Sticking to One Child and Making Peace with it
Currently there is a blog post sitting in my drafts that I started writing about 18 months ago.
At the time I had decided after a lot of deliberation, that I did want to go ahead and try for another baby. I had thought long and hard about it. Noodle was through the ‘worst’: sleeping well, out of nappies and generally fairly easy to look after. I knew what to expect with having a newborn but even being very realistic didn’t dampen my spirits. My mind was made up. Nothing was going to deter me.
Wind forward 18 months.
I make an appointment with my nurse to have an implant fitted. An implant that will stop me becoming pregnant with almost 100% certainty for at least 3 years.
So what happened?
Well, when I first mentioned another baby to my husband he wasn’t keen. He’s a little older than me. I did rely on him a lot when Noodle was tiny. He was very involved in the disrupted nights and early mornings. He felt he was ‘done’ and happy the way our lives were now, wanted to concentrate on Noodle, the one child.
For a long time I thought and hoped that he just needed a little time to get used to the idea. After all, it was him that suggested we’d start a family the first time around. As time went on and there was still no convincing him, I started to question myself. Did I really want to start all over again? Was my husband right? Should we not rattle what we have? Did I really want to go back to maternity leave, nursery costs, part-time wages?
You see, I went back to work very early after having Noodle. After just 3 months, although not full-time, I was working some hours at home and a couple of short days in the office. Over time the hours increased. Working from home is amazing; and I’m so grateful to my work for being so flexible over the years. But it comes at a cost and I do sometimes regret that I rushed back so soon, even though I didn’t really have much choice. We did need the income and I actually enjoyed getting out and regaining myself.
I guess part of me wanted to do it all again, but ‘properly’ this time.
Very silly, I know, because I think we did a great job as parents. Everyone has doubt or guilt about their parenting and I suppose this is mine. I looked at other mums whom seemingly did nothing else all day but be there for their kids 100% of the time.
Over time there has been occasions when I have found it very difficult that my husband was still not shifting his opinion. It seemed everyone around me was expanding their families. I struggled with meeting little ones when visiting friends and family, only to return home knowing I couldn’t convince him to have another. There has been times when I even resented him for denying me what felt like an urge inside me, something besides all the logical reasons, I still couldn’t shake.
In July this year, after my diagnosis of MS, I realised that I needed to make a decision. Some of the decease modifying treatments I have decided to try out, don’t allow me to be pregnant. Pregnancy and breast-feeding would put these treatments on hold. And although pregnancy often makes MS symptoms less severe or disappear altogether, giving birth has a high chance of bringing on a major relapse.
Not the early newborn bliss that I was after. I am well aware of how exhausting the newborn stage is. Coping with numbness in hands, uncontrollable fatigue that is horrendous even WITH a full night’s sleep, an intolerance to a lot of noise, struggling to walk and look after myself, let alone a baby, is not what I had in mind when I thought of having another baby.
And then it hit me, when I mentioned all of this to a friend, who suggested considering adoption. Yes, it would possibly make having another child easier in the sense that there would be no physical process on my part. However, this was a complete alien thought to me. The thought of perhaps adopting a child, ie. not a newborn, made me realise that all my focus was on having a ‘baby’. Did I actually want another ‘child’?
I debated this in my head for some time and I realised it was about time I was honest with myself.
I came to the conclusion, that all I wanted, was to do it better this time round, to have a newborn again. As if to prove to myself that would be a better mum somehow. I was sad about how quickly Noodle had grown up, how I didn’t always cherish every moment. I was mourning that newborn stage that I wished away so foolishly the first time. I guess there was also an element of getting older, running out of time.
But I realised that nothing would change, I would struggle in a different way, would feel just as guilty about one thing or another; and probably find it extremely tough on my health on top of all that.
I decided to look after number one. I will focus on starting treatment, concentrate on my health, enjoy life with my gorgeous son (when so many can’t even have the one). I will focus on not looking back constantly and accepting that I did the best I could, not feeling guilty about the things I didn’t do; the days I wished to pass. I will focus on being healthy, being the best mum that Noodle could wish for, here and now. I will focus on learning more about photography and achieving success with it.
I will make the best of now. I will focus on me, my husband and our son. And I’m at peace with it.