Today I bumped into a friend who is three weeks in with her second baby. Whilst we were chatting she explained to me how she feels very definite that she is done, i.e. won’t be having any more babies. After the sleepless year we have had, on top of the extreme nausea that follows me for the duration of my pregnancies, on the back of a day like today that started at 1.49am (several screaming sessions, back arching and very little sleep, followed by the usual battles with my eldest refusing to get dressed, brush her teeth, sit on the potty, not smother her sister, leave all her toys at home, not leave all the toys she insisted on taking with us on the floor outside etc.), you would think my response would be the same – a definitive and resounding NO. But that’s just not the case. I don’t quite feel ready to say I absolutely don’t want to have another baby. I can’t bring myself to get rid of all the baby clothes. Surely if I was done, I would feel as certain as my friend?
The idea of having a third child is sheer lunacy for us right now. I can list hundreds of reasons why it shouldn’t happen:
- We don’t have the space
- We’re knackered after our second baby (now 12 months old) who doesn’t sleep and had severe reflux. We’ve been pushed to the edge and NEED to recover.
- My pregnancies tend to be vomit filled and everlasting. The only blooming being how bloomin’ awful I feel for the duration of the pregnancy.
- We can’t afford it.
- We currently have 2 girls. I believe it is more likely that we would have another girl. My preference would be not to have 3 girls (being one of 3 girls myself I’ve experienced and witnessed some pretty hard-core, hormone fuelled, sibling rivalry that I’d prefer not to be involved with again).
My belief that we would most likely have another girl stems from no real facts, only what I have observed or read on the internet. Most people I have met who have three children, where the first two are girls, seem to have a third girl. I also recall reading something about gender being determined by the environment created in the womb, it becomes more hospitable to girls once 2 have previously grown there – but please don’t quote me on that.
I’ve also heard various other potentially bonkers theories suggesting that the gender of babies is determined by:
- The age of the couple
- How attractive the couple are
- The sexual position used at the time of conception
- Who initiated sex on the day of conception
- Who had the first orgasm at the time of conception
Funnily enough nothing seems to be conclusive on this matter.
Considering all of the above, you would think if I’m not able to be the sensible one on this matter, at least my husband may be the voice of reason. I decided to put the ball in his court and asked his advice on what to do with the baby clothes.
”Can’t we just put them away somewhere for now?”
It would appear he is not sure we are quite done yet either.
The change from one child to two children has been immense for us. I’m not sure if this is because we only had a small gap between them (18 months), or the fact that our second baby has had severe reflux, or that she is part vampire (i.e. the part that doesn’t sleep at night, not the part that sleeps in the day) or due to the fact we live the other side of the world from our families so are unable to get additional help or support.
I do have some friends with two children who seem to be finding the transition easier than us. That said I also have friends with two who regularly say things to me like:
“Why didn’t anyone ever say it would be this hard” and “please tell me it gets easier?”
A year on down the line, I’m still not really able to answer those questions. I find it especially tricky as they are usually asked to me by people who are just embarking on their journey of ‘two’ and I certainly don’t wish to be the grim reaper.
So for us and many of our friends, having two children has been a case of survival. Facing each new day with exhausted trepidation – who will or won’t sleep, who will wake up who, who will or won’t have a tantrum, who will be sick and then who will get it next, what party/appointment will we need to cancel or be late for, what have we lost en-route to our destination, what have we forgotten at home despite having what looks like the entire contents of our house strewn across and under the double pram, how many scrapes and falls have we had or narrowly avoided, how many wee wee accidents have happened? The list is endless.
It’s no wonder that every evening, once both girls are fed, bathed and put into their respective beds the first thing I do is crack open the vino. This precious time is not often for long, usually one of them will wake and require some additional settling. But when I do stop to enjoy the wine and chat with my husband, we spend that precious time recounting stories, chuckling at the antics of the day and speaking fondly of our wonderfully, funny and crazy girls. We wouldn’t change it for the world.
I know my husband would love a boy. When I first fell pregnant we both had no preference on the gender of our baby, we knew all we wanted was a healthy baby. Now we have two girls, whilst I know he absolutely adores them, I respect his honesty that he would also like to have a boy. I would dearly love to give him a boy, if only it was that easy. It’s difficult to be honest about gender preferences, we feel we should just be grateful that we can get pregnant and have a healthy baby. Don’t get me wrong we are eternally thankful to have 2 beautiful, healthy girls but I do understand his desire for a boy in addition to them.
It occurred to me today whilst writing this post that I was pregnant with my youngest when my toddler was her current age (12 months old). The thought of being pregnant now, dealing with both girls’ tantrums, not sleeping and my proneness to severe nausea during pregnancy made me reconsider…I can’t possibly go through all that again…can I?
Despite all of this knowledge, I still don’t feel ready to say my family is complete.