As a mum, there are a few questions I hate answering: When are you due? Um, never, that bump is left over from the baby who's now in preschool. When are you going back to work? I don't know! I'm not ready! Are you planning to have another one? Lady, unless you've got Kleenex in your purse and 20 minutes to spare, let's not go there.
The moment my daughter was born, my bonkers first thought was, I want to do that again. I wanted to make another baby, like, immediately. The miracle was so huge, and the joy/love rush so potent, I was hooked and knew I'd need another hit.
Unfortunately, we'd gotten a late start on our family and I was already 40, so as soon as it was physically possible, we started trying for baby number two. When it didn't happen right away, I panicked (because panic and conception mix oh-so-well) and ran to a fertility doctor. There were tests, drugs, shots, an unsuccessful insemination, three failed in vitro fertilizations and along the way, several early miscarriages.
I tried vitamins, supplements, herbs and acupuncture. I lost weight, did yoga, ate pineapple cores and prayed. I gave up caffeine and booze for a year, and all I learned is that I'm a real bitch without my coffee.
We're still trying -- the free, old-fashioned way -- and I'm struggling.
They call it secondary infertility. You have the first baby, and you think, Wow, my body's so good at this, I could have like 10 more kids. Should we have 10 more kids? And while you're negotiating whether to have one more or 10 more (with a partner who thinks you're nuts, but humors you), your body just up and quits. In my case, the glitch is declining egg quality, but I know other, younger mamas who can't seem to make a second baby either. It's wildly frustrating. And it hurts not to be able to create the family you envisioned.
As a mother, you want to give your child everything. I want my daughter to have a sibling. She may not consider that the same calibre gift as a doll house or tricycle, but I'm taking the long view. I grew up with a younger brother, and even though we fought like criminals for the first 10 years, we're BFFs now, and I treasure him. I realize I can't guarantee a close sibling relationship, but I want to provide my daughter with that person who will know her always -- the one who understands what it was like to grow up in her house. The one who's still there when I'm gone.