Every night for the past five and a bit years, I have checked on James before going to bed, to make sure he is still breathing. Every night I feel the usual relief, give him a kiss and off I go. Then I check on Anna (still in our room). Once again I feel relief when I see her chest rising and falling but then something else happens. I feel a little thrill of excitement and then I get giddy. Sometimes I giggle, sometimes I jump up and down. Every night I get this rush of…..I’m not sure what – happiness? joy? innocence? She is still here, yes, there is definitely a beautiful, breathing, live baby in my room. We did it!!! Seven months on and I still get a buzz every time I think of that.
She is chatting (mama (this was her first word, at five months), dada, baba, anna, nana (technically the same word as anna)), sitting, not rolling or crawling, obsessed with remote controls, smiling and laughing almost all the time (the only time she complains is when there is a remote control out of reach) and generally behaving very well indeed. She doesn’t sleep through the night (wakes 2 or 3 times for a breastfeed) but she does eat everything she can get her hands on (brussel sprouts, yum yum!). I am used to the painful process of mealtime with a fussy eater so am overjoyed to have a food-compliant baby.
I’m not going to lie (I was going to but decided not to!), I do think constantly about trying again. I think about how far I could go, how much I could put my family through and to what extent it would be worth it. I also think about the fact that I probably won’t have another child and I think I could come to accept that. Not when I hear pregnancy announcements obviously – I still get in a strop about those and probably always will! But they belong to other people’s hopes and dreams. I have mine already.
As for me, I am a normal person now. Really. I look forward to social events, meeting friends, making plans, hanging out, going shopping, eating out, staying in. I’m cleaning up and I’m moving on, going straight and choosing life. I’m going to be just like you: the job, the family, the fucking big television, the washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electrical tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisurewear, luggage, three-piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing the gutters, getting by, looking ahead, to the day you die.