When Charlie was about a year old I was asked by someone when baby number 2 was coming along. I wasn’t at all offended by this question and I didn’t know this person especially well so my response was fairly neutral, I didn’t go into any details but simply explained that we wouldn’t be having a second baby. Couldn’t, wouldn’t, doesn’t matter. This person’s response however did verge on the mildly offensive. Maybe offensive is too strong a word, needless to say, their response left me with a bit of a watery emotion. She said words along the lines of “Oh, really? So Charlie will be an only child?”
You see, to me there is a difference between having one child and only one child. It’s just a word, one word and really just a play on words but it’s enough to change the way the statement sounds. “Only” suggests that there might be something wrong with this, it has a bit of a negative connotation.
I have a beautiful, wonderful friend who has a cheeky monkey of a son who is the same age as Charlie. She is currently facing a barrage of emotions as she and her husband talk about and plan baby number two. We’ve talked a bit about the logistics. How she will cope, how her two year old will cope, how her husband will cope and will she ever sleep again. She is a brilliant mum so my response is a no brainer – of course she’ll cope. We met through our IVF journey, so she knows my story and she knows that there will be no second baby for us. About a week ago she asked me how I felt about her trying to fall pregnant again. By this she meant did I feel okay about her being given the potential opportunity to have a second child knowing full well that this wasn’t an option for us. I was genuinely touched by her concern and assured her that I was absolutely 100% fine and that’s because I truly am. I can’t wait for her to have another baby. I can’t wait to smell that gorgeous new born smell again. (I’m secretly hoping she will have a girl and Charlie will marry this girl and we will all live happily ever after.) It will be a huge joy to watch her family grow.
I spent many years facing the very real prospect of not having a baby. If you’ve read my earlier posts, what seems a lifetime ago, you will know that my fertility specialist seriously thought that Charlie could well have been my last egg – see my post on The story of the golden egg. When there is a real possibility of not having a child the idea of having a second child was something I couldn’t even contemplate. The number of times I pleaded, bargained and negotiated with the universe “If you give me a baby I will never ask for anything again” so I sure as heck wasn’t going to ask for a second baby.
I know a few people who have experienced secondary infertility (meaning they can conceive a child naturally but have difficulties conceiving again) and I can only imagine that this would be a difficult experience. I came to terms a very long time ago that I would only ever have one child. Been there, felt that. I made peace with this and truth be told there is a tiny bit of me a little grateful that it’s a decision that has been already made for me. Because even though I know my girlfriend will cope perfectly fine with another child, I’m not so convinced that I could manage the whole second baby thing. Of course, plenty of people have a two children, some even a whole tribe – hats off to them I say.
Charlie is my one child. My one and my everything. Motherhood is crazy and beautiful and never a day will pass that I won’t be eternally grateful for my one child.