This is a long hard post to write, but I need to get it out somewhere.
It seems as soon as you have settled with your first, everyone is asking about your second. Literally, strangers in the street, distant and close family, friends. My physiotherapist. Everyone. It seems an odd question, not one I will ever ask a woman again. It’s very personal really.
Seven months after no 1 was born, I was joking about no 2 with husband and he said ‘go on then’. Sensibly, I decided I should return to work first. Three months later when I’m back at work and thinking it’s ok, husband has a change of heart. That’s fine, we’re in this together and I think it will be short lived. I start getting desperate and broody a few months later and some massive fights follow. I’m miserable. He’d said ok now taken it back. I start to grieve, truly and properly thinking it’s not going to happen as the first pregnancy announcements come out from my mummy friends of their second children. I’m happy, of course I’m happy for them. A twinge of jealousy but we’re not (and I hate this word) ‘trying’.
One day, one particularly bad day when my stomach is the size of a balloon and I’m in agony he texts me and says ‘ok’. I go that day and get the coil out. The pain I’m sure is linked to it and ovulation. I’m happy, so unbelievably happy but worried. I have PCOS. I wanted to be pregnant by Lion’s second birthday which is fast approaching. It’s not going to happen. I start to grieve again for all my wishes, to be angry, to be irrational and downbeat. More pregnancy announcements come and I spend days in ‘woe is me’, all while not being pregnant. At one point I think my luck is in. I feel sick, I’m exhausted. In bed most evenings not tired but exhausted. But no. A few days later I’m crushed again. I actually feel like a ton of rocks are dropped on my head each month. Somehow I pick myself up again but it’s slower each time. I used to walk tall. Now I’m a miniature version of myself.
I get through Lion’s second birthday but I can’t enjoy it as I should. As she gets older it reminds me of all the things I want to do, all the things I didn’t do with a newborn last time I can’t wait to try. Properly baby wearing a newborn. Cloth nappies. Even now I cry when I see how clever she is, it reminds me she’s getting bigger and the gap is growing. I cry when I see sibling photos of the age gap I wanted. I both swoon and cry inside when she talks to or about a baby. That one’s hard. I was in the two week wait once and she cuddled up and said ‘mummy baby’. I’d read about toddler intuition, I let my hopes raise. It was out of nowhere. Sadly no.
More pregnancy announcements come and I feel suffocated. I can’t breathe. On the outside I’m smiling and happy, on the inside I’m screaming and twisted and burning up with jealousy. Why me? Why can’t I be pregnant too? I have a longstanding misunderstanding with God- his plans are never what I want. I sob, I cry, I hold it together enough in public and to husband that those few precious moments alone I crumble to pieces.
It’s only been 6 months really but it seems a lifetime. 6 months had that first one materialised and I’d be halfway through. More than. My friends don’t understand, they’re gloriously childless or had/pregnant with their second on a small gap. I feel I’ll lose those friends when we’re older. They’ll have our first, all nicely bunched by a month and then their seconds split four months apart. A second of mine would be left out now. At least 9 months younger than the youngest. I cry for the baby I don’t even have yet for being left out of things they’re not even part of.
A small part of me, the self protective part of me wants to give up, protect myself from this pain every month because it is. Heart wrenching, gutting pain. I cry more than I ever did, I’m not sleeping, I’m mentally and physically exhausted. But the longing part, the hopeful part won’t let me. Won’t let me grieve yet for the child I never had. Won’t let me stop thinking ‘this time I might get lucky. God might actually let me win’.
Everyone says relax and have fun. I can’t. I can’t relax and drink and forget it all because then if it doesn’t happen the guilt of doing things that reportedly don’t help will get me. My husband is a very patient man. I’m not easy to live with right now. He’s regretting saying yes, thinking we give it up as a bad job and move on but I can’t just yet. His desire isn’t as great and as deep rooted as mine. To him it will quickly be forgotten but this pain is something I’ll never leave.
Next time you ask someone ‘do you think you’ll have any more?’ Or ‘when are you having another?’ think twice. There will likely be a story behind it that’s very deep and very personal.