I have secondary infertility, in other words I had fertility issues after my first child was born. She is now six. After five and a half years of numerous procedures, operations, four rounds of IVF, a miscarriage and ending up with a fairy godmother surrogate, I got my happy ending, my complete family. My beautiful twins, a girl and boy who are now almost ten months old, were born. To achieve this, my husband and I overcame many hurdles, survived too many dark days to count.
The desire for a second child is no less than the desire for a first. In fact it can be argued that the feelings involved are more complicated and complex a second time round. Why? Because for me, along with the longing to have another child, came the guilt at not being grateful for what I had. Guilt at wanting another, when many couples are desperate to have what I already had.
When I go into my daughters' room at night to check her, my eyes well up with tears as I am overwhelmed with the love I feel for her. My yearning for another child was more for her than it was for me. I wanted her to have a sibling. To be an aunty one day and for her children to have cousins. You may think my mind was working overtime, that I was looking so far into the future. Maybe it was. All I know is that I don't have a huge family, but the family I have I am very close to and cherish with all my heart.
Despite going through pain and anguish we also had happy times. Because we had our beautiful, kind and caring little girl. This is why feeling incomplete despite having her made me feel ungrateful. But I learnt that this was not the case. I'm not being ungrateful wanting another. I felt I was for a long time. But then I realised, why shouldn't I be allowed to want another?
Throughout all my struggles to complete my family I ensured I spent time with her. I did my utmost to spend quality time with her. Of course, as I sat playing with her the guilty feelings came back to haunt me. But then when I saw her playing with her friends and their siblings, when I heard her friends ask her why she doesn't have a brother or a sister, I knew I would do everything in my power to complete our family.
I recently attended parents' evening. It is the third parents' evening I have now attended. At the first one, I remember sitting there looking over her 'work'. My heart sank at the pictures of 'My family'. She had drawn the three of us. Yet around me I felt like all I could see were pictures her peers had drawn, in which they had drawn their siblings. Tonight, two years later, how different things are. I had to pinch myself, for in front of me was a picture of our complete family. This made me feel complete. This made certain that anybody who finds themselves in my position should not feel guilt or ungrateful.
When she was about four I recall sitting on the couch with her and reading her a story. She turned to me and asked me if she could have a baby and a dog. I immediately said no to the dog (!) but never said no to the baby. I distinctly remember telling her that mummy and daddy would see what they could do. It was then that I made a promise to myself to never give up until I had exhausted all avenues. Instead of wasting my energy worrying about feeling guilty or ungrateful, I would put it to better use and focus on completing my family.