Moving On: Seasons of Motherhood

motherisborn

Life is just.so.short.

I remember the season well, when my doctor informed me that “changes” in my body meant that I would likely not bear any more children.  It brought many emotions, fears and uncertainties.  I learned many of you had gone through the same thing, so I thought I’d share this again in case one of you is in this boat now.


Here I was thinking I would go quietly into menopause. You know, wait like most women do for those “signs” that tell us we’re transitioning from one season to the next.

So much for going quietly.  I’m being drop-kicked into it. It wasn’t really that we had planned on having more children, either. It was the idea that it had been decided for me—that’s what hurt.  That… that was a little harder to take.

This new season is requiring fresh faith. And surrender. Trust that God knows the future.

Faith_girl_sunset

I’ve had a few months to process this news now but here’s the fact.  Like millions of other women, I’m entering a new season of motherhood.

I’m moving on.

Tonight, I felt my unborn grandson moving and turning and hiccuping inside his mother—my daughter.

I have been doing a bit of soul-searching as I find myself in this new season of life—this season of in-between.

In-between parenting a toddler and mentoring a young mother-to-be.

As I was doing laundry, a blanket caught my eye. It boasts a  “Daisy Kingdom” pattern from 1990. I love this blanket. I stitched it together in my kitchen while I waited for my first baby to arrive. It has graced seven cribs now—and it’s time to grace a new crib. Time is moving on.

I went downstairs and gave the blanket to my daughter. It’s hers, really.  But my heart aches just a little for how quickly those past twenty-two years went by.  They told me it would go by fast. But I didn’t believe it.

The days can go by so slowly.

As I went about the house tonight, I thought of other things I wouldn’t need any more, things I had been holding on to “just in case.”  A newborn carseat snuggie. A handful of hand-made burp cloths.  A breast pump.  Nursing covers.  I gave them to my daughter.

A surrender of sorts.

I glanced up in my closet and saw bins of baby clothes, and noticed that little green coat that baby #7 outgrew too quickly.  I asked her to wear it so long that the bin it should have been put away in was on the shelf months before I finally put the green coat next to it.  It was time to move on.

“This is silly,” I thought to myself.  Look at those bins, just taking up space in my closet.

And in my heart.

containers

Moving on.

wheels_bus

Newborn.

Up all night.  The sound of little feet.

Math lessons. Tooth fairy.

Grasshoppers. Cricket catching.

Driving tests. Graduation.

College.

Married.

 

Sierra_bates

Moving on.

New life.  And it starts again.

They grow so quickly, don’t they?

It’s impossible to grasp the brevity of the life we live.  I wonder, if we knew how fast the time goes, if we would stop longer, linger more.

Tonight, as I brushed the toddler’s teeth and put her dirt-stained little feet into the sink for a quick rinse, I had to smile to myself.

The world may see motherhood as little more than a “stop over” on the highway of life but I want to see so much more.

I want to soak up the seasons of my life in such a way that it pains me to see them pass.

Today, I felt that pain a little more acutely.

But something tells me that if it hurts, we’re doing it right.

Be surrendered,
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Heidi St John Guide to Daylight

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Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John has been married to her husband Jay since 1989. Together they have seven children from toddler to adult and have homeschooled all the way through high school. A favorite conference and radio speaker, Heidi approaches marriage and parenting with humor and grace. Her passion to encourage moms and set them free to be who God has created them to be will bless and encourage you.
Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John

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184 Responses to Moving On: Seasons of Motherhood

  1. Oh so true! The other day I had to remind myself of something very similar. My house was totally chaotic…loud kids, dog problems..you name it. Just as I was about to run away, lol, I was gently reminded…my home could be very quiet as some homes are right this very minute. Horrible things happen to some children and others grow up too fast. I remembered to be thankful. <3

  2. I really, really love this post. I can relate to it on many levels and it tugged at my heart strings!

  3. Loved it and pinned it to a client’s board on Facing Empty Nest years!

  4. I hear ya. I am reminded of this regularly. :) gnite moms, tomorrow is a new start. . . again. have a blessed night all.

  5. Thank you so much!! I am sorta in that stage right now. I have 4 children and 2 have graduated, one has moved out and working in a church still waiting for his gal, and I have 2 left and they are teenagers. Time has gone quickly and I, too, I have been cleaning out and thinking back!

  6. Mary Kaisand says:

    good post. Something to keep in mind: My mom held on to baby toys, some baby needs, and so things were there at Grandma’s house when the grandbabies visited. It helps to have extra clothing, toys, etc so there’s less for us new moms to bring along with us. :)

  7. I was just thinking this today. Precious times we often hurry through and do not stop to really appreciate it.

  8. Perfect timing we put away the crib and made the toddler bed. Thank you.

  9. When I tried to read this on my iPad, it didn’t work… :-/

  10. I can’t pull up on my phone either. Keeps sending me to recipes.

  11. I can find the post eventually on my iPhone but I can’t link to it :-(

  12. Couldn’t get the ,blog…

  13. It won’t work on iPhone, but came up fine on my tablet.

  14. Carolyn says:

    <3

    I love how you so often say what is in my heart. Thank
    ~ mom of 8 ages 4-26, grandma of 2

  15. this couldn’t be more meaningful for me at the moment with my first just turning 20 and my 5th is 1. thank you.

  16. Frustrated- the link won’t work. When I go to “blog home” and read the article and click “read more” at the end it goes back to the main page.

  17. The link will not work at all for me at all.

  18. Ann Ordway says:

    Heidi….I met you at the homeschool conference here in Portland a couple of weeks back. We are new to homeschooling with a 7, 5, 3, and 1 year old…..and I spoke to you of struggling to control the fact that my 7 year old doesn’t want to color the states. :-) Control.

    Reading your blog today was like reading a map of my own heart. We won’t be having any more children either, and though we are much earlier in our parenting years…..they are slipping through my fingers faster than I would have ever imagined.

    Writing is how I can best express my heart, and I have wanted to sit down and write about this for so long….and yet, it seems that I can’t even find time to sit down to write and capture the precious moments. Slipping away….and yet – I believe in the beautiful way that God intended it to. Time is coming, not going. Seasons changing – yes…..one into another, just as the Master planned it. But, it sure is hard to have open hands during these times, isn’t it….allowing Him to take things out of our hands as He places new things in.

    I was blessed by your words this evening as I feel them too….Praying you will find comfort and great strength as you continue to transition into what God has for you next.

    Blessings,

    Ann Ordway

  19. I do not see things quite as clearly as you all the time but I do have my moments and though I may complain about the difficulty and the ‘begging moments’.. I really DON’T want it to slip by without me soaking up everything I can. That’s why I have chosen to homeschool. I don’t want someone throwing it in my face all the time when I have a bad day that I should just put them in school… because deep down, I don’t want to miss all that time with them… and since I’m their mom, I get to choose. LUCKY ME!!!!!!! (Hopefully lucky them!)

  20. Hope this link helps cause I was tired of being sent to RECIPE lol http://heidistjohn.com/wp-content/uploads/

  21. The link didn’t work for me on my phone. Vonetta’s link worked until I clicked “more” on the page and it sent me to ‘Recipes.’

  22. Yake it all in, absorb every moment ♥

  23. Frustrating link failure from my iPhone! Even when I get to the point of Vonetta’s link, it will not allow me to “read more”- simply loops back to “recipes” again.

  24. You have spoken my heart …

    It may be because we’ve done something right, but you know what? It still hurts. A kind of ‘That’s ok, Lord, You have given us so much and we are thankful. We were blessed with four to bring up for Yourself. I don’t want to seem like I’m always wanting something more that I couldn’t have … but …’

    Yes, that ‘but’ refuses (so far) to go away. No grandchildren on the way here(yet :) ), but maybe when that happens, acceptance will finally find its way to me:)

  25. I commented on the blog, but yes, I do now feel the urge to say to every young mum… ‘Please, take time to just *enjoy* it. Every single day, take at least one moment to stop, smile, and *sigh* contentedly’. I’m 46, kids are aged 10 – 20 and I simply can not believe the years have just *gone*. And yes, I get teary ….

  26. I know. I feel it too. My daughter is learning to drive and looking at colleges. My baby is about to be 11. It almost seems crazy to think that before long they will have children of their own. Although, it really shouldn’t, since many of my friends my age already have grandchildren. Sometimes, especially when they are teenagers, I long to time warp them back to the age of 3 or 5 when life was so much simpler.

  27. Carrie West says:

    So blessed you are to have had seven children, and tol be able to experience being a grandparent too. God granted us with my nephew who is soon to be 11 and one son who is 4 going on 40 and all I could think reading your post was how blessed you were to have such a house full. I cried thinking of all the babies I would like to have had, but God has a plan and a purpose and it is now when we need to focus and see what it may be. Thanks for all your encouraging words each day.

  28. Vonetta Whittemore (or anyone else)- could you possibly post a link to the article itself? I’m now on my computer, but still can’t progress past the “read more” stage. Thanks so much!

  29. Jen says:

    Heidi,
    I am typing this through a blur of tears! I have 6 boys ranging in age from 3-17. I know exactly what you are describing! For me this really hit the month my baby turned 15 months and my oldest turned 15 yrs. That was exactly 2 yrs ago this month. For the past two years I have been on a count down of sorts & the time is slipping away! This month my son turns 17 and the countdown continues but I am not looking forward to it like many do. I am not saying “One more year he’ll be 18 & I’m done!” like I have heard many do. I am saying “One more year a mere 12 months! Have I done what I should have as a mom? What else do I have to teach him, tell him, model for him? The race is almost over will we finish well?” Now reality tells me “You never stop being a mom.” But I also know that the main part of my “job” is coming to a close and it truly defines the word “Bittersweet”. I have never had a full grasp on the meaning of that word until now!

    Thank you for sharing a bit of your life, a piece of your heart.
    ~Jen

  30. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Heidi St. John. They mirrored mine exactly. :)

  31. Melissa Lawrence says:

    Thanks for reminding me to slow down and enjoy these looonnng days.

  32. Amy Morehead says:

    Thanks Heidi, I needed that so much !! You are a blessing to my heart and God has used you mightily in my life. Thanks You and God Bless You !! ~ Amy

  33. I have three children and can’t have anymore. My sister has one and I have kept him since he was six months old (she works full time) she and her hubby have been trying to get pregnant and I’ve been looking forward to another baby in the house. I’ve saved all the baby equipment and toys and we are ready and waiting. God has other plans. She found out last week that she has cervical cancer and will be haing a total hysterectomy soon. Obviously my main concern is for my sister’s wellbeing and all I have thought of is how to support her thru this but last night as I priced items for a yard sale I spotted those Rubbermade totes of toys and thought of the high chair and crib in the basement waiting on that baby that isn’t coming and it brought me to tears. Things can change so quickly. I am not ready to get rid of these things but it is sad to know they are here and won’t be needed. Thank you for your wonderful reminders to enjoy the moments because they don’t last long.

  34. As a mother, I feel this all the time.

  35. Would love to read Link is wrong…

  36. Strangely cannot even open in safari…

  37. Amanda Patty says:

    Love this! I have to stop everyday and enjoy it. Being a momma can get so busy but it’s what God called me to be so I have to enjoy it :)

  38. Your website will not load your blog on my iPad, just your pretty picture and the home landing page.

  39. What a touching post. This due-in-two-weeks preggo mama can’t dwell on this too long…or my mascara will run (and it’s so annoying to have to re-apply. 😉 )
    Thank you for writing from your heart. May I treasure these moments with little ones.

  40. Thank you for sharing your heart with us Heidi St. John!

  41. Link not working on my iPad either…get to site, hit blog home, read more and then nothing….

  42. Ashley says:

    Thank you Heidi…
    We too have had the door shut sooner than we would have liked…after our sixth child was born I developed a blood clot in my right lung and it appears that I am more likely than most to repeat that in the event of another pregnancy. So at 31 I am entering into a new season. It is scary and different. But also new and exciting. As I look back at our last 14+ years together, we started our family just 1.5 months after marrying, had our first baby 8 weeks early after an emergency C-section for severe eclampsia and a stroke while working in DC. Our next baby was a VBAC in Kentucky with plenty of stitches to mark is awkward entrance into this world which was followed by 6 weeks of painful nursing until we figured that out. Baby number 3 was born in Texas at home. His birth was beautiful and the answer to so many prayers…and it seemed he would never stop nursing. Our 4th was a beautiful waterbirth at dawn on our back porch on our 33 acres in Kentucky, the midwife arrived 35 minutes later. Number 5 was another birth in DC, but at home this time. His big sister was there. And baby 6 came at home in Ohio in just 39 minutes. His birth was wonderful and easy. A week later though I was in the ER for hypertension. This resolved. Two weeks later back at the ER, admitted for a pulmonary embolism and stayed three days. That was miserable without my baby. But when I returned home he nursed like a champ! Praise the Lord. Whew…it has been a ride. I still love babies. But, I am looking forward to the new season and lingering while I can.

  43. Blog doesn’t work on my iPad either. Tried to access it yesterday for a recipe.

  44. I have just one child and due to some serious medical and situational circumstances he will have to be my only. I was happy to pass on clothes and gear he grew out of (we’re military so I wasn’t about to pack and move all that) but I couldn’t part with my breast feeding pillow or my Ergo carrier. I tried to tell myself I wouldn’t be using them and should just pass them along but there are just too many memories and I guess those 2 items are his infancy to me. So they sit in his closet up on a shelf and whenever I am in there stashing boxes or toys he’s stopped playing with I look up, smile and try not to cry. It’s hard when you know that period of life has passed and you will never get to have it again. I always wanted 2 and I worry constantly about my little guy being all alone when we are old and gone.

  45. Yikes. Doesn’t work on my phone either. :(

  46. Molly, don’t resign yourself to just one if you feel in your heart you should have more. Adoption is a beautiful option that may fill the void :)

  47. Marcia Reed says:

    I am so excited to see what my children’s futures hold. I have been amazingly blessed with 4 extensions if my heart and, while they are growing way to fast for me, I’m not sad at the memories of their younger years. I wake up every morning ready to see what changes have occurred over night. My oldest will be a teen this December and he’s already such an amazing young man. My youngest will start kinder in just a few weeks and his overwhelming wonder at the world never seems to give me time, or energy, to mourn the passing time. The two middle girls are such beautiful young ladies of God that I find myself mesmerized by the present places they are in life. I nearly lost my oldest two children as infants and that taught me early on to live in the moment, cherish the present memories and let the past be just that, the past. I’ve kept a few if their baby clothes to pass on to my grandchildren, but when I get a moment to reflect on their lives, I don’t waste my time on the past. I pray for their future and remember the present that they are in my life today.

  48. I”m having problems getting to it, it brings up your picture but nothing else.

  49. I should not have read this this morning! It’s beautifully written…and makes me cry at the same time, as I watch my babies turn into pre-teens and then young adults right before my eyes. I wish I could have taken more time to “stop and smell the roses” when they were little.

  50. Yup, my heart aches, too, at how fast the kids are growing up. I let myself save some of their baby things as keepsakes. I try to remind myself how neat it is that my youngest is five and can now keep up with all of us when we go places.

  51. Not working on iPhone either. Guess I’ll have to break out the actual laptop!

  52. My baby number six will be turning 4 when my baby number one has grandchild number one, all happening this Christmas! My mind still can’t fathom the entirety of changes upon me. I couldn’t have put it into words more eloquently myself. I can only bring to mind those sayings of old: one day at a time, time flies when you’re having fun, and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.

  53. Thank you for this post. It touched me in a very deep way.
    May God bless you in this season as He have blessed you and your family in all the others.

  54. Kayla Smith says:

    Link isn’t working…

  55. I’m having the same problem. I tried to pull up a few of the other stories and can’t seem to get to those either. I can get to the article list but none of the actual stories when I click on the links.

  56. The website doesn’t seem to work on my iPhone which is where I mostly read Facebook posts…

  57. Keri Hurley says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I can So relate having gone straight into menopause after my last child was born. He is now 15!! It does go by so fast. Mine now range from 15 to 29. If you look at my picture on my fb page you will see from the oldest to youngest, although my youngest is now taller then his oldest sister!!

  58. Can’t open it either! Having a hard time myself saying good bye to all my baby stuff….., sad to know this season of my life is over…… Goes way too fast! :…)

  59. Laurie says:

    This brought tears to my eyes as my youngest of ten is almost 5 and my oldest just married on the 25th. I always thought I would still be having babies while the grandbabies were coming, but it didn’t work out that way.

  60. Thanks for sharing and putting into words what can be so hard when the feelings are so big.

  61. The Busy Mom says:

    We’ve corrected this issue now. Everyone should be able to view it on any device :)

  62. Oh Heidi – such precious thoughts. It really reminded me that I need to slow down and enjoy every moment. Obviously we haven’t finished having a family as yet, but we don’t know what the future holds. So, I will enjoy the flutters and kicks of this precious babe inside, and slow down to enjoy the others today. Thank you. x

  63. Debbie Butler Jobe this blog made me think of you.

  64. My first baby is 6 months old….this blog tugged at my heart. = I hate that it goes by so quickly!

  65. Wow, this is me right now. We so wanted one more baby, but at 48 and 5 children, and facing a hysterectomy in a month, I am having to accept that it just is not God’s plan. I have indeed accepted, but it so pains me sometimes. I also have a 22 year old, married daughter that I recently gave the bins of baby clothes to. Although she is not pregnant yet, they are ready to accept and I am ready to pass on the legacy of motherhood to her.

  66. Mindy Griffith says:

    Wow, this is me right now. We so wanted one more baby, but at 48 and 5 children, and facing a hysterectomy in a month, I am having to accept that it just is not God’s plan. I have indeed accepted, but it so pains me sometimes. I also have a 22 year old, married daughter that I recently gave the bins of baby clothes to. Although she is not pregnant yet, they are ready to accept and I am ready to pass on the legacy of motherhood to them.

  67. I had my first and now my only baby girl at 43 – wishing I hadn’t waited so long to have my first child as I would love to have at least 1 more! Great post and thank you so much for your inspiration!

  68. Suzanne says:

    You spoke to my heart! Our 29 yr old got married in August and is anxiously trying to start a family. Our youngest is 4. At 45 I am not yet in menopause but due to complications with last pregnancy and our age my husband had a vasectomy. Just a couple days ago he commented how he wished we could have more!! Now it seems to be all I can think about! Why is it when you know that is not an option it is more desirable?! I guess I will just have to love on my grand babies:)

  69. Susan Seaman says:

    Thanks for sharing, Heidi. This has been so much on my mind lately that I even chose “season” as my word for 2013. I have spent so much time longing for those younger years and “aging out” of new motherhood that I felt that I needed to STOP looking back and enjoy the fleeting years I have left with my teens. It is so bittersweet.

  70. Taunya says:

    Heidi,

    Such sweet words to remind me. My son is going to be 18 in a mere 3 years! I am starting to feel the pains of motherhood changing. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  71. This was one of the most beautiful, poignant posts I have ever read and although I only have two, it echoed my heart. I waited a little later to have my children, partly because I didn’t get married until age 32. But in a strange way, I’m glad I did because now at age 50 (and that’s another thing, how did I become that number suddenly??) I still have my two daughters at home, age 14 and 11. But how time is truly going by SO fast. You’re right, they said it would but during those days when we are up all night with nursing and diapers we don’t believe them. Then suddenly you turn around and they are teens. I want to absorb every moment I have left with them at home. Thank you for this heartfelt post.

  72. But something tells me that if it hurts, we’re doing it right.

    This was my favorite line. Written perfectly. Thank you!

  73. Lisa says:

    I get the pangs when I sell or give away my kids children’s books when they have out grown them. Or toys they have out grown. I get a little ” funny” about who they go to, because it feels like I’m giving a ” piece ” of my child’s childhood away, or saying good bye.
    I myself am in the ” new season ” of life.
    I just started getting ” hot flashes, and I will be 50 in September! I have a freshman in HS this year, a 12 year old, and an 8 year old. It hit me that I only have so much time left with my HSler and he’s gone. I’m whacking activities and such so I can spend more time with him and the other two as time keeps on ticking away.
    I had children later in life and my hubby and I had joked about ” seasons of change ” etc when are kids are older.
    Well, here I am, menopausal with young kids in the house. It’s here already. Time was and is a ” blip” on the radar screen. The Lord pressed upon me that I’m not in the season of babies or a young homeschooling mom, anymore like I still think I am. I am now a ” seasoned ” mom, and need to encourage the younger ones. That hit me hard. That was my reality moment that time went too quickly.

  74. Judy says:

    Wow, Heidi, what a heartfelt post….life does indeed go quickly and in the fall if our years, it becomes exciting to know that seeing Jesus is closer at hand…you are an AMAZING woman and my life has been enriched with knowing you….your grand baby will truly be blessed being born into the Bates/St. John family….God Bless you, my friend….

  75. Ahhhh.. this made me cry. Love my children, and this stage of my life so passionately. Thanks for reminding me to soak it all in and enjoy. It does go by SO fast!

  76. Tamara Jones says:

    Thanks for reminding me to slow down and enjoy these days. May God bless you in this season.

  77. Wow. This made my heart ache. Thanks for this beautiful reminder.

  78. Angel Beck says:

    I hear you. I ‘feel’ you. My ‘baby’ is 8. He isn’t my first ‘last baby’ as we have 2 groups, a birth/blended part where my baby is 23 and this last adopted part where my ‘last baby’ is 17 but we added one more group and my real ‘last baby’ that I got at two weeks old IS it. He is my only adopted baby I got AS a baby so he covers that title in every sense. I also have 9 grandchildren with many more to come. It changes, it cycles, and you adjust. Big hugs for you while you do it.

  79. Julie Redmon says:

    such a sweet and beautifully written piece.

  80. Beth Webster says:

    I think this is my favourite post you’ve ever written. So beautiful. I’m only on my second baby and I wonder how it will feel when my body will no longer be able to have babies. Thank you for sharing so beautifully and eloquently. Yes, the days pass by too quickly!

  81. I hope that’s the transition I have- youngest just growing up with a first grandchild on the way. Seems like it will be the gentlest transition out of my child-bearing ways.

  82. Thank you for writing what so poignantly expresses that which is in my heart.

  83. CRIED!!!! AHHHH!!! You need to put a warning label on this blog…I so didn’t want to cry right now!!!! I thought we were done having kids but this made me want to seriously consider having more children…..we currently have 2…a boy and a girl. :(

  84. Melinda says:

    I’m blinking back tears as I read your post. I’m expecting our 3rd child, but I never thought I’d be here. Our 2nd son was such a nightmare baby that I honestly never thought we’d have another, even though I wanted more. Our boys are 10 and 7 1/2, which gives me the chance to realize just how quickly time goes. I’m so thankful to the Lord for this baby, whom we will meet soon. I’m going to try to cherish each moment because I know he/she will be big long before I’m ready.

  85. vickity907 says:

    I have 4 little ones and a new baby on the way. Right now I can’t see past the piles of clothes in the floor, messy rooms and ALL a Mama has to do. This post made me cry too but, I feel I’m just stuck in the mud right now. So tired!!!

  86. Carol Wiker says:

    i understand. it is a “strange feeling” to know that a part of our lives is now gone—bearing a child. at the same time, the appreciation, love, beauty, etc of bearing a child is so awesome—a miracle in my eyes. i can look at my little one’s and think…wow, they were once inside of me…inside of me. beautiful.

  87. Thank you Heidi for sharing and touching our hearts, you are so directed from God. These “seasons” of change are so…bittersweet, I guess is my word, and I too am relishing in the days with my growing family and all that the Lord is graciously teaching me. Again, thank you for taking the time with us that you do :)

  88. So Precious! However, it brings tears to the eye – but, they are tears of shear Love, Joy and Appreciation for God’s Beautiful Gifts = Children :-) :-) :-)

  89. Wendy R. says:

    I’m there with you. Don’t have a married child, nor a grandchild on the way…yet. But still feeling these things in my heart.

  90. Lois says:

    Simply beautiful! As a 47yo mother of 7 ages 4-17, I’m right there with you. The days are long, but the nights are short. I find myself treasuring these family dinners a bit more (in spite of the ubiquitous spilled milk), lingering a bit more over bedtime stories and bathtimes, rejoicing in the new found freedom and responsibility of my 17yo.

  91. Sarah says:

    Heidi-
    I met you at the Omaha, NE conference. I was the very pregnant mama whose husband stopped you so I could say “Hello”. :) I have been struggling with this very same issue lately. For medical reasons, this baby (#5) will be our last one and I am praying and asking God to help me surrender to it all. I feel the same way–I want it to be MY decision when we’re “done” with this beautiful and sometimes chaotic stage of parenting.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts so beautifully (as usual). I thank God for you and your heart.

    Carry on, beautiful mama. Your legacy isn’t ending–like you said…it’s just unfolding a beautiful new season.

  92. D Kelley says:

    Wow! Sitting here crying because I too am in that in between stage…sort of. I have a 28 year old son who is a single father of an 8 yr old son, a 25 yr old, a 21 yr old, a 20 yr old, and my youngest son is 10. (All boys!)
    They do grow up too fast and we think we have time to do or say all the things we should…but we just don’t.
    I wish I’d understood this when my first ones were little…that they don’t stay little very long and that all the day to day problems just don’t matter! They do…
    Thanks for your post!

  93. Rondi says:

    Love this Heidi. Hugs to you.

  94. Michelle says:

    You’re a gifted writer Heidi, thanks for the love and encouragement you continue to share. Happy 4th of July to you and your precious family. I love it when the Holy Spirit tugs my heart to stop and linger, I usually take a deep breath in and pray God help me store this moment, so when I’m older I can sit in my rocking chair and ponder all these blessed days. Love from NM, Miche

  95. Ann Kilter says:

    My baby turned 23 yesterday. I still have some of her baby things in a box upstairs in the linen closet. I have a similar box for older brother and sister. I don’t see any grandchildren in my future for a while, if at all. But that time is past for me, too. I have been in the process of moving on for a while. 12 years ago, I went back to school to become a legal secretary. Two years ago, I started to write about our family. What will I doing next? It’s a great adventure.

  96. michelle says:

    your words ~ It was the idea that it had been decided for me—that’s what hurt. That… that was a little harder to take.
    This is the first time someone else expressed what I have felt before
    when the first breast cancer put me into a chemical menopause and the second one into a surgical one.
    Being bald and losing my breasts was nothing compared to the jolt felt by the quiet words spoken by my loving doctor (who was there for all 6) ~ “we need to take your ovaries michelle”.
    No one has quite expressed my emotions that day until I read this article.
    I gave my hurt to the Lord – but it was sweet of Him to send you and your words to give me a hug today! Thank you Heidi

    • Joanna Vanderkooi says:

      Oh, bless your heart. Your comments are so precious and well-said. I trust you are healing from the inside out each day as God takes you through this process. I’m so glad Heidi was able to put your heart into words.

  97. Angie says:

    I don’t know any other woman (in person) who feels this way. You wrote exactly what I feel, that I don’t know if I want/should have any more children, I just hat that the door is closed and there isn’t anything I can do about it. I’m 47 and my youngest is 4, my oldest 27. I don’t know many other women in that category either and it just feels soooo good to find other women there too! This validates me and makes me feel less weird. I still have my cycles and pray that if God wills we have another. I toy with the idea of adoption, but dh doesn’t feel led that direction at all and I don’t feel God’s green light either. I would absolutely love to meet more moms who are where I’m at. How blessed I feel to have found this post and to have read the replies of other women in similar circumstances. My own mother does not understand why I would want so many children and would positively faint if I were to express these thoughts to her. Thanks so much for this post and to all the other ladies who replied so that I could know that I am not alone.

  98. Missy says:

    What a wonderful post.
    We had always planned on being a family of at least 4, maybe more. After I had my 3rd child, the doctor’s informed me that i was very lucky I went into labor 3 weeks early because my uterus was paper thin and most likely would have torn, putting both the baby and I at risk.
    It was highly recommended to not have any more children because my uterus would most likely not carry a 4th child.
    I too, had the decision made for me.
    I could not have any more children.
    It was tough for me because we had always planned on that 4th child. We wanted them as pairs. The first 2 were 22 months apart. Then we waited and there is 4 years before my 3rd child came along. We were going to have another one close together again so the 3rd could have a buddy.
    But God had other plans for us.
    It did hurt. It was hard to move on. I prayed through it and slowly gave up that vision of the family I had planned for.
    It’s 4 years later and I cannot even imagine adding another child. Our family is full and complete, even with “only” 3 children. We have moved on from the baby stage and we’ve grown into a family that doesn’t have to worry about a nap schedule.
    It is not what we planned.
    It is a different season now.
    But it is good.

  99. lucy says:

    This is a lovely post for moms, but as a non-mom, that pain in the heart is something that never goes away but must simply be managed. You’ll see what I mean when you finally have an empty nest, which looks like it’s still years away and for that you should be very grateful. As a childless couple, we’ve had empty nest syndrome for 22 years. So ….. think on all you DO have and all you have been given, all you moms here. Many of your sisters were placed on a much lonelier road and struggle with being invisible and fitting in with other women who judge their lot in life without knowing their circumstances. Rejoice in what you have because you still have it, don’t you? The end of your mothering years still includes mothering. For some women, it doesn’t.

  100. Nikki Morin says:

    I recently had my 4th child via csection (also my 4th csection). During the surgery my ob told us no more. It wasn’t safe. We hasn’t planned on anymore but I felt the same way. It’s a lot harder to deal with when someone tells you it’s final as opposed to being able to make that choice on your own.

  101. Nikki Morin says:

    *hadn’t not hasn’t. . .stupid smartphone.

  102. I only have 4, but I wanted more. When I was told that was not in the plan, it was hard. My youngest is 10 now, and I have come to terms with it….but I still really love holding newborns of my friends.

  103. That is really hard to know yet I think of the women that the choice was never given to them at all! This feeling in youth, middle age, or older is a feeling of loss, despair, and as though somehow you have failed. But we must trust God that he has a bigger and better plan but at times the pain is still overbearing!

  104. That is really hard to know yet I think of the women that the choice was never given to them at all! This feeling in youth, middle age, or older is a feeling of loss, despair, and as though somehow you have failed. But we must trust God that he has a bigger and better plan but at times the pain is still overbearing!

  105. After having my first, I was told we couldn’t. Devastating. But we are also proud foster parents b

  106. After having my first, I was told we couldn’t. Devastating. But we are also proud foster parents b

  107. I went ”quietly” and w/o too many issues at I suppose the correct age……..so other than major weight gain, which is now ALL gone and I’m back to high school weight (woo woo) it was a easy transition.

  108. I went ”quietly” and w/o too many issues at I suppose the correct age……..so other than major weight gain, which is now ALL gone and I’m back to high school weight (woo woo) it was a easy transition.

  109. Now. Life hands you things you aren’t always ready for, but God man

  110. Now. Life hands you things you aren’t always ready for, but God man

  111. Julie says:

    I know EXACTLY what you mean. My two pregnancies were two complete gifts, both medium (1st) and high (2nd) risk with mommy complications after. The surgeries I had to “fix mommy” pretty much made the decision for us as well, and it honestly was very hard to have that decision taken away. My youngest just had her fifth birthday party today and MAN, that is just hard to accept! As much as I was thrilled to be past the potty-training and diaper stage, oh, how I miss that newborn smell! Now, all my friends know that if they come within 50 feet of me with a baby, that I’m going to take the baby and just hold it and get my fix in as much as possible! That one door might have shut on us, but hubby and I have been praying for another to open some how, one day.

  112. I had to have a hysterectomy and it was the darkest time in my life. I know the feeling. I was 29 and we still wanted more babies. But God is showing me other things along the way.

  113. I had to have a hysterectomy and it was the darkest time in my life. I know the feeling. I was 29 and we still wanted more babies. But God is showing me other things along the way.

  114. works good in all things for those who love Him.

  115. works good in all things for those who love Him.

  116. Lorraine says:

    I feel your pain . I had my first child at 19 and my second at 21 . I always imagined a house full of children and having little ones around until I was much older but at 21 after delivering my second child I needed a hysterectomy .I am now 32 and I cry at each milestone or Birthday knowing time is to short.Knowing that my youngest would be the last has caused me to inger and enjoy things a little more but it has also made me hold on a little too tight at times and spoil them just a little . I am bessed to have a beautiful 13 yr old daughter and 11 yr old son but the thought of having my kids all grown and only being 39 makes me sad . I know God has other plans for me . I am abe to put in a lot of time homeschooling , teaching sunday school and leading the youth group . Things I could not have had time to do with a dozen kids . God had a plan and I need to except it even when it is not my plan .

  117. I know a lot of women who feel like you do. Personally, I’ve been done having children for 10 years, now I’m just waiting for my body to catch up. I’m looking forward to the next phase. I guess I am odd.

  118. I’m struggling with something similiar. I’ve had a total of 8 miscarriages and one of them was with twins (recently) I have one child and we desperately want another. But recently my fertility nurse called to see if we were going to try another cycle and my husband replied that “maybe God doesn’t think that we should have another one”. I was crushed at the thought that not only my husband would be a part in the decision, instead of doing whatever I wanted, but now God might have an opinion as to why I shouldn’t have another child especially while other people are shooting them out like they are populating the world on their very own. Mind you some of these people “didn’t want anymore” or can barely take care of them, or don’t want to take care of them and people are getting pregnant and killing them because they are “such an inconvienence”. No one wants to hear that anyone else has a say in a decision so personal. I dread the thought of someone telling me that it’s just not possilbe to even try anylonger.

  119. The life of the mother is also forever changed when that baby (or in my case, babies) are stillborn. I buried my only bio babies. I have a son through adoption. He lost his bio parents when they abandoned him in China as a newborn. He lived 13.99 years in an orphanage with 500 other kids. Our family is complete, so I really wish I could turn off the monthly reminder.

  120. I’m a wife (under two years), and now mother, and posts like this help me to realize how much I need to cherish each moment…I know that they will pass by far to quickly. All seasons of motherhood are blessed. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy each day and each moment with my little one (and hopefully more to little ones to come!).

  121. Tammy Severson says:

    Cancer was my ending of having babies…but God’s grace was that we would adopt three miracles!!! They were big “babies”… Ages 4,7 and 7!!!!

  122. AGREED- After my 3rd pregnancy had an increasingly more troubling side effect called Grand mal seizures, my neurologist said I would be risking a seizure induced comma if I had another pregnancy. My hubby wanted to get surgery after #2 due to this same risk. After #3 it was evident that no amount of meds would stop the re-occurent seizures even though it had been 3 months after giving birth. After the first and second births, I stabilized with meds. With a 4 month old, 2 & 4 year old babes in my sister’s care, my husband had surgery and I was scheduled for brain surgery the next week to remove the damage caused by hormone surges. In November it will have been 10 years to date of that surgery. My wee ones are now 14, 12, & 10 and while I did not like this dream to have a large family taken out of my hands, God’s plans were more significant in the eternal perspective. We now have the opportunity to open our home to foster kids and minister to them. If our family size had been larger this could not have been possible. :) We are adopting one of our placements soon! God gives us what we need and this is not always what we want.

  123. I know this feeling.

  124. Paula says:

    It really is bittersweet, isn’t it? I always knew that I’d have a hard time moving on to the next stage of my life, but at forty-six, after a gap of thirteen years, God blessed us with our eighth child! One year later, our first grandchild was born. Last year, with her closest sibling a senior, I started my homeschooling career all over with her as a kindergartener! Now that she’s turning six and I realize her babyhood is gone forever, my daughters and daughter-in-law are blessing us with grandchildren numbers three, four, and five, all due within three weeks of each other this August! God is good, life is precious, time really does fly — make every moment count, mamas!

  125. I still have 6 kids under the age of 10 and it does seem to go sloooooooowwwwww at times. Thank you for reminding me to enjoy and cherish these young years with them because before I know it, they will be mommies & daddies themselves!

  126. so sorry. I could not bear children. We adopted our two little angels.

  127. I cried when i read this. Beautiful. Lauren Thoresen Pruitt. Read please.

  128. I will soon have 6 under 10 but there is a 5 year gap between number 4 and number 5. it is nice to have the break between. I makes me enjoy the new little ones more and slow down. I wish I didn’t do so much for me in my 20’s. sadly most new moms wouldn’t think I had much me time. I am not missing a moment of the rest of my life or theirs

  129. chemo threw me into immediate menopause. I feel cheated that chemo took it from my body’s normal course, which was now where near menopause. lord, aren’t we all a MESS lol

  130. I married at 32 only to find myself eaten up with endometriosis. Lost half my parts to it, wasn’t sure I would have children. Finally had first at 37, blessed again at 39. At 41, came up preg again, only to miscarry at 12 weeks along. My body never went back to normal, and months later, was tested and found I was in ‘peri-menopause’. Was told that while technically, I COULD get preg again, I wouldn’t, don’t waste $$$ on preg tests. So, we were all surprised with my next pregnancy at 43!!! Went straight to dr., found my progesterone low. Went on meds, and delivered a beautiful 3rd baby girl! BF’d, and 7 mo’s later, regained my cycle. After 3 scant ones, they totally disappeared! Except for one freak one a couple of years later, I am done! Cont’d to BF for 3 years, finally weaned, and a year later, after all hormones were stopped, I was declared in menopause! I haven’t complained, but I did start late, after all. All this to say, if you are still having cycles, scant or oddly timed, whatever, you CAN still get pregnant! I am proof of that! Blessings!

  131. I find your texts very interesting. Your posts are somewhat personal talking about your children and the idea of moving on in your life with regards to your children and the next upcoming generation. I am in the same boat, however more than half of my time is spent with the previous generation. Do spend any time taking care of your parents or your husbands parents or are you not there yet. This is 100 times MORE overwhelming than raising family.

  132. Crystal Hundley says:

    Thank you for this post! I am 33 years old with 5 children, and 2 weeks ago I lost the ability to have more children after a total hysterectomy. I have been dealing with the fact that I will never hold another baby in my arms. Today was especially hard for me, but after reading your post I feel a little more peace. My only son is 12..and my 4 girls are 10, 6, 2, and 1. Time will fly and someday I will hold my children’s children. So my baby holding days are not over…just taking a pause for a while.

  133. Anna Molder says:

    I understand your feelings. Due to a major uterine abnormality I was told when my son was born that if I got pregnant again I would almost certainly rupture. We chose to end my fertility. While we did have to make the decision, we didn’t really have a “choice”. I don’t know if we would have had anymore but the fact that I didn’t have the option still hurts.

  134. I can totally relate! I was told at 41 that I was going though menopause after having the same symptoms for almost 20 years. I’m still “going though” and not any happier about it 3 years later.

  135. Ally Bolch says:

    I went through similar feelings after my tubal. I have had four children, all preemies, and my husband was scared to try again. I did it for him more than myself.. and I felt deep, deep loss. Even now it is hard to think about… but I intend to fully enjoy this season, and hold all of the babies I can get my hands on lol

  136. That is the exact words I said to my husband. I am trying hard to accept the fact that having babies is not a part of my life anymore.. But, it is hard for me. I so wanted more children. But, I tell myself God knows what is best for me. That makes it a lot better.

  137. Lynee Lewis says:

    Everyone one is lamenting no more children. What about the children lamenting no parents? A-D-O-P-T!!
    -Mom who adopted a 23 month old through the foster system and then an 8 month old and am on the path again. (PS – little secret: it’s FREE)

  138. @ Lynee Lewis, that is a fantastic idea, except there is a good chance that all states do not provide the opportunity for free adoption through fostering. Definitely worth looking into! Since I was young I knew there was a need and have always wanted to adopt but my life needs to settle down first!

  139. Lora Schmitz says:

    My friends were told they were too old to adopt :-(

  140. Yep, it’s going by WAY too fast for me. I have tried everything I can think of to slow things down, but I guess we know in our heart of hearts that just isn’t how it is. Thank you for sharing your heart with other “busy moms”. <3

  141. Judy Neary says:

    I was only given one child and she is 15, early on I read a Mommy book and the one thought that I have always carried with me is -” From the moment they take their first steps they are leaving you”- and I think of it every time she does something new, on her own, decided to go to sleep over camp this year on her own, with no one she knew, just her and God, and I am so proud of her and every adventure she goes on, and i will not hold her back from one thing God has in store for her, I feel her moving, going just a little further away, for now she comes back but that day will come where she will step out of my home for the last time….

  142. I so needed this article! This past Sunday my husband and I experienced our second ruptured ectopic pregnancy. So we no longer are able to conceive naturally anymore. So the pain of being done without being ready is going on this very moment for us! God has been good to us far more than we deserve that was our 15th pregnancy we were blessed with. We had 8 babies, 5 miscarriages, and two ruptured ectopic pregnancies. We look forward to meeting someday the rest of our family in heaven! We are really learning right now to enjoy the stages of life I wish we had back when we started out! Thank you for this article I so needed it and too cried while reading it to my husband.

  143. I’m a “falure to progress” when it comes to labor. Three boys, three c-sections later my doctor said my uterus had too much scar tissue to safely have more kids. I think God might have prepped my heart for this one because I was ready to cut the tubes when the time came. I miss some of the baby years, but not enough to want another one. Hubby feels the same way.

  144. After only one child I never could have more. The emotional pain was hard to explain to others. I was told I should be happy I have one. And they are right! I am so blessed, so much that God even gave me five more through adoption! However I will admit there are times I would put my hand on my belly missing, longing and hoping. Then menopause stepped in and I knew for certain it would not happen. I do think for some of us the emotional pain never truly goes away, but it visits us less frequently as time goes on.

  145. I felt the same way after I had my tubal done. I regretted it almost immediately and thought (too late) that I should have asked God what he wanted us to do.
    10 yrs. later we are near the end of being licensed to foster/adopt. I can’t have anymore biological children but I was blessed with 3 amazing Princes and we will soon be blessed with kiddos to raise as long as they need us and eventually we will have more forever kiddos. :)

  146. I just want to stay that I completely understand what you mean -the idea of having the choice of more children taken away from you.

  147. That is why I am do thankful The Lord blessed me with another child at the age of 40 :) Thanks for reminding me to enjoy EVERY minute of it!!!!

  148. While our places in the journey of motherhood are a little different and for different reasons…they are so very similar…thank you for your words…very simple…but none the less comforting. God’s Blessings to you!

  149. I guess I’m just in a different place right now. My husband wants to get fixed and it breaks my heart. I want more, but do worry whether I’ll be able to handle more. Who am I to say “I’m done having kids” if God wants to bless me with more? But on the other hand, what right do I have to keep having babies that my husband has to help care for when he doesn’t even want more? I’ve told my husband I’d rather God take my ability to have kids from me so I know for sure it was His will and not ours.
    For now I’ve told my husband that it’s his body if he chooses to get fixed, but I’ve begged him to pray long and hard over it before making things permanent.

  150. I’m not looking forward to that time. For the same reason. My husband had a vasectomy. We aren’t planning on more-or can’t. But for it to be unable for my body- I just don’t even wanna think about it. Makes me sad.

  151. Rachel says:

    “It was decided for me” is EXACTLY where I am right now. We have one miracle baby (well, preschooler now) after 7 years of tears, blood tests, fertility meds, and doctors. We had hoped and prayed for more, but instead I’m facing a hysterectomy at age 38. Not my decision, not my plan. I have to trust that God’s got it all under control and that is just HARD some days! Thanks for sharing.

  152. […] with you Heidi St. John… She closes her “Move On” blog post (you can find it here) by saying, “I want to soak up the seasons of my life in such a way that it pains me to see […]

  153. Stevie Ciske says:

    Heidi, I loved this post… it inspired me. I blogged about it myself. I quoted you, but also made sure to give you credit and link to your page here (and this blog). If I do not have permission to do so, or if I’ve broken some rules, please let me know. I’m at http://wp.me/p2uZrJ-4a (pastorswifeslife.wordpress.com)
    Thanks.

  154. Nicole says:

    This broke my heart. I have 6 kids from 9 months to 11 years and I long already for them to not grow up any farther. Thank you for sharing your heart. One day when I have to “surrender the baby clothes boxes” I will remember that if its hard, I am doing it right.

  155. I am in exactly the same place! My eighth child just turned 3 and the doctor told me about a month ago that my body was not very interested in another go around. I am sad, but thankful for my beautiful children. 3 are already grown and 2 of those serving in the Army. I am thankful for every precious moment, but they do pass way too quickly!!!!! I am so glad to have found your ministry page. :)

  156. I am in the in between stage, too, and although I have a toddler remaining, a grandbaby can’t come soon enough in my heart.

  157. Karen says:

    This has been bothering me to no end: ” It wasn’t really that we had planned on having more children, either.”

    Heidi, there is a huge difference in someone who enters menopause and cannot have more children that she didn’t even want to have and those who enter menopause (or have something happen) and cannot have children they desperately wanted to have. The pain is unbelievable, the grief sometimes too much to bear. While I found your words inspiring I have to confess that your qualification of not even wanting more children immediately distanced you. You did make the choice, really, in that you chose to not have more. Then your body entered the next stage. There are those hurting hearts who face the end of fertility and our dreams yet our hearts and arms are aching terribly for children we prayed for and already loved yet will not bear.

    As for adoption…it isn’t that easy for everyone.

    • Heidi says:

      Hi Karen,

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment. It’s clear that your heart aches in a way that I cannot relate to. We all have our aches, don’t we? Every person has a different kind of struggle. You stated that my comment is bothering you—and yet you don’t really know how I feel, either. Because in the same way I can’t relate to infertility, you can’t relate to my struggle—a common struggle, of losing my fertility. It’s a struggle, it’s just different from yours. This blog is primarily for mothers. It’s not meant to offend those who don’t have children. There are those hurting hearts who face the end of their fertility with a grieving that simply highlights the passing of time and the observation that we all … grow older. That was the point.

  158. Tiffani says:

    Heidi,

    I can relate. My husband and I are quiverful and have 6 living children ranging from 5 to almost 26. While we left our fertility up to God, we were ready for a break and even ready for Him to tell us we were done during our last pregnancy. But, I had a serious pelvic prolapse with our last birth and a hysterectomy was our only option. That was really not how I anticipated the end of our childbearing years. We now have three grandbabies also to dote on. But, it has been (and often still is) a bittersweet transition.

    • Heidi says:

      Tiffani <3 Thank you for this. Funny how we “see” our life play out differently sometimes. God truly is faithful. Even when it’s bittersweet.

  159. […] and one surgery includes a hysterectomy.  I wrote about the initial diagnosis a few months ago.  You can find that post here. Four doctors have all told me the same thing: this is the best course of action at this time. […]

  160. Bridget says:

    I loved that..I have 4 kids 17, 13,8,2…had my first at 15 and my last at 30..I dont want to accept that my childbearing years *may* be over..it pains me…my mother just passed away and now Im second guessing myself ..do I really want another child or am I lonely? I cant even seem to get my figure back on track and my body right..but why on earth would I even consider this?? fear…thats it…I guess I will have to pray to God again..I NEVER thought I would feel like this.I guess as we get older our feelings change..

  161. Maria Miller says:

    Heidi,
    I followed this link from today’s post, so I know this is an old post. But, I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated this post. It did my heart good to see the photo of your closet, because I, too, have those same bins. But, my baby is eight years old. And my baby bins go up to 3T. It is hard to move on/let go! Your comment, “I want to soak up the seasons of my life in such a way that it pains me to see them pass.” I think maybe that’s why sometimes we don’t slow down to soak it all up, because we know that it will hurt. But, we are blessed, oh so blessed to have experienced this thing cslled motherhood.

    P.S. I heard you speak at a Watch Conference many years ago when our youngest was a baby!

  162. Momof3 says:

    This post hit hard today…my ‘baby’ is turning 5 this summer and it is very hard for me to face the fact that we may not have any more babies in our home. Yes, I do love all the stages and amazing moments I get with all my kiddos and I do look forward to being a Grammy, but there is something about knowing there may be no more little ones…it’s hard and it brings me to tears. Soldier on, sweet mamas, and enjoy every moment God gives us…

  163. Noelle says:

    Heidi,
    Thank you for re posting this I have read it many times! Last June I was thrown into a hysterectomy from an urgent care visit. I had been sick for over a year and they discovered I had a cervical stenosis. I could have had it reopened but it was likely it would reclose. In a 24 hour period I went from very sick and in a great deal of pain, to deciding whether or not to have a hysterectomy (more children was a reality for us still at this time), to having a hysterectomy and almost dying on the table, I woke up and they had called my husband about a transfusion but I refused and just slowly rebuilt my blood supply and took it easy. I am a mother of 9 so we are SO blessed – 6 by birth, 2 adoption and 1 by marriage. I am still grieving a year later and feel robbed of the “choice”! I read your post encouraged by the fact grandbabies are coming and try to remember to cherish every moment with the kiddos we have been blessed with they are all great kids and we really are blessed and time goes by SOOOOO fast! So why is it so hard to deal with no longer having that part of our bodies? I feel guilty for being sad because was have so many healthy children, yet I still feel sad because we can’t have more, uggghhhh! Hopefully it will get easier – keep writing all your encouraging posts I certainly appreciate them!

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