Did you know there are no rules about having children?

img_0184I know it might seem shocking, since people seem happy to constantly expect things of you when it comes to children. But there’s actually no rulebook anywhere that says you need to have your first child at a particular age, there’s no list of guidelines that say you need to have a second child when your first child is exactly 18 months and 21 days old, in fact there’s nothing anywhere that says you need to have any children at all, or that you can’t just be happy with one, or that you need to stop at 4.

Yet for some reason we love to ask, and sometimes asking is not enough and we love to give our opinion, which obviously we know everyone really wants to hear (insert eye-roll emoji here…I love that little emoji so much). Oh you’ve been married a while, time for kids? When are you going for number two? You don’t want them to be an only child do you? Hmmm that age gap is too small, oh and that age gap is really big.

What’s wrong with: wow your kid is gorgeous! Or shall I take your kid for five minutes? Or even better, shall I put you up in this expensive hotel for a night and you can sleep all night and I’ll babysit? THESE are the questions we can happily answer!!

As for the others, I don’t speak for everyone but we felt there was no right time to have a baby, so at some point we just threw our hands up and said, may as well be now. There’s always something you haven’t done yet, or a career goal that hasn’t been met, or something that’s tugging for your attention. And we felt that would never change, there would never be a quiet moment where actually nothing else was happening and we had everything absolutely sorted and there was a light flashing “baby time” in front of us. We decided ‘now’ wasn’t an AWFUL time so why not? Whether you plan or you get a surprise, the time never seems ‘right’.

I always wanted to have a big family, I wanted heaps of kids, I love kids!!

And then it took us almost a year to get pregnant, which I know isn’t long compared to many couples, but I thought how do we go through this over and over? How can you wait each month and hope and dream and be disappointed. How can you enjoy the physical act of making a baby if it never gives you what you want, it begins to feel pointless, and that’s scary because it’s something special you have with your partner and nothing should be able to take that away from you, but it does.

And then we got pregnant with twins and life exploded into plans and dreams and joy and excitement before it got smashed into a million heartbreaking pieces and left us in a world where the sun was dark and cold and everyone seemed to be happy but us.

When you lose a child you lose something of yourself. I used to want to be surrounded by my family, piles of children clinging to me and playing all day, now I want to hold the one I have as close to me as possible and never move again. I don’t want to share him and I don’t want him to have to share, because he had a buddy he was going to share his life with and he’s gone. I am filled with fear. It is just under the surface, bubbling, ready to come up, even as I write this I can feel my heart rate increasing. I’m afraid of pain (which seems kinda rational to me, no one wants a bee sting, so why would you pick up a bee? -apiarists excluded of course, crazy folk!). I’m afraid of trying, of the waiting and the hoping and the disappointment, when it feels like you’re surrounded by people who are somehow pregnant the minute their partner walks in the room, seriously HOW?

I’m afraid of being pregnant, because I’ve only ever experienced the disaster of it, and why would I risk that again? I’m afraid of going to that scan and seeing two little blobs again, I CANNOT do that. I actually just can’t. I’m afraid of repeating everything we have just done. I’m afraid of losing again. I’m so afraid of so many things that the possibility of ‘going for number two’ is a complete and utter impossibility to me.

I just. Simply. Cannot.

So when you ask me (if you have to…) and when you tell me that I’ll change my mind in time (not sure why you have to do that…but you do…), well, maybe you’re right, but maybe you’re not, and at the end of the day it’ll be our choice and I’m not apologising for the fact that you have to accept that, because you haven’t lived our reality.

Everyone makes choices in their lives, and they don’t always announce aloud why they make those choices, all they want is people to support them, and love them. With or without kids, with or without siblings, whenever the hell they want. If you want to hang with your partner forever and play with other people’s kids, then do it! If you want to have 5 kids in the next 8 years, get started. If you want to give your 15 year old a sibling this year, go ahead. Whatever way you do family, we’ve got your back.

 

 

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Author: rfclews

I'm just another mum trying to figure all of this out, with the added bonus of getting to start extra early, and well and truly on the back foot!

11 thoughts on “Did you know there are no rules about having children?”

  1. I totally agree with you! And I don’t think any of the people who ask these questions are bad, I truly think they are curious and sometimes even just making conversation, I was just trying to explain why I find the questions hard, to share some of my feelings about why I say no, or why I sometimes run away from conversations that follow these topics. I’m sorry if I gave the impression that I dislike them as people because they inquire about our lives, that’s not at all the case!!

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  2. Amen. I remember when Elaia was born I had one rather insensitive person say. “Oh she’s beautiful, it would’ve been better if she’d been a boy though.” right in front a group of people. I decided not to hold back, I said “I had a son. He died at 22 weeks gestation so I’m just happy she’s alive.”
    Needless to say the lady turned a rather deep shade of red and she hasn’t come to talk to me since. I don’t mind the “are you going to try for a boy?” question, I can just say “No, we’re happy with what we’ve got” and leave it at that, but don’t EVER insinuate my 2nd child is worth less because you (generic, not talking to anyone in particular you) have no idea the road we had to travel to get her. /rant over/

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  3. Or you could look at it this way… those people are asking because they care. They are interested in you and all that you do. Maybe they look up to you. Maybe they need your help. Maybe they are asking because they want you to tell them its ok to make your own decisions and not crumble to the pressure of society. Maybe they want to join your gang. Remember, you dont know everything about their world either – cut them some slack and take the time to explain yourself to better educate them, only then will you experience a shift.

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  4. Loved what you wrote so understand we have 5 sons healthy adults now so I am grey haired but I want to share this with you I hope it helps. My number 2 baby was a girl she wasn’t here very long and like you headed straight to heaven. Here’s the thing I know she is there and safe. I know that she made me a little bit more special. I know that I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t gone through what I did when I was told she wouldn’t live and I could die. I had no choice I had to let her go early. I already had a little boy I needed to be there for him. But each day most days I think Jessica I wonder what her life would have been like if she was here. I miss her and sometimes I just feel sad ripped off and when we had more and they were all boys people would say are you trying for a girl like that was going to give me a clean slate or something. But each pain I feel I am blessed to know that if she was who I think she would of been down here she would love me and want me to be happy. So just be happy with what you have. Don’t forget. But keep moving forward doing what you know is right. But that pain it will always be it never goes away and that’s okay. Hope this helps God Bless. Xx

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  5. Such decisions belong only to you two. It is no one else’s business! What has happened to human sensitivity these days? Hold your head up high and cuddle. But keep your options open. It takes time to recover from your past two years.
    Much love.
    N

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  6. I lost 2 sets of twins before welcoming my rainbow. People who know the story still ask me when we will have another. Sigh, people should just stop asking because in certain situations it’s a far more loaded question than they realize.

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    1. You are so right. No one can know what you’re battling underneath, and it truly just isn’t their business. I’m so sorry to hear how hard your journey has been. I hope your twins have found our Charlie, wherever they are, and they are playing together. Xx

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