What is the perfect baby number?
It turns out I’m not sure, and that is coming from someone who thought they had it all figured out.
I was never a baby person, as a child I never played with dolls, and as a teenager I would have told you that I was never having children – I certainly didn’t coo over babies in prams. No one was more surprised than me when I got pregnant at 20…and was actually happy about it. I wanted my son from the moment I found out, it’s like a dormant part of my brain came alive!
When my son died my desire to be a mother didn’t die with him. I always considered my self lucky (if that is at all the right word) that after losing my son I didn’t instantly want to replace him. Of course, intellectually, everyone knows you can’t replace a lost child but that doesn’t stop our loopy hormones from pushing us. It doesn’t stop us, in all our despair, from thinking it will make a terrible situation better.
I also didn’t feel rushed into having another baby, partly because his father left me (there I go being all lucky again!).
It was five long years until I finally held my beautiful daughter, Amelia, with her father by my side and my family complete…or so I thought. I told everyone, with conviction, that we would only have one child. This meant I had been through two pregnancies, pretty awful pregnancies. I was relieved and happy to finally have my baby and I wasn’t going to push my luck.
Besides, although the ‘mummy’ part of my brain had been activated, I still had no desire for a large family. Body falling apart worries aside, I just thought raising multiple children looked hard!
We loved being a little family of three, this was our perfect number until the time Amelia was nearly four. I don’t know what happened, maybe it was the pesky hormones or that damn biological clock ticking as I edged closer to 30. Whatever it was, all of a sudden conversations about saving baby clothes ‘just in case’ and my decision not to recycle the moses basket became more serious.
I began to feel like someone was missing.
My husband proposed on my 30th birthday in the August (by poem which was lovely!), not ones to hang around, we booked the wedding for the following February, six months later. I blame all the loved-upness that followed his proposal but we made the decision to try for another baby at the beginning of December assuming it would take a couple of months at least and we might have a ‘honeymoon’ baby – as it turned out I was pregnant three weeks later (my husband’s charmingly proud of this fact).
We had an amazing wedding, despite the fact I had to buy another wedding dress two weeks before the big day! Silly me for picking a really fitted dress in the first place and then getting knocked up on purpose, I know!
So along came Poppy. Me, pregnant three times and a mother to two lovely little girls. I still can’t quite believe it.
This is the point – I’m supposed to hang up my overworked ovaries. I’ve had more babies than I ever intended to, more caesareans, more sleepless nights, more terrifying pregnancies and gruesome pregnancy ailments. I’m done.
My husband says he’s done, he’s happy with our two girls and wants no more. Who can blame him? Our youngest rarely sleeps in past 5am these days! Our house and car are the perfect size for a family of four, any more and life would start getting cramped, not to mention overwhelmingly expensive.
I know all this, and agree, but still…I’m starting to feel like someone is missing.
Perhaps it is the missing person that is at the centre of my broodiness. I am a mother of three but only two are here. If I went on to have another child, or even two, there will still be someone missing.
I thought I had it all figured out, I even thought I was lucky that I escaped that burning desire to have another baby straight after Louis died but maybe not, maybe it just burns in a different way. A slow burn that leaves me with a maternal urge I can’t quite ignore.
I hate feeling broody.
Deep down though I know that this family is complete. More babies would be a bad idea for my health, my marriage and my bank account! Lucky for me, my girls still enjoy a nice cuddle so I take full advantage whenever I get that broody feeling!
What has been your perfect baby number?