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My Family Didn’t Want Me to Have a Second Baby

Photograph by Twenty20

When I was young, I told myself that if I didn't have kids by 25, I wouldn't even try. But life had other plans for me. I had plenty of opportunities to become pregnant throughout my youth; but for some reason, I didn't.

By the time I met my husband, I was 34. When we agreed it was time to start trying for a baby, I was 36. It took me one year of ovulation tests, temperature-taking and calculated sexual encounters to get pregnant with my firstborn. I was actually taking a break from trying so hard when I finally missed a period. Three positive pregnancy tests, all taken the same day (I could not believe it!) let me know I would not have to undergo hormone treatments after all.

I will never forget the day I told my father that I was pregnant. I had just turned 37, and maybe he'd given up on the idea of ever becoming a grandfather. When I showed him the positive test results, he teared up and we hugged. I took a photo of him shortly after, smiling like a kid. It was beautiful.

Everyone was ecstatic for us. I was happy. I enjoyed every second of my pregnancy. When I had a threatened miscarriage at nearly four months, I took bedrest to heart. If getting up to pee one time too many would put my baby's life at risk, I decided I’d rather not pee!

My baby was born three months before I turned 38. It was a speedy and uneventful delivery, and for the next year, I thoroughly enjoyed being a new mom. Both families doted on our daughter, sent her gifts and visited. I continued my writing career while I raised my baby. When she neared her second birthday, her dad and I considered having a second child.

I was already 40 by then. I started taking my temperature all over again, and keeping an eye on my fertile days. This time around I got pregnant on the first try! Once again, I couldn't believe my good luck.

Then came the time to break the news to our families.

My excitement of sharing what, for me, was fabulous news was met with surprise (not the good kind), and curt answers.

“You're ….. What?”

“Oh boy!”

“Are you sure???????”

“We didn't know you were trying for another baby …. ”

“At 40????”

And so on and so forth.

I was already on the pregnancy hormonal mood-swing train, so each time I heard one of those reactions, my heart sank a little. Or a lot.

What started out with joy and celebration, eventually gave way to doubt and even a little depression. I wondered whether I had done the right thing. I even told my doctor that I was having second thoughts about the pregnancy! She told me maybe I needed to see a therapist.

I felt I could not complain about any of my morning sickness, fatigue, varicose veins, or anything else to anyone in the family. It was almost like by doing so, I was telling them they were right. I should not have become pregnant with this baby.

I wondered whether I had done the right thing. I even told my doctor that I was having second thoughts about the pregnancy! She told me maybe I needed to see a therapist.

I spent my entire pregnancy feeling rather lonely, second-guessing myself and wondering whether I would love my second baby as much as the first. Life with just one child seemed so easy in comparison with what was coming at me with another baby. What had I done?

When I went into labor, I cried. On my way to the clinic, I kept wondering what would happen when I saw my baby. My first one was so perfect. Was this one a mistake after all? Perhaps the family was right.

Less than one hour after I checked into the clinic, my beautiful redhead was born. She popped out before my doctor arrived. And I loved her instantly. I loved her deeply. I cried. But this time they were tears of joy, of love, of awe.

When I saw my two daughters together later on in the room, I knew this was perfect. I had done the right thing.

Now they are 15 and 12. As my eldest transitions into young adulthood and grows wings, my youngest is still my baby girl. And of course nobody in the family remembers or will admit to ever voicing doubt or disbelief when we announced our second pregnancy.

If your family's reaction to your second pregnancy is not what you wished for, don’t despair. One day, just like my family, they won’t be able to imagine life without your second child either.

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