I gave birth in March 2014. My son is 15 months old this week, and the question has been asked, more than once, as to when I’m going to give him a baby brother or sister. If I’ll go again. For most it isn’t a question of if, rather when, as having an only child is an anomaly in society. I wasn’t aware that when the animals went two by two on to the ark they were in fact siblings, that does make the story a whole lot more weird, but it appears that if society says children must come in twos that theory had to come from somewhere.
I am the eldest of three children, and I do remember asking my parents for a brother, then a sister. They delivered two brothers which somewhat went against my plans (the brother was for kite flying purposes, inspired by watching a lot of Mary Poppins, and it never seemed to happen). The sister was potentially due to the fact that on tv and in stories all of my favourite characters, bar Matilda, had a sister. That said, it was also potentially due to hearing people talking about my parents “giving” me a sister. All in all, I’m perfectly okay with being the only girl, I’m not sure the teenage years would have ended so well had the surge of teen girl hormones been doubled, I was enough of a nightmare at times as it was.
I’ve said before I had kids that ideally I would like to have more than one. Well, if there is one thing that could potentially change your mind, it is having one. Parenting is a whole lot tougher than any parents I knew before I had kids ever made it look – Academy Awards for all of you heroes who made it look easy, believe me. Nobody tells you the extent of the exhaustion, the frustration, the amount of times you’ll have to strip down after being puked on repeatedly, have to put those socks back on those tiny feet and listen to the screams of a teething baby. I have a feeling if the honest picture was advertised we’d face some form of a population shortage so perhaps its just as well it comes as a surprise. Kids are incredibly rewarding, don’t get me wrong, I love my son to pieces and wouldn’t swap him for the world (well, maybe for an hour extra in bed) but seeing how much work and frustration goes into bringing up one at a time, it is making me reconsider if I ever do want to “go again”, as people say.
I did not have the ideal pregnancy, the ideal birth experience, the ideal start to parenting. Thanks to a combination of circumstance and crappy luck, I started off on the wrong foot and I do realise that this does potentially shade my opinion on whether or not another baby is a good idea. Part of me looks at tiny newborns, sleeping, squishy, beautiful newborns and yearns to have another – thank you very much uterus for reminding me you’re there. Then I have a rough day with my toddler and I’m thankful that he’s my only handful – for my sanity I’m not sure I could handle more than one, definitely not at this stage.
People who ask me when I’m going to have another baby, or if I’m currently pregnant (thanks for that, not feeling self concious about my figure at all) have probably never faced any such complications, nor been directly affected by secondary infertility. So far, I’m incredibly lucky to have had no issues with conceiving at all (apart from the unexpected nature of it happening), but it does make me wonder what other people that they are saying these things to could be going through – some people who are facing problems and are already feeling sensitive about these questions really do not need inquisitive strangers snooping into their private business.
That’s what it is though. People seem to get overly concerned about the contents, or the lack of contents, in my uterus, which to be fair, is absolutely none of their business. Saying such a thing sounds like I’m being really defensive, and I’m not, it just doesn’t matter to me whether or not anyone else plans to have a football team, or leave it at one, or even none at all, so I don’t understand why it does seem to be so important to random strangers. And telling people they look pregnant when they aren’t NEVER goes down well. If in the future, myself and my partner do decide we would like another baby, it is when we upload the cute newborn baby photo that I will understand people commenting – hopefully to say how beautiful/cute/like me he/she is – not before.
So as far as Baby #2 is concerned, it’s definitely a not right now – in the future perhaps, I can’t look into a crystal ball and see what is going to happen – but for the moment one gives me more than enough joy and tribulations for a lifetime.
Have you ever felt pressured by other people to increase the size of your family? What kind of responses did you give them? Let me know in the comments below!