(I. Want. A. Newborn.)

I know we’re done.

We hit our limit with five kids.

I’m flying by the seat of my pants most days, and each night I fall into bed wishing I had more time for each of them…and trying to console Dave that I really think this is the month Lu’s going to grow out of her fit-throwing.

So why do I keep getting so darn baby hungry?

Is it because I’m bombarded seeing the sweetest babies sleeping on their mother’s shoulders each week in church? I sit behind them and watch…their cheeks all smooshed flat nestled into their mother’s necks and their mouths slightly open in such comfort. My whole heart swells up and chokes me with this longing to have my own babies back, snuggling in a ball on my shoulder, breathing peacefully in my ear. I can almost smell their soft rose-petal skin and feel the rise and fall of their contented breathing under my hand.

Yes, sometimes I ask to hold them and so I can drink them in. And yes, every newborn is amazing…the way they stretch, the way they place their long scrawny fingers across their faces as they try to get comfortable, their yawns that utilize their whole bodies.

But that magical catching of my heart doesn’t happen. They’re not my newborns.

And I wish they were.

Maybe my recurring I.W.A.N. days are also a result of the fact that they had to air a show about newborns while I was sitting at the blood lab the other day? Their tiny bodies wrapped in nothing but a newborn diaper, their hands reaching out and their legs curled in in authentic newborn fashion.

Or maybe it’s that Pampers had the audacity to send me a teensy little sample newborn diaper last week. Are they trying to taunt me? The fact that it was a Pampers one made it even worse (I LOVE Pampers…mostly for the smell when you open the box. I think they smell heavenly…I know, weird.) I cried as Elle looked up at me with an expression that said, “what the heck mom?? It’s a diaper!”…but once I explained it the look on her face changed to one that told me she knew some day she’d feel the exact same way. I can’t throw it away. It sits on my desk and reminds me that I.W.A.N.

Yes, I still know we’re done. I just have to get used to the fact that this gnawing desire to hold another one of my newborns in my arms again will never go away.

And really, that’s ok. Because even though I don’t have a newborn right now, I’m glad my newborns filled that part of my heart so fully. And now I’m surrounded by five of my favorite “big kids” ever.

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  1. Shawni, you move me to tears nearly every day. I know you move a lot of people, but I'd like to think that some of your posts are just for me. Kookoo, I know. I want you to know how the book you and your mother put together was a blessing straight from heaven. I received it as a gift the day after I delivered my 5th baby. I was overwhelmed in the hospital, and lonely. My husband walked in with your book, I stayed awake for HOURS reading. I feel like I am armed now, with secrets that will help me remember the sacredness of what I am doing, of being a mother. Just thought you should know how greatly I appreciate you.

    btw…I am a friend of Carrie (Gardner)Reed. She got me hooked on your blog. πŸ™‚

  2. I'm glad I'm not alone…I think an IWAN support group is needed. Last week at the grocery I walked through the diaper aisle TWICE because the smell of new Pampers was so strong! It puts pure panic in my heart to think of my youngest turning 2 in December. I too, feel like I've reached maximum capacity in managing my household…but should I fit one more in before it's too late? I'm constantly torn in that decision. That Pamer's aisle…doesn't help at all.

  3. Why do I keep getting Huggies in the mail? Don't they know I decided already? LoL

    I feel the same way and you have one more kid than I do.

  4. haha — i laughed outloud at sarah's comment…a group for us!

    yeah, me too. i get it. so won't be having another, and so barely manage the four i have, but golly, suddenly 7byHisdesign sounds so appealing…now that the 2 year-old is actually talking and is ALMOST intelligible…and maybe only throwing fits, like, um, once a day?? maybe 2-3, max.


  5. While I do not have a newborn love — perhaps there's a mom in your ward who could really use some help (someone like me…) — someone who has a lot of other littles and could really use a hand, and focus on helping her with the newborn. Maybe you could take it for an hour or two while she helps out in the other kids classrooms, or just at church. It would have to be someone who already has a few. For instance, some people have done it for me and I adore it. I just like having my own body space, if only for a moment while they snuggle. But, perhaps if you just focused one little newborn it would feel more like your own and fill that spot, while also filling someone else's too?

  6. Well said!! It is hard to get those feelings to move on. My youngest..who is 9, has started asking for a sibling. Not going to happen. πŸ™ Babies are so amazing!

  7. Once there are three members, is it considered a group? Sign me up too.

    You worded this so beautifully. I completely understand. Part of me wonders if it takes being DONE to really recognize the deluxe blessing of a newborn. I suppose grandparenting is what comes next! I have a whole pile of blankies and newborn outfits that I just couldn't walk by… future baby gifts, I suppose. You are lovely.

  8. Oh this so speaks to me and I just had my 4th 8 weeks ago…I'm already thinking can I squeeze one more in? I just turned 41 and am running out of time! I hold this newborn and think..how can this be my last? You have a beautiful family…go for one more!!

  9. I feel the same way and I'm pregnant. I know this should be our last. I do. The thing is, I could have five more, but my sweet husband just can't. This is it for him. He's reached his max. In fact, I think had we stopped at four he probably would have never known what he was missing with five. So I know in my head that five is it, and I feel like this little baby on her way is my bonus blessing, but I still long for at least one more. I'm gearing up for that heartache I know I will feel even my my kids are all big.

  10. I found your blog from a friends. I hope you don't mind… also, I love it!
    My baby started school this year and I can't have any more. sigh.
    Have been known to walk through the baby section and dream.
    Thanks for speaking the words of my heart.

  11. Oh Shawni, that feeling for a newborn is wonderful! This is why after Ashley was born we had Josiah, and after Josiah died we had Carly. Of course having the third special needs baby in a row slapped us back to reality. I still get tears in my eyes when I see someone else with the new baby. I try not to hold them anymore. We were also coupled with the feeling that we need someone YOUNGER than the one with special needs to look after them when we are gone. This plan did not exactly work out for us. Our older kids are much older – in their late 20's.

  12. Yeah, Julie, I can totally relate…Dave was done at two, and I"m SOOO lucky I got five. And really, even if I had 85 I think I'd still be aching for another. So, maybe it'd make me feel better to just send you some Pampers so at least someone can enjoy them!…(they're just not quite so enchanting at Lucy's size SIX)

    And Hilary, I have tried your tip, and although I still love those other little newborns it just can't compare to my own. It's nice to serve and help out and all that jazz, but it doesn't do much for my aching… except make it a little bigger. Darn it. I guess I just have to come to grips with it!

  13. how do you REALLY ever know when you're done? i'm happily expecting our 6th and i honestly want to know how you ever REALLY KNOW?! i was raised to believe that when god was done sending them, then you're done. what's your opinion on this?

  14. I loved this post! You and I are a lot a like girl! I feel crazy up to my eye balls,I know I am DONE but still feel an ache in my heart knowing this 10 year chapter of my life is now over! I waited my whole life to have babies, and enjoyed it, and now I am never going to have it again! It really is such a bitter sweet. I will tell you I am glad that I get sleep now! That is one thing that gets rid of those I.W.A.N feelings really quick!

  15. Shawni- I too have suffered with I.W.A.N syndrome/disease. I wish I knew I was done- the not knowing is making me a little (well really, A LOT) crazy. I think about it incessantly. That's why I am so grateful for my new calling as an early morning seminary teacher- I have really bad morning sickness- 24/7. So I have made peace with the answer of "not now- at least until this school year is over". I just wonder what I will spend all my new found thinking time worrying/stressing about ; )

  16. I can't understand when people say they don't love the newborn stage. That they can't wait to get through the first year. If I could have it my way, I'd make it take 2 years to get through the first 6 months. I LOVE newborns. And although I still plan on having a couple or so more kids, my heart aches to think of the time when I'll be done. As I sit here and hold my 5 month old, I can't think of anything better. Maybe in heaven you'll be the lucky one holding all the newborns getting ready to meet their earthly parents.

  17. Shawni!! I can totally relate. We have the same situation with our husbands being "at capacity." And although I have my 5, I still ache for a 6th or 7th–maybe I can talk him into it in a few years πŸ™‚ Coming from a family of 9, I crave the "big family feel" and want that so much for my kids. So I need to join your IWAN club. (and I agree, holding other people's babies doesn't make my ache go away…it usually gets worse!) Enjoy Education Week! One of these years I'll be there! Darcy

  18. I am a stalker coming out of the woods for a moment to say = what wonderful words! Our youngest and 4th is 8 months and hubby is done. I on the other hand just dont feel it. He was done at 3 and I told him just one more. Now I am saying it again and he isn't getting it this time, darn it.
    I feel the same as bows and more: I have waited my whole life to be a mommy with little ones, now it is almost coming to an end? How did that happen so fast!

  19. I keep one of the tiny hospital diapers I got with Maddie in my sock drawer. Whenever I take it out my heart almost stops, like I wish time would.

  20. I.W.A.N. as well (I've been saying I have "baby fever"! I am at 4, 38yrs old and was so disappointed this month when i wasn't PG. My hubby is all for it, but some days I wonder if I can really handle it with a wild 4 year old and an almost 2 year old and then an 8 and 10 year old. Boy howdy, life is crazy! Glad to know I'm not alone in the baby craving dept.

  21. I was just telling someone the other day how scared I am to finally be done. I have three and my youngest is 15 months. I know we are on the tail end now. Probably only one more and it is already breaking my heart. I could be 100% happy to keep one of my babies a baby forever and ever. They are so sweet and make everything seem perfect.

  22. awwwwwwww that is so beautiful! I still want another one and am pregnant! my husband is one of 7 so it's not impossible that we'll have more but having 4 babies in 4 years means my body hasn't really had much time to recover! Its a bit like elastic going in and out and in and out…

    but I totally hear you….I'm so glad to have some friends who totally get it. they dont' want it for themselves but they just get it!


  23. I love your choice of words. πŸ™‚ I have a 3 month old (my 3rd child) and I am completely enjoying the newborn stage more than ever. Thanks for your words.

  24. I hear that when you have your first grandchild, it feels like they're your own newborn, so there's still hope down the road! πŸ˜‰

  25. I realize this is not a new post but I am new to your blog and followed the link you just did to this post. I am 30 (in a week) have five kids 9-18mo. and I am rip roaring ready to go for another. I do not feel at max capacity but my husband is and I respect that. Pregnancy is something I crave. I love being pregnant everything about it. I love the baby stage, even sleepless nights. Some days I wish I could shake the desire to have more. I will not have another without my husband on board- that is too hard been there done that- but the constant aching in my heart that I am not done really gets to me sometimes. I would love to know how you cope with this and also the book that the second commenter was referring to that you and your mom wrote. Thanks so much!!!

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