Now that The Boy is 15 months old, it seems to give people the right to ask when The Hubby & I will start trying for Baby Two. It’s a very personal question, though I don’t think many people realise, given that for all they know we are already trying.
Before I got pregnant with The Boy, as regular readers of this blog will know, we were TTC (or rather, NPP) for almost two years after I stopped having the contraceptive injection Depo Provera. It is generally agreed in the medical world that it can take up to two years for your fertility to return to ‘normal’ after being on this injection, however that point was not something that was made clear to me before I started having it. As far as I was concerned, once I stopped having it I would go back to ‘normal’ within a few weeks. (After all, while you’re on it, they stress the importance of keeping it up every 3 months otherwise you could become pregnant ‘by accident’ which says to me that once you stop it everything returns to normal pretty quickly). Anyway, the whole time we were TTC we didn’t tell people on the whole (My best friend was aware, and another mutual friend guessed, but I didn’t go broadcasting it to everyone).
Anyone who has been TTC for a while, or who was TTC prior to their pregnancy will understand where I’m coming from here. I didn’t want the added pressure from people saying “Aren’t you pregnant yet?” as I felt enough of a failure every month when my period would arrive anyway, without the additional ‘sympathy’ from those who don’t really give two hoots but want to know all your personal business anyway (for example, those people you know as acquaintances in your everyday life who don’t normally say two words to you, but if you’re looking upset one day they’ll be acting like your best mate to try and get the gossip). In my family there is history of miscarriage, so I didn’t want people to know before the 12 week scan, and I’m the sort of person that if someone said “Aren’t you pregnant yet?” I would lie, obviously, and say no, but they’d see the truth written across my face and guess. So that’s another reason why I chose to keep it private.
Also, not being funny, but it is a very private thing in my opinion. I don’t want the world and his wife to know that I’m charting my ovulation dates, chewing on folic acid and giving up drinking and smoking in an effort to become pregnant. By default this means these people are aware that The Hubby and I are on a mission to become parents, which is a very personal, private thing, and not something that I’d share to many people. You don’t go into work in the morning and announce when you’ve had it off the night before, do you? So why expect me to tell you when we’ve been at it like rabbits in an attempt to introduce a sperm to an egg?
One of the ladies in the office where I work is about the same age as my MIL – mid-50’s – and has two grown up sons, one of which has been married for about 3 years now. Her husband has a teenage daughter from his first marriage, who has been with her boyfriend for a year or so. The married grown up son and his wife announced at the beginning of this year that they were TTC and my colleague got so excited about becoming a grandma – she’s already saved and brought the travel system for them, as well as collecting an array of neutral colour baby clothes, blankets, has considered getting a cot bed for her house for when the baby sleeps over, and pores over ideas on how to decorate your nursery. Unfortunately, they’re still TTC with no sign of a pregnancy so far, and naturally now her daughter in law feels under intense pressure due to the attitude of her husband’s mother. On the flip side, the teenage daughter of her husbands decided to try and get pregnant so that she and her boyfriend could get a council property together as they can’t afford to rent or buy themselves (they both live at home with their respective mothers still). She is now five months pregnant, already signed off work due to exhaustion, is on the council waiting list but has been told it probably won’t be for another six to eight months that she gets a place, and she talks about nothing but the pregnancy to everyone she sees. This obviously adds more pressure to the TTC couple, who don’t see her that often, but often enough that she should know to be slightly more sensitive – unfortunately while she may be 19 years old technically, emotionally speaking she is a bit like a spoiled 13 year old who can only see her own world and not other peoples views, so she doesn’t tend to take their feelings into account at all. When The Hubby and I were TTC, so were The Hubby’s sister and her husband. While we were keeping quiet about it, my SIL was talking regularly to her mum about it all, and when I announced our pregnancy the first thing MIL said was “Oh dear, SIL will be so upset”. Quite frankly that pissed me right off, and I gave her a look but didn’t respond. She said some time later that she remembers when she told her MIL she was pregnant with The Hubby and her MIL made a similar comment and it upset her so much she swore she’d never do it, and apologised for how that must have made me feel, but to be honest the words were said, the damage done, and I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever forget. SIL did become pregnant about halfway through my pregnancy, but sadly lost the pregnancy at 10 weeks – by then they’d told everyone, as everyone already knew they were TTC, so then to add to the heartbreak of going through the MC itself she then had the added stress of having to explain to everyone that she was no longer pregnant. They continued TTC once she was given the all-clear, but didn’t talk to anyone about it except her mum – when she became pregnant again, they held off telling anyone til after the 12 week scan and even then she only told family and close friends originally, holding off telling everyone else until she was almost 20 weeks (she’s a larger lady, so hiding the pregnancy wasn’t an issue, though she did suffer bad sickness which is how most of her colleagues guessed).
So back to my original point, if I didn’t make a big thing about announcing we were TTC in the first instance, why do people think I’d do it second time around? I suppose most people think once you’ve had one baby you know you can get pregnant and it happens as quickly as you deciding you’re ready for Baby Two – but I know from experience this is not always the case. There’s an age gap of eight years between myself and my younger brother. It wasn’t intentional that there was such a large gap, but after TTC for four years before becoming pregnant with me, my parents then were TTC for those eight years, and suffered two miscarriages in that time. When my mum did become pregnant with my brother she was 35 and was considered a ‘high risk’ pregnancy due to her age, and her weight and the history of MC, so she was on bed rest practically the whole pregnancy. It worries me that the same thing could happen to me and The Hubby – what if we decide we want another and it takes us eight years to achieve that? On that basis, I should be coming off the Pill now, as in eight years time I’ll be coming up to my 39th birthday, and The Boy will be nine and a half, but on the other hand I’m not ready for Baby Two yet, so if I was to get pregnant straight away it would be hard. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t, right? As The Hubby says, you can’t live your life by ‘what if’ so we’ll wait til we’re ready then we’ll start TTC again.
To add to my situation there is the fact that despite The Boy now being 15 months old, I’m still not back to ‘normal’ as far as my lady bits go. Speaking anonymously I feel I can be more honest about this than if you all knew who I am, but basically the delivery was not straightforward and I was badly damaged, requiring a lot of stitches following delivery, which now I’m not convinced were either done properly or have healed properly. I still have a lot of pain during intercourse, so that only happens once in a blue moon and usually after I’ve consumed a fair amount of vodka; Going to the toilet is still painful and afterwards it can take up to two hours for that pain to subside again. (Yes, I will be speaking to my GP about it shortly as I realise this is not normal!) So on the face of it while TTC should be easy, actually it won’t be – not just because the sex itself is so painful, but because I really don’t want to risk another delivery like that and having another couple of years of pain like the last 15 months have been. I’ve spoken to my GP already and told him I want an elective C-section next time – he said “It would mean you’re off your feet and unable to drive for 6 weeks”: That happened last time, anyway. He said, “There’s no way of knowing whether the next delivery would be problematic”: But you can’t guarantee it won’t be. After The Boy’s delivery, initially my biggest concern was him – there was meconium in my waters, he’d gotten stuck and distressed, his heart rate went from sky high to dropping through the floor low, and when he was first out he didn’t cry. Oblivious to the team of medical staff fussing around me, and the blood loss I was experiencing, my only concern was for him, and whether he was OK. Thankfully despite our initial trauma, he was absolutely fine. It was only afterwards when I read my medical notes did I realise how close a call it was for both of us, not just him. My poor OH could have literally been left holding the baby, or worst case scenario he could have left the hospital that night without a wife or a baby, but thanks to the attention of the maternity team at a hospital which has been knocked a lot for it’s maternity department, we were both still around the next day. It isn’t that I expect a second delivery to be so traumatic, or that I expect there to be problems, but I would rather have an elective C-section and have baby safely delivered in a calm, organised environment and also so that I’m in total control and have made the decision, it happens, all is good. I lost control in my first labour, things happened that were unplanned and hadn’t even been thought of as my pregnancy had been so textbook straightforward, and until the point of The Boy getting stuck the labour was going brilliantly too.
There’s also the fact that I don’t want another baby yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love Baby Two to join our family one day, but just not yet. I’m still enjoying my relatively new status as ‘Mummy’ to The Boy: Never again will I have this chance to enjoy him at this age, and I don’t want it hampered by morning sickness, me becoming distracted by ‘The Baby’ and him missing out on special time with me. I understand some ladies choose to have their babies very close in age – one of my high school friends has two boys just under a year apart, as she was pregnant within three months of the first baby being born – but that isn’t for me. The Boy is a whirling dervish of excitement and curiosity and I don’t know that I’d be able to keep up with him at the moment if I was heavily pregnant. I’d rather wait a while, maybe til he’s two or three, before I start TTC again, and that way at least I’d get a few hours every so often during the week where he attends nursery and I can have a nap, or go baby shopping, or decorate the nursery, or just put my swollen ankles in a cool footbath for an hour or so!
The Hubby is, as always, understanding of my point of view – after all, as he said, it’s me that’s at home with The Boy and not him, he gets to escape out to work every day – though we have had the chat about Baby Two and he has said that he is ready when I am. I know he’d dearly love for Baby Two to be a girl, and neither of us want a massive gap between The Boy and his younger sibling, so it isn’t something I’m putting off forever, just for now.
So next time you’re chatting to a family member, or friend, or even a work colleague, and that question pops into your mind, I recommend you don’t ask – for all you know she’s already in the process and it could be the sort of conversation she really doesn’t want to have. If you’re close, chances are she’ll speak to you about it sooner or later anyway: But please don’t pressure her. She’s already got enough on her mind.