Well, I’ve done it again! I have run the 40-week long race from gamete to infant for the sixth time. My little girl is now a week old and, as many will tell you, I can’t imagine life without her. As with previous deliveries and early postpartum periods, I am going through a roller-coaster of emotions – no doubt 90% hormonally-driven — and an uncontrollable urge to binge on carbohydrates and chocolate. Must. Stay. Awake.
Being a parent for the sixth time is a lot more fun than the first three. Sure, mild neglect of house chores tends to have bigger consequences faster. I am presently staring down a 1-foot high pile clean laundry that completely covers the surface of a king size bed. But my little bundle of joy is only happy when she is held. So there goes the laundry. And most of the meals. In fact, I am writing this post cradling baby in my left elbow so I can type with both hands. She is not the first newborn who will not put up with being put down. But I remember her siblings – particularly her oldest brother, now 11 – as fussy babies whereas I think this little one is pretty easy going… as long as I hold her. What 6 children have taught me is that the laundry will not have changed tomorrow but my little girl will. At this point, it is far more important for me to enjoy every minute with my newborn – her smell, her skin, her little noises, her little fingers, her hair – than take pride in having the best folded laundry in the neighborhood. In the mean time, my little girl learns that it’s okay to fall asleep, that someone will still be there when she wakes-up. And when I get overwhelmed and wonder if I will ever get anything done, I look at the big bodies that live in my house and am reminded how quickly the last 13 years have gone by. Before I know it, this little girl will be 13 and her biggest sister will be 26 and I will wonder where the days have gone.
I love the wisdom and perspective – and helping hands — that come with a large family. The more children I have, the more I truly enjoy and appreciate them. Now, to all the people who ask me if “six is it, are you finished?” I answer that with my first four children, I couldn’t imagine having one more. Since the fifth, I can’t imagine not. And whether or not my baby ends up being the last one – and she very well could be – I am thankful for the love she and her siblings have brought into my life. Because each child doesn’t take away from the love pie: it’s the pie that gets bigger.by