“Are you going to have another?”, asked a well-meaning family member, out of the blue. Another cup of coffee? Another what? It could have been anything, but I knew exactly what they meant. Another baby. The question that fills me with dread.
It seems like when your first child enters toddlerhood, there is a societal expectation, or assumption, that all mothers are yearning for the next one. For me, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Why assume there will be a next one? For many, one is enough.
After extreme prematurity, neonatal surgeries, a 3.5 month NICU stay, post natal anxiety, PTSD and a global pandemic, motherhood has well and truly consumed me, challenged me and changed me.
I feel like there is so much we still have to experience with Theo. He is a healthy and happy little boy ready to see the world. But it’s not just about Theo.
I am working hard on my own personal development and having further therapy for my trauma. I am healing and reconnecting with parts of old myself. I want to write a book! I am unapologetically making myself a priority again.
Having another baby is not a priority right now, and perhaps it never will be. All I know is that this little boy and his Daddy complete me and they are all I need.
Now that restrictions are slowly lifting, we are ready to start living our best life and making memories that go beyond the local playground, as a family of 3.
Female adult life isn’t all about having babies. There is so much more available to us now.
Please always be careful when asking people about their family plans. You don’t always know what they’ve been through, or are going through.
Have you ever been asked a similar question and how did you deal with it? I’d love to know.
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Claire Ricaud says
I’m childless – not childfree – in other words I’m not a mother and it’s not because this is the life I wanted or chose, it’s the hand fate has dealt me. Over the 10 years that I spent trying to have a family I actually became quite reclusive (not uncommon, apparently) and even now I still find it harder to meet new people and make new friends due to the “dreaded” question that always tends to come up sooner rather than later, “Do you have any kids?” Not that I mind the question, it’s a natural part of getting to know somebody I guess, but if the response is no then the asker really ought to leave it there and move on, which more often than not they don’t. As you rightly said, you don’t always know what people have been through or are going through; if I’m open and honest about my failed fertility treatments, miscarriages and stillbirth most people feel akward and embarrassed and clearly wish they’d never asked, if I tell people to mind their own business (to spare them the discomfort of the truth and myself from feeling obliged to share the most heartbreaking and soul destroying chapter of my life with a complete stranger) then I look like the asshole and if I diplomatically try to change the subject most people who are thick skinned enough to ask me why I don’t have children or if I plan to in the future often don’t get the message so I may as well have told them to mind their own business in the first place. You would hope that it would be blatantly obvious to most adults that if we as a married couple don’t have children we either don’t want them or we can’t have them; either way why do people feel a need to ask and more importantly what makes them think that they have a right to? Married or not, straight or gay, what a woman does with her uterus is nobody’s business but her own!
Jess Gibson says
Thank you for sharing your story Claire. I couldn’t agree with you more. Sorry for all the pain you have experienced. Sending love x
Karen Hutzcal says
Only you know when and if you’re ready for another baby. The 3 of you have been through so much so it’s great that you’re enjoying family time as Theo is exploring the world. There’s so much more as the world will once more open up. Enjoy this time! ❤❤❤
Jess Gibson says
Thank you for your kind words Karen, they’re much appreciated.