One child: one and done?
I never imagined only having one child; I always foresaw my husband and I becoming a little bit like the Von trap family – except of course without the singing, the matching outfits made from old curtains and the having to hide in the Austrian Alps.
I have siblings; we laugh, we tease each other rotten and throughout our childhood we regularly beat each other up and blamed each other for things the other did, but at no point did I wish myself an only child. They were my best friends and to this day there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for them.
When myself and my husband decided to have children, I told him just one wasn’t going to cut it – I wanted three. He wanted just the one so we settled on two, however I was quietly confident that using my feminine charms, I would be able to sway him to another when the time was right.
After a year of trying, it still wasn’t happening; friends all around us were falling pregnant, starting or adding to their families. Strangers everywhere seemed to have bumps or young babies, every book I read, every television show or film I watched had pregnancy stories or babies being born. My husband would regularly pick me up from the floor as I cried.
6 months later, though it felt like an eternity, we began IVF and, although that’s another blog for another time, I am incredibly thankful to our NHS and to the staff at Guy’s hospital who gave us our little miracle. There were times that I believed I was destined to not be a mama and they made that possible. We were told it probably wasn’t going to happen, but my determined little egg (one of only 2 that made it) turned into this cheeky, mischievous, stubborn beautiful little girl.
She’s 14 months now and is simply amazing; she brightens every day with her cheeky smile, she astounds me with the new things that she does – the first time she said mama, or the first time she crawled. Her first Christmas and first birthday crept up on us and now she’s started taking her first steps I’m very aware my little baby is becoming a little girl all too fast.
However, I realise that every first is probably the last first. I know I might never see another human call me mama, or crawl towards me, or lift their arms out to me for a cuddle, and that makes me incredibly sad. I also worry about her being an only child. I worry about her not have the memories that I do, that she will never have that constant in her life of a sibling to call upon or that, if anything ever happens to me or her dad, that she will be alone. But, I know that the people that are in her life; her uncles, aunts, Godparents, their children – blood relations and non-blood related – will never let her be alone. She is loved and will be loved forever by those around her. I take her on playdates and to groups and she is always spending time with other children so she is still having fun and making memories with them. One day, she will have cousins to play with and to tease and I know that, as she is the oldest and probably the bossiest, she will be fine.
We have discussed trying again, but it’s so much money to pay for something that might not work, it would be so devastating to try and fail and I wonder if the sadness I felt during those 18 months of trying for Phoebe, and the darkness that consumed me, would come out again if it didn’t work. We have some savings so instead of risking IVF again we have made the decision that I will be a stay at home mama for a while; spend that money on raising our little girl and surrounding her with love, laughter and happy memories. We may be lucky enough to fall pregnant naturally in the future, or our circumstances might change and we suddenly win the euro millions (note to self: buy lottery ticket), but until then our focus is on what we do have
If we remain a family of 3, she is enough – my wild, crazy happy healthy daughter is enough. Although a little bit of me will always miss the thought of another child, she is enough. She fills my heart and every day I remind myself how lucky we are to have her.