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.
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!