Out in town today, with SB in nursery and doing a few errands, D and I were sat on the wall (eating our Greggs steak bakes; classy people that we are) when a heavily pregnant woman walked past. She looked to be about the stage I was at when I gave birth, around thirty-seven weeks.
Lately, with SB well out of the newborn stage, and approaching toddlerhood at a terrifying rate, the question has come up once or twice about what the future holds for us, child-wise. We know we want more – but we also know we definitely don’t want any more yet. However, I have found myself getting slightly broody – not so much wanting another one right now, but getting a little gooey and mushy over tiny squidgy newborns, and ‘First Size’ clothes make my ovaries twitch, and there’s this inexplicable feeling of something that isn’t quite longing, but maybe just an itch – I need to get my fix of cuddling tiny newborns, but I can’t go running around asking strange women if I can sniff their babies’ heads. So I was fairly sure already that having another any time soon was well off the cards, but there was that little twinge of doubt; the rebellious part of my mind suggesting that hey, everyone’s expecting me to get knocked up within months anyway, why not give them what they want? (I’m not getting on with the rebellious part of my mind right now).
But when I saw this woman in town today, struggling to walk down the street, and I remembered the later stages of pregnancy, with the swelling feet and the feeling that I had my own gravitational pull, the constant worry and fear and kick counts and every symptom sparking alarm bells in my head, hospital stays and that marathon induction and the birth (which was surprisingly easy in comparison to the rest of it), and then being thrown from giving birth into this world of no sleep and squeaky squawky cries and sleep deprivation so bad that I’m not sure this sentence has had a full stop yet…
It was that Moment, the moment of realisation that I’m nowhere near ready for another baby yet. Quite a few people have asked me when I’d be thinking of having another, and all I can really say for certain is ‘Not just yet’. The thought of being pregnant again makes me feel a little bit sick, and not just thinking about the morning sickness – I don’t miss that one bit. Constant midwife and consultant appointments, and the growing stress and panic as the due date approached are things I’m willing to wait a long time before experiencing again.
It’s such a difficult question, really. There’s no right answer – whatever we decide, we’d be doing something wrong in someone’s eyes. If we were to have a baby now, it’d be “too soon”, but if we wait too long, it’ll be “too big an age gap”. I think the problem is that people apply their own circumstances to everyone else, and what will work for you wouldn’t necessarily work for someone else. Just like there’s never a right time to have a first baby, the second baby is equally a minefield, as everyone decides that they have a right to pass comment on your choices.
For us personally, another pregnancy and baby now isn’t right for us – but that doesn’t mean we’ll take it upon ourselves to tell others how to do it. For now, we’re happy with our small, perfect family.