I will never forget the trip to the supermarket on a day when I was feeling really low about not having a another baby. There I was loading all my usual shopping onto the conveyor belt. It was obvious I had a child, packs of wipes, fish fingers, rice crackers, ice lollies. I smiled at the lady on the till who was scanning them through. I'm sure it was her intention to just make a bit of polite conversation, but for me this was going to be one step too far today. The conversation started like this:
"So, you have children do you?"
"Yes." I gave a curt one word answer hoping it would go no further.
"Oh how many do you have?"
"Oh, only the one? Aren't you going to have another one then?"
"No, not at the moment."
"It's such a shame, children need other little brothers and sisters to play with. You should do it, you have plenty of time"
Thankfully she had finished scanning all my shopping, so I grabbed my Tesco Clubcard, and money-saving vouchers and got out of there as fast as my legs and trolley would carry me.
Back in the safety bubble of my car, tears rolled down my cheeks. It's happening again the same old scenario, why do complete strangers feel they have the right to discuss with you in public your future family plans? I know many people are just making an innocent conversation, but could someone please teach supermarket cashiers or any other well-meaning person to keep their probing questions to themselves? They have no idea what so ever why I might not be having another child. I may have had fertility issues or my husband may have just left me. Neither of which are true, but please a bit of sensitively could go a long way.
I will tell you why I am having one child and no more. Let's get it out in the open shall we? Firstly I am 41-years-old and I do not honestly think my general health, mind or body could cope with another pregnancy or a newborn. I suffered with post-natal depression and it is only now four and half years later than I have finally managed to come off my antidepressants. Secondly my husband really does not want another child, he is in his mid fifties and says the prospects of another newborn would finish him off! So despite still having a strong desire for another child I have decided against it.
It is a sad fact that my daughter will never have a brother or sister and I can tell you the pain I feel when she asks, (which she does often), "please Mummy can I have a baby sister" it goes through me like a knife. Or the time when I see her stroking the head of a newborn, which she does in such a caring and gentle way, another little piece of me dies.
However, I try to be positive and see how blessed I am to have a healthy happy little girl in the first place. In my work as a nurse I often come across women who have fertility issues and will never conceive naturally or at all. So I am grateful every day for my gorgeous girl, but that doesn't stop me wondering what it could have been like if I had more than one child.
I have learnt to accept my position as a mother of one. I am not going to be part of the baby number two club. No, I won't be able to join in the conversation at the school gates about how you entertain two children at the same time. I know I will never again feel that strange butterfly feeling when your baby kicks for the first time. However, I still need to get rid of that newborn car seat that I was hanging on to just in case. I am almost at peace with my situation, if only people would just not have to ask 'that' question, "is it just the one child you have then?"