Reasons For One
The decision to only have one child plays on my mind a lot. I’m a fan of the phrase ‘never say never’ as there are no guarantees in life and I like to remain open minded. Who knows how I’ll feel in two, five, ten years? But for now, there’ll only be Moo. This makes me incredibly sad. It’s not what I dreamed, not what I wanted for my child. I sway between having a fraction of my mind considering another, while my heart longs for it, and being totally relieved that I’ll only have to raise one child and not relive any of the experiences I’ve had over the last two years. There are a few reasons why my family won’t be getting any bigger.
My Birth Experience
Labour was wonderful. It was empowering. I felt so determined, so strong, so powerful. The pushing stage and the events afterwards were nothing short of horrific. I cannot risk another haemorrhage and I was told the chances of it happening are higher a second time around. If I died, I’d leave my beautiful girl without a mother, my husband without a wife. To be laid in theatre like that again, my body convulsing with shock, cold and crying, begging to be anaesthetised… No, no, no. I don’t want to live that again. I don’t want my husband to be left in a room on his own, holding a baby just minutes old, watching the cleaning staff mop my blood from the floor. I couldn’t put him through that again.
To fail at breastfeeding a second time would break me. It most certainly contributed to my post natal depression. I’d try so damn hard if I had another child, and if it didn’t work out then the disappointment would be even greater. How could this happen again now that I know so much more? What would I have to do to get this to go right? I can imagine it now, feeling the ultimate failure. The dream being taken away twice. Absolutely soul destroying. I’ll pass.
The post natal depression was, and still is, simply awful. The anxiety, the panic attacks, the feelings of regret and resentment, the anger and frustration, contemplating suicide. I’ve been through some pretty dark times that I never want to experience again. I never want to feel that way for even a moment. The guilt of wanting to hurt Moo or run away from her was (is) overwhelming. I don’t want to feel that way about another precious life.
Don’t get me wrong, I think its awesome too. I look back at pics of my swollen belly and remember the detail at our anomaly scan and long to feel the anticipation after peeing on a stick, and it all seems great. But actually, I spent a lot of the time moaning. I felt exhausted, I felt nauseous the whole time. My fingers were stiff, my back hurt constantly. I had sciatica. I couldn’t get comfy at night and I cried because I never looked nice in anything I wore. How would I cope with that and take care of another child? I just wanted to sleep all day and eat cheese and onion crisps. No toddler is compatible with that.
Being A Parent Is Shit
I’ve found it so, so much harder than I ever envisioned. I assumed I’d love it. I knew it’d be tough, I’d been an auntie for years previously, but how I’ve reacted during those tough moments has taken me by surprise. The absolute rage I’ve felt at times has been shocking. Parents aren’t bull shitting you when they tell you that *nothing* can prepare you for it. It’s one of the truest cliches. The sleep deprivation, the constant whining, the inability to leave the house in less than half an hour, the knowledge that you’re forever stuck with this energy-sucking, all consuming human being. It’s, at times, a waking nightmare.
Rocking The Boat
I quite like having one. Moo is lovely. It’s me and her, the girls together, the pair of us, hanging out. I can hold her hand and still have one free. My husband can push the buggy and I can wander at my leisure. I won’t need a bigger house. All my efforts and energy can be put into her. I’m finally pretty happy, getting the hang of things, feeling more like me again. Some days I even think I do a good job of being a mum. Why risk ruining things by adding someone else into the mix?
I’m sure there are plenty of counter arguments to these reasons. I’m sure if I focused on them enough I could almost convince myself that it’d be a good idea to have one more. Some days I do float off into a little fantasy world where I have six kids with beautiful names, all racing around the house with odd socks on. But then one of these concerns creeps in and I thump back to reality. And I know that I just can’t do it. There’ll just be Moo.