Thinking about another baby…

For the first couple of months after Pip was born, my body and mind were on a spiritual high. My cells and my consciousness still could not quite believe what an incredible experience giving birth had been and for a very long time afterwards my body screamed at me “again, again, go again”. Every ounce of me wanted to have another baby straight away.

Nine months of sleep deprivation* beat that out of me and by that stage, the idea of having two small babies completely dependent on me filled me with horror. What if they both didn’t sleep? What if they woke each other all the time? What if I’m awake and dead on my feet for the rest of my life? My heart would palpitate just thinking about it. But the longing for another child was still there, just whispering in the background for a while.

Pip will be 18 months soon and I find that whisper starting to get a bit louder again. I seem to be surrounded by expecting mothers and tiny newborns at the moment and I can feel the strength of the oxytocin just swirling around trying to draw me in. What a wonderful stage of life! When everyone around you is on that exciting and magical journey of creating the next generation.

Blogpost: Thinking about another baby www.mindthebaby.ie Mind The Baby Blog
lots of babies
photo credit: Raphael Goetter via photopin cc

But I find myself asking what exactly it is that I desire? Do I want to be pregnant again? Do I want to experience birthing a baby again? Do I want a nurseling? Do I want a small baby again? Do I want another child? Do I want a sibling for Pip?

I loved being pregnant I must say. Or maybe I eventually loved being pregnant. I found the first 12 weeks very difficult emotionally. Having waited so long to finally get pregnant, I was crippled with fear that I wouldn’t make it to the end of the first trimester. Even now, I find it hard to use the “m” word here when I’m writing as if I’m still holding on to some of that fear. Frankly, this is ridiculous because I was lucky enough to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy in the end when many don’t. Of course you can’t help what you feel, particularly when you’re stepping into the unknown and your body is changing and functioning on a completely new level.

I also had some pretty terrible morning sickness that I wished down on myself in those very early few weeks as a sign that I was definitely pregnant. Foolish me, it came in good time and stayed for longer than the books promised!

I would love to give birth again. Nothing prepared me for the life-changing, exhilarating intensity that was labouring and birthing my son. If I’m honest I think I could probably be pregnant and give birth far more times than the amount of children I’m prepared to raise. But you can’t have the first bit without the second bit…and there’s a world of difference between babies and children.

How many children do I want? Before, I firmly held the number four in my head, being one of four myself I suppose, and seemingly incapable of imagining life with less or more of us. My new philosophy – inspired by reality – is “one at a time” and we’ll see how it goes.

Yes, I want another child. At least two more, maybe (see above motto). I picture myself and my husband with our teenage children out for brunch in a local eatery somewhere chatting, laughing and solving the problems of the world (too Pollyanna?). At the very least I want to have a sibling for Pip. I fear for him as an only child smothered by the overwhelming and undivided love of his mama. I’ve also seen the burden of the only adult child when it comes to caring for ageing parents and I’d like to avoid that for him, if I can.

If, if. That’s the important word in all of this really. It was three years from when we decided to have a baby until we held one in our arms and we had to be helped along the way.

And one certainly doesn’t guarantee another but I am optimistic.

There’s plenty of time for dark thoughts when there’s definitely, absolutely no chance of another baby but even then, there’s no room for negativity. I’m already blessed with the most amazing, beautiful, loving, happy little boy and the memories of a great pregnancy and a magical birth. Everything else is gravy.

So it’s marrying the heart with the head. Who am I kidding? I’d love another baby, a child. My body has always known that, it’s just my mind that’s had to come around to the idea. I think it’s there now though.

*and the incredible power of Mother Nature. An exclusively breastfed baby who ate A LOT at regular intervals meant my cycle was definitely on hold so no extra babies for me, even if I wanted them!

The winter uniform of a working mother

I’ve never been one for glamour in the office.  I’ve always dressed smartly and my working wardrobe consists of lots of functional dresses that just need a cardi and a pair of tights on a cold day. I tended to invest in good quality dresses that will last a long time which in hindsight was an excellent plan because most of them owe me nothing at this stage they’ve been worn so often and there’s life in the old dogs yet, thank God, due to an embargo on shopping for a long, long time. Back in the day, I managed to blowdry my hair – a passing blowdry mind, none of your fancy bounciness – and of course the face went on because, honestly, I look sick without it. My favourite winter wardrobe item was my long black wool coat with its gorgeous hood that saw me through many’s a winter. It finally fell apart on me at the end of the big snow of winter 2010, which incidentally turned out to be perfect timing because I was just reaching the end of my first trimester and the shapely cut of the coat would cut it no more.

This is not me.
Source: mybabyradio.com

Flash forward a couple of years, it’s winter again and I’m back at work nearly eight months now and black wool coats have absolutely no place in my life. The dresses are still here of course because they’re still in good nick and I can’t afford new ones anyway.  This has been good for my waistline because they HAVE TO fit me. I have, however,  had to re-evaluate how seriously I take the phrase “dry clean only” because in all honesty, if I had to dry clean my clothes every time they got dirty, I’d be naked.

And broke.

Or broker than broke already is.

Although you know, naked is probably the way to go. At least skin is waterproof and wipe clean. What I really need is a collection of vinyl jumpsuits in a selection of colours that have no fear of a snotty nose being wiped on a shoulder, or lumps of porridge drying onto every surface, or little puke stains in my lap, or sticky finger marks created by toast crumbs bonded in butter.

If I get to blowdry my hair these days, it’s a blue moon. Luckily for me, I have reasonably curly hair which is passable when dried naturally so I think I’m getting away with it. If you’ve seen my hair and you disagree with me, I don’t want to know about it because it’s just not going to get blowdried any more frequently. The full face is a permanent fixture of course and I worship daily at the altar of Yves Saint Laurent and his miraculous Touche Eclat to disguise those dark circles.

I’ve swopped my wool coat for a full length, “shower-proof” (!), belted, hooded puffa with massive pockets.  Stylish it ain’t. But truth be told, I LOVE it!

It:

  • has a hood so I don’t have to carry around a broken umbrella in my already burdened handbag AND I don’t have to wear a hat that, yes, keeps my head warm but doesn’t keep it dry and leaves a line across my forehead for the day
  • does appear indeed to be “shower proof” and it’s extremely snuggly because its fleece lined – including the pockets!
  • has a belt that nips me in at the waist to stop me from looking like the shape of a duvet
  • goes right down to my ankles so I’m nice and dry on those oh-so-frequent rainy evenings stuck at a bus stop as overloaded bus after overloaded bus goes whizzing by
That’s more like it!
Source: www.bluefly.com
  • can be wiped down easily and thrown in the washing machine so no worrying about getting it dirty or the ring of make-up around the collar
  • is essentially a shiny duvet so I have no preciousness about protecting the integrity of my lovely coat
  • has gigantic pockets that together can hold at least two packets of tissues (an essential tool in the mother kit, right?) my phone, my Blackberry (I know! It’s for work. And I have strict rules about mixing business and pleasure), my keys, my headphones, my bus pass and my work ID. This means that I have a seamless transition from front door, to bus stop, to office without having to rummage fruitlessly in my hand bag once.

It’s the simple things in life.

I’ve just written a blog post about how much I love a fashionably-questionable, zip up duvet.

This is who I am now.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

NewImprovedYou may have noticed a few little changes to the layout of the blog. Oh, okay! There’s been huge changes!

Now that I’ve been blogging away for nearly nine months, I felt the site needed a new look and a bit of a shake up in layout so that new and regular readers can find the content they’re looking for. Hopefully, you’ll find it easier to navigate and a bit prettier too.

Let me know what you think!

An unexpected release (five minutes part two)

We took a short family break a few weeks ago. It was the first time since my maternity leave that myself and my husband were off work together and it was really lovely to spend time together, just the three of us.

The menfolk in my family are cut from the same cloth in so many ways and share many similarities that just couldn’t be learned. Both are natural waterbabies. Although I love water myself, I am a good swimmer but not a strong one and a just-slightly-too-cold temperature will soften my cough when it comes to an anticipated swim. There has been many an occasion when I have long tired of the pool or the sea and T will continue to dive and swim for literally hours. Pip, it seems, is the same. His fascination with water is boundless. The pleasure he takes in turning his cup upside down so that he can splash the tiniest amount of water around on any surface is incredible. The first time he paddled in the sea, he was so overwhelmed with emotion it took a long time to ground him back to a calm place.

Winter walks on the beach are a lovely romantic idea in theory but a battle of wills in practice and two ended in tantrums and a wet toddler who could not be dissuaded that the November Atlantic sea was a perfect playground. As a compromise we took ourselves off to a local hotel which had a great pool and, unbeknownst to us until we arrived, a mini-spa area for adults to enjoy along with their swim.

While the boys splashed and blew bubbles in the water, I decided I’d take advantage of the facilities for a few minutes.

It being a Wednesday afternoon in November, I had the luxury of the Turkish bath all to myself and as a wave of breathtaking, fragrant steam hit me as I entered the room, a body memory of pre-mama me flashed over me. It was so strong, overwhelming in fact, and so sudden, I started laughing.

A loud, heartfelt, belly-deep laugh that I haven’t heard in a long time. It was like a release of emotions sweeping over me as tension left my body. I stood in the middle of the room with my arms stretched out and let the hot steam and the smell of fresh lavender wrap around me as the laughter rippled up and out through me. I had this wonderful feeling of freedom and serenity.

Blogpost: An unexpected release www.mindthebaby.ie Mind The Baby blog
photo credit: Dennis Wong via photopin cc

If anyone had seen me they’d probably have called security.

Then the moment passed. I drank in one last breath of moist air and realised I’d had the perfect about of time in there. I stepped into the jacuzzi for five minutes to reflect on what had just happened but in the background, cutting through the din of swimming pool sounds, I could hear the infectious giggles of a little boy squealing in delight as he played with his Dad in the pool and suddenly my thoughts weren’t interested in reflection and instead were replaced with a longing to share in the fun and be with my family.

It would appear, for the second time, it just takes five minutes – five short minutes all to myself – to refresh, reset and re-energise.

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Five minutes