I recently found an amazing physio in Cheltenham who specialises in post-baby body recovery (she helps you mend your own body, not recover the body of the last person who asked you if you were pregnant 18 months after the fact!!!)
As with these things, our first session was predominantly getting to know each other (think of it as a first date but without the awkward should I/shouldn’t I go in for the kiss). We talked about my births, my recovery progress so far (I had an amazing physio in Toronto too) and all the other guff that goes with these things, like how much control over my southern hemisphere I have, etc.
Now, as a mum to two boys, I am very used to the whole ‘are you going to try for a girl next?’ phenomenon (I don’t want a girl, now that you ask. I don’t know what to do with them and they might want to date at some point which will inevitably lead to a speedily sought gun licence from Mr British Maple!) So when Louise (that’s her name!) innocently asked me if I planned on having any more babies and I jovially said I’d always wanted three but I think we’re done at two (my usual, scripted answer). Topic closed…or so I thought.
What Louise asked me next threw me. She asked me how I felt about not having a third baby.
[cue the deep breath, hard swallow and long exhale]
What do I tell her? Do I brush it off with a flippant response (my usual style), do I make a joke about the size of pregnant elephants, or do I tell the truth?
I opted for the latter. Here goes:
I have always wanted a large family (think Darling Buds of May rather than Shameless) but after the birth of the General, I began to realise that it probably wasn’t going to happen. I had a very risky pregnancy with the General, which I was so lucky to come through without any repercussions. To try for a third baby seem almost selfish (which is ironic given that a baby takes everything you’ve got to raise and replaces it with something entirely unquantifiable). I have too much to lose.
I’m not purposely being dramatic, here. If I wasn’t to be so lucky (lucky, lucky, lucky) with another pregnancy, a whole heap of emotional and physical shit would be dumped on my entire tribe and that’s not fair.
So there you have it. No more babies. End of conversation? Nope! It probably took a good year for me to fully come to terms with the fact we won’t be having a third baby. I still have pangs now for that amazing feeling of having another life inside you, feeling your heart rate settle when your babe is asleep on your chest and that first feeling of overwhelming pride when you stand back and think ‘we made this beautiful creature’. My ovaries aren’t done yet but more importantly, my heart isn’t done yet. Unfortunately my body is completely and utterly done (as is Mr BM, but we could’ve worked on him!)
I know there are countless women who would love to have more children, but physically can’t, and my heart breaks for each and every one. But don’t for a minute think that it’s any easier for mums, like me, who can get pregnant but the risks of doing so are too high.
I have the ultimate little unit and I am so grateful for every atom of their existence. A third miniature would’ve been the perfect cake topper but they could just as easily send the whole thing tumbling to the floor.
My post-baby recovery heroes are:
Munira at Bosnar Centre for Health (Toronto, Canada)
Louise at PT Practice For Women (Cheltenham and London, UK)