“I have learnt the hard way, as so many of us do, that the road to motherhood is paved with tears. We fight so hard for our babies, be it through fertility challenges, miscarriage, complicated pregnancies or traumatic births,” writes Mummy columnist KATE MEIKLE
A CLOSE friend recently shared her pregnancy news with me. As thrilled as I was to hear she will become a mum for the second time, it surprised me how relieved I was that I wasn’t in her shoes.
Not even a pang of wistfulness from me, a usually nostalgic and very much a baby-person, made me realise that I could very well be… done.
This comes after years of obsessing about babies – conception, pregnancy and the intensity of caring for a baby, then doing it again two years later with a toddler in tow.
Five big, transformative years into motherhood later, I feel like I am almost, ever so slightly, getting to the elusive “there” – the place in which new parents look at each other in despair during the tough baby times and ask: “Will we ever get there?”
I’m so close I can almost touch “there”. We are now at the point where the two kids mainly sleep through the night, almost completely toilet trained and while we are still working on the boss baby’s tantrums, our kids for the most part get along and play beautifully with each other.
The idea of travelling anywhere with them doesn’t make me break into a cold sweat anymore, getting out of the house is becoming slightly quicker and having some more “me” time doesn’t come at the huge emotional cost that it previously did for me or the kids. They are more adaptable and predictable. I am more calm.
I have learnt the hard way, as so many of us do, that the road to motherhood is paved with tears. We fight so hard for our babies, be it through fertility challenges, miscarriage, complicated pregnancies or traumatic births.
It’s a quiet, private and desperate pain to be yearning for a baby but feeling like your body is letting you down, well at least that’s how I felt when I was faced with my own fertility challenges. You put your life on hold, hoping to become pregnant, worrying if it will never happen, frightened of disappointment.
Apart from those in the inner sanctum, all of this is hidden from others. I have held my sobbing friends as they have endured hardships and disappointments to become a mother, including a friend who bravely fought postnatal depression shortly after becoming a mum. And they in turn have supported me through my own challenges. We’re not joking when we say that motherhood is the toughest job and it changes you forever.
My story has a happy ending with two healthy children including a “surprise” second pregnancy but would I want to roll the dice with a third? I don’t think so.
I used to hope that I would be lucky to have a second child and the thought came to me when I was bathing my then baby boy. The bath always looked so big with just him in it and I began to wish for another baby to literally fill up the space in the bath and complete our family.
My friend asked me the other day if the bath looks empty again and my answer was no! The kids fight over the bath toys and complain that each of them aren’t giving the other enough room and I am close to calling an end to baths and just go with showers.
My life with my children is chaotic, noisy and fun and we may never get to the magical “there” point where everything is completely rosy. But together we are moving into a new phase and I am content that the baby phase is behind us.
When I shared the exciting news of my friend’s second pregnancy with my husband, he said he was delighted to hear that they were going to have a second child but jokingly asked me: “Did you tell her that their life as they know it is over?”