New here, but need advice on "identity" issue - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 3 Old 10-04-2010, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've never posted here. Not sure why. But I have a dilemma, and I'm hoping I can get some advice to give me peace.

I'm a sahm to 5, turning 35 this month. I WOH when my first 2 were little, but when my 3rd was born I quit. I homeschool, do a little wah, and I'm currently taking some classes online toward my 2nd bachelor's degree.

I just had my fifth baby (4th and 5th were HUGE surprises) about a week ago. Dh had been wanting a vasectomy after #3. Last fall I'd finally come to about 75% agreement that our life was pretty complete, and our income struggles made it impractical to keep having kids, so he could go ahead. Then the day before his surgery was first scheduled in Jan I got the BFP. I have VERY horrible pregnancies in the first half, so I stayed on board and he got the surgery in June.

I stayed miserable in pgcy, couldn't wait for it to be over, etc. During labor (I go natural) I told dh that my happy thought was that this was the last time I had to do this. Since then I've had terrible afterpains, worse hemorrhoids and SPD, sore nipples and sleepless nights, and my babies' food allergies make it difficult and expensive to eat.

With all of that, I still find it almost impossible to come to terms with the fact that I'm never going to do this again. I suppose it could be hormones, but I know that's not it. I've felt this way for years. I don't know what to do with myself if I'm not pg or have a little baby at home. I've been doing this for 10 years, almost a third of my entire life, and pretty much my entire adult life. I don't want to moe on. All I've ever wanted was to be a mom, and I guess I saw myself having babies until I died...

Not only will I miss having a little baby to hold and nurse, which is hard enough and making me cry all the time, but I simply don't know who I am if I don't... How do I figure out how to be someone else? What the heck is wrong with me? Why can everyone else see that not having more kids is what's best for me, but I can't? Why does this have to be so hard...

FAs, co-sleeping, babywearing, extended nursing, positive parenting, homeschooler

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#2 of 3 Old 10-04-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gabbyraja View Post

Not only will I miss having a little baby to hold and nurse, which is hard enough and making me cry all the time, but I simply don't know who I am if I don't... How do I figure out how to be someone else? What the heck is wrong with me? Why can everyone else see that not having more kids is what's best for me, but I can't? Why does this have to be so hard...

i dont have much advice, mama, but i do know how hard it is not to have a sense of self. i only have two little ones, but boy do i feel "naked" when i am out alone by myself. its like our identities just completely disintegrated and nothing is left, right?

my thinking is that now is the time to grow and become the person i *want* to be, since the person i *was* is so far gone. hopefully that outlook can be somewhat helpful to you.

mabye having more kids isnt the right or smart thing to do, and you obviously know this, but babies, esp your own babies, are just so beautiful, why WOULDNT you want to have anymore? its a normal feeling.

enjoy your new little one

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#3 of 3 Old 10-06-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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I understand that you are grieving, for with change there is always some feeling of loss & fear of the new and unexpected. A lot of women face a twinge of grief when they realize that they have had their last child. When my son was young, I found it painful to watch him leave the baby stage. It goes so fast, and I missed his cuddly, dependent self. But then I really started loving his older self, and getting involved in all his activities & ideas. I no longer missed those baby days (and ironically, I'm pregnant again, but this time not looking forward to having another infant...)

There is a mixed sadness and joy when watching your kids grow out of childhood. But isn't there a problem when you've given so much of yourself, that there is no YOU left? Your identity can't rest on your kids, defining yourself as only "mother", it's not fair to them. And ultimately it may not be very inspiring to them, as they seek out life adventures and education. Kids are supposed to springboard away from their parents eventually. And even if you had the last baby ten years from now, you would still have to eventually face your own feelings of identity crisis again.

The thing is, by no longer having babies, you haven't stopped being a Mom. You will be a mother for the rest of your life, and your kids need you through ALL the stages of their growing up. Life is about change, and each phase of childhood is short-lived in the big picture. They will even rely on you for advice and comfort into adulthood. And then grandchildren will come! Kids don't stop needing us after babyhood. They need us just as much through school and adolescence, though in a different way. And you are going to be VERY busy with 5 kiddos to raise!
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