My second son Leo is almost six months old and he is a gorgeous squidgy-legged cherub. Every day I nuzzle him close to whisper in his ear that I love him. He is our much wanted ‘rainbow baby’, a child born after miscarriage and in our case, three miscarriages.
I am trying hard to appreciate the baby days second time around as I know how quickly time flies by. I love his smiles and I love the cuddles but the crying and the scheduling of naps and feeds or the hand-wringing over weaning and lack of sleep, drives me to look longingly at adverts for jobs, study options and day care centres.
My impatience to get to life’s next stage is exacerbated by the fact I have been thinking about babies, how to conceive them, grow them and raise them for the last eight years.
A few weeks after my 30th birthday, I put away my party heels as my husband and I began to focus on making a baby. At first it was fun, but after nine months it became a lot more like mission impossible. We got there eventually and my first pregnancy was relatively uncomplicated. I can’t say I enjoyed the weight gain, the sore back, the sickness and the tiredness but it was worth it when we welcomed Toby in 2010.
Following seven months of breastfeeding I had some time feeling like myself again before we re-joined the conception rollercoaster to create a sibling that ultimately took six years.
While I realise our story is not unique and that we have had some wonderful times in the last eight years, there has been a consistent focus on my monthly cycle and what I should be doing to get pregnant.
Eating right, staying healthy, exercising and then not exercising. Drinking and then not drinking, knowing when to have sex. Keeping my legs up, weeing on a stick, closely monitoring my mood and bodily sensations.
Our bathroom drawers have been filled with pregnancy tests, ovulation kits and bottles of folate for as long as I can remember. Each month I would look at my tampons and sanitary towels sitting alongside them and feel like a failure.