I have heard over and over from so many, many moms that not long after they had their last baby, they got depressed. They had just spent a good long time doing a very important thing, and now what?
That might strike me at some point. I've actually been expecting it. Even moms who knew everyone goes through that were surprised that they, too felt it.
So far, though, I've been quite delighted to get rid of baby things (they take so much space!) and baby clothes (a whole closet I can use for something else soon!).
And I feel a lot like I do when we move. Sure things are different, but I love getting to redefine myself and present a new me to a new ward who has no idea who I was before. Moving is a fresh start where I get to define how I am perceived, and that's fun for me.
And my thoughts have not yet turned to a sad spot, or to wondering what next can possibly be as important as having babies. (Nothing, I think?)
Where my brain is going:
--All those things I've always wanted to do with the kids but couldn't because my arms were full? We can do them. Let's go camping!
--I have had a baby either in my arms or in my belly for over 14 years now straight through. And I've been either pregnant or nursing (or both) straight through with no break for over 7 years. Straight. My arms have always been full. I wonder what I can do? I have no idea my capabilities...but I'm pretty aware of my weakness. So I'm excited to discover if I have any superpowers (since everyone has SOME).
--Will I actually be able to keep my house cleaner? That's an interesting possibility.
--I can finish all my quilts and all my weaving projects! Woohoo!
--I can build my website and finish all the preK-eight curriculum I have outlined.
--I can learn to illustrate and finish my little leveled activity readers.
--I have so many novels that have sat untouched for years because I was doing more important things.
--Having babies is only part of the important work we do in parenting children. I'm looking forward to getting to just raise these guys. I want to teach them and play games with them and enjoy them.
--Knowing I don't have to do this again, I'm starting (finally, 5 months after baby came) to enjoy being with the kids just as they are, without planning anything. Having so many has forced me to mother intentionally (else a child actually can go several days without me making eye contact with them, which is scary!), and I'm enjoying that.
--Some day my kids will be big enough that I can travel with Tim. I'm allowed to think about that now.
--I only have 4 years with all 8 kids at home before they start going on missions, so I'm going to enjoy every minute of it that I possibly can.
--I think I can actually homeschool the way I can in my head. Finally. We might actually get that organized and keep it organized.
--The sleep disorder is exacerbated by baby-having. So with no more babies, we might actually get things under control. I don't even really care how late we sleep, as long as we get ourselves off the non-twenty-four-hour sleep rhythm.
--Always I've had to prioritize tiny people over everything else, the whole 14 years I've been at this. But very soon there will be only bigger people, and then maybe I can get some order going here. (Of course, what use will it be to sort the toys if there isn't anyone left to play with them?)
In other words, I'm not looking back with a sense of loss or finishing or sentimentalism. I feel like I reached the peak of a great mountain, and I can see before me grand vistas of all the life I can have and all the adventures my family can enjoy now that I'm not going to be using all my spoons every day building little bodies. And that's pretty exciting.
I never really was a baby person. I'm the one that cries when someone else has a baby because I know how hard it is to not sleep for 3 months straight. I actually felt pretty done with babies after 7, and only had 8 because of that one dream I had where 7 asked if 8 could come along, too. And I am SO GLAD we had her. So glad I didn't quit at 7. But I'm done now. And the future is looking pretty exciting. There is much work to do and much fun to be had, and I am happy to be going there.