Baby Number 2
The decision to have our first baby was easy. I love kids and have been a big baby person for as long as I can remember. I babysat from the tender age of 12, was taught to change my first nappy then and there, worked for a kids’ sport centre, worked at a toy store, nannied for two years in London...the list goes on. When my now husband popped the question back in 2013, I knew I wanted kids as soon as I said ‘I do’. I told Chris, and luckily thanks to our 14-month engagement, he was on board – after all, he had plenty of time to prepare for it.
We had a rough road to having our beautiful little girl. It started with a 10-week miscarriage, followed by a second early miscarriage, before finally falling pregnant with our rainbow daughter, who is now a happy, healthy, bubbly, beautiful 16 month old. As clichéd as it sounds, I couldn’t imagine life without her and am so thankful for her each and every day.
We settled into life with Cassie really easily. She was a dream newborn who loved to sleep – and for that, we have always felt really blessed. We love being parents. Cassie has just fitted into our lives so easily. We don’t have many friends with kids (although that has been changing lately), so we always bring her out with us to any events that are organised. She got kicked out of her first bar when she was just eight weeks old for being underage, came on a road trip with us to visit my best friend in Brisbane around the same time, has been on two trips to a friend’s farm – wherever we go, she comes, and our social lives haven’t suffered.
That’s why I found it surprising when people started questioning my decision about when to have a second. The questions started when Cassie was about six months old. My standard response was – “We aren’t ready yet and are really enjoying this time we have with Cassie”, however somehow this translated too, “We are struggling with Cassie, who isn’t an easy baby, therefore we couldn’t imagine having a second”. How this came through, I don’t know. But it happened time and time again, and soon I found myself defending my daughter and our decision to the point that I wanted to laugh. For some reason, the idea of ‘enjoying’ your child was a foreign concept.
For many people, there were two options:
1. Pump it out and go ahead and have your second child straight away – any time after six months would do. (It seems that because you have one baby, a second will be a piece of cake to add to the mix).
2. You can delay having your second child, but we will feel sorry for you because you are obviously struggling with number one. (Why else would we hold off having a baby, right?)
Eventually, I gave up trying to explain to people. They could think what they wanted, it wasn’t worth my time. Instead, I was open with everyone and told them they would know as soon as we were trying. After what we went through trying to have Cassie, I knew if we had similar troubles I would want my friends and family to know what we were going through. I couldn’t imagine getting these same questions from people if we had been trying for a while or had suffered a loss – and I am sure lots of people have had to deal with these prying questions under such sad circumstances.
Do I know when we plan to start trying again? I sure do and it isn’t based on Cassie and her behaviour and whether she is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ baby (whatever that even means in the first place). Funnily enough, it is about Chris and I and what we want and whether we are ready or not. I have a feeling life will change drastically with number two and our nights of carting Cassie to people’s places and off on holidays will get harder – twice as hard in fact. This is why we haven’t been in any rush to go there.
I am a mum. First and foremost this is who I am. But that doesn’t mean I have to give up the rest of my identity. I love my career, I love working, I love my time with Cassie and equally I love my time away from her. These are all factors that come to play when deciding when we want to have our next baby. Just because we already have one, doesn’t mean it is simple to add a second to the mix. This is a big decision and not one we are just going to jump into, like so many people seem to expect of us. Let’s face it, when you have one baby it is two against one, why would I want to change those odds without some serious consideration first?
Next time you feel like asking someone when they are planning on having number 2, don’t just assume that because they want to wait, it’s because they aren’t enjoying motherhood or have a difficult baby. And if you really feel it is necessary to offer your opinion (trust me, it’s not your place), don’t be offended when the mum doesn’t want to listen to you. Instead, consider that they are enjoying this time and want to take things slowly, aren’t interested in a close age gap (even if you think it is better) and may have already started trying with no luck.
To those mums that have their babies close together – I admire you.
For the mums that have waited a couple of years – I admire you.
For the mums who have waited 5 plus years – I admire you.
I admire you all for making the best decision for your family and for doing what works for you. Because in the end, despite what the general public likes to think, that is all that matters.