When it comes to making decisions, I wouldn’t exactly say I’m good at it. Indecisive is definitely a word I would use to describe myself.
I’m always worried I’m going to make the wrong decision and that the decision I do make will have catastrophic repercussions. Perhaps my anxiety disorder plays a part with this, as I’m someone who will always play out the worst case scenario in my head, no matter the circumstance.
The decision around having another child is something that plays on my mind a lot. 6 months ago I was resolute in my decision I didn’t want to add to my family. An opinion that was shared by my other half, in fact he was probably even stauncher with this attitude than I was.
We considered permanent methods of contraception and discussed the best course of action for us. 9 months ago I was even contemplating sterilisation. That’s how confident I was that another child wouldn’t be on the agenda.
More recently the subject of a vasectomy was mooted. Research informed me it would perhaps be the less invasive route to undertake and my partner was more than happy to take one for the team as it were.
We agreed that after Christmas we’d head to our GP and get the ball rolling so to speak.
New Year soon rolls around and I’ve found myself doing a 360.
I’m only 30, I was 27 when I had my son. I’ve made no secret of the fact becoming a parent was the biggest challenge I’ve ever known, especially the first year. A diagnosis of Post Natal Depression and Anxiety followed a very tough year both emotionally and mentally. Things were so difficult the very mention of another child brought a raft of emotions I couldn’t handle.
To add complications to the matter I am a carrier of a genetic condition called Haemophilia. My maternal Grandfather was a sufferer, my Mum a carrier and I discovered aged 19 that I too was a carrier.
It was something that didn’t really have a huge effect on my life until I fell pregnant at 26. I’d long known about the Haemophilia since childhood as my Grandfather was in and out of hospital, always having blood transfusions and complications.
I felt well researched when I found out I was pregnant, of course the Haemophilia was a concern, knowing that if I was carrying a boy there was a 50/50 chance he would inherit Haemophilia, but I tried not to let it overshadow my pregnancy too much.
When I gave birth to my son in 2013, he was taken for testing when he was only hours old. The following day the results came back, he didn’t suffer from Haemophilia. The relief was palpable. Seeing him in his cot next to my bed in hospital with a huge bandage on his little hand, following his blood test, reminded me just how lucky we’d been.
I’ve previously written about being an only child. It never bothered me. I never knew any different. My Mum had me at 32, my Dad was 42. Age played a part in her decision to have no more children, however, the overriding reason was the Haemophilia. She felt she had ‘dodged a bullet’ having a girl (back then it was believed only males could suffer from Haemophilia) and didn’t want to push her luck any further. In actual fact, we have since discovered that females too can suffer from Haemophilia, however, it is very rare for this to occur.
So, taking the Haemophilia and the depression and anxiety into account, this goes some way to explain why we decided to stick with just the one child.
Just before Christmas one of my best friends had a beautiful baby girl. This shifted something for me. It unearthed a feeling of broodiness I hadn’t experienced for a few years.
I began to have very vivid dreams of having another baby. These dreams would play on my mind for days after.
Then yesterday I was in a coffee shop with my Mum, Grandmother and son. There was the cutest 16 month old little girl in there, she was such a happy little thing. Completely taken by my son, who being the attention seeker he is, did his utmost to make her laugh. Watching him interact with her made my heart swell a little bit.
I turned to my Mum and said, I think I want another baby.
She did an eye roll. She’s totally used to my ‘hair brain ideas’ as she would probably refer to them and knows how often I change my mind on things. But she indulged me and we struck up a conversation.
“I think you’re forgetting about the Haemophilia” she said. And I had.
“I thought Wes was getting a vasectomy?” she said. And he was.
However, all of a sudden something was telling me that a permanent contraception method felt too extreme. The thought of never experiencing having another baby made me feel a little sad.
I’ve often said I felt like I missed out a little on my son’s first year, I didn’t enjoy it as I was consumed with anxiety which ultimately led to depression. That saddens me deeply and as selfish as it may sound, I want to experience it again. I want the chance to properly enjoy it.
It played on my mind for the rest of the day, so much so when I got home that night I decided to broach the subject with my partner. He admitted, as he had before, that it’s the Haemophilia that deters him from wanting to expand our family. We were very lucky having a baby boy who didn’t have the condition, would luck strike twice?
We had a discussion and have come to the conclusion that any talk of vasectomies and sterilisation is very much on the backburner. We’re going to revisit the situation in a year or two and have ‘the conversation’ then. In the meantime, I’d be keen for us to go down the genetic counselling route. I’ve had an element of genetic counselling before and feel it would be beneficial for us both to try this method prior to making any definitive decisions regarding adding to our family.
I don’t want to reach 40 and regret not having another baby. I hate what if’s and maybe’s, life is too short for that.
As it stands, I feel quite positive about this development. Knowing that one day we may have another baby makes me feel quite excited. Of course, knowing me, things could change, however, as it stands it’s something I’d really like to explore. I’m always keen to remind myself there could be advances in medical science with regards to Haemophilia so who knows, in only a matter of years things could be very different. In more ways than one.