Since I had my second daughter eleven months ago I have been asked regularly, "When are you having another one?"
I answer it in the only way I know how - with a laugh and the assertion of "never."
As mother to a four year old girl and an eleven month old girl, and step mother to a four year old boy, as well as being a busy writer, I feel like my family is complete and my life is full. I neither want nor need another child.
I used to be broody. Before I had my eldest daughter it was an intense need to procreate that was almost overwhelming at times. Before my second daughter it was a notion that one day I would like another. Now when I say never, I mean it. I have no brooding urge that I'm having to suppress.
Even if it was financially viable, even if we weren't a family of five in a two bedroom house, I wouldn't want another baby. Even if I hadn't nearly died during my last pregnancy, even if mine and my daughter's mental health hadn't suffered, I wouldn't want another baby.
I am comfortable with the decision we have made. I don't regret it for a second.
So why do I feel like I'm in mourning?
The whole "biological clock" thing shouldn't impact me. I had my first daughter at 27 after one attempt to get pregnant. I had my second daughter at thirty after zero attempts to get pregnant. Not only have I been lucky enough to never struggle with fertility, but my age is irrelevant due to not planning any more children.
But what if that changed?
What if in, say, ten years I am really successful? What if I'm selling loads of books, topping best seller lists, we have a house where our children all get their own rooms and their own spaces? What if they're doing well in school, they're having violin or piano lessons, dance lessons, art lessons, football lessons? What if I'm not struggling at the end of the month, I'm not mentally calculating whether the council tax bill will mean we can't buy the weekly shop? What if all our hard work has paid off and we are able to provide our children with the lives we so desperately want them to have?
Will I regret my choice?
Will that little girl (I say girl because I just assume I make girls now) who's never had a chance to live be missed?
Will that little girl who we would love with such ferocious desperation, if she did accidentally make her way into the world, leave a huge hole in our hearts because she's not there?
My second daughter wasn't planned and we couldn't afford her - we were a family of four in a two bedroom house. We weren't planning a baby and yet now the idea of this world existing without her in it is horrifying. She needs to exist. She needs to be here and without her all our lives would be worse.
What if in ten years I realise I gave up my chance to create another one of these amazing little girls because I didn't have faith in myself to sell the books I work so hard on, and didn't want to put myself through a few months of pain? I would go through that pain a thousand times over for the children I have. I would put myself to the brink of death right now to ensure they get to be with us. Nothing about their lives gives me a hesitation of regret.
Does the world need me to have another baby like it needs the ones I already had?
I don't want one. I really don't want one.
I can't put myself or my children through that again. Promising my little girl I'd be picking her up from school then disappearing in an ambulance and not seeing her for days at a time whilst she had no idea why or when I was coming home was too much. She was devastated. Putting my body through that has left a lasting impact to this day that genuinely makes us fear for my life.
My life is complete with the children I have.
I don't want another baby and have taken steps to ensure it doesn't happen.
But what if I'm just trying to convince myself? Would I have these worries if I was absolutely certain in my decision?
I'm glad I've got contraception in place. I don't want another surprise. I don't want to make a stupid choice in a moment of panic. I don't want another baby.
But the world will never get to meet her. I'll never get to meet her. She gets no chance at life.
The girls I have are amazing. They're perfect. So she would have been too. She would have been incredible.
So I grieve for her. Because she will never come to be.
You can check out all my contact info and links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I'm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There's also www.sirenstories.co.uk where you'll find other work from Siren Stories and extra information. My first novel, Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit, is out now and available on Amazon.