It can be a dicey thing, scrolling through Facebook. You’re standing on line at Target just trying to eat up three minutes while you wait for the register, and before you know it, you’re knee-deep in All The Feels about other people’s lives. To wit:
Your friend who just had a baby like fifteen minutes ago? Back in her skinny jeans.
The neighbor down the street? Clinking her wine glass at happy hour for the third time this week while you’re boiling mac and cheese for the kids in your PJs at 4pm.
Your ex-boyfriend? Married to a model who runs her own company now and who, it also appears, has a knack for baking homemade French pastries.
Social media is responsible, I’m certain, for a fair number of insecurities in the general population; and if you’re like me, it also has the potential to spark something else in you–Baby Fever.
I know I know I knoooooooow, guys. I can see you rolling your eyes at me. Mentally berating me. Telling me that I am at Level 10 Crazy Nutso McMental-ville. Because after all, I do currently have a 5 ½-month-old sweet baby. But when I was recently scrolling “harmlessly” through Facebook, I came across a picture of a friend’s newborn, and—for a longer period of time than I care to admit—thought to myself, Oh my gosh, I want another baby.
This was followed by a wash of logic that cleansed me of my temporary insanity, but the baby fever feeling was very, very real. And it leads me to wonder, what in the world is going on in my head right now? I know I can’t be alone in this feeling.
I recently read this crazy perfect piece by Sarah Bessey (please, please read it, and have tissues handy) wherein she describes that very specific feeling countless women get when seeing new babies as “the ache.”
YES. The Ache. What a perfect way to describe that unique yearning!
Even if you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your family is complete, that you’ve carved out a spot in the universe for your family that’s the perfect size… The Ache can come creeping up when you least expect it.
The Ache is tied to the deepening of our souls that happens the instant these other tiny people are born to us, from us. The Ache is tied to that smell on the top of their soft newborn heads. It’s tied to the abiding sense of peace that washes over you the moment your child falls asleep on your chest. It’s tied to the stirring of your soul when you hear them cry. And for me, it’s tied to the very deep knowledge that motherhood is the single most transformative journey I have ever experienced.
And for a girl who wanted to be a mom, sure, but never idolized the concept of motherhood, per se, that alone has shocked and delighted me.
Motherhood changes us for good, whether we like it or not, and whether we are ready for that change or not. It forces us out of the tight confines of our own desires in this world. It is big (so big) and heavy and hard, yet so light and easy and natural. To me, it is the single closest thing to the divine we will experience here on earth.
And what I’m starting to realize is that The Ache is God’s way of reminding us—no matter how old or independent our children are—that we were part of a miracle once. And it was pure magic. And when you have magic, sometimes you want a taste of it again.
So even though we won’t be having more children (and I remain shocked that that fact kind of stings), I will embrace The Ache. It reminds me that I was part something bigger once, and I’m so grateful for that. Now I know, The Ache is the reminder of our hearts having grown–having stretched a size, or two, or three.
So yeah. I guess I can learn to live with The Ache, too. What a beautiful reminder of where my soul has been.
How did you know how many kids—if any—you wanted to have? Was it a number? A feeling, maybe, that struck after you had a certain number and just realized, that’s it? Or did external factors influence your family plan?