To the mama who’s done having babies

It’s normal to feel confident *and* sad about your decision.

To the mama who’s done having babies

We all have different journeys and naturally, our definitions of what makes our families ‘complete’ varies wildly, too. Some mamas are quite content with one child while others surround themselves with large families.

There is no right or wrong answer in this scenario.

Regardless of whether you are able to control when you deem your family to be complete or not—declaring ‘no more babies’ is a bittersweet decision even for the strongest mother.

It’s quite possible that you will feel confident and sad about your decision. I know I did.

Thing is, it’s okay and perfectly normal to feel conflicted. You’re only human.

I am speaking from experience as someone who is 110% positive they don’t want any more children. I have all I want and need. And probably all that I can handle as far as my sanity is concerned. (If I had any more children, you’d probably find me wandering around aimlessly in fuzzy pink slippers in Target…?).

Yet there are days when I look at a new mom and all those familiar brand-new-baby feelings wash over me. I hold a friend’s newborn and that baby scent transports me to a magical land far, far away. A land I will only be able to visit and never experience first-hand again.

My mind wanders to what it would be like to have a third child. Maybe I’d have a boy? Would I be a good ‘boy mom’? Would he be tall and into sports like his daddy? And so on. I call these hypotheticals a case of the ‘what ifs’—except I don’t have the option to change course and explore a different path.

I am faced with the finality of my decision and that can be a little sad sometimes. A door has closed for good. That chapter of my life is over.

Though I know in my heart and mind that our family is complete, sometimes the realization that my ‘babies’ are no longer babies hits me like a speeding freight train. They are growing up so fast, and there won’t be another baby to divert my focus away from that fact.

There is a tinge of sadness that bubbles up at the most unexpected times. Like when a memory shows up in my Facebook feed from eight years ago or when I sort through my kids’ clothing or when they get out of the car without demanding hugs and kisses like they used to.

Sometimes I find a baby picture in a random spot—my beaming, chubby little girl performing at her first dance recital—and the sweet memory is followed by the inevitable realization...I won’t have another chubby little toddler running around. That little girl has transformed into a waif-like ballerina in what seems like the blink of an eye.

And then a lazy Sunday rolls around and I find myself sleeping in until past 9 a.m. (gasp!) after a late night. The girls have gotten themselves breakfast, let out the dog and now are happily taking advantage of their weekend TV privileges cuddling with their pajama-clad dad by their side. Life. Is. Wonderful.

I gratefully accept that days like these would be a distant dream if we had another tiny human in the house. I am reminded of the many, many, many sleepless nights that come with babies and congratulate myself on making the best decision for me and our family.

So as you can see, mama, it is possible to feel both confident and sad about the “no more babies” path.

I will always miss the special moments like breastfeeding, my babies falling asleep on my chest or flashing me their first smiles. But I also celebrate the freedom that comes with older kids. I watch them grow and marvel at the people they’re becoming.

It’s a whole new chapter in our story together.

So, when you’re feeling sad...see the joy in the family you have now—the family that’s around you. (Oh, and those lazy Sunday mornings and uninterrupted nights of sleep. ?)

When you’re feeling guilty...feel confident in your decision. You know in your heart what’s best for you and your family.

When you’re feeling relief...don’t feel bad about that. Think back to those newborn days and appreciate how far you’ve come.

When you’re feeling gentle with yourself. It’s not always easy knowing you won’t feel the warm newborn cuddles again from your own child. Allow yourself to feel any real pain in the confliction—and remember to show yourself grace.

When you’re feeling grateful...know that it’s okay to feel good with what you’ve got.

And when those rare sad feelings do bubble up, I remind myself that my girls will always be my ‘babies’—whether they like it or not. ?

From Your Site Articles

As much as I love fall, it always feels like the season when my family's routine gets kicked into overdrive. With our oldest in (homeschool) kindergarten, my youngest on the brink of entering her twos, work, housework and *all the things* filling my day, it's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. Did I mention we're still in a pandemic? (Yeah, it's a lot.) And while I try to take a positive view as much as I can, now more than ever I definitely jump at the chance to take anything off my busy plate.

One thing first in line at the chopping block? Cooking. To be fair, I like cooking. I cooked most of our meals long before I had ever even heard of social distancing. But there's something about the pandemic that suddenly made cooking every single meal feel exponentially more draining.

Enter Daily Harvest. They deliver nourishing, delicious food right to your door. Daily Harvest's mix of smoothies, bowls, flatbreads, snacks and more provide a balanced, whole food options that are as satisfying as they are nutritious. But my favorite part? When we're ready to eat, I simply pull the food from the freezer and it's ready in minutes—without any chopping, measuring or searching for a recipe. Even better, they're incredibly tasty, meaning I'm not struggling to get my girls to dig in. Not cooking has never felt so good.

Here are my 8 favorite products that are helping to lighten my load right now:

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

One thing that actually helps break up the monotony of quarantine? Trying and introducing new ingredients to my family. I love this overnight oat bowl (add milk the night before and let it set in your fridge overnight—easy-peasy!) because not only does it not compromise on nutrition, but it also helps me bring new whole fruits, vegetables and superfoods to the table with ease.

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

I kid you not, these taste exactly like a mint chocolate chip milkshake. (Just ask my 4-year-old, who is constantly stealing sips from my glass.) What she doesn't know? She's actually getting organic banana, spinach and chlorella with every sip. #momwin

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Our family's eating habits have been leaning more plant-forward this year, which often means a lot of veggie washing, peeling and chopping every time I cook. That's why these flatbreads are my new best friend come lunchtime. This Kabocha + Sage Flatbread is made with a gluten-free cauliflower crust topped with kabocha squash, fennel and sage for a taste of fall in every bite. (Missing the cheese? You can add it before baking for more of a pizza feel.)

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

There's something about the combination of sweet potato crust topped with red cabbage, organic greens and an herby-cilantro sauce that is so delicious… like surprisingly delicious. I polished off this bad boy in seconds! And unlike other "veggie" crusts I've tried, these are actually clean (AKA no fillers, preservations, partially-hydrogenated oil or artificial anything). Plus, it couldn't be easier to throw in the oven between conference calls and homeschool lessons.

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Any time I get to serve a breakfast that tastes like chocolate, it's a good day. (That goes double when it's *my* breakfast.) This rich, chocolatey smoothie is packed with organic zucchini, avocado, pumpkin seeds and pea protein for a nourishing mix of healthy fats and muscle-building protein so I can carry that baby all day long. And did I mention the chocolate?

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Maybe it's just me, but after a long week of cooking, the last thing I want to do on Saturday morning is...wake up and cook. That's why these one-step breakfasts are saving my weekend. I simply add our favorite milk the night before and store the bowl in the fridge overnight. Come morning, I have a nutritious chia bowl that powers me through even the busiest day of errands. It's also Instagram-ready, which makes me feel like I'm out brunching (even if I can't remember the last time I was in a restaurant).

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

My kids have turned into snack monsters during quarantine, and I'm often struggling to find a wholesome option (that doesn't require a lot of extra cooking or else I resort to something ultra-refined and shelf-stable). These bites are the hero I never knew I needed. For one, they taste like cookie dough, but they're actually packed with chickpeas, pumpkin, dates and flax seed (among other whole ingredients). But unlike actual cookie dough, I don't have to go anywhere near my mixer to whip them up—all I have to do is pull the container out of the freezer, let them defrost a bit and we can all enjoy a treat.

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Sometimes I have a little more time to cook, but I still want a quick, stress-free solution. (Especially because it always feels like I just cleaned up from the last meal.) I love these Harvest Bowls because they warm up in under five minutes on the stove top (or microwave!) but pack tons of flavor. The Cauliflower Rice + Pesto bowl is one of my favorites, with basil, olive oil and nutritional yeast for a hearty dish reminiscent of a mouth-watering Italian meal. When I'm feeling extra fancy, I add leftover grilled chicken or a fried egg.

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Who doesn't want to end the day with a little something sweet? This creamy and decadent frozen treat from Daily Harvest is swirled with sweet berries and tropical dragonfruit for an antioxidant burst you'll feel good about—but that your kiddos will just think is ice cream. Go ahead, take credit for being the best mom ever.

Want to try it yourself? You can get $25 off your first box of Daily Harvest with code MOTHERLY.

This article was sponsored by Daily Harvest. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas

Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

Keep reading Show less