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How Do You Know Your Family Is Complete?

Last week I wrote about how I don’t like being referred to as a mummy blogger, because DURR I write about way more than my kids, yeah?

Today I’m going to write about my kids.

I’ve noticed that at the age of 30 my friends are starting to have babies. At 24 I realise I was insanely early to this party and always noticed that where I lived most mums with children the same age as mine were a little bit older than me. I didn’t outright plan to have children so young but having suffered greatly with Endometriosis in my late teens I was told that it would be tricky to get pregnant so I wasn’t exactly trying not to, either.

Turns out that if you as much as take an unprotected sneeze near me you’ll knock me up. You have been warned.

So while Elfie was in no way an accident she was definitely kind of a surprise. A good surprise, but a surprise all the same. And then soon after she was born my ex-husband started making noises about having a small age gap between our two children (thank you, man who no longer lives with us ;) and so Hux followed a year and a half later. Before I knew it I was a 26 year old with two children under two. To say it was a bit of a whirlwind would be an understatement.

Because of the way my children came along I never felt that ‘pull’ that I know that many mothers get. You know, the ache in your arms and in your ovaries that tells you that it is imperative you pro-create NOW IF NOT SOONER. I mean, I knew I wanted to have babies at some point in my life but I didn’t feel the desire to get on it there and then. Very luckily for me it just happened – twice! – and I am very happy that it did.

9 Month Pregnant Belly

After Hux was born I was in a big post-natal depressive fug. And then the divorce happened so I didn’t really think beyond getting through the next few years. Babies weren’t even on my horizon save for some Facebook birth announcements that seemed increasingly uninteresting to me (sorry new mums!). Pre-having kids I’d always see a mum to be and think “aww, look at that lovely blooming belly” but it actually got to the point where I’d feel sorry for a pregnant woman, for the poor lady surely did not know the difficult times that were to come.

Of course I was at this point a single mum of two pre-school children so who can blame me, really?

It’s only now that I have clocked into the thirties club that I’m starting to get the weirdest most alien of all the feelings. Readers, I think I might be broody.

It has been the weirdest thing. I get soppy eyed at newborn babies. I ask questions about how much they weigh, sleep, poo. I like pregnant bellies and get misty over reminiscing about my own pregnancies.

Sidenote: can I remind you of the following that I wrote at 16 weeks pregnant with Hux?

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“Again I marvel at the body’s capacity to forget and I worry about a potential baby number three now I’ve committed my first trimester experiences to paper (or blog). Right now I don’t think I could face going through it all again, especially not with two kids. I would rather do anything, ANYTHING, than go through that again.”

And yet. AND YET! Pregnant bellies! Newborn heads! Giving birth! How dreamy!

This hugely unexpected event of Mother Nature declaring war on my child-bearing emotions has made me think about if I want another one. Because how do you really know when your family is complete? I have friends who are currently having that discussion about two or three (or four!) kids, and honestly with my hormones the way they are I don’t think I could be so sensible about it. I’d be one tipsy irresponsible shag away from a people carrier.

Though I guess that not having a boyfriend does help me not throw caution to the wind and have another third child right now; unless immaculate conceptions are A Thing or like I said, someone virile sneezes near me.

I think a lot of this comes from the stage I’m at in life. I might not have a man but I have never been happier or felt more settled or – dare I say it – grown up. I take the bins out on the right day, I don’t drink or nap to excess (not always anyway), I read intelligent books and buy footwear for comfort rather than looks. The Alice in 2015 is much better placed to deal with pregnancy and babies than the Alice in 2010 was and I can’t help but feel that I might have cheated myself out of the ‘dream’ childbirthing experience by not being in the best of places back then.

But for now I will ride out the hormonal wave and continue to inappropriately rub stranger’s bellies. Because as lovely as babies are I am not doing that stage alone again. And when the time comes maybe I will have that number three and a VW Touareg.  Or maybe I wont. Who knows.

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View Comments (22)
  • I know the feeling although over the last four years I’m used to it fading and then all of a sudden boom! I had undiagnosed PND which is so hard and definitely makes me a little wary of doing it again and as the age gap grows it makes it harder to go back in for all the baby stuff. I’m still not sure if one will become two in this house and with a lot of other rocky stuff going on it’s hard to say what the future will bring. Enjoy the adulthood your journey has brought it sounds ace xx

  • Haha – your blog excerpt about pregnancy followed by “And yet. AND YET! Pregnant bellies! Newborn heads! Giving birth! How dreamy!” made me laugh out loud. Isn’t it funny how the brain makes us forget – and even when we remind ourselves, it tells us we must have bee wrong/mad/weak.
    I don’t know how you know if your family is complete – I guess some women just KNOW. And some will always have twinges and broody feelings that will whisper to them whenever they see a pregnant woman or newborn.

  • Ditto with the being thirty and friends just starting to have babies now. I also am prone to pondering over whether things would be much different if I were to be starting a family now rather than in my mid twenties. I do wonder though, if the sensibility has come as a result of reaching this stage of WITH children, rather than reaching a certain age.

    • It’s a bit strange isn’t it, as they get all excited about the pregnancies and the babies and you’re like “yeah, give it 5 years” ;) I ponder the same often – I try not to but I do wonder sometimes.

  • Ah, interesting – I have endometriosis and was always told I’d most likely have trouble conceiving; then I lost my first pregnancy and, whilst crying at my GP about how I might never have another chance, she told me that was nonsense because my endometriosis was not in a place which would cause me difficulties. Okay, thanks experts who hadn’t thought to mention that for the previous twenty years! She was right, though – I was pregnant again within a couple of months.

    (I have no words of wisdom about potential third babies, though)

  • I really enjoyed reading this post Alice. It’s strange as I honestly feel like i am a different person from having my first at 25 and my second at 30 – I don’t know if it was just a shock the first time round because well parenting is a bit of a shock to the system or that it actually felt more “right” in terms of timing the second time around. I am a calmer more patient person now than I was at 25 and a part of me feels like I could have another now…but saying that when I have a hyped up 5yrs old running around and the baby crying I don’t always feel that way

    Laura x

    • I’m also calmer more patient now I’m a little older… but when child one was being sick at his swimming lesson today and the other was crying because she didn’t want to leave the pool I did wonder what on earth I was thinking about potential number three! x

  • I love this post, especially because the potential for a third baby is on my mind as my youngest hits proper toddlerhood. I had my first at 25 and I’m only 29 now so it seems hasty to close that door forever and yet I don’t know either.

  • I had my first pretty young, deliberated about having another for a decade. Finally did it and have had a brilliant experience. Plus, my eldest is super helpful and will babysit for chocolate. I absolutely know that I’m done now though!

  • I have not had a single broody moment since my second was born 6 years ago. Maybe because his birth was a big trauma (literally) and maybe because I’m still struggling with the aftermath of that and the PND. I really enjoy my big boys and babies just look annoying and exhausting to me :)

  • The one thing that I have slightly struggled with with our no3 is just how hard it is to go back to the intensity of the early days when you’ve got out of them – we never really had a calm point between the girls (thank you 18 month gap…) but then we were in a place where they could be trusted to not juggle with knives if I went to the loo – now we are back at the watching like hawks stage and it is hard

    Not hard as in I regret it but hard as in gosh it is so much more than I expected

    We’re done now – I’m too old, too tired and too worried that another baby might have Littlest’s challenges and yet I do feel very sad knowing that I’ve had my last sniff of my baby’s head with that new baby smell…

    Hormones are BEASTS I tell you!

  • I have NO idea. I thought we’d have our second and feel done, and all the sensible signs point to us stopping at two, but yet…I don’t feel done and can’t imagine not doing it all again (my husband, on the other hand..haha). I am worried about when I get properly back into the hormonal swing of things post-baby, as last time it happened I was so intensely broody it was like a physical sensation, and then, ta-da – there came baby two. Suspect I’m going to be debating this dilemma for a long time xx.

  • I don’t know if you ever ‘know’… i had 3 babies in my twenties and thought I was done. Like you, they came along before I ever had the chance to feel that urge… at 22, 25 and 27. Then I hit 33 and the broodiness hit… and well, Vega arrived! I can’t honestly say I’m done… the thought of never holding a newborn {that’s my own} makes me weep .. yes really! Would like this baby to do some more sleeping before another came along though ;)

  • It’s so hard to know isn’t it, I too get twinges of broodiness here and there but am hoping my brother’s new baby due in December, will quell those feelings-my husband definitely doesn’t feel broody in the least, and I’m not sure I can, or want to go through pregnancy again or the tough newborn days- but never say never (that baby smell is so delicious). We traded in a fast car for a VW Touran last year, having a big fat greek family means extra seats makes life easier-so atleast the car is sorted (the hormones, if it happens, will no doubt, never recover).

  • I remember Wilf being little and seeing pregnant women would make me feel sorry for them! Everytime I heard a new baby cry I would sort of wince/feel anxious/desperately sorry for the new parents and I think a lot of that is because of how hard I found new motherhood. When friends were having a shorter age gap I couldn’t think of anything worse! Then suddenly when Wilf turned 2.5 I was ALL kinds of broody, nothing would stop me from having another baby so I definitely think we get hijacked by our hormones, especially in those early months of pregnancy when you are puking your guts up and thinking WHY on earth did I think THIS was a good idea?!

    Tom had said he only wants two and logically I know that would be best for our family too but I know in 4 years time I will be broody again, it’s ridiculous! x

  • I think another factor which we sort of like to ignore is the difference between having another baby with a new partner versus having a third child with your husband/same partner. Although families come in all shapes and sizes these days, this is still a reality. I’m uncomfortably facing that dilemma right now. I had 2 kids young with my ex-husband (when I was 21 and 23, now they are 12 and 10) and I’m contemplating a baby with my second husband. He already has two kids so it’s more of an ‘optional’ thing – ie, something he won’t miss out on ever experiencing if we don’t. We don’t know what to do about. He has a good relationship with his kids (14 and 16) but his daughter has said several times that she really doesn’t want us to have a child as she feels concerned that on some level he would see the new unit as his ‘primary’ or ‘real’ family. And honestly, I see where she’s coming from. My 12 year old has said similar things. She loves her stepdad and he loves her, and we all live happily together, plus she sees her dad regularly and all relationships are ok there too. But she said to me, please don’t have more kids with Pete, cos I don’t want to watch someone else have what I didn’t and grow up with two parents living together. It’s a tough decision. We want a baby for us, but I don’t think it’s necessarily best for our kids to disrupt their lives that way, and I think the idea of step/half siblings can be really challenging, despite what we have to tell ourselves about kids adapting so well, etc. xx

    • Thank you so much for your comment Lula. I’m not ashamed to admit that one day I would love to be in a situation like yours, happily living with a second husband whom my children love and feel love and return. I love hearing stories like this so I know it is eventually possible!
      But I wonder how I would feel in this situation about having another baby – I would never want my children to feel this made my love for them any less so. And looking at it from the other end as you have, I fully expect my ex-husband will have more children one day as he’s in a long-term relationship with someone who doesn’t have any. It breaks my heart that when this happens my kids will become the ‘part-time’ children. Like you I want to do everything I can to make sure they feel hugely loved and if that means not having any more kids than that’s what it’ll have to be xx

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