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Home: The Toast

Aubrey Hirsch’s previous Loco Parentis columns for The Butter can be found here.

In June, I gave birth to a baby boy. His father, his big brother and I all welcomed him home together. He is pink and perfect. And he’s my last baby.

Even through the electronic ether of cyberspace I can feel you tearing up at those words, those incredibly loaded words: LAST BABY. But please don’t. I’m not sad. I’m not mourning. I’m happy! I’m thrilled! I’m celebrating! I’ve been waiting my whole life to build this family, and now? It’s done. It’s complete. For the first time, I can look around my little house and say, Everybody’s here! Let’s get this party started!

My partner and I always planned to have two babies. We were excited about giving our son a sibling and about getting to meet another one of these crazy little people we made all by ourselves. But, I’ll be honest, as I neared the end of my pregnancy I started to get a little wistful about bringing home another baby. Things with my older son were just starting to get easy. He was becoming his own person. He had opinions; he told jokes; he could get in and out of his car seat by himself. He was also just beginning to develop the capacity to look forward to things and I thought about all the fun stuff I wanted to do with him: bake cookies, go to movies, drive around after bedtime looking at Christmas lights.

And then I thought about how impossible those things would be to do with a brand new baby and its unpredictable schedule, earsplitting scream and ALL THOSE NEEDS. I realized that I’d spent two and a half years working so hard to get to this easy place and now I was going to have to start all over again.

Of course, it will be worth it. My younger son is already settling into life on the outside. Day by day, things are starting to get a little easier. But even though I’m so enjoying getting to know this new person, I still find myself ticking off the weeks with relief. I’ll never have to do those first days home from the hospital with a new baby ever again. I’ll never have to teach another baby how to nurse without pinching me. I’ll never have to recover from another birth.

I will never have to go back to the beginning again. Now, I can focus on moving this family forward. To me, that is major cause for celebration.

So when I tell you this is my last baby, please don’t say “Aw, that’s sad.” Please don’t tell me I might change my mind, or that I “never know.” Trust me, I know. And please, PLEASE, don’t say, “Aren’t you going to try for a girl?”

I don’t want to look at your pitying eyes. I want you to celebrate with me! Try saying, “That’s great.” Or “Yay! Your family’s complete!” Or “That must be an awesome feeling.” Or, at the very least, ask me some questions to ascertain how I might be feeling about closing the door on this whole reproduction thing.

Please don’t assume I’m sad. I’m not sad. I’m so, so happy. I sometimes can’t believe how lucky I am to have these two amazing boys. I’ve been dreaming about my children since I was a little girl and I can’t tell you how good it feels to look at their beautiful faces and say, “It was you I’d been waiting for all this time. You’re finally here.”

Aubrey Hirsch is the author of Why We Never Talk About Sugar. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Rumpus, Brain, Child Magazine and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter: @aubreyhirsch.

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