The End of Babyhood


We are quickly approaching a milestone in our house. Our last baby’s 1st birthday! This big milestone is hitting me in ways I didn’t anticipate. From the beginning of his pregnancy I had known this was it. I had felt that we’d finally fill that “empty space at the table”. As I struggled through morning (aka all-day sickness) for all 39 weeks of my pregnancy, attempted to keep up with my other two kids, work, and more I tried to be mindful of the beauty and gift pregnancy was. I made sure to take pictures even when I didn’t want to so I could look back on them. Jonah was born and it was a wonderful birthing experience. Feeling him placed on my chest after he burst out filled me with a sense of calmness and peace. I had always heard that you’ll know when you’re family is complete and that was true for me.

New baby, new me, new husband

I learned so much about myself and my husband during each of our forays into infancy. Like most new parents our first kid rocked our world. We didn’t know up from down in the early days. I remember eating soup at 2 a.m. and hand expressing milk into a shot glass because I was so engorged. Second time and third time I’d just eat some old cheez-its and try to go back to sleep and thankfully I learned about the Haaka pump. I got to see my husband grow into a father. He no longer hesitates to pick up and dress a newborn, and the biggest help once we arrived home with little siblings. I knew what to expect from the postpartum experience and knew that the monotony of infancy was only for a short time.

Although I felt more prepared going into this final round of infancy/postpartum, Jonah, still threw us for a few loops. After a quick 30-hour stay at Toledo Children’s for weight loss and high bilirubin he became a “happy spitter”. I had to buy three MORE sets of burp rags, taught the big kids what “RAG!!”  means right now, and always had extra clothes for baby AND me. Jonah took being the third kid in stride. He’s often buckled up during nap time and shlepped to summer camp, school drop off, and more he’s learned quickly to go with the flow. Something my firstborn is still working on—-6 years later.

Big Brother & Big Sister = Big Helpers

It’s been one of the biggest joys in my life to see my older kids become big siblings. I love how caring and protective they are towards their little brother. In fact, Ari and Annie are the ones Jonah smiles and laughs for the most. They know his favorite toys, foods, and more.  Jonah’s starting to try to walk and talk and it’s exciting to see him evolve from a “potato” into a full-fledged person with likes (peas, playing with toys, reading books) and dislikes (being put in baby jail, cucumbers, and taking long naps at daycare).

Goodbye, baby things

Throughout this first year, I’ve been donating all the things we will no longer need as Jonah ages out of them. Clothes that are now too small, bassinets that were next to the bed, sit-me-up seats that are pointless now. It’s hard for me at times to pack up all of our things because most items hold such a special place in my heart. Some of the “big ticket” items were used for all three kids. I can (mostly) remember who gave them to us at our baby shower. The memories surrounding all of these items like the infant bathtub and tummy time mat have me reminiscing of the earlier days with all three of them.

Onto the next phases of parenthood

While leaving the repetitiveness of babyhood makes me a little tearful, I’m so eager for this next phase of parenthood. I’m excited for our kids to continue growing and making new memories. Eager to see how all three of their personalities continue to develop, the friends they will make, the activities they will take part in, and more. The end is in sight for being diaper free and not tied to nap schedules.  So long, infancy, thank you for changing me for the better and allowing me to become the role I always longed for, Mom.

Happy first birthday, my sweet Jonah!

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Julia Whalen
Julia resides in Perrysburg with her husband, their three children (Ari (6), Annie (3), and Jonah (9 months)), and two cats (Godric and Cali). Her children are the most amazing, funny, lovable, and crazy little humans she’s ever met. Julia moved here from the Cleveland area right after college. Some of her favorite things about living in NW Ohio are being able to do legal U-Turns and going over 25 mph on a main road. When she is not fulfilling her Ravenclaw dreams of working as a STEM teacher or moming, Julia is most likely rewatching The Office or rereading Harry Potter for the billionth time. Her favorite places are Target, Starbucks, and Disney World. Feel free to follow on Instagram @jwhalen1


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