A little below the surface

In two months time Amelia will be two. I can hardly believe it. I noticed over the weekend that she really has become a little girl – a little girl who giggles and tickles and collects things like shells and buttons and puts them in her backpack and who sits up at the table in cafes and orders “cake!” and who has an increasingly vivid imaginary life that has nothing to do with the rest of us. I don’t miss my little baby because I am totally in love with this little girl. I found the baby stage incredibly hard and quite terrifying and now I am beginning to feel life open up before us in the most exciting ways rather than closing in around me which was so scary and tiring for so long.
Because she is turning two people are starting to ask me when we are going to have our next baby. People in shops ask, people I have never met before feel compelled to find out. There are women in my mother’s group who have had their second or who are pregnant and soon will and my romantic dreams of a house full of sleeping babes is always in the back of my mind. I had always imagined that I would have two if not three.

Well, first things first. Let’s get a house and move out of my parent’s place — I feel like we are living in a parallel reality here. It’s lovely but not quite real. Even contemplating pregnancies and babies while we are all living under one roof is totally ridiculous… although the lady in the local bakery (when she asked the “and when are you having number two?” question) suggests that this is the best time to have a baby because of all the extra help. I didn’t bother explaining to her the possibility of extended family implosion if this were to happen.

Secondly, to be completely honest with myself, I don’t know if I really want to have another child right now or even next year. It really goes without saying that I love Amelia to bits and have never regretted having her (well perhaps at the odd moment in those early days at 3am after hours of crying and the agony of breast feeding, but I was not myself!) but perhaps it is because I am too selfish, or too tired, or I am too enamored with my work and time to do my own stuff that the idea of going through all the baby thing again is totally unappealing to me. I wish I were different. I wish I found total satisfaction in motherhood, I really do. I thought I might be a natural mother but I have found myself at times over the last two years raging and resenting this new role – perhaps from immaturity or perhaps from selfishness (as my kind neighbour suggested) – and with great sadness I have looked at myself and have seen that I am not the woman of my fantasies.

So having spoken to Big-P about these things, and hearing that he will be ok with whatever route we take (of course), I started to feel incredibly sad, and I guess it was a strange kind of grieving that began to settle in. I have always packed up Amelia’s special clothes and put them away carefully ready for “the next one” and to think that I would just give them away seems impossible. The idea that we might sell her cot when she moved into her own bed is awful and to never again go through all these magical phases is heart breaking. But I am being realistic. And now I realise that the only reasons I would be having another one is because I would worry that Amelia might be lonely and that I don’t want to disappoint my mum and my mother-in-law. Definitely not the best reasons to bring a little child into the world.

So I was lamenting to my wonderful friend Special-K last night about my new found realisations and she dropped the most blessed pearl of wisdom on me. She told me that I should stop worrying as I have about another 8 years (or more!) up my sleeve to make my final decision. I can’t tell you how relieved I felt! Why I was torturing myself I don’t know. I kept thinking that if we were going to have another it should be right away so that we have children who are all around the same age. But it really doesn’t matter if they are two years or 10 years apart, does it? Granted, they will have a different kind of relationship, but the idea that I don’t have to make this decision right now is such a relief!

So now I am going to relax and have a short term plan of having many adventures with my wonderful number one. I am going to plan to keep studying (as I have finally found a course that I love!) and plan to keep creating fabric things and make moves to get back into illustration and finally write that children’s book I have been putting off. And when and if number two comes into our lives they will be as welcome and as loved as they deserve to be.

And now because there are wonderful things all around:

How to be creative — (via Boing Boing – so you’ve probably already seen it but I thought it was worth noting anyway)
Cut + paste blog — one very crafty girl
and Frecklewonder is another
The Lomo home of Jshen — Lomos and Blythe dolls, heaven