I disliked being pregnant. I originally wrote “hated” but there were some pluses to consider, so “disliked” seems more appropriate. I mean, I had a great looking pregnancy, only gaining 40lbs and establishing a very cute caboose, but inside I felt crummy. I was nauseous all the time, headaches, restless legs, moodiness…I remember one time standing on the stairs, holding a laundry bin, staring at my husband and trying to figure out how to wrap that bin around his neck. FURY and tears. I remember being exhausted all the time. I remember my friends stopped inviting me out, because they were single and awesome party animals. I remember being scared about whether I’d be a good mom or not. I never thought of myself as ‘Mom’. Wait, do I want to be called ‘Mommy’, or ‘Mum’?
I’ve been pregnant 4 times, with one awesome kid to show for it. I’m not complaining, my kid makes some moms playfully jealous…he, like yours, is perfect. Those three horrific losses gutted me, in the “painful-lost breath-heaving-sobs” way. The “I-can’t-do-this-again” way. They are deeply personal experiences, and there are so many of us who have them. Gut-wrenching episodes of red-eyed murmuring.
As a way of therapy and to wind my way to the point of my writing, allow me to share my experience with you.
My first pregnancy was a thrilling thing! I couldn’t believe how EASY it was! I know how many struggle. I was 32 years old, and I was going to be a mom (or mommy, still undecided). I scoured through books, I wanted to be perfect. The pregnancy was so painful, I was very sick and dizzy. I began spotting at 9 weeks but the doctor couldn’t say what, if anything, might be wrong. Every week there were questions…what’s happening? Will I lose the baby? At 17 weeks, exhausted and stressed, my baby’s heart stopped beating, and my womb became a tomb. I had to have a D&C to remove the “products of conception”, two D&C’s actually since not only my mind and heart, but my body wouldn’t let go…it tried to regrow the “leftover tissue”. It was a “triploidy”, a chromosomal issue.
It took a year to recover physically and mentally, during that time I made best friends with the early loss clinicians, they are amazing. I can’t tell you how many times I cried in front of them, the really ugly cries. It sucked that they were located in the maternity ward. That the waiting room was shared with excited friends and family. Don’t worry, that’s no longer the case as they moved the department to a new floor…I guess they saw the cruelty.
Next pregnancy was a huge success, 42 weeks and a happy, healthy baby boy. Nothing big here, just lost a gallbladder, sprained a foot and grew hair in weird places.
Post-son, we talked a lot about having another child, what that means to us and to our son. I’m not going to lie, I thought about how scary pregnancy is with what I experienced, and the fact that I was now 3 years older (35). I also thought about how much money it costs to raise a kid, how much stress on the marriage, on my career, on my individuality (cause I’m not just a mom y’kno!).
Our hearts wanted another child, and we tried, and lost. Tried and lost. One at 12 weeks (I found out on my birthday that there was no heartbeat), and the other a blighted ovum.
And now I’m very close to getting to my point…thanks for sticking with me so far…recently my husband and I decided that one is enough, that our one is perfect (even in his tyranny), that one is okay. We had to deal with the “but he needs a sibling” statements and the, “who will he lean on when you guys pass away” questions from friends and family. And, of course, my mother’s classic, “but I really want a granddaughter” *sigh*.
I wrangled with the “just one” thoughts for months before making our decision. We talked through our estate planning, and ways to compensate for the lack of sibling companionship, by spending more time with his cousins (they live close), and arranging lots of play dates… I reached out to other mommies I knew who had “just one”, to hear of any regrets (none reported).
Whether it’s a family with no kids, one kid, two kids, blue kids, we all just need support and kindness…
No. We are not having another child.
One and done.
To the friends and family of those who have tried and lost, or simply decided that they “did it right the first time” (rally-call of the one and done crew), please support the decision, it’s sometimes not easily made and usually backed by some heavy heartaches.
And to the moms who have found themselves struggling with whether to have another or not, I completely understand the battle. Feel free to reach out.