4/12/10

The end of limerence

We're done having babies. We're stopping at two children. We are clear on this, have been for a long time.

But yesterday, I watched E walk, all nonchalant, pushing a toy and I realized she's almost a toddler. I look at infant pictures of both of our girls and I feel a familiar ache and desire. Our baby is growing up. And: Who else would we make?

Saying "no more babies" sometimes feels like saying "no thank you, I don't want to fall in love again."

Because that's what the first year is about for me, in addition to the NOT SLEEPING and the nursing and the major life adjustment smack-to-the-head of OMG there's a new, totally dependent being that is relying on US, it's about falling deeply, helplessly, irretrievably in love. I know I will love my girls fiercely for the rest of my days but there is nothing like the burning intensity of the first year of their lives. Like most types of love, for me, there has been a strong limerence phase in the first year of mothering before the newness wears off, before familiar patterns emerge and become entrenched, before complexity and routine replace simplicity and miraculous discovery, before development demands separation.

There is loss inherent in every leap, every big moment in life, the passing of my last time in baby-limerence is no exception. After all, part of getting married was accepting that I would not fall in romantic love again, this time is -hopefully -my last time. (Though, I guess you could say you fall in love with your spouse again and again every single day but I might have to slap you if you, in fact, say that.)

I started this blog when Z was about to start walking. The limerence phase was ending, I could feel it. I knew her differentiation was coming; I knew the next year would be full of growth and independence and separation and conflict. I didn't want to let go of those cozy, dependent, baby days.

I still don't.



video

12 comments:

Erin said...

Oh. No more babies. I keep thinking we're done too. BUT...

It's so hard to really accept that decision.

Whimsy said...

Isn't that it, then--- that babyhood and childhood in general, for us, as parents, is filled with this loss? That no matter what they're going through, even if it's the Hell Beast stage--- we'll know that the days are numbered and we won't be able to relive them again. It's wonderful and terrible all at once.

Astarte said...

Oh, it makes me ache inside sometimes, seeing other people with their snuggly babies. That smell, the warmth, the surety that you can meet all their needs and cocoon them completely - it's so perfect. The rest is so increasingly scary and unsure, but that first year in particular is just magic. Now that ours are older, I look at them and wish that I could make everything perfect for them like I used to be able to. Sigh.

Swistle said...

Ack, yes. The "No thank you" part.

Hillary said...

Yes, truly, there is that feeling of falling in love, even when you know it's sort of a doomed love. You're going to have to let that child go and be on their own. Doomed maybe is too strong a word. The love will always be there, but it cannot stay that fierce, all-consuming passion. Kind of reminds me of my first love, at 17. Still love him -- or at least the idea of who we both were then -- but it would have been disastrous if we'd stayed together.

Marie Green said...

I struggle with the babies vs. no more babies decision EVERY DAY. And I just don't feel done, don't feel ready to walk away from this season of my life yet...

Also, I loved hearing Z's sweet voice. So adorable! (She can't be that mobile yet. I firmly believe you've used and Imposter Baby for that video.)

Erica said...

As with all of your posts, this one is SO! TRUE!

The Boy is our second and final child and I find myself suddenly saddened at the thought of this being the very last baby in my belly EVER. This will be the last time I nest, make a place in my home and my heart for another human being to join us.

miyoko said...

yep, I. has started to walk. Off she goes. Wonder if she'll be as SUPER independent a P. So far, it seems so. I have been trying to keep the snuggly-ness going, but the other morning after nursing her, i looked down at her with a big grin, hugged her and WHAM she head butted me right in the bottom lip. I've had a purple fat lip for almost a week now. My little girl is giving me signs she's ready to wean. :( The baby phase goes so fasT!

Grateful Twin Mom said...

You speak so wisely to the understanding of what it's GOING to BE like, in the future. You so eloquently address the inevitability of the change when "patterns entrench" and "complexity and routine replace simplicity and miraculous discovery." Makes me sad as my daughter rolls her eyes at me when I make a goofy face, when, as a baby, that was what she lived for; and I get sad when they want playdates more than time with me. So precious little of that time. Makes me want to spend time with my own mother, who I am sure, misses me desperately daily.

Sarah said...

This is EXACTLY why I want to have, like, a million babies (in my heart -- because Jesus that would be a lot of not sleeping!). I don't want to stop at two because I just can't bring myself to think that my next pregnancy will be my last and the next baby will be my last.

Good Enough Mom said...

What an awesome post. (I especially liked the part about wanting to slap anyone who says they fall in love with their spouse again-and-again! LOL!)

When my second started walking, my first said "Mommy! I never knew he was going to WALK!!!" He was astounded. I was sad. I hear you!

pywhong said...

Love the post. I've been thinking the same thing w/ T at 17 mo lately. Less snuggly, more independent. But the flip side? Sleeping well, so good in the car, and maybe ready to travel long(er) distances for a real vacation! We're still on the fence... +other mommies are now having their third. I wonder if any of us from our mommy group will too...

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