Not Just Rosie’s Dad and I recently announced our second pregnancy, a bit of news that came as a surprise to many, as I have been very vocal in the past about only ever wanting one child. I even wrote a blog about it, One and Done, so I accepted all the ‘I told you so’ comments with as much grace as I could muster.
But I know there will be some who will be curious, and also others who might be in the same boat as me now, or me then. So I wanted to write about it and explain.
Back when I wrote One and Done, I was still recovering from Post Natal Depression. I had had a traumatic premature birth, I had been ill myself afterwards, and my daughter had had reflux so severe that having a peg feed installed was on the cards. I was not coping well, despite seeking help from numerous sources and talking about how I was feeling. The thought of ever, ever, willingly putting myself through such hell again felt like sheer madness.
And of course because it was so fresh, because it was so raw, and because I was trying to move on, I simply shoved all of that guilt and pain and sadness into a box and locked it shut. I wasn’t going to have any more kids, so I didn’t need to drag any of that nasty out and re examine it. It could stay there.
Except it couldn’t stay there.
I sat with my sisters at family gatherings and we laughed and joked and made jokes about our parents, and I felt a twinge.
I watched my husband’s five cousins play together in their garden, laughing and falling over each other and playing and I felt a twinge.
I saw my friends bellies swell, helped welcome their beautiful new additions and I felt a twinge.
I looked at Rosie, growing up more and more every second and I thought about the way her little baby head used to feel nestled into my chest when she was tiny, and again I felt a twinge.
And when I couldn’t ignore it anymore, I sat myself down and I started the painful process of opening up that box. I spoke to Not Just Rosie’s Dad, I spoke to friends, I spoke to family. I had a birth debrief with the Supervisor of Midwives at the hospital where I gave birth, and I walked out feeling, amazingly, absolved of the guilt that I had carried for so long. I researched stats on prematurity, PND, and reflux in subsequent babies. I researched Hypnobirthing and Doulas. I researched everything.
And finally, a light began to dawn and I began to see that it might be possible, after all. That I might not drown. And that actually, it might be a good thing. For me, for Rosie, for all of us.
And so, eventually, after much careful thought, research and deliberation, we went for it. I’m now sixteen weeks pregnant and don’t get me wrong, I’m still terrified, but I feel more prepared and more ready than ever. I know it will be hard, but I can do it. We can do it.
There’s still absolutely no shame in wanting only one child, but I’m glad that we have been able to have the chance at another. And I’m glad that I have been able to work through the issues that were stopping me before.