The Fear of Being the Mother of “only” One Child
As sometimes we have to stop fighting hard and accept life for how it is
Since I was a teenager, I have always dreamt about having two children; it may come from the fact that I had a sister and all my friends had siblings; or because my mother was always complaining of not having someone to share the load with, especially when her family was going through a tough time and her parents aged in a dramatic and fast way.
I wanted to have two children so badly, I walked in into a tattoo artist shop when I was 22, and I asked the guy to tattoo the name of my future kids on my leg; I’m so grateful he refused the job, and he honestly (and quite abruptly) said “Wait until you have them before you write their names in ink”.
What he is talking about? I thought. I will obviously have two kids, as this is what I have been dreaming of.
Fast forward to 16 fast paced years, I’m the mother of a beautiful baby girl, and in the past 6 years I learnt the hard way that becoming pregnant is not a walk in the park, and life with a small baby (especially when there is no support around), can be extremely challenging.
I haven’t yet given up the idea of having a second baby, as I do daydream about holding and nurturing another honey and milk smelling little human (sleep-deprived nights and colicky storm included), but I’m also coming to term with the fact that it may not happen.
Not only it took me forever to get pregnant due to hormonal issues caused by too many years spent stressing out and restricting my meals intake, but I also developed an autoimmune condition after giving birth, and my body hasn’t yet recovered from the postpartum phase as, back then, I didn’t know any better and I pushed through. Every day.
About Being a Mother With an Autoimmune Condition
When life throws you lemons, make yourself a nice Margarita
Some days I walk in the mall and I see new mums holding their bubs with so much love and fear, and I feel a tinge of nostalgia, as I may not experience it ever again.
Instead of dwelling on what I don’t have, and live a life based on fear…
I treasure the time I spend with my daughter
My husband and I had a lengthy conversation about leaving our kid in childcare for an extra day, as I need time to work, and take care of everything else. I keep rejecting the idea, as I’m not ready to let this moment go; I’m not ready to not being there when she wakes up with a grumpy face from the afternoon nap and she points at the door, while she holds me tight, and place her cheeks on mine. I’m not ready to let go of those times spent together laughing under the blankets, sharing new words, learning new things. These are the moments that recharge me and make me feel alive. If I won’t be the mother of another baby, I might as well enjoy what I have now, without constantly hoping for a free day or a moment in peace, or without being only half present while I do other zillions of things. Of course it can get frustrating at stages, and of course some days I wish she could stop the crying and sit in her big girl seat and eat all her meal without saying a word. Of course, sometimes I’m tired and I just want to lay down.
This doesn’t mean I’m not going to love our time spent together, and I just have to bring awareness and mindfulness into it and remind myself that YES, they do grow so fast!
I will keep doing the right things
Having a second baby will be in my mind for a little bit longer; I’m not ready to give up on that dream yet. This means I will do everything I can to have my ducks in a row; I will keep on building up my resilience to stress by taking time in regularly, I limit my caffeine intake and I steer away from alcohol as much as possible. I celebrate my meals, and I eat the rainbow whenever I have the chance; I shop locally and organic, I move my body, I expose my skin to the sun, I take the right supplements, and I rest and stretch when I feel like it, or when I can.
The 5 Nutrients You Need to Eat if you Are a Mother
If you want to avoid fatigue, depletion, and feeling utterly miserable
The worst-case scenario is getting to an older age without a second child, but in optimal health, which is translated with the capacity to play with my daughter, run with her, pick her up, follow her wherever she goes, because I will have (almost) as much energy as she does.
I’m not giving up on life
I will keep on living, meaning I won’t choose a job because of the maternal leave policy; If I was going through IVF, and if I was under financial constraint that may be the wisest thing to do, but what if I find myself, 5 years from now with my only child stuck in a job I have never resonated with? I can’t think of something more appalling for my general health and mental sanity. Which is why I have decided to keep living my life as if nothing is going to change, and I will enjoy every holiday, every dinner out, every career change because I’d rather live and enjoy the moment, instead of worrying of what may or may not happen.
I will keep my options open
What resonates with me today may change in the future. Maybe 2 years from now I will be ready to face in vitro fertilisation, and I will be willing to ask for some extra medical support. I have no idea how my life is going to pan out 24 months from now. 24 months ago I had just found out about my pregnancy, and that’s how much life can change dramatically in a relatively short amount of time. Which is why I will keep all my options open, and I’m looking forward to seeing where life is going to take us.
Maybe my second baby is my new business, and I will spend the rest of my days supporting postpartum women to overcome anxiety and depletion; I don’t see anything wrong in that.
If I can’t have a second child, I will embrace my friend’s second children
I’m quite scared about receiving pregnancy news from one of my closest friends; I know how much it will rock my boat, and I can’t wait to be challenged, as it will allow me to grow. Jealousy, comparison, envy are all words I have abandoned ages ago. There is fear of being left behind, of not being able to fulfill my dream (or one of them), but it doesn’t have anything to do with my friends, which is why I will embrace their future pregnancies and hold their babies with the same love I would hold mine. And I can only hope for the best, and simply feel gratitude and happiness for the life it has been given me.