#3 Why this really is the last hospital bag I’ll be packing.

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More recently, I’ve found myself having conversations with people where I’ve been asked the question - Are you done?  I presumed that this meant - Would I be having any more children? - to which I swiftly replied that I was most definitely ‘done’ and that this would most definitely be our last child. 

The responses that I received ranged from a knowing smile to outright disbelief.  For some reason, when people find out that you’re having a fourth child they don’t believe that you ever want to stop!  So I found myself thinking long and hard about how I’d reached this point - where I was sure that this really was the last time.

Here I am at 32 weeks along with our fourth baby and this pregnancy has been a somewhat different experience for many reasons.  In the past few days, I’ve packed my hospital bag (after being caught short the last two times) and started putting a few baby things together in response to the bizarre ‘nesting’ phenomenon that seems to happen about now. 

I noticed that I also felt like a bag of mixed emotions, which is of course completely normal,  but more than anything else I felt contentment.  Knowing that this will be the final time that I ever have to pack a hospital bag in readiness for a new baby, doesn’t make me feel nostalgic or sad.  Instead, I feel so unbelievably grateful and so ready to meet the newest family member who will take us into the next chapter...where there are no more babies!

I always knew that I wanted a big family, although I could never describe exactly why.  When writing a for and against list for having a fourth child (yes - I really did this and no- having four children didn’t happen as easily as people assume) it was glaringly obvious that the reasons were very much about feeling and much less about pragmatism.  

The journey to becoming a family of any size is deeply personal.  It can so often be challenging, frustrating and frightening.  Filled with twists, turns and steep hills, I’ve learnt from both my own experiences and from so many others, that the journey shows us just how fragile life can be.  At times it can make us feel intense sadness and confusion when the intention was for it to have the opposite effect!  

Whether you end up having one child or four or none at all, the feeling of contentment and the closure that being happy with your wonderful lot brings is a great comfort.

It truly doesn’t matter what size your family is or what other people think about it.  What matters is how you feel about it.  When you feel truly content and comfortable with who you are and who you are surrounded by, hold on to the moment because it’s a point that can take a while to reach.

So yes - this is the last time I’ll pack teeny-tiny clothes into a hospital bag, marvel at how small a newborn diaper is and feel kicks that only I know.  But I’m not sad that it’s the last time because I’ve been lucky enough, and I truly mean lucky enough to have made this wonderful journey, four wonderful times.

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I’m going to enjoy these final few weeks and although I’m sure I’ll look back and feel the nostalgia (not so much for the morning sickness), there is a closure this time that I feel excited about and grateful for.  I didn’t feel it with any of my other babies and that’s how I know that this really is the last time.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Caroline Hovord