The Baby Explosion

Do you ever feel like you’re in the middle of a baby explosion? Like every time you turn on your computer there’s another pregnancy or birth announcement from a friend?

It’s a warm, cosy, cockle-warming place to be. There is nothing more lovely than when people you love and care about have good news to share.

I have to enforce strict limits on myself when it comes to gift giving for newborns. Those teeny tiny little clothes are a little too adorable, and I could easily spend my entire monthly budget in Jojo Maman Bebe. But I also love passing on clothes and blankets that were DorkySon’s when he was wee. Just before we moved house we gave his old Moses Basket to an old university friend who was pregnant, and every time I see photos of the gorgeous baby girl who now sleeps in it, it makes me smile. You sort of hope that in passing on a pre-lived-in item; you pass on a little motherly love and reassurance too.

There is a lot left unsaid between mothers. A lot of unspoken respect. Gosh yes, we all judge each other. We think everyone else is doing it all wrong. But we also share something fairly profound. There is a bond. We have grown a baby inside us, we have given birth, we have paced the room at 3am wondering what to do with the tiny crying thing…

The new mums I know – pale, exhausted, shell-shocked – have all asked, ‘Why does no-one tell you how hard it’s going to be?’ Well, it’s because you can’t really explain how hard it might be to begin with. Nothing is as life shattering and as world changing as the birth of your first child. It’s indescribable in a million good ways, and indescribable in one or two not-so-good ways too.

The pregnant friends, very sensibly, aren’t thinking that far ahead yet. They’re focusing on eating the right things, exercising the right way, scans, birth plans, vitamin supplements, choosing the right pram, choosing the right name… just as they should be.

I was the first person in all my various social circles to settle down and start a family, and although I now have lots of new friends who I’ve met through being a parent, I’ll confess that a little bit of me is thrilled that I’m now being joined in Mumness by some of the old crew too. I’m trying hard to be there and be supportive when they have questions, but not send any advice in their direction when it isn’t asked for. There are more than enough other people out there being pushy.

There’s only problem with the baby explosion. It’s making me a bit, erm, broody.

I thought I’d got over that. I love having a toddler. I love living with someone who makes me laugh, who sleeps for 10 hours at a time, and who can tell me when he’s hungry or he needs a pee. I love that we read proper books together now instead of just cloth ones with squiggly lines in, and that he uses phrases like ‘For goodness’ sake Mummy’ instead of just grunting and snorting and bawling at me. DorkySon is now big enough that he is a mostly functioning person, but he’s also still small enough to be cute. It’s kind of perfect. It’s certainly a lot more fun than I found the first nine months or so of motherhood.

But then I look at all those gorgeous friends of mine and their perfect bumps. I see their photos of smushy-faced teeny tiny newborns. I listen to them getting all giddy about their baby’s first smile or first giggle. I crack up laughing when I’m out for lunch with them and a spoonful of pureed blueberry goes flying over my head. Does all that make the sleepless nights and the wrecked body and giving up stinky cheese and wine for nine months worth it again?

I ask myself that. DorkyDad and I ask ourselves that. And we don’t know.

We just don’t know.

10 responses

  1. I totally know how you feel. I have a fair few friends who have had/are expecting their first baby this year and I can’t help but feel broody, despite already having two of my own

    • I wouldn’t say anything so presumptive, but I know that I’m feeling what DorkyMum’s feeling, and I’m certainly going to have another one/be pregnant before my 34th Birthday (That’s Oct 2013, calendar fans!). I have to do a few things (finish Dissertation, Get Job) before then, but my goodness I hadn’t expected the longing for another baby to be so strong. I don’t think I longed for PFB this much, and he’s 20 months now and every inch a darling. But I want him to have a sibling, and gosh that want is so strong at the moment!

      I have very strong views on More Than One Child. People are quick to tell you it’s selfish, the child doesn’t get enough attention, what about the planet, etc. I say: When PFB is burying me (or his father), I don’t want him standing there alone. Stark, I know, and perhaps daft – maybe my two children will fall out and never, ever speak (though I’ll be knocking some heads together, if that’s the case), but it’s a powerful motivator. I’m the yongest of three and close to my older brother and sister, both from the rough-and-tumble childhood on the farm, and as a teenager, cadging lifts from my brother, getting into parties with my sister…. Now all three of us are parents I am not surprised that my siblings have got 3 kids each. We’re a big family who love big families, I suppose!

      As a child I never thought ‘only children’ were lonely, and I envied them their un-invaded rooms, adoring, unflustered parents, NEW CLOTHES FOR THEM!, and free access to television/bikes/books that an older/other sibling wasn’t hogging. I thought they were mature and cool and generally awesome. But now… now I know a few ‘only children’ in their 30s, colleagues and friends, who are struggling with their own parents’ slide into dementia and frailty, who haven’t found a life partner and are shouldering an enormous burden on their own, and I think: yikes. I don’t want PFB to experience that. Plus, of course, there’s the extreme example of a friend who’s the only child of only children, and who regularly describes ‘cousin-envy’ at Christmas and Easter. I think PFB is lucky in his army of Aunties, Uncles and Cousins, and I hope they are the friendly supportive gang that mine have been. And I’m going to add one more to the mix – and soon, before I lose my nerve and decide that (1) Pregnancy isn’t that fun and (2) I love sleeping through the night uninterrupted!

  2. Mr G and I were just looking through baby pictures of Blake last night, and commenting on how fast it all went – much faster than the first time around when we fretted about every stage.
    Because we enjoyed him. We felt we (mostly) knew what we were doing, and we were much more relaxed. Plus Brodie has adored him from the moment he was born.
    It was hard work in the early days for me – with just 2 and a half years between my boys. If there’s a bigger gap then at least DorkySon will be in nursery/school much of the time, giving you space with a new baby.
    Babies are always worth the trouble – if it’s what you want. You and DorkyDad. Not anyone else telling you that you should have another baby.
    Donna x

  3. All I’m going to say is that this baby I’m having will be wanting another playmate in the local area…😉

    What ever you two choose to do – good luck! x

  4. Definitely a baby explosion going on around about me at the moment too, with 5 or 6 friends and acquaintances all producing offspring! it took me til my LO was 3 for me to decide I wanted to do it again… but then the one time you need a man, he decides to up and leave. So that kinda took the decision out of my hands!

  5. Pingback: How do you deal with Big Questions from your children? | dorkymum

  6. Pingback: The Baby Explosion | altdotlife: Build your own village

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