“Are you going to have any more?”, “when are you having your next?” If I had £1 for every time somebody asked me something along these lines, my piggy bank would be full to bursting.
A perfectly innocent question, no harm meant, thrown at me by loving relatives, close friends, and general acquaintances, but somehow it always leaves me feeling a little uncomfortable, and flabbergasted. I mean, by now you’d think I would have mastered a response, but each time I’m asked I’m taken back a little, feeling slightly overwhelmed, awkward and unsure what to say. Let’s be honest, it’s an intimate subject really, isn’t it? Well, to me it feels like a pretty personal thing to talk about, and in my opinion, it is a topic of conversation that really only ought to be bought to the table by one of the participating party ie. the couple in question.
Whether you are planning your first baby, second, forth, or eighth, it is a big deal! It’s not only a big deal, but it’s a really personal one too. After all, you are the one who is going to be homing a growing human being for 9 months, making the relevant lifestyle changes to nurture the life inside you, and having to deal with the influx of hormones, irrational mood swings, etc. (All of which, I do consider a very small price to pay for something so miraculous.) So really, if I’m being frank, it’s kind of nobody else’s business.
Fortunately, I’ve now been able to give myself a little scape goat for that question by the way of signing up to a Tough Mudder next Summer. So this past week, I’ve been able use this as an excuse. ‘Not anytime soon, I’ve signed up to do a Tough Mudder.’ Alas, it would seem that a few have jumped to the conclusion that this means that as soon as I have completed Tough Mudder, mission baby #2 is a-go-go. So, just to be clear, unless you have heard the words direct from my mouth, it likely means that I do not care to share my thoughts on the matter, or wish to discuss it.
The fact that I feel like I even have to make an excuse makes me feel very uncomfortable. Why should I feel a need to justify my decision (or lack of even), of whether I intend to pop out another sprog or not?! Why should I be put in a position when I’m expected to have made such a monumentally important, life altering decision about my future?!
Having a baby is a total game changer. Life as you know it, will never be the same again. If you’ve had a baby, I’m sure you remember waking at all hours of the night, feeling like the walking dead, body aching and tired, and barely finding the time (or energy) to feed yourself some days. Now imagine that again, but this time with an ever-mood-changing, erratic toddler, or perhaps an energetic 7 year old, or stroppy teen. Yeah, I know people do it all the time, and hats off to ya’ll, but blimey, knowingly going into that situation is a HUGE commitment! Especially when you are a full time working mum, have career ambitions, and goals you want to accomplish which will require you to make time for yourself (something which can prove difficult with just the one). It’s really not something you can just expect people to do, and that big question, ‘when are you having your next?’ has such expectation attached to it.
Directly asking someone when they are having their next baby puts an enormity or pressure on them. People have told me how wonderful it would be to give Aurora a little brother or sister, however, I know far too well, it doesn’t always work out like that. I have a daughter, but as you may know if you have read my previous post ‘Weathering The Storm’ , I have been pregnant twice. My first pregnancy will forever be a reminder to me of how fragile that new life is. There were times after I lost our first baby, when I truly doubted that I would ever be fortunate enough to have what we have today. The rawness in what happened is still very much with me. It was with me throughout my pregnancy with Aurora. Though I was excited and full of happiness, there was also a tremendous amount of fear that remained with me for the whole 40 weeks, and only lifted once I had my baby girl in my arms. So that in itself makes any decision to have another, an especially big deal to us, because I do not doubt that I will experience the very same fears.
Putting the worries of past experiences aside, actually having another addition to the family is bound to change the family dynamics. For me, that single moment when I first layed eyes on Aurora, I felt a huge sense of completeness; like there had been a missing piece to the puzzle, and she had been the perfect fit. She’s bought an extraordinary amount of joy, love, and happiness into our lives, and almost 16 months on, I still very much want to soak it all up and savour every little bit of her. I see us as a family of 5 already; myself, Trist, Rory, Daphne (our labcross), and Oscar (our tom cat). We started as 2, and each year a new family member joined our ranks, and each time, the family dynamics changed. Yeah, Aurora would be a fab big sister, but she wouldn’t have all our attention once there is another baby in the works. I’m really bloody happy with my family just the way it is right now. Is it really necessary for us to change those dynamics all over again? Well, the only ones able to make that call, are us.
It is a very personal matter, so it baffles me that sometimes people I barely even know are so quick to blurt out the big question ‘when are you having another?’, or state ‘oh, she needs a little brother or sister to play with.’ And in truth, it upsets me that these same questions are thoughtlessly being blurted out at women who will not have another opportunity to conceive, that may be absolutely desperate to provide a sibling for their little one, but won’t ever have that chance. Plus, does she really need a sibling? Yeah, there are perks of having siblings, but there are also perks of being an only child. Again, a call that only we (Trist and I), can make.
I know that people only mean well when they ask the question. I know that it’s a pretty common question directed at young families. Maybe I am just being over sensitive, and the over-thinker in me is taking the reigns, but maybe, just maybe, I am not alone in feeling like this. In fact, I briefly touched upon the subject in an instagram story this past week, so actually, I can tell you from the responses I had, that I am absolutely not on my own in feeling this way. I just hope that this post will be able to provide a little insight as to what this question really entails, and just why it makes me feel uncomfortable.
If you are reading this and have been able to relate, please feel free to share it with your friends and family, and hopefully provide them with some awareness as to how you are feeling. Life is filled with various stressors, and situations that put you under pressure. Your loved ones aren’t intentionally adding to that pressure, so don’t be afraid to tell them, ‘I haven’t thought about it’, or ‘I’d rather not talk about it’.
Lastly, I just want to say, you do not need to have your whole life mapped out! If you haven’t planned your next move, it’s really not a big deal, despite what anybody else may think about that. Life throws things at you, and there are plenty of plot changes along the way, so don’t stress about tomorrow, and just enjoy today.
Thanks for reading!
Lots of Love