Sometimes I Wish I Had a Baby Again

Sometimes, every once in a while, I wish I had a baby.

Truthfully, babyhood wasn’t my favorite time being a parent. I was often tired, messy, confused, and anxious. Babies take an enormous amount of physical work – the lifting, carrying, changing, bathing, feeding, rocking, cleaning, comforting…you know what I mean. Some of that was magical – the moment when your baby nuzzles against your neck, the sudden heaviness when your baby falls asleep in your arms, the splashy, silly baths, the joy of the gurgling smile as you lift your baby from the crib, ready for the day. There are mothers who would say every moment of babyhood was like that for them – miracle upon miracle to be savored and appreciated, hours spent in a rocking chair with their baby, content just being there, in that moment.

I wasn’t one of those moms.

I waited impatiently for my babies to reach milestones…to sit up, to hold their bottles, to walk, and especially to talk. I was so happy when my babies started talking to me, able to tell me what they wanted in words instead of cries (bottle! blankie! potty!). My son, bless his heart, didn’t really start talking until he was two and a half – he kept me waiting, that boy.

Despite all of the hard work, the stinky, slimy, exhausted-ness of having a baby, there are times when I miss it so much it’s as if something is pulling on my uterus, some external force telling me I NEED a baby. Forget the fact that this would be virtually impossible at my age, or that my children are grown, or that I’m so very happy with my middle-aged life.

Sometimes when I see a baby in it’s mother’s arms, the connection so sweet and lovely, palpable as a warm breeze, it makes me long for those baby days with such sudden force that it takes my breath away when I remember that those hours, those days of toys and strollers, car seats and Cheerios, those are all long gone. They’re a blur of diapers, Johnson’s baby shampoo, mashed bananas and Barney videos, playgroups and picture-taking, onesies and bottles.

As my babies grew, up and away, I marveled at each and every step, watching them as they moved from babyhood to the toddler years, elementary school, and so on. Each year and each goal reached left another phase of their lives behind – rattles and mobiles packed away, high chairs exchanged for booster seats, cribs switched out for big kid beds. Each last moment – the last bath is given, last time carried to bed, last bedtime story read – passed without notice or fanfare.

I never realized when it was the last time.

I love being an empty-nester.  My husband and I don’t often feel any sense of longing for a full house – it’s always nice when the kids are here, and it’s also nice when we’re here together, just the two of us.

My grown kids bring so much good stuff into my life – they are still the most interesting people in the world to me. They will always be my babies.

But sometimes, I want a baby, right this minute, very much. Sometimes I want to hold a baby, soft and snuggly and dozing, and love it and care for it and protect it from the world.

But only sometimes.

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  • I hear ya. Can totally relate. But like you, I was always in a rush for the next stage and phase. Perhaps if I had really reveled in it like so many others, I wouldn’t feel that yearning…or guilt.

  • When my son left this morning for school (college) I thought how much I miss our mornings together. I reveled in every single minute of motherhood. As a man, he doesn’t need me much anymore (which is the way it should be). I don’t hear much about school or friends or girls unless I ask specific questions. I miss, terribly, the time when he was young and he needed me and we enjoyed having fun together. It was a great time of my life and I’ll always cherish it.

    Yes, I love being at my age now, too. My husband and I are very happy. Yet I still look longingly at young moms at the mall pushing baby strollers, or at the playground pushing their children on swings. I get all weepy every single time.

    Thanks for the great post. Gotta go grab a Kleenex now!

  • Oh, I hear you, Sharon! Babies are pretty wonderful, even though, like you, I experienced both my kids’ babyhoods as a kind of turbulent, messy, disorganized time.
    I suspect what we’re going through is something like “pre-grandparenthood longings,” a bit like the infamous “biological clock” that tells us it’s time to reproduce…or else!

  • I honestly loved being a mom to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. I was often tired, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by it. I love my life now, but I miss those years terribly. If it weren’t for the fact that they turn into snarly preteens and teens, I’d start all over again.

  • I am so glad to hear someone else describe her children as the most interesting people she knows! We are lucky to have, to have had, and to know that we will have!

    Beautifully expressed Sharon. Thank you!

  • Lovely post, Sharon. The baby stage is physically exhausting (that’s why we do it when we’re young!) and I remember thinking I can’t wait until I no longer have to carry a diaper bag. So much schlepping. But, I loved having little ones running around the house and when I see parents with babies or little kids I get a pang in my heart and wish mine were little again, because now it seems like it went too fast. And, I think my kids are the most interesting too! There’s no one I’d rather be with.

  • I’ve felt the same tugging. I’m so thankful my youngest grandgirly lives relatively close by. On my way to take care of her today!

  • It is their baby smell!

  • I am not longing for a baby right now as I am enjoying my freedom so much, but I dearly loved each and every year of my daughter’s growing years and often miss those days. The memories for me are a treasure chest that I open and look at and lock away until the next time I want to visit the best things that ever happened to me in my life,…motherhood.

  • Dorothy

    I dreamt last night that I had a week old little baby on my shoulder with the bluest eyes and her name was Gabriella so I awoke with the same feelings you are talking about. So I know what you mean. I can only hope to have grandchildren one day to fulfill those feelings.

  • Honestly I look at babies in the grocery store and want to reach out and touch. My youngest brother had a baby two months ago and I need to go meet here soon, and have a little cuddle!

  • I absolutely do! I miss it so much! And, it’s not like I was such a doting parent. I didn’t think things were fabulous while I was doing it- i alwsys felt overwhelmed. I had 4 kids starting when I was 17. But now I am so sad to have it over. Grandkids make up for a little….but not quite enough….

  • This struck a chord, Sharon. Even though I couldn’t wait for my babies to be 5 years old – old enough to play ball-I find myself longing to hold a wee little one close to my heart again. I guess that is what grand babies are for. Since I am still teaching I get my daily dose of kids all ages and stages!

    • I, too thought 5 was a goal – I loved the idea of kindergarten, and them coming home each day with stories to share and new experiences to tell me about. What I failed to consider was how much more complicated things would be once they started school – so much innocence lost so quickly!

  • Precious pictures. As I said in #GenFab, grandbabies fill the void, for sure. Funny thing is, now that mine will be 5 and 2 in June, I’ve been thinking lately how much I miss having a TINY grandbaby to hold. As a long-distance grandma, I didn’t get enough of that before they were toddling and talking. One of my local daughters needs to have a kiddo — eventually.

  • Hi Sharon, I was one of those moms. I loved that baby stage, and always wanted more children. It’s good I stopped at three, but there was a phantom baby haunting me for a long time. I think she finally gave up, and will have to arrive in the form of a grandchild one day.

  • Nancy Matchton Owens

    Love this and can totally relate… Want that baby in the shop not most days all days. Weird when I did nothing but complain… But still nothing like a baby fallin asleep on you. Smell of the head so on and so fourth… Great article as usual,

  • I miss having a other baby,I wish I have a boy next,so then I will have a girl and a boy,and nomore after that

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