Before having Luna, I knew I wanted to have kids, as in more than one. In fact, I am one of those people that has always wanted children and lots of them. From a very young age I said I wanted kids…some of my own and some adopted. This want/need became even stronger through college and through my professional life, all spent working with and studying children. In fact, as soon as I knew Peter and I were getting serious, I informed him of my future plans. Over time, I considered that having two or three children might be more realistic considering money and travel, but never once did I consider only having one.
One child was never my plan.
While pregnant with Luna, I was so happy and felt so great that I already couldn’t wait to be pregnant again. I was certain I would be one of those Moms who has children all a year a part. I would knock them out fast and easy. I was the kind of pregnant that most other pregnant Moms hate. It suited me well and even when I was huge and uncomfortable at the end, I knew I’d miss my pregnant belly and the life I felt growing inside. It was magical.
Then, Luna was born. It was not at all magical. In fact, it was the most traumatic experience of my life. This may seem dramatic to some, but you can read my story and history with anxiety and hospitals here to get an idea of where I’m coming from, mentally. I struggled with day to day life for a very long time. I had intense depression, horrible anxiety, and frequent panic attacks. One of the biggest anxiety-inducing thoughts that ran through my brain was, I can never go through this again. I can’t do it. I cannot have more children.
Of course, being riddled with anxiety and hormones, my thoughts took off like a runaway train, destined to crash and burn. I would cry myself to sleep over the kids I could never have. I would wake up feeling ungrateful and embarrassed. There are so many women who cannot have any children, how can I be so ungrateful? I have a healthy, happy, beautiful baby, isn’t she enough? Haven’t I always wanted to adopt? Maybe this is just sign that I need to go ahead and adopt. Lots of other women have difficult births and have no problem going through with it again. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I handle this?
Over the last two and a half years, I have dreaded the inevitable question from friends, family and even strangers? When are you having another? I am not offended by the question. I know that most people are asking because they care and are often just curious, but it’s still a bit painful. Of course, there are hurtful remarks some people make during this discussion. For future reference, might I suggest not reminding a woman that she isn’t getting any younger, or that no child wants to be an only child or the cons of having your children with a large age gap. I promise we are all dwelling over these thoughts constantly.
It has taken me two and a half years to finally consider getting pregnant again. In fact, I have recently started going to therapy. I know I’ve needed to go to therapy for my anxiety and panic attacks for a while, but the fact that I am considering having another child (even if through adoption) has convinced me to get this under control once and for all. It took a lot of courage and self-talk to make that first appointment, and show-up for that first appointment, but I am beyond happy I did it. In fact, I’ve also been to my two main doctors (OBGYN and hypertension specialist) to discuss a possible birth plan. This is progress my friends. Real progress.
I don’t want to make any promises here, or get anyone’s hopes up about baby #2 (I’m looking at you Grandparents), but it’s a possibility. It’s also the best answer I have for now.
More importantly, over the last two and half years I have learned and been constantly reminded that life is often not at all how you plan it to go. I think life just likes to throw us lots of curve balls in order to teach us what really matters. We must learn to adapt to the twists and turns. We have to leave one road and start to pave a new one. Our rocky roads should be reminders that EVERYONE else will or has been on their own rocky road as well. If you are paying attention and letting life’s curve-balls teach you, then you will remember to be gentle with others, to appreciate all that is beautiful in your life and to use the tools life gives you to survive the brutal moments.
Whatever battle you may be facing, just keep moving forward. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Utilize your tools, whether it’s a doctor, a therapist, a long chat with a friend, medication, praying, a long run, a hot cup of coffee or all of the above. Do what you need to heal. Celebrate the small victories. Accept the mistakes. Surround yourself with positive people who love you, and live your life.
*I want to add that no matter what your choice…no kids, 1 kids, multiple kids, adoption, fostering, IVF, whatever…it is just that, your choice. Do not let anyone make you feel bad about the family you and your partner chose (or didn’t choose).