Every milestone in your life comes with a barrage of predictable questions. Hit that first blissful anniversary with a boyfriend and expect curious enquiries of ‘so is he the one?’ Get married and face questions about your plans to procreate before you’ve had chance to polish off the wedding cake. And it’s not over when you’re proudly cradling your first born. After you’ve talked extensively about how little sleep you’re getting and your little bundle’s progress along the rolling-crawling-walking spectrum, the BIG question inevitably comes. So are you thinking about having another?
In the first month or two of your baby’s life you can get away with shrugging this question off with a hearty laugh and scoffing ‘you must be joking’. With the birth process still a little too fresh in your memory and sleep deprivation visibly at its peak, this reaction is easily accepted with a knowing nod. Awkward conversation with your granny or over-friendly stranger in Costa over.
A few months on and rather than being a light-hearted way to dodge a personal question, this dismissive ‘you must be joking’ suddenly seems less of a lighthearted shun and a little more ‘I hate my baby and I will never make this mistake again’ (or is that just my own mummy paranoia?) So you find yourself reluctantly sharing your thoughts on your future procreation plans with family and complete strangers alike. Uncomfortable? Very.
A year into motherhood, I’m still struggling to perfect my stock answer to this question. I start well. I’m happy to admit I would love Baby J to have a brother or sister in the future. My relationship with my younger sister is one of the most important in my life. From the early days when we shared a bedroom and pretended we were Kylie Minogue, to watching Top Gun and Dirty Dancing on repeat, to covering up for each other’s tipsy behaviour in front of our parents, to supporting each other through exams and university and celebrating each other’s weddings and pregnancies. We laugh together at the most stupid things that only we can see the funny side of (a lot), cry together (occasionally) and can say absolutely anything to each other without fear of judgment or embarrassment. I would love Baby J to have this extremely special sibling relationship.
But after delivering a confident affirmation of wanting a brother or sister for Baby J, I falter. Because everyone is then waiting for a timespan for this new little being to arrive. And the ‘when’ is something I’m not ready to share. All I know is the time isn’t now. A couple of years before we got pregnant with Baby J, I penned an article for The Daily Express talking about my ‘nappy list’. Basically it was a bit like a bucket list but with a far less depressing deadline. Looking back I set a challenging pre-parenthood agenda. Climbing Kilimanjaro, running a half marathon, learning to street dance, going to New York, buying a Cornish bolthole, slumming it in a tent at Glastonbury and writing a novel were all on there. And I ticked them all off bar the novel.
Now I’m finding myself mentally making a second nappy list with goals I’d like to hit before even considering baby numero deux. You’ll notice it’s considerably less ambitious than my first list. I’m not sure what that says about me post-parenthood?!?!
- Run a 10K. I think my fitness really helped me have a good first pregnancy so I’m keen to regain my form before I consider growing another bump. Having a flat tummy again for a while would also be nice purely from a vanity point of view.
- Go snowboarding. Pregnancy and life with a newborn mean the last couple of winters have passed without me attaching a snowboard to my feet and hurtling down a mountain towards a wood-clad bar serving vin chaud around a log fire. I’m not ready for another winter of Alpine depravation just yet.
- Get my career back on track. Writing and my work are important to me. As is replenishing my maternity leave ravaged bank balance. Mr J has been very good at supporting my penchant for expensive haircuts and mornings in coffee shops so far, but I fear he may confiscate my Costa card and suggest he takes scissors to my hair himself soon if I don’t start contributing more to the family finances!
- Sleep. I’m hoping to get a good eight hours consecutive sleep on more than a handful of occasions before I face life with a newborn again. To put this into perspective, I’m yet to achieve one night.
- Enjoy Baby J. I’m loving mummy life and I feel there are still more ‘firsts’ to experience with my little lady before having baby two.
- Mr J time. Now we’ve emerged from the haze of having a newborn, it’s time for a few nights out eating rich food and drinking a little too much wine.
- Start writing that damn novel…?!?
Please feel free to share your nappy list with me below and I’ll update you with my progress via this blog. So no need to ask me THE question again, right?