My son was never meant to be an only child.
As the youngest of four children, my childhood home was always full of hustle and bustle with a multitude of playmates. Of course it also meant that there wasn't a moment's peace and quiet, but I wouldn't have traded that for the world. Which is why I was going to have two children.
Was going to.
But it just hasn't happened and at the grand old age of 40, I'm ok with that.
I can recognise now that I'm fairly certain I had such significant birth trauma after my son was born that it may have been borderline PTSD; it certainly triggered anxiety and panic attacks. It's taken a good few years with various counselling interventions to make peace with the mistakes that were made during his birth, but I can now let it go.
He's here, he's healthy, he's happy.
That is the most important thing.
However, by the time I'd adjusted and entertained the thought of childbirth again, I was on the slippery slope towards 40. Having a baby at 32 was hard enough, but this many years later? I dread to think how I'd cope with the feeding dilemma and subsequent guilt combined with the sleepless nights, let alone the physical toll on my body. Pre-pregnancy weight is a distant dream eluding me and I'm nowhere near as fit. Would my body actually hold up through the pregnancy? It is a realistic concern and in order to be physically in a place where I should become pregnant would take at least a year. Then there's the falling pregnant and the actual three-quarters of a year before the baby arrives.
I'd be looking at 43 and my son would be 11. That's a heck of an age gap and one that I know only too well can be very difficult to overcome; luckily I've got two siblings in the gap of twelve years between my eldest brother and I, and it makes it easier. I'm just not sure that it would be very fair on The Boy.
Did I want my son to have a sibling?
Of course I did, it's one of the most amazing bonds and the longest one a person can have. Never have I known three people that I can absolutely adore whilst also wanting to pull their hair out. And I'm not talking about when we were children; my brothers both currently need their heads banging together for many reasons. But I still love them.
There's a saving grace to assuage my guilt; my sister's children. They're incredibly close to my son (my niece is 14 and my nephew 11) and the three of them together are like the Three Musketeers. It fills my heart with joy to see him cuddling my niece like a big sister, learning how to tie his shoelaces from her and the way that she always visually checks he's managing at dinner, or automatically holds his hand near a road. Likewise I'm filled with glee when I see the two boys down in the mud kitchen concocting all mnaner of delicacies for their restaurant; Food and Doogan. Or when they go on a space mission through the garden to the climbing frame rocket with football helmets under their arms.
The bond that they have is similar to that of a sibling, but the best thing about cousins is that you have more of your own space and can have a more effective timeout.
I'm lucky. I have a son. He's funny and kind and amazing and fills my heart with joy. I can't imagine my life without enjoying his company.
And that's why I've accepted that I just have one child.
Now does anyone want to buy a pram?