Before any of you get too excited let me state for the record I am not pregnant, nor do I plan to be anytime soon. This is just a topic I've been thinking about for a while now.
It seems that no matter what stage you're at in your life people are always asking you when you're going to do the next big thing. Not long after we were married, everyone wanted to know when we were having a baby. Our first arrived and then it was "when's the next one?" My husband's voice was one of the loudest in that particular chorus, exclaiming that he was more than ready to start work on number two before we'd even left the hospital. Apparently many new fathers are struck with the same desire to procreate, and I'm sure the obstetricians must inject them with something while we're busy pushing out babies. I think the response they get from their wives is generally the same too.
Someone once said, the decision to have your first baby is made with your heart, but the second time round you decide with your head. This is definitely true for me. I fell pregnant late in 2008 without really trying and suffered a miscarriage early on. I had been wanting a baby for a long time and the trauma of this loss only strengthened that. The whole experience, an uncaring and incompetent doctor, four days in hospital, and a lot of uncertainty, left me feeling broken and distraught. I knew the only thing that would make me feel whole again was another pregnancy. There was no thought put into timing or money or logistics, I just had to have a baby. I was lucky enough to fall pregnant almost straight away, and was anxious for most of the first trimester, but I was right: my new baby healed me.
Now he's not so much a baby anymore but a proper little boy, I'm starting to feel that same longing for a baby. I was looking at photos of J from the last 12 months and remembering how tiny he was, and how much joy it brought us as he moved onto each new thing. I really want that again. But... here's where my head steps in. I think to myself, when I'm having these thoughts, J is only going to be little for such a short time, I should enjoy every minute, and make the most of having the time to be with him all day. And it's only been six months since I stopped breastfeeding, am I really ready to hand my body over to another little person again? I'm nowhere near fit enough to fall pregnant, should I spend another year trying to get into shape, or just go with it since I'm going to be out of shape again pretty quickly? Could I cope with morning sickness and bone-crushing tiredness, and chasing after a very active toddler at the same time? What about after the baby arrives...trips away would be much more difficult with two, and we'd have to move, our house is too small for the three of us as it is. On the emotional side of things I wonder if I'd have enough love for two, would J still love me or feel like I'd betrayed him? Would both kids end up loving their daddy or the helper more because Mummy is suddenly too tired to think rational thoughts? There's really so much to think about!
My husband recently heard of a study that determined that, between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, many important neurological and emotional developments take place. The study suggested that it would be best not to introduce another baby into the family in this time, you should do it before or after. So now he's off the new baby bandwagon and wanting to wait. This year we also have a tight budget and D's promotion to think about. Another spanner in the works is the damage done by J's birth. I had a fourth degree tear (if you don't know what that is, be grateful, you don't want to know!) and have been advised to have a caesarean next time, a thought that fills me with dread and makes me feel physically ill. I figure that since I'm already broken and there's less than 5% chance of another serious tear, I should be allowed to deliver naturally. I think when it comes down to it I'm going to have a battle on my hands to find a sympathetic obstetrician. I'm sure by now many of you are thinking I'm crazy, probably even wondering why I'd consider another child at all, so you can imagine the response I'm going to get from my doctor when the time comes. It's going to take me a while to get my head around it all and decide what I really want to do.
I think, despite all the arguments for and against having another baby anytime soon, what's really holding me back is wanting something to look forward to. I've always wanted 3 children but now that I know 2 might be all my body can cope with, I don't want to be done just yet. As much as my son, and a future child, will make me happy, I'm not ready to know I'm never going to go through it all again. I think I may have been injected with something too, or maybe it's my ovaries taking over my thoughts, but even the sleeplessness, colic, sore boobs and hormone fog, don't seem so bad now. For now it's nice to know that I have all that, and all the great, wonderful bits to look forward to. One day.