Babies. They’re everywhere.
They’re in the garden centre restaurant, snuggling into their mothers without a care in the world apart from when their next feed will arrive. They’re in the supermarket, wrapped up in a cosy blanket and oblivious to the cooing pensioners queuing up to admire them.
They’re in my head.
Their adorable squished up little faces, their tiny grasping hands and their innocent vulnerability. The cute gurgling sounds they make and the way their unsteady heads bob about as they try to focus on you.
They play me and they win. Every time.
It’s not my fault really, it’s science. You see, they look cute on purpose so that our maternal instincts kick in and we want to nurture them. It’s nature’s way of ensuring they are cared for and it’s fool-proof. They may cry lots and stink, but we love them for it like nothing else on this earth.
So when I see that cute newborn attracting so much attention, I am instantly drawn to it and am suddenly filled with a yearning to feel that tiny, weightless being in my arms again. To have that absolute bond without the taint of them gaining a sense of self and the inevitable behaviour issues that come with it.
It hits me like a freight train. I must be broody!
I have two kids, my eldest is six and my youngest is two.
That’s right. Two. Take cover!
Oh the terrible twos. They didn’t seem so bad with my first. He was strong-willed, he still is, but his tantrums were short-lived and the worst seemed to come in bouts of a couple of weeks at a time, maximum. He knows his own mind but ultimately he just wants to please me, happiest when he has my undivided attention and I’m laughing at one of his silly stories or admiring his latest dinosaur impression.
My daughter however…bloody hell. There is determined and then there is her. She knows what she wants and boy does she go for it. She runs rings round her older brother and her strops are becoming legendary, earning her the nickname ‘Tiny Temper’. She is going to grow up into an incredibly strong woman, I can feel it and it excites me, but in the meantime I need to be able to live with her as her mother. She is the most affectionate child I’ve ever known, wanting snuggles galore. ALL of the time…
It’s phases like this that make you wish you could alter time. To be able to fast-forward or rewind to a far calmer period, where you have the upper hand and your child is happy to go with the flow, as long as there is food and sleep involved. You love your kids unconditionally but boy do they know how to press your buttons. And press them they do. Over and over again until you have nothing left. I’m well aware this sounds dramatic but I feel like stamping my feet myself at times!
When these phases occur, mixed in with a few back molars cutting through just because you aren’t stressed out enough, the thought of adding to the brood seems unimaginable. But then you see a friend’s newborn at a child’s birthday party and you spend an hour or so gazing blissfully at them and you forget anything negative.
You forget the seemingly endless sleepless nights that accompany having a baby. The endless cycle of feeds and nappy changes. Speaking of nappy changes, the disgusting tar-like mess in the first few days, followed by the mustard. Oh god the mustard! You forget the way time seems to stand still, as you have absolutely no idea what day it is or whether or not you managed to eat lunch. You also forget the way you felt when you looked in the mirror and saw your post-baby body. You forget the inconvenience of naptimes and having to find a way to warm their bottle when you’re out. You forget so much but not the feeling you got when you held your baby in your arms for the first time, or when they only settled on you and that quick transition from screaming banshee to peaceful angel once you had scooped them up.
So the question is this, am I feeling broody?
Hell no! It’s hormones. It has to be. Hormones are making me melt at the sight of babies and they are painting a ridiculously rose-tinted view of those first couple of years.
I’m in my mid-thirties now, not exactly a spring chicken when it comes to child-bearing. The thought of going through pregnancy again and the inevitable third C-Section fills me with horror. My body wanted to give up after the last time, I can’t even begin to imagine how it would fare if there was another time. I’m pretty sure I’d need a better bra and probably some Bridget Jones pants for starters.
Then there is the fact that three children outnumber two adults. My husband and I can just about manage our two when we’re together but if a third strong-willed, cheeky little monster was added to the fold…well, I’d fear for our sanity.
People congratulate us all the time for having a boy and a girl, like we planned it, and neatly place us in the ‘we’re done pro-creating’ category. The stubborn part in me would love to have a third just to prove them all wrong, but there’s stubborn and then there’s just stupid. I love having one of each, I do. I get to experience raising both sexes and I can see the differences, I really can. But I don’t think I’m any more lucky than someone who has 2 boys, or 3 girls or 5 boys…ok, maybe I’m luckier than someone with 5 boys. Jeez!
So this isn’t the reason for me stopping at 2. I just don’t want to start again. I don’t want to be pregnant, I don’t want to have another C-Section and I really don’t want to go through the trauma of setting sleep routines. I am happy with how my life is going right now, how our family is bonding and growing up together. The kids get on well, so why rock the boat? We are a strong foursome and I love it.
So no, I’m not feeling broody. I know that now. It’s just damn hormones. So don’t expect to hear the patter of tiny feet any time soon and do expect to see me smiling stupidly at newborns, because after all, they are just too cute.