A little over four years ago I became a mum for the first time, and so far, this is the only time that I have become a mum. I have an only child. I am a mum to just one. Does this make me less of a mum than those with two, three, four or even five children?
These thoughts started creeping into my mind around Mother's Day. Perhaps they had cropped up prior to that, but they definitely had a presence in my head last month when I was scouring online shopping sites for ideas for Mother's Day gifts. I began to notice lots of gifts that were aimed at mums with more than one child. Beautiful necklaces designed for the names of two children to be engraved. Photo frames with the words 'Mum We Love You' across them. Canvas family timelines with gaps for the births of more than one child.
Now, of course, there were other gifts that did concentrate on the mum in question having just one child - and it may well have been my state of mind or that I was aware that I only had one child that made these other, unsuitable gifts stand out to me.
What if I wanted that gorgeous necklace, of that particular design? Yes it could be ordered with my Little Man's name on it and the other area left blank, but how would that make me feel? What if I never filled that gap? Would it bring guilt later on in life? What if I never can fill that gap? Will it bring feelings of emptiness and being incomplete down the line?
The decision for us to have a second child is never one I have gone into on my blog. I have mentioned in the past how people always love to ask the question. How we should never be made to feel the baby pressure. But it is a question that people love to ask us, especially now Little Man is preparing to start school this September. We have been content with our little family unit as it is and we have always said if we are meant to have another then we will. But I can't help but think, if I only have one child and I never have another, am I less of a mum?
I won't have done everything twice, or three times over. I won't have more than one experience of pregnancy, labour, childbirth - everything that entails bringing a small human into the world. Sometimes, having one child I am made to feel like I have it easy when I have heard comments such as 'Well, at least you only have one!" Does that make it easier? Really?
My one child doesn't have a sibling to play with or help bring up, so in turn, demands more of my attention. Does that make my life easier? I don't think so. I can't leave him to his own devices to play on his own, as siblings might play together, the mum in me can't stand the guilt, so I don't get as much done around the house because I'm concentrating on him. Does that make my life easier? Not when I have one hundred more things to do at night when he's finally in bed it doesn't. It makes it different to that life of a mum of more than one, but not necessarily easier.
Yet still, I keep asking myself whether I am less of a mum. The more I think about this, and now I have put it all down into words, the more I'm beginning to think that it's not society that is making me feel like this, but more myself. Is it because I'm wondering more and more whether we should have another? Is it because I know I'm not getting any younger and I never wanted to be an older mum? Is it because after over four years, I still don't know if I want another?
The answer to my first question is a simple one and we all know the answer. Am I less of a mum as a mum to just one? Of course I'm not. The mother in me was born the day I brought my amazing little boy into the world. I grew him, I gave birth to him and every day since then, my entire life has been centred around him and his needs.
So no, I'm no less of a mum at all. I'm more of a mum than I ever thought I would be. So until we decide, that should be enough. And it is, it really is.
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