As soon as my daughter turned two, that inevitable question from people started cropping up in conversation; oh it must be time for another baby?! Or, when’s the next baby due then?
Initially, the plan had always been to have 2 kids. My husband and I had always had that idea, that we’d be a family of 4.
But, that was back before we’d even started trying for a baby. As I’ve written about in a previous post (Who is The Unfiltered Mum?), it was a long and emotional journey trying to conceive. Followed by a bit of a tricky pregnancy, and a rather eventful and slightly traumatic birth.
Those 3 things combined, did change things a little bit for us to be honest. Life with a newborn was certainly challenging too, but as we adapted to this new life as parents, we did start talking about when we’d like to try for a second. Obviously it wasn’t going to be immediately! We set a rough plan of when our daughter turned 2, that we’d start then and see what happened. Over those first 2 years though, my mental health fluctuated from good to bad a lot. I had PND (Post Natal Depression) when my daughter was about 6 weeks old. Thankfully as I was already on medication for Bipolar Disorder, it was quite brief as it just meant a bit of a tweak with my current meds and things went back to normal fairly quickly. But of course, there’s been several relapses for me to battle through.
Also, we’ve had a few troublesome times with our little lady being poorly, resulting in a couple of A&E trips. So in a way, the stress and worry of that kind of put a negative feel to having another. Could we honestly go through such things again? Worrying about one is hard enough, to double that would be so much harder. Plus, the vaccinations have always upset me, as I hate seeing my baby in pain. I’m thankful she most likely won’t remember them, but it’s something I just can’t forget. Especially the first lot. That scream/cry she did was heartbreaking, and I can still hear it in my head if I really think about it. I couldn’t go through that again.
Financially, we’ve never been rich, and we’ve seen the black hole of debt too (regretfully, more than once!) Children are pretty expensive too, and we quickly learnt that it was going to need some pretty good budgeting and money management in order to keep our heads above water. We did have times where we struggled, and we had to ask for help. We were very lucky to have some great family supporting us, and a lot of the expensive things like pram/pushchair, cot etc etc were bought for us. But I couldn’t ever expect them to do that a second time, and honestly, with a toddler, and a lot of number crunching, we just couldn’t see how we could make it work if we had another baby. The fact that we’d had to resort to using the local food bank on more than one occasion, made me feel so rubbish.
So, taking all of that into account – my mental health, physical health, money, the space we have at home (not really enough for 1 child, let alone 2!), the long journey to have our precious girl, and what followed during pregnancy and birth – early this year, we had another conversation about a second child. But this time was different; we were being realistic, rather than trying to “live the dream”.
Our biggest wish for our daughter, has and always will be, that we could give her the best life possible. As many opportunities as we can, experiences and fun times. In order to do that, we just couldn’t manage if we had another child. So, with heavy hearts, we made the difficult decision, to just have the one child.
It still plays heavy on my heart sometimes, and I get really overwhelmed with emotion too. Especially when I sort through clothes that our daughter has grown out of, or things we no longer use like the steriliser and next2me crib, and we pass them on or sell them to people who need them more. I try to look at it as memories that we’ll always have, rather than placing too much sentimental value onto things. They’re just objects at the end of the day, our daughter is worth so much more than them. When people collect things we’ve sold/passed on, it is hard for me to see them go. I don’t think it’ll ever be easy, but ultimately it helps others and that’s important. There’s no point holding onto things that we just won’t use anymore, no matter how hard it is to let go.
As our daughter grows, learns, develops and changes, my heart swells with pride, but there’s always a slight feeling of sadness. Mostly that she’s not my little baby anymore, but also that she won’t have any siblings. Although, I grew up as an only child, and don’t think I turned out too badly haha! I just hope, when she’s old enough to understand and may ask about a brother/sister, she’ll be able to appreciate why we didn’t have another baby. But I guess we’ll cross that bridge as and when (or if) we come to it.
I find it hard too, seeing friends around me having 2nd children or more. I get jealous sometimes, and upset that I won’t experience pregnancy again. For all the stressful times, I’ll always remember the wonderful times. Like seeing our baby on the scans, or feeling those little kicks. Whilst I was pregnant, I felt truly beautiful and proud of my body, for finally doing what we’d wanted it to for so long. The female body is pretty incredible really, with the way it can create another life within, nurture and grow them, and give birth to them and bring them into the world. I loved my bump, despite being so uncomfortable and in pain by the end! Also, when people say you forget the pain of childbirth, don’t believe them! You may forget temporarily, but there’ll always be a lasting memory, deep within, that never goes away. I can still remember it like it was yesterday! But that too makes me proud, that I did it. I coped with the pain of bringing life into the world, and for that I’ll always feel like superwoman! 😀
I hope, as time goes on, I’ll deal with the emotions and it’ll get easier. I suppose it’s just a natural thing for most women, to want to have babies! I’m so thankful though, for being able to give my daughter 100% of me and my time, and to be able to give her the best life possible. She truly is my first, my last, and my absolute everything. My love for her grows every minute of every day, and it’ll never stop growing either. I’m a really proud mum, and I’m looking forward to seeing all the amazing things my little girl will do.
My physical health isn’t all that great at the moment, having lots of tests etc to see what’s going on. So that too is a big factor for not having a second baby. The results of the tests etc, may well cement the decision we’ve already made anyway, and take the choice away. More on all of that in another post!!
I have been judged, called selfish even, and other such things, for making the decision to have an only child. But at the end of the day, every parent has the right to decide what is best for them and their family. Whether it be 1, 2 or 3+ children. It’s totally a personal choice. Sometimes, that choice is taken away from people too. I honestly had begun to give up hope that I’d ever be a mum. Sadly for some, it’ll never be a reality for them. I feel truly blessed and lucky to have my daughter, my rainbow baby. She fills my heart with joy, and totally completes our little family unit. I couldn’t actually imagine throwing that into chaos with another baby now. Things feel perfect, just the way they are. We’re happy, content and living life the way we want to live it. We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
So to finish, I’ll say, always do what is right for you, your family and your situation. Never feel pressured by others, or social media even, to do or be more than you feel capable of. You don’t have to do what everyone else does. What’s right for them, may not be right for you, and that’s okay. Always, always, just be you. Sending you all lots of love and a massive hug, especially anyone reading this, who has been or is in a similar situation. Whether by choice or circumstance, I understand. Be kind to yourself, and if you ever need a listening ear, I’m always here. ❤