I have one child not an only child

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.


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