When I was pregnant with my last baby, I remember saying that I didn’t like having a newborn baby. I admit, I was heavily pregnant and seriously daunted by the challenge of having a toddler and newborn that lay ahead. But I still meant it.
Baby boy 2 arrived and I found it incredibly hard. Managing the demands of a newborn is tough, but doing that when you also have a 2 year old? Well. Whole new ball game. Yes, he was beautiful and soft and totally perfect but he also pooed all day long. He needed so so so many naps and, of course, he just wanted milky snuggles on the sofa. Except for at night. When he was gloriously awake. The comfortable routine we’d fallen into with our 2 year old was thrown into disarray. He wasn’t a bad baby; he was the perfect newborn.
Then, he got older. He hit 6 months and we found our stride. Suddenly, he was strong and solid and didn’t need to nap every 90 minutes. He sat up, giggled and smiled through his days and threw food on my floors with glee. We could go out without worrying about where I’d change and feed him and I could leave a room and not worry (quite as much) about what my toddler could do to him. Things became good.
I was right, then? I don’t like the newborn stage.
Here’s the problem. My tiny newborn is about to turn 1. He’s taken his first steps. He’s settled into nursery. He’s at that point where I really need to go and cut his hair. He has 8 teeth and an upcoming dentist appointment. He needs shoes. His favourite toy in the house is his big brother’s scooter. He’s not a baby any more.
“I want another baby”.
I didn’t say that. You did.
I do not want another baby. Our family is exactly as I would want it to be. Our sons play together (occasionally). My husband and I get some time together (20 minutes at the end of the day where I show him videos of our sons). I’m at that good point of breastfeeding where nothing hurts and it’s not that hard. I fit into (most of) my clothes again. We don’t have enough bedrooms and we wouldn’t all fit in the car. I don’t want a new baby.
“I want another baby”.
Seriously. Stop saying that.
I’m getting ready for my son’s birthday and spending a lot of time looking at photos and videos. There it is: that moment when I met my newborns for the first time. When I studied the faces that I’d memorised from my scans and felt surprised by how well I already knew them. That first night, when I searched their faces for my eyes or their Papa’s mouth. The first time my eldest fell asleep on me and the midwives told me to put him down and get some rest and maybe did I want to dress him? And there was nothing I wanted to do less.
Then I see one – at the doctors, in the street, at the school pick up. I see their curled up bodies and I remember the way my boys felt in my arms. I see a mum feeding and I remember the contented milky heaviness of a newborn; the way they’d stretch after a feed and I thought they’d do that forever, and then they stopped. I see a pregnant mum in the street and I feel that kick of anticipation, that wonder: “Who are you? What are you going to be?” And I remember how hard it is but the ache is still there because it’s still so, so, so amazing, making someone new.
I don’t want another baby. Not really. We feel complete. But one more day with my tiny baby boys? What I wouldn’t give for that.