I worked at a baby gear store (Right Start, RIP) when I was pregnant with Kendall, my first baby. As my belly grew and became more noticeable, customers- the seasoned parents type- would always say something to me that I found so odd.

“Enjoy this pregnancy and this baby! There is nothing like the first baby. It’s so magical,” they’d say, longingly, as they stood on the other side of the counter pregnant with a toddler and a preschooler next to them.

It was almost awkward.

I never really knew how to respond. I think I’d rattle something off like, “Well, ALL of your kids are super adorable. I’m sure it’s great no matter how many you have,” and smile. Awkwardly still.

Flash forward almost eleven years and I’m that seasoned parent now.

It’s not that life with my 4th baby isn’t special or sweet or full of love. But it’s like I’ve read this book 3 other times, and while I notice something different each time, the pages are worn now, and I know when my favorite and my least favorite chapters are coming up. Not much surprises me anymore.

Related: Kendall’s Birth Story

Everything is broken in by the time you have a 4th baby, and the familiarity and while the confidence is WONDERFUL (don’t get me wrong), I do sometimes long for those days when we had no idea what we were doing, and every new development was met with sheer elation that we had to be doing something right.

I feel like an “old” mom lately, and I think that’s a big part of it. I can feel this phase of my life coming to a close and it’s really hard to come to terms with. As much as I never, ever want to be pregnant ever again, it’s scary to finally see the light peek above this babyhood trench. What will I be when I’m not a mom to babies? What will life be like when the last of the first firsts have passed us by?

I’m not writing this to burden new parents with the “ENJOY THIS IT GOES SO FAST” pressure. I’m just saying that I understand those looks now. I understand what they meant. Eleven years later and I totally get it. There’s something magical about stepping into the unknown world. And you only get to experience it once.

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