead. Because of medical reasons I had two children even though we would have welcomed more. The Ache was there but I chose thankfulness and joy for the blessing God had given. There is always an Ache as one season departs and Joy as a new one begins. If you get stuck on the Ache you miss the Joy.
    The solution is in embracing every minute, hour, day, every season. Enjoy the “firsts:” smile, steps, day of kindergarten, etc. We loved snow days, summer vacation, Spring break, ALL of it. I never said (and would not let my kids hear me say) that I could hardly wait until school started, as if I could hardly wait to be rid of them. My children are 39 & 37. One is married, has 4 that she home schools (well, not the 2yr old). Our son has never married although he would like to be. And, speaking of the Ache, it is not unique to women. It may not be “under the lungs,” but it is in the heart and empty arms of men, too.
    I loved the days when I carried a new life in my womb. I loved the early morning nursings. I love that when I want I can retrieve those feelings. But I don’t long for them anymore. His mercies are new every morning,
    Our son has had to learn to be content with what God has for him, even if it means he never marries or holds his own baby in his arms. He has opened himself to being the best uncle on the planet and God has poured out blessings! This is true for anyone who has not had a baby but LONGS for one. God CAN and WILL FILL YOUR HEART! Not only are His mercies new every morning, so is His Joy! Great is His faithfulness!

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  • Monica Dunmire

    instead of getting rid of the crib… re-purpose it to a desk for the child…. It will be sentimental for you and the child… Might help to ease the ache

  • NIna

    Beautiful post. I have 8 children and am in the process of sending them off to college.I just wrote about ‘the ache’ and how I have dealt with it and how I am feeling mostly joy and gratitude now instead of pain and panic. The ache can be a beautiful, healing thing: http://ninasniftynews.blogspot.com/2014/08/musings-on-missions-memories-and-mortar.html

  • LeticiaVelasquez

    Thank you for putting my Ache into words so eloquently. Its now that my nest is emptying that I miss the miscarried babies terribly, the house would not be so empty if they had made it. So I go to adoration, ask them to accompany me in prayer and picture getting to know them when Jesus calls me home. THEN, even better, introducing them to my born babies when they arrive. The best is yet to come!

  • Chase McIntosh

    Crib sides can be re purposed for all sorts of things….. turned long ways they make great drying racks and sideways are great barriers. .. my mother has been re purpose crib sides for years…. :)

  • Chase McIntosh

    Beautifully written.

  • LightExpectations.com

    Words both painful and joyful ~ thank you for sharing. Every bit of motherhood is so sacred, isn’t it?
    Blessings to you.

  • Jess

    As I sit reading this tears continue to roll down my face. I have that ache! I am a blessed and thankful mother of four amazing children. We as women are so lucky that we get to experience the amazing gift if birth.

  • Barbara A Bass

    I’m a single mom of 1-a 5 yr old who thinks she’s going on 30! Lol. I feel like I’ve got my hands full. I want at least 1 more but don’t see it happening.

  • Paula

    Lovely sentiments, beautifully said. You are right–I have 10 and still have the ache, and unfortunately the ache is worse when they begin leaving the nest. Sigh.

  • Cheri

    you could use part of the crib and make it too something. I saw a photo not to long ago that the turned the crib into a desk. I know the feeling and if I had seen that photo I would have made my daughters crib into something. Just so I could keep it. It was heart breaking for me as well to let go of something I had for so long.

  • Amy

    this was beautiful and now I know I am ok. I have the ache too. I have 7 children and would love more if God so chooses and people look at me like I am nuts. I’m only 42. too many have a negative outlook on children and they see them as am inconvenience and not a blessing

  • Misty Bailey

    This post makes me cry. I’ve been dealing with the ache for years now. I would love to share a quote from this post in a blog post I’m writing for my blog Joy in the Journey. Would that be ok? I’d link back to your post. Let me know, thank you!!

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  • Jane

    my 5 closest friends are all pregnant right now. Im lucky to have had 4 beautiful babies, and hubby and I have decided we are done, but I was told about three of the pregnancies in the same day, hour actually and I’m so happy for them, but I feel a bit empty inside ;-( I had my first so young and went through it alone, and now I’m going through the ache alone. Feeling a bit sorry for myself. Thank you for posting this x

  • Sheab33

    I’m a single mom but if I had a spouse I would have another.. It’s very hard alone!!! I love her more then anything and everything you said is so true.. Especially the breast feeding part and being prego!! I loved it !! But I was gonna tell you .. There is always fostering and you could still get your baby fix and help with the world

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  • Nicole

    You may never know the feeling of another baby in your womb again, there are those of us who will never feel it at all. Our ache is different. Partly, because we can only imagine what it feels like to watch your child kick and hit you from inside, see your future infant in grainy black and white on the ultrasound screen, or the feeling of absolute elation while holding the newborn who is yours forever. We, who can not have children at all feel a similar but completely different ache. Be thankful for your ache, because at the end of the day you have beautiful children to show for it.

  • great-grandma still with ache

    That ache was fulfilled for me when i went back to college… when my children did and then taught for 10 years in elementary school. Th ache was horrible when i had to travel back home after visiting out of state new grandchildren…. But so valuable when my daughter became a mother… and after the 2nd and then 3rd son she shated her children more and more with her Dad and I. She overwhelmingly loves motherhood. . . I respect my ‘ache’… now as it is… as the grandmother… who’ll love them for their mother… when they are left in my care… returning them is much easier now as Grandma… than the separation times when my own children made transitions to less needs of me in their daily lives.
    The ache is still there for years after mothering… so that we can be the best grand-Mother who loves and is sensible at a moments notice… (which can happen often… ) and is useful to groom grandpas who learn to be warm and cuddly better than ever… especially when they were too young daddy’s with no disposable income…. and time to just sit and chat or play..

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  • Marcia Compton

    I am a 57 year old woman, who has not had a baby in 24 years, And the ache is still there. When I read or see or just miss watching all the amazing things babies do. I have 3 wonderful amazing children. Being a Mom is the best most amazing thing in my life. If you or someone ever question if there is a God. Then look into a babies face and eyes. And you will see Gods miracle. Thank you for sharing your story.