04/28/2015 05:19 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mourning the End of the Baby Phase

It was a simple request on a random Saturday morning from our 3-year-old.

"Mommy, can I have a big girl bed?"

"You have one, silly!" I replied, as we moved both our girls out of cribs right before their second birthdays. "No... I don't want the w-ails anymore. I'm a big girl, I'm not a baby anymore."

And there it is, the words no mom is ever ready hear. The tears instantly sprang to my eyes as I realized that no, she isn't a baby anymore, and I'm not physically able to carry another. And it's a choice I made, even though I desperately wanted another child.


Of course I'm supremely grateful I'm even a mother at all... both girls were conceived after seven years of trying. Seven years of surgeries, acupuncture, fertility treatments and ultimately, IVF. We were told with our second daughter that we had basically a zero percent chance of conceiving. But we defied the odds and proved the doctors wrong. And trust me, we are incredibly thankful for the miracles we have, who bring so much joy to us every single day. But there was always that part of me that yearned to be pregnant again.

You know those little pangs you feel when you see a newborn, or walk by a pregnant woman and touch your hand to your stomach? To feel those little flutters that later turn into kicks, or to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time? To experience nursing... those late night snuggles and listening to the little gulping sounds? It's such a miracle to be able to grow a life inside you and then nourish her as well. But for us, it's no more bottles or boppy's, no more walkers or exer-saucers, no more baby food... just big girls. And though I mourned the end of the baby phase for over a year, I'm finally OK with it.

The chances of us every conceiving again were non-existent, anyways. We didn't want the expense of in vitro again, and quite honestly, the thought of more injections multiple times a day is stomach-churning. The swelling and the uncomfortable bruising and the panic and anxiety of the process is both nauseating and overwhelming. But strangely enough, I would have done it all again just to hold a baby one more time... and to give my husband a little boy.

I had a choice to make last year: I could continue along with my horribly inconsistent cycles, so intense I was becoming anemic. I was so exhausted and weak I could barely take care of myself, let alone two children. I was tired of trying. Tired of being sick, and tired of never being happy. So, with a heavy heart I made the choice to have a procedure that would prohibit pregnancy, a uterine ablation... knowing that we would never have more children.

And it did help my symptoms tremendously, but it took me over a year to accept the emptiness inside me.

The girls are growing faster than we ever imagined possible... so independent and full of life and character. They are walking, talking, attitude-filled little human beings who still need us, but each year just a little bit less. I'm happy to know them and to have had the experience of carrying them, loving them and raising them... but sometimes, my heart still hurts. And now that the toddler rails are down, not much remains in our home that says or feels "baby."

It's so hard to let go of what was and accept that we are done, but it's time. Time to say goodbye to our babies and hello to our future with our daughters -- the bright, spirited, creative creatures they are becoming -- and fully be grateful for what we have. We all have to do it, whether we are ready or not, to say goodbye and mourn that baby phase that will never be again.

This post originally ran on mommy in SPORTS. Please follow Kristen on Facebook for more parenting and sports content!