Tuesday, March 29, 2011

HAVING BABIES: IS THERE AN OFF SWITCH?


Inside of me, there was a switch that was turned on when I gave birth to my first child. Or perhaps it started in those first few moments of pregnancy, or that first twinge of morning sickness.

The attachment to the growing form begins. And when a child is born, there is the undying love, the adoration, the overwhelming responsibility. After a while this new chapter of your life which started in utter chaos, soon evolves into something more organised, or perhaps a little like a household factory line.

Life continues. The infant becomes a baby. The baby becomes a toddler. Then a little person.

And while you are adoring this growing being as the fog of sleeplessness lifts, something happens.


That switch which is now in the "on" position from the birth of your first child, turns all your logic into goo. Desire and wanting take over. Somewhere between the madness and caring for this one child's needs is this yearning to have... another.

For me it happened the moment my first child was born. We planned to have just one. But the minute I met him, I knew I couldn't stop here. It was a hard, long decision for both of us. But too soon I was pregnant and lost it in the most painful way. Hospitals and massive blood loss. Even then, the hardcore yearning continued.

I'm so blessed to have two healthy children today, and during the pregnancy with my second son, I felt I was risking fate expecting to have another perfectly healthy child. I did not take it for granted.

And right up until a week ago, I've been fully satisfied. I've been saying the words: Our family is complete.

But what is it with that switch that just won't turn off?

And before you start to freak out (Mum, CALM DOWN), let me just say for the record, there won't be anymore babies in this household, unless they're grandchildren. Or friends' children. Or kids I'm minding.

Or one big whoops-a-daisy.

Now, I'm not going to pretend there isn't a dimmer switch when I think of the hard work, the sleepless nights, the washing, and um, did I mention the hard work? But that isn't the 'off' switch.

It was in a moment last weekend when I held a newborn baby. That feeling. That comfortable feeling. The helplessness, the reminiscing. That smell. The comparing of how big your children are now, compared to when they were this little. And this helpless.

I understand that feeling now. The feeling when an elderly stranger asks to hold your newborn, or approaches you in the supermarket to talk about your child. And then that conversation turns into their child. Because that's what happens. We reflect so romantically about our life with our children.

I'm sure they wouldn't want to go back and do it again, but they will say without questions it was the best time of their life.

And that switch. It never seems to flick 'off'.

Do you feel that twang, that yearning for another baby when you hold a newborn? Do you cluck like a chicken, or did you find your 'off' switch?