Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My nest.

Now that I've been less emotional for a week, I have found myself revisiting that time and slowly going through all the issues that came up and trying to acknowledge them in a happier space.

One of the biggest issues for me at this stage in my life is babies. For the past ten years I have been pregnant or breastfeeding and now I am neither with no plans to do either ever again.

When Pepper weaned herself a few months ago it didn't really worry me, but for some reason her second birthday did. I no longer have a baby and wont again.

I always thought I would know when it was time to move on to the next stage in life. My four pregnancies (one miscarriage) resulted in three healthy, wonderful children. So why on earth am I struggling right now?

The practical truth is that I got really sick during my last pregnancy and don't think our family could cope at the moment with me spending months and months on the couch or over the toilet. Also the farm has really kicked up a notch over the past two years and managing it is more than a full time job for Bren.

But none of this matters because these feelings are in my heart and body not in my head. My biological clock has a strong grip on me at the moment.

Over the last week when I have questioned other women about these issues I have learnt that most women don't definitely know. I have been met with tears on more than one occasion and sadness in many.

Perhaps moving on to the next stage is confronting. The other day I was at a cafe with some friends when a group of girls came in and sat at another table. These girls are similar ages to us but they had all recently had babies, while we had all finished having ours. Until recently they would have sat with us, but not anymore or for a while. I will never sit at that table again.

Maybe I am scared of having to become who I want to be now I am grown up. When you are pregnant or breastfeeding people are interested in the belly or the baby. I could always stand behind, happy as my role as their Mum. Now I need to stand alone and it is a bit scary. Who on earth am I anymore?

I have no answers just lots of questions.

I do know though how blessed I am to have three amazing daughters and be in the incredibly fortunate position to be able to spend lots of time with them.

I adore my family and know that it is complete, my body clock is just taking a while to catch up.

Funny, this morning I was wondering about what photos to publish with this post when Bren came in with this nest the boys had found in a tree they cut down yesterday. This nest is such a perfect metaphor for a mother preparing and nurturing her babies. This nest is also a perfect symbol for my role in my family, as it is woven from bits and pieces found around our farm, my home. That clever bird dragged twigs, cable ties, bits of wire, blackberry, hawthorn, willow, hay band and anything else it found to make the best, cosiest nest for its chicks.


  1. I am sending comfort vibes your way. I am a mother of one and don't want more children (logically... emotionally and hormonally is a whole other ball game). I'm scared of having to be grown up too. I think the important thing to remember is we are never alone.. there are lots of women who have gone or are going through similar struggles and we will figure out who we are someday.

  2. ohh Kate, {hugs}.
    we have 'talked' about this before, and I totally understand where you are at and we are at a similar stage in our lives.
    Aidan also weaned at just over 2 yrs and even though he can seem like a baby at times, he doesn't need me like that anymore.
    it's scary that because your body has been someone elses for soo long, now it's just you it is a really strange feeling.
    just a different stage in our lives now.
    geeee, what are we going to do when they go to school...
    if you ever need an ear, i'm here, let me know.
    hugs ♥

  3. ooops, forgot to say that I really enjoyed your pics!

  4. Hi Kate - you are sure not alone. I struggled coming to terms with being a "mum" for ages after being the "job" for so long, and then had the reverse struggle of "who am I now?" not so long ago - I think that's how life is, and thinking about it makes us better (and hopefully a bit excited about the next chapter). Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Blogging has been a real bonus to me and my thinking process - such similar people, such wonderful opportunities and ideas. My thoughts are with you ... Nic xx

  5. a wonderful post - isn't being a mum such a journey. a day job was such a breeze. The rollercoaster of motherhood just never ends if my 70 year old mum is anything to go by. Relish that you are going through this part of the patchwork journey - don't miss a bit of it - tears and tearing, laughs and warming.
    Go well

  6. What a lovely post! My eyes pricked with a few tears, this is a subject that is not often discussed but I am sure is internally struggled with by most women. I know I certainly have my own little internal struggle going on right now over a second pregnancy. Good luck with your own resolutions.

  7. Hi Kate, thanks for this thought-provoking, 'bare-all' post. It actually helps me to understand where one of my best friends is at (4 kids, no more possible, youngest is 2) and why she's finding it hard to figure out where she fits. I'm still there in the middle, hoping to have a few more, not feeling like the family is complete. I try to keep it clear in my head that this time with young children is just a season which will pass, so I need to hold onto an identity that is not just about mothering... but I can really imagine the tough decision it will be to let this season go (if I'M the one who gets to make that decision...)

    Anyway, thanks for your openness.

  8. These stages of life are sooo bizzare. You never think about the next because we are always so caught up in the present drama.
    I can't even contemplate where you are at, my body clock is screaming so loudly at me to procreate and I am so intense on making that happen that your dilemma is so alien.
    I know though, that my mother kept on having children until she was 42 and I thihnk it was eventually that wear and tear and tiredness of her age that made her stop. Even in her 60's she still talks of fostering.
    I think what Im trying to say is that some of us are just made to mother, and you are one of them. A bloody good one too. If you didn't find the role so natural then you wouldn't be rebeling so hard now.

    Love the nest... it's enormous!

  9. I am sending you some gentle hugs from across the miles ((())) - I really understand where you come from - my mother has recently admtted to me that she was addicted to being pregnant - and was pregnant 5 tmes (one miscarriage too). I carried a lot of anger with me for a while when my hubby kept on saying no to me about havng another baby... but now he has relented and we are so happy. One can not explain the woman and her body however hard we try. ((())) Vanessa

  10. I would really like to give you a hug right now. I'm not in that place yet, but I have a number of friends who are. It seems that most of them are sure in their heads that they've had their last baby, but emotionally they're still trying to catch up. It really doesn't help that there's a number of us still in the creating phase rather than the purely nurturing phase. Each time there's another pregnancy or birth, it brings back all of that physical and emotional longing.

    Thanks for your bravery and openness.

  11. Amazing post Kate, thank you for sharing this deeply personal part of you, with us.
    You could also look at that nest as your self no longer housing babies, so perfect in its mix of eclectic materials picked up from here and there, each strand contributing to a whole perfect item, strong where it needs to be, soft at its centre .... about to become something else to someone else ...
    Hugs to you my friend.
    T. xx

  12. Kate this is such a beautiful and interesting post. Your words and thoughts are so honest and open and really made me think. Reading through the comments it seems you are not alone, if not in your exact situation, but more in the complexities of the mysteriois world of mothering. Perhaps it's one of those that time will sort out. And maybe you need to be sad, as hard as that is, I hope it's not for too long. I think I am like Stephs mum, probably still wanting to feather my nest my whole life! Take care honey, lovely talking today xo

  13. It's really hard isn't it. For me there was never a proper cut off time. I think most of what you said was me but now with my youngest nearly 16 I am content to have no more and just snuggle with what I have or the pups or others babies. I really think it is connected to our own hormonal clocks and there is not much you can do but weather the storm. At the same time it is wonderful to one day wake up and find you have modified up to the next level. Cherrie

  14. I loved this post so much in that it brought back so many memories. Weaning babies is an emotional time, and no my daughter is facing that time with her little one. It all goes round again.

  15. I know exactly how you feel Kate but just remember they are little girls and still need their mommy a lot. I always wanted 3 children but after Isabelle I had post natal depression very badly and suffered for quite a few years with it. It scared me so much I couldnt even drive the car or visit friends for a while. I know now that she was the last one and that is how it is meant to be even though I would dearly love another baby my body would not. I think it is hard for women who love being a mum to adjust to having some spotlight on them once the kids grow up a bit, I know I found it hard and still do sometimes. I am sure your body clock will catch up in its own time and you will adjust as you have 3 wonderful girls to raise. Hugs xxxx

  16. Gosh Kate I don't know what to say other than sometimes I read your posts and it feels like Im reading my own words. I like that.
    Beautiful perfect amazing nest. Letting go is not easy.

  17. I have been thinking lately about your recent post alluding to some difficult decisions and an emotional time, so thank you for such a brave and open post Kate. My third child is 8 months old, and there is a big part of me that feels strongly that I'm not 'done', but I wonder if I'll ever feel that I am?
    You also got me thinking about the identity crisis that sometimes goes along with being 'the mum', I remember when I gave up my job to be at home with my first child I felt as though I had lost the thing that defined me, and now you are feeling the same thing as you move on from mothering a baby - maybe being a mother is constantly redefining ourselves? Thanks for sharing. Hugs xx

  18. Oh Kate poor love!!! I cried for a week when Busy weaned at 2 years old... its a really hard time...I felt like we were seperating in some way, like it would never be the same again.

    I don't know if I will have another baby or if I will ever not stop wanting more and more and more babies. I love babies I always will I just don't know if I can go back to being so dedicated as I was before- in an attatchment parenting kind of way? Can i do it again? I don't know....at the moment its great having a bit of me time.

  19. Wow seems you read lots of minds today Kate!
    I find that I really cling to, or savour moments with our smallest as we are undecided whether there will be more or not. So if she's the last 'baby' I don't want to have missed any of it.
    A friend of mine has threatened to report me to DHS for attempting to eat her on several occassions but I just want to breathe her in.
    It's such a hard time for you, being a mother is such a strong pull and in many ways so defining of our identity that it is hard to step back and remember there's a 'me' in it all.
    I hope you can find the place in life where the balance of you vs mum gives you a chance to live the life you want to.

  20. this gorgeous post certainly brought back memories for me. I too did confront this after my 3rd weaned. As i was consumed also with the running of our home and business i guess those feelings did not get too much attention. I think it/I metamorphosed without too much restraint, but there were definitely questions....its a good thing...listen to your body and your heart..it will provide your answers...patience ...beautiful day :)

  21. Beautiful post Kate, I'm sorry I can't share more as I'm not a mum, but I was chronically sick for quite a large part of my life so when i got better, I struggled in a similiar way to you. ( having always been the "sick" one, who was I healthy etc) so I perhaps understand a little what you are going through
    I do want to say I think you are an incredible special woman no matter what.

  22. Hi Kate

    Thanks so much for your kind comment on my blog. Daylesford seems to be full of beautiful, creative women. As is blogland - isn't it wonderful? My miserable day magically improved yesterday when a parcel of goodies arrived from a bloggy friend in Florida.

    How amazing that this nest came along while you are going through this poignant patch. You have struck a chord with so many of us. I loved all the thoughtful comments about our lives having chapters and being like patchwork. My youngest girl is three now and I savour those last babyish moments like when she falls asleep on my chest at night.

  23. Dear Kate, there are never any hard and fast rules or easy answers are there?
    I'll send you a hug and give you a real one next time I see you.
    Where you are is a hard place to be.

  24. i loved being pregnant - i loved the attention i got, i loved that i was never alone, i loved each step (mind you i was not sick). i loved giving birth and how empowering it was and what intimacy it brought to me and david. i loved having babies at home and having my role defined. but, i am 40 now and i have three gorgeous children and whilst i do mourn the loss of that stage in my life, i look at all that i can do now that my children are bigger. i still have moments - but since i've started studying, i am moving on. the only piece of advice i would give is that you make sure you don't have regrets. if you think there is 'one more' in you, then do it - it may be nine months of hell, but it's only nine months in the scheme of things.
    i haven't helped much have i!!!

  25. Lovely post Kate.
    I have 3 boys (3,5,7). I was not sure if I wanted to have children at all. After the first 2 pregnancies, had a miscarriage at 12 weeks, but still knew there was supposed to be another,even after all the feeding problems and sleepless nights. Baby 3 arrived and I knew that was it.
    Keep smiling.

  26. I really don't have much to add to the other comments here, but wanted to acknowledge a very special and honest post. There were many many statements in there that very much resonated with me as they obviously have with others.

    Hope you find some comfort tending to your 3 chicks (who have not yet flown the nest).

  27. Kate, your post is so honest and moving. I know what you mean when you speak about not really understanding why exactly you feel the way you do. Instincts and hormones are funny things. And our heads don't always agree with our hearts.

    With Ro recently having a vasectomy I know exactly where you are coming from. I had a rough pregnancy last time (not as bad as many do, but painful enough), and we have always said we would only have two children. But it doesn't matter. I still get emotional thinking that I won't ever feel a baby kicking me from the inside, or the magic of giving birth again.

    Keep your littlies close for lots of lovely cuddles, and you can't go wrong. xo

  28. Dear Kate
    I was just checking out my blog to make sure it's still there and oddly enough scrolled down to the bottom of the page which I rarely do and found a new comment from you which was such a surprise. The reason for my surprise is that I haven't had time to do a post lately and thought that everyone had probably forgotten about me. I'm glad you like my posts. You're obviously going through a difficult time of contemplation and I know how you feel, my children are older now and believe me you have so many more wonderful years ahead of you. You seem to have the most amazing life, I haven't had time to read everything yet. I love the blue cakes I did something similar the other day for my 20 year old it was great fun.

  29. aaaw. your girls are so lucky to have you. if i ever have a baby, you can sit at my table. just don't hog the pickles. xx

  30. Kate it is so hard to know what to say as after having my 2 girls I felt totally happy and blessed as we had tried so long for a 2nd baby Isobel is 6 1/2 years younger than Zoe and we were told we couldn't have another then we did! I felt so lucky so I guess I never grieved for not having anymore because I was already 35 when Bel was born. I think you will be fine in the next stage of your life but it may just take a while to get used to and your girls will take you along their next stages too, it's still full on without babies and they still need you heaps, and it's just as wonderful xx My girls are now 17 and 10 and it's such fun!!

  31. I've only just found your blog, and I don't know if I should really say anything, but I thought I could give you another perspective. I'm not a mummy mum, and was desperate for my son to get to school age! I was very thankful to 3 mummy mums who looked after my son when I went back to work to do my career thing. I know heaps of women who didn't plan their last child and are DESPERATE for babysitters so they can do their career thing. So why not consider starting a babysitting business or a home childcare to help out those mums that are not good at the baby stage? Or don't even do it for money - just babysit babies! Then you can sit at whatever table you choose and you can do it forever!!
    And there is no sickness involved. As a teacher of small children, I know that I get some mothering fulfilment looking after other people's children. And when your kids grow up, you can play grandma!
    Take care, Wendy xxx

  32. Oh Kate, what a gorgeous post... Thank you for sharing this very emotional side of yourself...

    Jodie xx

  33. From a much older person who suddenly has the same thoughts as you (also had them when my "baby (now 26) was about 2) - take care and bide your time, their lives will fill you up until its only a twinge. Its worse now they have left home and I am an idiot for feeling this way :-)

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  35. It may be that I am in denial, but although I feel it looming, I'm not quite there yet. I should be. Feet too busy to touch the ground maybe. Sometimes I think about it and it feels a bit like a bungee jump I did on the spur of the moment over the Thames River (the tide was out and it was the most unspectacular place to do any such thing). The precise point when the jump became the fall was terrifying, empty, confronting, exhilarating, beautiful. I didn't know what would happen at the bottom - it was a leap of faith of the most literal kind. Growing up into this next phase of life feels a lot the same. I'm going to try to take another leap of faith and trust that I'll feel as ALIVE at the bottom of this one.

    Thanks for slowing me down and hitting me between the eyeballs. I hope you find all your right answers.

  36. hi
    as you can see you're not alone in feeling this way - but rest assured things will improve and move on.
    gill xx

  37. Hello. This is a place I didn't expect to find myself for several more years, but six months ago my partner of 15 years suddenly walked out on me. I had a 16 month old at the time, and we were trying for our second baby. He left me while I was taking pregnancy vitamins, not drinking, eating the right foods, buying maternity clothes, you name it. I'm 35, single, with one gorgeous boy who I'm so grateful to have, but suddenly I'm confronted by the fact that I probably won't get to have more children -with the odds of meeting another life partner and age somewhat against me. It's painful, raw, and frankly it just really really hurts. Whether we choose to not have children, to stop having more children, or the choice is made by us or made for us, the grief is the same.
    I'm so sorry. It's just so hard.

  38. Oh Kate! How did I miss this post?
    My fourth wean about a month ago, and far too early for my liking, 14 months. 2yrs is my standard weaning age. Before that I have been pregnant, breastfeeding or both for all of my 20's. Scary and confronting stuff coming out the other end. I know this is my family. I feel it in my being. Is it easy, no, but I'm trusting that the weird feeling I have now will pass soon and I can look forward to being in this place with my beloveds.
    I have no idea who I am without that obvious mothering stuff. And it freaks me out! All I can do is trust life and take it as it comes.
    Also, this is 'my' time with hubby. It's our first time in nearly 10 years that we haven't had to share our 'space' with anyone else. That is something very very cool ;)

  39. Lots of love, Kate. I am in a similar place myself and have been teetering on the will I- won't I? ride for the past year... Its a tough one, but goodness me what exciting times lie ahead!! XXXX

  40. thank-you for your post, I came across it via clutterpunks 2009 restrospective post. I can fully relate to your feeling regarding breastfeeding. I weaned by daughter at 26 months because I was pregnant and it was quite sore to continue. But that was good because I had another I was cooking. Well I miscarried at 3 months and part of my mourning was also about the loss of breastfeeding. I wanted to feel that closeness again, I wanted to feel that connection. But it wasn't there anymore. Now my daughter needs me in a different way. I am still sad though.

  41. Reading through clutterpunks posts brought me to this one. I don't know if it is still something you want to talk about, but I wanted to say thank you for this post.

  42. I agree with everything you said. I also agree with your analogy with the other women. I too was in a similar situation and almost felt like saying "I have two babies as well, they're 6 and 3 years" - I wanted to be included, not for the social side, but because I was in the midst of it.

  43. An amazing post, Kate. I'm so glad you revisited it via Lifeinapinkfibro's link. I am sure we have all felt this way as mums... I understand your feelings right now as The Badoo is no longer a baby (is in fact self-toilet training as I write) and I am suddenly a little bit sad.

    Would I go back to newborns - not a chance. My baby days are done for sure, but I will give them the grieving space that they so deserve along the way.

    As your post was written a while ago, I wonder where you are at with these feelings now? x

  44. Wow, Kate! I just found this through the linky as well. What an affecting post. It was heartwrenchingly, achingly and beautifully written. Bravo you. J x

  45. This is such an incredible post. I understand your feelings here, in so many ways. My youngest is three, going on four. Still snuggly, but for how long. And he's the last one. How will I feel when he no longer wants to be my baby? Sad, for sure. But also, slightly relieved that I have the freedom to be me again. Like Maxabella, I wonder where you're at with this now?

  46. A wise friend told me recently that fear of the future can make us act in all sorts of funny ways...and I thought it was just me who felt like this after the birth of my third and last baby (seriously, I did!). Thank you for sharing xxx

  47. How can I say this? well maybe stop fighting it. Maybe there is just one more. it works out I promise, I don't think its every a bad idea to have a baby in the context of a happy relationship with children. Have you seen my Annie-Rose??

  48. first comment here. I'm going to give you another view. we had 3 kids and my husband company moved us to another country. new language, new friends new live. we were done with kids (at the time they were 7,5 and 2). i wanted to learn something like photography, sewing (until moving I had a full time job) and suddenly I found out that I was pregnant! It was a big shock! really big! and for two years I was depressed! the feelings that I had were horrible but I just couldn't stop! I could not believe the things that would go in my mind! I asked for help to my doctor and after some medication I started to feel me again.
    joana XX

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