I haven't blogged for a couple of weeks now because I have been doing a lot of thinking and a lot of reading and then a lot more thinking, and a little bit of praying in the midst of all that thinking!
And I have come to realise a few things that have made accepting a decision we've had to make that little bit easier. It's like I've come through the bleakness of winter and the hope and promise of Spring is starting to blossom in my heart, just like the flowers and trees are starting the bloom right now…
Do you remember when I wrote about our decision to never have any more children of our own and how heartbreaking that was for me? It was entitled "The Hardest Decision" and it really and truly was. And when we made that decision I don't think either of us was really ready for it. Little Man was still only a baby and as I spent most of his first year going through a grieving process I wasn't really in a place to accept it.
I had moments when it was clearer in my mind, moments like those I wrote about here. But mostly I was clinging on to some tiny hope that one day we'd be able to do it all again, if we planned everything meticulously.
Grief isn't a linear thing, and letting go of the dream I had always held of having more than one child was a hard thing. To put this into perspective, my aunt once commented that she thought I would end up with 6, yes six, kids. I thought that was a little excessive, but it does help point out how alien the idea of having just one child is for me.
It isn't that I am not eternally grateful for the opportunity to be blessed with Little Man and the chance to experience motherhood in this way. I adore him and if he is the only child we ever have, he will be showered in more love than he'll know what to do with.
And therein lies my thinking – I have so much love to give, surely it must be in the plan for us to have another?
But more and more lately I have been coming to terms with the realisation that having another child naturally is just not the right choice for us. It isn't just a case of 9 months of sickness and poor health (as if that isn't enough, because believe me that sucks big time!) But for me it is also the recovery and the fact that my hormones seem to hate me and even 17.5 months after giving birth I am still struggling…
I let the gynaecologists brush me aside last summer with the words, "nausea is not a typical symptom of Endometriosis, it's just a lifestyle thing!" I should know better by now than to listen to them. It may not be a typical symptom for most women, but it is one of mine. Fast forward a few more months and the classic Endo pains have started to resurface, and I still haven't got anything under control.
And all of this makes me realise that to have another baby of our own, we're risking 2+years of poor health for me. I do struggle with Little Man, I truly do some days, because I feel like absolute crap. But that is because of my health and it doesn't have to be this way…
When I first met TJ, I had my Endo under control (as much as you can do with Endo). I was healthy and I was happy. I had energy and I did all sorts of things. But since then I've been subjected to several awful hormonal treatments and struggled through a pregnancy with various complications. It's no wonder my body is struggling to get back to a healthy state.
But I have hope and faith that it will do. And when that day comes I really and truly do not want to jeopardize it and go straight back to square one because I want another baby. It isn't worth it, for me or my family. I don't bounce back from these things easily and so I have to make a responsible decision rather than one based on emotion alone.
I've known this all along, but suddenly I feel a kind of peaceful acceptance falling over me. It's not that I don't have days when I wish things could be different, but it does mean that I am beginning to accept that the path I am being led to take is a different one to that which I expected.
So this past couple of weeks I have been working on letting go of that final little bit of "false hope" in order to heal my heart and make room for what is to come. Whether that is as a parent to an only child, or a family extended through adoption, or even offering up our homes to those in need through fostering, I need to heal my heart in order to move forward with this.
It feels like the right time. It feels like I shall be able to give away Little Man's baby clothes to someone who wants or needs them. Ditto with my maternity clothes. It will hurt, I know it will, but I feel like the time has come when I will be able to do it. That hasn't happened before.
Of course, this in itself is not a decision to be rushed. We need time to heal, as a family and as individuals. Our emotional journey through conception, pregnancy, birth, the first year and beyond is going to take time to deal with. We're still reeling from some of the things that happened that we just could not face at the time.
And equally, there will be times when we desperately wish that things had turned out differently. As it is, when I mentioned how I was feeling to TJ the other day I expected him to be relieved (as he has always been the one who seemed much more able to accept us not having another baby one day) and yet he seemed deeply saddened by it. So of course this is something we need to talk about together over time as well. But for now, I needed to make a record of how I was feeling in this moment.
And right now, that's scared as hell of taking that final leap and truly letting go… but it has to happen sometime, and I feel that time is coming fast!