We had a really difficult first year with our daughter – a colicky baby who notched up every sleep regression in the book; mummy back to work at 3 months; both parents hammering away at our own start ups; and on top of that, living overseas away from all our family and would-be support network and then eventually moving back to the UK, all the way from Asia when we then had to navigate a shaky resettling.. Having a baby is no walk in the park at the best of times, but all of the above made everything so much harder.
Because of all of the above, I was not exactly the most zen mum or pleasant person to be around. I absolutely admit that in hindsight. Mix that in with all the sleepless nights, illness, relationship and growing pains…well, it doesn’t exactly make it a tasty proposition for number 2, does it?
With Daddy terminally scarred from the gap between what he thought having a baby would be like, compared to the often harsh reality; coupled with his concerns that number 2 would “send me (or our relationship) over the edge”, we are now stuck.
My heart tells me – you’ve done it all before..you would be so much more confident, less neurotic and more relaxed with number 2. You’d know how to deal with it all, all the quirks, hurdles and pitfalls. You wouldn’t be trying to juggle motherhood with working and more importantly, we would be back home this time, close to our support network. I am stronger than before, less ruffled, already strengthened by the chips and knocks that motherhood has served me. Ok I lose my rag sometimes… but don’t we all?
But then a little voice in my head says…what if he’s right? What if I couldn’t handle another one? Do it all over again? All those sleepless nights and first year demands? Give my all to another one and still find enough energy for our first born? Do I really have it in me? I see the mums with two, three, sometimes even four kids and I wonder if we are made of the same cloth, or would I fall apart at the seams? Would it kill our relationship or has that already been strengthened by the trials and tribulations of number one?
Then my heart speaks up again – I see siblings cavorting in the playground and my heart lurches…I see my father and his siblings in their silver years (far from perfect, but still a jolly brood), I see how our little girl is instinctively drawn to other children when we are out and about, and wonder, would it be selfish to deny her a brother or sister? Or would self-preservation in fact save the day and the years to come?
Then I think back to how challenging little E has been, how intense as a Highly Sensitive Child, and I wonder, would number 2 be the same? Could we cope with that level of intensity in our household given we have proven ourselves not to be very good at just riding the wave? And I question my desire to what to do it all over again, am I mad? Or am I just programmed that way?
A little voice whispers in my ear that just because you have siblings, doesn’t mean you will get on, and if that happens, and Daddy is right, at what cost would it all have been for? The same voice whispers that there is nothing wrong with being an only child, after all, there’s a reason why the number of single child familes is on the rise, and maybe we will just slope off to be part of that statistic. But I can’t help the murmurings and yearnings of my soul.
We have agreed for the meantime to just “wait and see”. Wait and see what sort of girl number 1 turns out to be, wait and see what our general situation will be, wait and see whether time heals all wounds, wait and see until we’ve had enough of our life back to want to do it all over again, or wait and see until the final ticks of my body clock force a decision. Wait and see wait and see wait and see. I’m worried that wait and see will eventially calcify and crumble away into nothing…but then we have a bad day and my mind swings right back the other way.
If anyone has been in the same situation I’d love to hear about it, and what happened in the end…