I had surgery yesterday to get sterilized. The irony that the last time I was in a hospital bed was the day my second child was born was not lost on me.
I am almost 42 years old. I have two children but sometimes it feels like 10. Once my second child was born, we all knew that our family was complete.
And yet yesterday as they wheeled me into the operating room I felt a heavy waterfall of grief come over me. I started sobbing.
There was a man behind me, I assume the anesthesiologist but I didn’t see his face when he asked if everything was ok.
I tried to chuckle through the tears. “I just can’t believe it’s really happening. I’m getting sterilized. It’s just all so much.”
The nurse beside me nodded. But the guy sounded confused when he said, “But isn’t this what you want?”
Oh, if only all of our life choices were as simple as finding satisfaction and peace with every major decision we make! I can only imagine.
I don’t think I responded before they hooked me up to the IV, and I didn’t wake up again until a few hours later.
Now I lay in bed with a throbbing tummy and deep exhaustion, but grateful for a smooth surgery. I know I made the right decision in the same way I knew we were done having children years ago. And I’m reminded yet again that even the most important decisions we make in life can come with tears. Even with certainty comes grief. And mourning the end of my childbearing is not only acceptable, it’s warranted.
It’s the end of an era. My babies are now little men and I will never grow another baby inside of me. And as I listen to those little men outside my bedroom now fighting and screaming, I think, “Thank God!” But it’s also so deeply bittersweet.
What will the next phase of life be? It’ll be soccer games, friendships, school, and then (gasp) preteens. Maybe there will be grandkids in my future. Or maybe not.
Everybody talks about wanting to have children. But nobody ever talks about the day you know it’s time to stop having children. And as someone who just switched to the next phase of life, all I can say is wow. So deeply bittersweet.