Over the last few days and weeks and months, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about the number one. Specifically, the number of children we have and are planning to have. My mother is constantly asking if we’re planning another. (Having one, apparently, will lead to David becoming spoiled, selfish and antisocial.) My Nana said that we should have a girl next. People assume that, because we’re young and because David is nearly one, we’re ready to start trying for another baby. ”When you have another…”, “Just wait until you have two…” and various phrases along those lines are used regularly.
Here’s the thing. We aren’t going to have another baby. I can say now, without hesitation, that our family is complete.
The road that led to having David was a long, hard one. I had an abortion at fifteen: it was the “right thing to do”. After all, I was clever. I had sixth form, university, a career to look forward to. My previously supportive boyfriend got scared and ran away, and I would’ve been a single teenage mother. I was nine or ten weeks pregnant when my parents discovered it, and had little time to think about the decision: I went along with what they thought was right, because I didn’t know. I couldn’t think, I just couldn’t make the decision. I knew that I wanted qualifications and a career, but I never considered the alternative. I never thought that I could have the baby. I would’ve been about twelve weeks along when I finally had it done, and it hit me harder than I ever imagined it would. I will forever regret that decision.
I hadn’t known until then that I wanted a child. When I’d thought about it hypothetically, I’d reasoned that I’d want to concentrate on having a career, and anyway, noone would commit to me, would they?
Fast-forward a few years. I had put all thoughts of having a baby out of my mind. Joe and I had been together for a few months, and although we were serious, we weren’t quite serious enough to think about babies in anything other than abstract terms.
Well, whoops. One broken condom later…
During my pregnancy, we struggled to adapt to life as a couple, soon to be a family. Friends and family were shocked that we “hadn’t been more careful”. They questioned our decision to continue the pregnancy. (We had discussed it, but it wasn’t an option for either of us after the initial shock had worn off.) A couple we knew had been trying to conceive for a long time, and we both felt guilty about how it would affect them.
I loved David the moment he was born. Everybody did. It didn’t make things any easier. I’ve written about postnatal depression before, and all that needs saying now is that I, we have come through it, mostly, but it was hard. There are times when The Crazy still comes back and slaps me round the face, just to remind me that it’s still here. I don’t want to choose to go back and feel like that again. It’s not fair on Joe or on David.
All the history and the drama aside, there is one overriding reason why I feel we are complete. This.
David is enough, more than enough for me. I don’t have the words to express how much I love him. He learns something new every day, he’s starting to listen and respond to instructions. He’s affectionate and caring and kind. He travels next to me in the car, and we have conversations about traffic lights and slow old ladies in Micras driving in our way. He gets ridiculously excited when he sees the other yellow Seicento that belongs to somebody who lives near us, and when a traffic light turns green he shouts “Go, go, go!” He wouldn’t have this attention with a sibling. He deserves my time, my attention, and all of my love. I cannot offer him anything more.