Motherhood: The First Last Time

Motherhood: First Last Time | The Fresh Exchange

I knew it was bound to happen. I knew at some point I would find myself experiencing my first last time moment as a mom. I didn’t know when it would come, but there I stood this evening watching him show me that sweet moment we used to have was no longer a necessity of our relationship.

I know that there have been dozens that happened before. The newborn stage had come with many, but some of those I secretly was okay with letting go and passing off as just the stage of life the first 3 months were. Not this time, though. Though the 4th and now working into the 5th month have been trying now that he is very aware of the world around him and wants to be active constantly (yeah the whole they learn to sit and be content thing I think we flew past…he only wants to walk and crawl). Add in the inevitable 4 month sleep regression and you can imagine that my body has been flung into a level of exhaustion that I wasn’t aware could be possible. It is a time I know will pass but between the moments I can barely stay awake or my body is sore from hauling him in all the positions he wants around the house while balancing work, I am finding joy in the joy he has for the world.

Then tonight, as I fought a very tired little guy who is teething and growing I found myself realizing how fleeting this moment was. He fussed and wanted his pacifier and wiggled and pushed and fought me while I tried to settle him and remind him it was bedtime. Then I realized the reason he was fighting me was because the way he was laying in my arms was a way he no longer wanted me to hold him. I moved him up, head on my shoulder and there in seconds he relaxed. Maybe it was just because of teething or something else, but in that moment I realized that our routine and the sweet little cuddles he would do into my arm may have passed. It was then that I realized I was recognizing my first experience of a last time in the relationship of a mother and a child. You think about the big last moments such as your last time breastfeeding them at night or the last time they want to snuggle with you in bed or the last time they want you to hold your hand or the ultimate of them flying the nest. I didn’t think about how it would feel to experience a last time for the first time.

I walked out of the room after I wished him goodnight and gave him a kiss with a bittersweet feeling of victory for him doing his last wiggles before he falls asleep like he always does and a sadness that things will be different tomorrow. There is both relief and grief in those moments. You know as a mom that you are doing good and your child is growing, becoming their own, getting bigger…your ultimate job, but that from here on out you will continue to let them fly out on their own a little teeny tiny bit each moment from here on out. This technically begins at birth, quite literally, but I never realized it till tonight as I walked out of that room.

Motherhood continues to surprise me at how it shifts me, changes me, strengthens me, and humbles me. This was just another one of those moments I realized how important it is to stay present as much as I possibly can no matter how much I wish for the freedom I felt two years ago or the off-time I used to take for granted. Ultimately there is no gift greater than this and to watch him smile and take in the world is more rewarding than any level of freedom ever would be, though some times it can be hard to remember that.

As I closed the door to our room where Hayes was dozing off, I stood just long enough to hang in the moment of bedtime and let it wash over me, knowing that one day there would be a last time for that as well. A last shutting of his door after saying goodnight. A last coo from him as he can only do at 4 months. A last kiss on his soft cheeks. In that moment I might be less surprised by how it makes me feel, but there is no way it will be less bittersweet.

So moms, have you had your experience of feeling your first last time? What was the moment? I would love to hear.

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  1. As the mom of a 35 year old, this brings back fond memories. the one good thing is that there will always be first last times. last year my son went through a serious crisis. He’s been very independent and successful, so this through both of us for a loop. we had long discussions and I had to constantly remind myself to step back and just be there for moral support. all is well now, and although there may be other things that he’ll need me for, they too will be first last moments. right now I’m hoping for that first time being a grandmother and having first last moments with my grandchild/children! enjoy each moment and cherish the person your little one is becoming.

  2. As i read this i find myself tear up. I think my first last time Probably caMe a little earlier mostly because we had waited so long for All of those moments. But now at almost 2 as a woman who knows this will be her Only chance to experIence these firsts i think i Feel at least one first last time a day! Some with Muffled tears others with a small smile. My Heart is so full!

    1. Yes so full. You are making me want to cherish it even more. I think often that what if he is our only one and I didn’t cherish those moments enough? Thank you for that reminder.

  3. I remember realizing in the hospital that my newborn son would never be zero days old again. I never wanted the day to end.

  4. I am right there with you Megan! My son is 6 months old and now that we’re feeding him solids, I can see how our breastfeeding bond is changing. It’s so rewarding and challenging all at once!

  5. talk about all the Feels megan, this one was it! michigan is doing something magical to Your writing i think. just beautiful. 🙂
    definitely feeling those moments too, our little guy is almost 3 months now. its Incredibly hard to eXplain all the Feelings that come each day and how the heck i’ll explain to him when he’s old enough just what this feeling is.

  6. Your post brought a tear to my eye…It’s been almost 30 years since my “first times” and remember each one like it was yesterday. Yes it’s sad to think about the “last times” but as years move on, you will realize there are MANY more first times to enjoy, you will barely have time to recognize the last times. It all moves so quickly, the challenge is to enjoy the moment (even the not so good ones).. As much as we want to keep them small, the rewards and joys are just as abundant as they grow and develop into adults.

  7. Reading this filled me with a wonderful sense of dread. I have been feeling these same emotions every day. My little guy will be 7 weeks on Sunday and I feel like I had to introduce a bottle way earlier then I would have liked. It’s not because I’m not producing or we aren’t doing well with nursing, but my husband and I own a small seasonal business and due to financial issues, he is going to have to keep another full time job while our store operates over the Summer. That puts me in the position of being at the store more then I had planned, sometimes alone, and therefore I can’t feed my son exclusively. He took a bottle right away, and it was a huge moment for my husband, but between the pumping and missing the sweet moments with him, I am in emotional pain. Yesterday my father in law was here watching Joseph as I got some work done, and after I prepared the bottle for him, I watched them for a minute and the look in my sweet boy’s eyes as someone else fed him filled me with a jealousy I’ve never experienced before. I am a very lucky woman to have such a healthy beautiful son, and also to have the help of family over the summer, but I am so bitter that it’s not just me and him in these early weeks of his life. Sorry I got a little carried away, it felt good to vent.

  8. Oh my gosh, i didnt even think of it that way until now… our little dude started doing the same recently. He no longer wants us to bounce him to sleep, just lay him down and let him do things himself — which is such a triUmph, but also so so sad. Oh my mama hormOnes, but I teared up at the end of this post. Beautiful thOughts, ladY. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I have three teenagers now. When they were babies/toddlers, I used to carry them on my hip everywhere when we were in public. it’s right where they wanted to be (and I loved having them so close). One day I realized there was a moment when each of them said, “Momma, I want to walk.” They wanted to be put down and independent. With my first two children this day passed. I didn’t know to notice it. But with my youngest, i paid attention. I recall the day he wiggled out of my arms when we were dropping his sister off at gymnastics. I continue to savor that bittersweet moment—that tender transition. It’s hard in our busy world, but I try to stay present and aware of the gazillions of tender transitions that weave childhood (and growing up) all together.

  10. I had a similar moment last night. My son who is almost two was fussy as I was putting him down for bed. I held him on my chest and sang to him in the rocker, and i thought he is not going to fit on my lap much longer. I also am excepting number two, and thinking that he is no longer my little one anymore kind of breaks my heart too, although i know he will be an amazing big brother.

  11. Our pastor gave a sermon series on raising kids, & one of the most amazing things he said was “Parenthood is a series of releases from the moment they’re born until you let them go at 18.” WOW, did that really make sense, & make me realize I need to cherish each moment I have with my two babies. From the moment the umbilical chord is cut, to the moment they leave the nest… each thing they do is to grow their wings & gain their independence. It’s amazing to see them growing up into awesome humans. It’s sad to see them growing up, knowing that we’re gonna have to let them go. But the best part is that after they leave, they’ll come back. Again, & again, & they’ll be our best friends & we’ll get to watch them move mountains in this world. Life is good.