The State of Babylessness: My Babies Aren’t Babies Anymore

The State of Baby-lessness, no more babies
I sit in the rocking chair in the dark bedroom. The aluminum foil on the window, trashy as it may be, does its job of keeping out the midday light. I’ve been humming “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on repeat for the last fifteen minutes. She fumbles with her stuffed bunny. Repositions herself in my lap. Sighs.
I shift her weight to the other side. Now her head is hanging awkwardly off the side of the chair instead of her legs. She sits up (again), and tries to rest her head on my shoulder with her legs curled underneath her.
Now I sigh. It’s looking like a lost cause…again. This used to be a nearly infallible method to get her to sleep, but it looks like I’m going to have to lay her in her bed awake again for the second time this week.
This routine has been a long tradition. Despite the blaring warnings from websites, books, professions, other moms, and mentors to never rock your child to sleep or they will be spoiled and broken and never go to sleep without you, I’ve always done it. No regrets. I’ve learned to appreciate and look forward to this special time to pause life and cuddle my babies.
Regardless of whether or not she fits in my lap, she’s almost three, and naps will soon be a thing of the past. 
Almost three. Three whole years. 
A three-year-old is definitely not a baby anymore.
We had a family planning system that worked for us. Get pregnant in late spring. Have baby in the winter. Every three years, so that the previous one would be self-sufficient enough to not die while tending to the newest. So right now, I should be so pregnant that I’m ready to pop. But I’m not, because we decided that she’d be our youngest. 
Next fall she’ll be old enough to go to preschool. 
Time runs so fast for us slow-moving mortals! It slips away like water running through my fingers. 
There’s no regret, but there is a sadness for the ending of the “baby” phase of my life. Even though it spanned nine years, now that I’m facing the end of it, it seems to have gone so fast. Now I know what everyone meant when they said “the days are long but the years are short.” 

I will miss the kicks in my belly. I will miss the gathering of tiny clothes in my nightstand and the preparation of placing the bassinet next to my side of the bed. I will even miss the unmistakable power of labor contractions.

I will miss the first night with a newborn, when everyone else has gone to bed and I’m left alone to revel in her perfection under the dim night’s lights. I will miss nursing. I will even miss the smell of a breastfed newborn’s poop (gross but somehow true).

I will miss the first smiles and first belly laughs. I will miss carrying them around in the baby carrier as if they were still in utero. I will definitely miss the guaranteed cuddles and physical closeness most of all.
It’s strange and a little bit painful to know I won’t experience these things again.
There isn’t a word in the English language that accurately describes changing from being a mom of young children to being a mom of older children. A mom who’s done making more kids and is now concentrating on growing up the ones she’s got. And I think there should be a word, because it feels like I’m embarking on a completely different stage of life. 
While the English language isn’t going to honor us moms of not-babies-anymore, I will. 
Here’s to us, moms of older kids. May we reminisce but not regret. May we remember the quiet, magical moments of our children’s babyhoods and use them to help us remember what a unique gift they are, worthy of our love and respect. May we love our kids just as much when they’re insufferable 15-year-olds as we did when they were 15-day-olds. And may we grant ourselves the permission to be at peace with the end of our baby years.


  1. As it’s been a few weeks since I wrote this piece now, I’d like to give a little update on naptime: Just this afternoon, my now three-year-old didn’t want to even cuddle before I layed her down. She just crawled in her bed and had me cover her up. That’s it.
    I know the positive is that she will now go down “easy” for a nap. But I’m going to miss every single one of those cuddles!

  2. We have decided that our baby, 6 months, will be our last. I’ve had some mixed feelings about our “last-firsts,” like the last-first food. It’s hard to realize I’ll never have another tiny baby in the house, but it also feels good to wrap up that stage in my life—and send outgrown onesies to moms who are expecting.

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