You’re chatting with friends, family, work colleagues etc and you’re having a nice time and a lovely cuppa and all of a sudden things change. You start having flashbacks that fill you with terror and your heart starts to beat faster and you feel anxious. Why? Because someone just casually asked if you want any more kids.
People do not realise how big a question this is for people, especially mums who had been through a traumatic pregnancy, birth or hospital stay the last time. Whenever someone asks me this, my brain takes me back to that horrible moment when I was told that at less than 29 weeks my baby would be arriving within hours. The fear washes over me all over again. I have to try really hard to keep my breathing steady. I remember my boy being whisked away immediately after birth leaving me wondering whether he would make it. And I brush off the question with a laugh and the phrase “Where would we put another one, we still all live in a one bedroom house as it is! We’re full!”
Inside I am all stressed and upset.
I think about how much harder our journey would have been if I had another child at home to juggle, ship off to nursery/school/Nannie’s house, or bring to the hospital while visiting the NICU. I would be splitting my time between them and it would tear me apart.
I think that mums who go on to try again after something like this are bloody brave. The counting down to viability and then just hoping to get further along than last time. Hoping that they’ll give you the steroid shots anyway just in case so that the next one isn’t on oxygen for quite so long.
I can brush the question off with logic and practicality, which are also truths. We do live in a one bedroom house and our bedroom is just big enough for one double bed, one cot and some wardrobes and chest of drawers. We can’t fit another bed in of any description. I’ve also just started back at work a couple of months ago and we are starting to get our finances back in check and recover from my maternity leave which we had to extend. We couldn’t afford another and we’d struggle with space. And actually it could be dangerous as, even though I am much healthier now, I am still taking blood pressure medication.
But really, it’s because I’m terrified that it would happen again. I’m terrified that it would come earlier than Jack and/or that it wouldn’t be as lucky as Jack, terrified that the next one wouldn’t make it. I cannot do that to myself and I cannot do that to my family.
In future maybe I will feel differently. Once we’ve found a bigger more family sized home and we’ve built up some savings again we can start asking the question. The question being, what’s the likelihood of me developing pre-eclampsia/hellp again? This is the big question and I’d need to have a meeting with the consultant to go over my medical notes. But even then, no one has a crystal ball to say whether it would or wouldn’t happen again. It’s just pot luck.
Only having one kid is nothing to be ashamed of. Loving Jack takes up my whole heart and I am proud of my brave miracle. He deserves all the attention I can give him, and he is such a happy fun boy. He is all I need. I am more than happy with my little family so, please, stop asking. I’m perfectly content with my one.