Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Art of 'Spacing'

Some of the very first thoughts that ran through my head after I gave birth last summer were:
  • Thank GOD that's over
  • Wow, there really was a baby in there and double wow, look at the size of her head, no wonder it hurt so much!
and thirdly:
  • I am NEVER, quote NEVER doing that again, apologies to you, Imogen, you will be an only child.
I'm pretty sure I had #3 put into writing, I think I swore on oath in front of witnesses (well, I should have done anyway).

Just a week or so postpartum, I had to return to the hospital to return some equipment (not the baby, if you were thinking that) and just the sight of the place gave me the sweats and by the time I had taken the lift to the L & D floor and the smell of the place hit me, I was all a-quiver with the too recent memories and not in a good way.

For many months after I would say to everyone and anyone how hard it was and when asked about a possible sibling, I would blanche, maybe gag and then respond with 'absolutely not, no way, never!'.

But Mother Nature is a wily old fox and just a few weeks ago, I actually uttered, out loud, in audible voice, 'Yeah, it wasn't that bad, I could definitely do it again'. To which I replied to myself, 'Are you a bloody MAD woman, it was that bad, you are still physically and mentally scarred from the first time!'

However, it is inevitable. The small voice of my memories is being drowned out by the new voices who have forgotten those dark days, both of labour and the weeks postpartum with said newborn which are HARD, I tell you, HARD!

Only this week, James and I had 'The Conversation'. You know the one where you start discussing ANOTHER CHILD and when would be the best time to have one. Eeeeeeeek!

Best camera face! I mean, who couldn't resist another one of these!!

In the news last week, I read that professional WAG, Danielle Lloyd ('Who?' I hear you cry; I know, I know but I am a gossip whore and it's people like her who feed the celebrity machine) has announced her second pregnancy which arrived just 4 months after she had her first son. She claims it was all an 'accident', but we all know that a super-fertile body and no contraception doth a baby ultimately make, so either she is ridiculously dumb or she secretly wanted a baby but feigns an accident because people can't comprehend why you would want another baby within a year of your first!

So, with all this baby talk going on, it got me thinking as to the art of spacing, when is the best time to have another baby?

Ask a doctor and he or she will probably tell you to wait 2 years before trying for another to give your mind and body chance to fully recover from the pregnancy, birth and the relentless work that goes in to raising a baby to toddler age and beyond.

The decision is obviously very personal; some people jump straight in and have another straightaway. I wonder how many of these very close siblings were accidental, I mean you don't really know your a**e from your elbow the first few months after childbirth, so the prospect of adding another to the mix cannot often be a conscious one? Others like to take their time, enjoy the one or two they have and then take the plunge after several years.

For me, or us, the decision is not purely about what best suits our situation, living in the 'Land of the Free' we do not actually get 'free' healthcare and to physically have a baby is very expensive, not to mention the tranclements that come with a newborn. Sods Law tells me I will have a boy next, so we would have to buy all new boy things and wouldn't be able to re-use all my beloved pink stuff.

If I lived in a land of subsidised healthcare I would probably crack on and pop another out sooner rather than later. The thought of having a 3, 4 or even 5 year old and having my nighttimes and life back to relative normality to then turn it upside down with a newborn fills me with fear to my bones. Therefore, I would rather have two who are at a similar stage and not have to go through the disruption and sleep deprivation too many times.

On the other hand, I wouldn't want to have another too soon; I feel that my time with Imogen now is so important, to her and me and she needs my one-on-one attention as she is developing and learning so much everyday. I don't want to have to have one eye on her and one eye on nursing a newborn. It would seem unfair on both of them. She deserves to have my undivided attention at the moment and I want to give it to her.

However, having said all this, I know very well that when I want to have a baby is really out of my hands; these things cannot always be planned. Of course, for some people it can, 'Shall we have another child darling?' woman says to man, 'Yes, how lovely!' he replies. Man glances at woman and BOOM, she's pregnant! That didn't happen for me first time round and I had to wait for what felt like forever for Miss Priest. I'm not so deluded as to think it won't be the same next time, so for all my desires on the perfect timing, it really will just happen when it wants to.

And if it transpires that there never is a sibling for Imogen, then I already know that she will be more than enough for me. I look at her every day and cannot believe she is here, that she is mine. I will never get bored of her. She is my mini-miracle and I cherish her. If she is my only child, well I am MORE than happy with that!

One lucky Mama!

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