“How do I put this, we have some news,” I said to my friend. She gives me a sidelong look.
“I thought last week you had morning sickness … ” she starts before I cut her off. “We have decided not to have any more babies.”
There. I said it. It’s out there. It wasn’t an easy decision. It really wasn’t. But hubby and I have been to-ing and fro-ing on the topic for more than 18 months. Eighteen months that haven’t been easy, with house purchasing dramas, new jobs, stress and then the saving for baby number two and everything that means when it comes to maternity leave, childcare and its elder sibling.
Related: Thinking about baby number two
Then one day I decided to walk around and imagine I was only having one. A cloud began to lift. It was at this point I realised that hubby and I were putting too much pressure on ourselves – emotionally, financially and even physically – to have another child. And the truth is, we’re pretty happy with the wonderful human being we have in our lives. Then, hubby completed the same exercise though, in his words, “for me, imagining only one child wasn’t a huge leap, I’m not sure I ever imagined us with two”.
For me, it was also about acknowledging the fact that having another child came with a whole heap of stress for me any hubby. A strain that we didn’t need at a time when we were just beginning to get our heads out of the toddler fog. We were finding each other again. And, at the end of the day, when missy is grown and out in the big world, it’s just me and him – so there’s good reason for making sure that foundation is solid. That and it’s good for missy to have loving role models too. After all, pre-kid, me and hubby had “movie love”. Selfish? Some may think so. I like to think our choice benefits missy as much as it is does us.
So, there it is. With my being 36 years old I figure we are within our rights to change our minds in a couple of years but for now, this is it. And so it is I fold missy’s tiny things, noting the brand and size, photographing them and putting them on Facebook marketplace. Does my heart ache? Yes. But it would now or after another baby. Will I miss the idea of having another baby curled up against my chest? Yes. But I would after one or 50 babies. I’ve always loved babies, this love of baby cuddles was not introduced by motherhood. But the cloud has lifted. The cloud has lifted and we are smiling. We are planning. We are enjoying our family more than ever before. If anything, we’re enjoying it more as we soak in every moment, recognising it for the preciousness it is. For us, it’s the right thing. And, if I’m really honest, when I pictured having kids I never imagined more than one. Not until I had one.
I did a bit of research before we came to this decision. I worried about missy being alone. I worried about something happening to her and us being childless. But for the most part, most parents of one don’t have a lot of negative things to say. And most only children are nice, generous people (who haven’t had to share anything as a child so are often very generous adults). Also, we are fortunate to be surrounded by adoptive siblings in wonderful friends and family. And it’s those connections that really matter.
So, here I am, mother of one, a little bit emotional at packing up my baby’s stuff, but content with our decision. Now, we are planning our next overseas jaunt; we are making plans for our home; entertaining different work options – we are not putting anything off that we were before. This decision has given us the freedom to be who we want to be, and that for me is the best kind of decision.
Next up: What maternity leave is really like