This weekend SIL brought the nieces down to our house for a sleepover. Despite the fact everyone is mega tired today, it's always fun to gather the girls together. Between the two of us, SIL and I birthed four kids in three years. And that is just the successful pregnancies, as SIL miscarried once and I ended one pregnancy for medical reasons in those same years. Needless to say, SIL and I have been in the same phase of life: gestating, lactating, and trying to juggle a little bit of work with a whole lot of nose and butt wiping for the under-three set. So we usually can understand what the other one is feeling.
I told SIL how strange and sad it is for me to be done with having children. She sympathized, but when I asked her if she thought she would like another baby too, she looked horrified. Adding a second kid had really kicked her ass, she said. She hadn't expected how difficult the juggling would be, and since her first kid was easy going, she'd been shocked to learn how different the baby stage can be when you have a more demanding baby. All in all, it was a bumpy family adjustment after the second birth.
The good news is that now that niece #2 is 18 months old, life is much better for SIL. She likes that the girls are older and a smidge less dependent on a moment-to-moment basis. And she loves that she is now back to work three full days a week, in a job she enjoys, with the kids in preschool/daycare part time.
"If I had another I think I would lose myself," she said. "So I'm definitely done."
All of this made a lot of sense to me, and also jolted me out of my "no more babies" funk a little bit. It is good to be reminded of the positive things that come with being done. It's good to see SIL clearing out her old spit-up-upon clothes and trading up for modern styles that -- GASP -- sometimes might actually not be wash and wear!
Of course, I'm a long way off from being able to wear nonsensible clothing. Little A spits up if she's even in the same room as a dry-clean-only tag. But, someday I'll get there. And it'll be nice.