'I finally decided to have a second baby, but wasn't expecting this shameful symptom.'

As a mum of one, I wrestled with the decision of whether to have a second baby for a long time. In fact, it felt like as soon as I popped out my first child, I was already thinking about whether I'd do it all again. 

During the newborn phase, it was a hard no from me. In fact, as I sat there at 3am with a screaming baby I privately thought that anybody who had a second one was probably mentally unwell. 

Then when I'd got a handle on things, when she was a cute, chunky little 10-month-old that I was wheeling around the shops, I thought, 'This is fun! I could do this again!' 

Then she turned three, and we all proceeded to have the year from hell. I vowed I would never, could never, put myself through having a threenager ever again. 

Watch: If only we could be in our baby's head for a day... Post continues below.

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A few of my friends had gone back a second time — a couple had two-year gaps between kids, others had three. As my kid turned four (and blessedly started to calm the hell down) and I turned 38, the question reared its head again.

My partner definitely leaned towards number two more than me. But honestly, I barely took that into consideration because for men, it's an easier decision to make. I mean, let's face it, their involvement in the baby-making process is minimal and honestly, rather enjoyable for them. 


For us, it means putting our bodies through the trauma of pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, not to mention all the hormones raging, the effect it has on our careers, and the added person to your already heaving mental load.

After much conversation, we pluckily decided to "leave it up to Mother Nature". And it seems she was in her decisive era, because next thing I knew, I was sitting on the toilet staring at two lines on a pregnancy test wondering what the hell I'd got myself into.

I went through seven stages of… if not grieving, definitely something when I found out I was having a second kid. And these feelings weren't something I had expected. My first baby was desperately wanted, so the positive pregnancy test brought unabashed joy into my heart. 

Shock was the first reaction when I got the same result over four years later. I felt numb for days as I attempted to process it. As motherhood goes on, you claw back who you are as a person — your body is yours again, your career gets back on track, your kid is maturing and needing you ever-so-slightly less each day.

Why was I throwing this all away to be at the behest of a demanding newborn again? As the numbness wore off, I was mortified to recognise regret seeping in as I remembered all the hardest bits of having a baby. 

The lack of sleep, the nappies, the engorged boobs with a baby permanently attached to them, the nappies, high chairs, solids, teething, sleep training, and oh god, those endless nappies.

Of course, the next feeling was guilt. For starters, this poor innocent little bundle of cells in my body didn't ask to be created, and here I was already resenting its fledgling existence. And I know how hard it is for some women who desperately want to be holding that positive pregnancy test, who are struggling to conceive their first child let alone their second. 


How ungrateful was I to regret something that other women would have given their right arm for? I hated myself for the mess of emotions I was feeling, especially because not one of them was positive.

Image: Supplied.

 Then came anxiety. As a triple Earth sign, I became intensely focused on logistics and asking questions impossible to answer right now. How will a baby even fit into our lives? What if it needs to feed at the exact time I need to drive its older sister to preschool? What if, unlike my first kid, it hates the car and screams the whole way there and I drive off the road trying to calm it down?


The next feeling was nausea. All day, every day until the 17-week point. And although pregnancy nausea is not at all enjoyable, now I feel like it was almost a blessing, because it pulled me out of my dark thoughts and forced me to think about something else (not spewing) for a good few months. 

I felt so sick that I almost forgot I was pregnant, and instead it was more like I had an illness I was shouldering with my day-to-day life. If you asked me how far along I was, I couldn't tell you without consulting an app – whereas with my first pregnancy, I could rattle off "15w4d!" before the question was even asked.

Finally, I stopped internalising and I spoke to friends who had two kids. I was relieved to discover that I wasn't alone with the intrusive, negative thoughts. I'm not a terrible person after all! It seemed most of them questioned whether they'd made the right decision for a large chunk of their pregnancies (and some still questioned it, as their four and two-year-olds tore around the house trying to kill each other). 

As a second child myself, I think a lot about how our impending arrival is perhaps not treated with the joy and wonder as that of our older siblings. My older brother's baby album is fit to bursting with identical snaps of him sitting grumpily in a bouncer, whereas mine isn't even half-full. 

Image: Supplied.


 I was eventually dragged out of my wallowing by my four-year-old daughter. Sure, the unabashed joy didn't come from me, but she's made up for it tenfold. Her excitement about being a big sister is contagious. She doesn't know regret, guilt, or anxiety. All she knows is her much-loved sibling is currently the size of a large onion and in a few short months "I'm going to give him or her a cuddle".

As one mum said to me, "You never regret what you have," and I used to hope that was true. But now I think I'm starting to believe it.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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