Watching my almost 4 year old daughter, more precious to her father and I than she will ever know, run around an indoor playground with an instant, newfound friend, I can’t help but smile. It’s beautiful to me how children will seek each other out, hold hands and run off to play. Strangers become friends. And this mother’s heart was full of pride, watching her daughter grow and mature right before her very eyes.
An elderly grandmother sitting next to me smiled at her grandson. “My daughter has 3 children you know, and wants to have another. I keep telling her no! 3 is just perfect!” I giggle and say “Oh yes! 1 is enough for me.” The old lady turns to me and her face is suddenly stern. “Absolutley not! 3 is perfect! 1 is nothing!!” I blink and try to understand what The Old Bat has just had the nerve to imply and before I could silently assume her insane she goes on to add. “If you only have one child, you will ruin her. Without siblings she will be nothing” I smile at her again and politely tell her that I am unable to have anymore children as my uterus fell out.
The lady with no manners goes bright red and tells me that she is so very sorry and that she has to leave, rips her grandson out of the playground and leaves me sitting there staring after her, fists clenched, fighting back tears with a grimace pretending to be a smile on my face.
I’m used to this kind of ridiculousness really. I have been told all sorts of horror stories from ‘well meaning’ people about selfish no-sibling children they know, that have grown up to be lonely and have trouble hearing the word ‘no.’ I have sat back and smiled and listened to their theories and I am never rude or lie about why I have stopped at just one – until The Old Bat. I couldn’t help it. What does it matter to her? Why does she care? What vested interest lies in a child she has never met? I won’t have anymore children, I just can’t.
My husband and I decided that Miss Mimi was to be an only child halfway through my pregnancy. Not because children don’t sleep. Not because they suck up all your money and time, dribble on you, talk back and embarrass you in public and then have the nerve to become teenagers, but because I just don’t cope well with pregnancy. It’s mortifying that something that’s meant to be so natural and inbuilt is something that I can’t manage. I don’t mean for that comment to offend women struggling to conceive but I imagine a similar kind of frustration would lie within you too.
I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum whilst pregnant with Miss Mimi. I couldn’t do much apart from vomit and cry for most of my pregnancy. I was so thin and frail and for the first 16 weeks of it I sincerely wished I would just die. A time that was supposed to be full of hope and excitement, was pure torture and heartache. At 21 weeks, my Crohn’s flared and I was put onto steroids which was the answer I was looking for. I stopped vomiting and only had the nausea. I was forced to come off them when my Crohn’s had settled and I went back to the horror. I spent most of my pregnancy living at my parents house and was on anti- nausea tablets constantly. I guess my body going into premature labour with her was just it’s way of ending the torture. How poor Mimi arrived relatively unscathed is beyond me. My uterus is still intact by the way, The Old Bat just needed a scare.
And so now I can look at Miss Mimi and be ever so grateful that the war I battled was won for her. I know that she will wish for a sibling and ask me again and again for a brother or sister, but that’s our issue. No one else needs to weigh in on the conversation about what is best for my family. Mothers who are blessed with one child may or may not long for another, but I figure, why dwell on something that cannot be? I have so much and I feel so lucky to have her. I am happy with my little family. I just wish others could be happy for me too.
And for any first-time HG sufferers who may be reading. As soon as I gave birth to my child I felt better and the next day the nausea was completely gone. The horror does end. Have hope. xo