• July 28, 2015 at 11:54 am #2108

    In a nutshell here is my story about how I became the happy mother of one. In my mid thirties I met a wonderful man and at 38 I was very lucky to conceive quickly and had a healthy and uneventful pregnancy. However, after 40 weeks and with no signs of spontaneously going into labour, my daughter was induced and finally emerged (with the help of a ventouse) after 36 hours. The placenta also needed attending to so I spent the next two hours in the operating theatre having it manually removed and being patched up after third degree tearing. I then spent three nights in hospital (where they kindly let me have a private room) before finally being allowing to return home. When I describe it, it sounds much more of an ordeal than it actually was. I didn’t suffer from any noticeable pain or discomfort (I was prescribed various painkillers), I was surrounded by supportive family (this was my parents’ first and so far only grandchild) and we had a calm baby who slept well.

    My husband is four years older than me and we felt so grateful to have a child at this point in our lives that we weren’t in any hurry to start trying again. I am three years older than my brother so there was no family habit of popping babies out in quick succession – and I definitely didn’t want to be dealing with two little ones in nappies. No thank you! Moreover, unlike a number of other mothers I knew, I never felt the need for a second child to ‘complete’ the family and only children are common in my family and my husband’s. We had our wonderful little family and felt very lucky. Our daughter was thriving, happy and, most importantly, healthy. I was doing some very interesting and stimulating voluntary work and my freelance work was beginning to pick up.

    However, once our daughter was about two we started trying for another child and several months later I miscarried at about 11 weeks. The foetus had stopped growing after about 7 weeks. I only experienced spotting, so needed to be admitted to hospital for a D & C. The following year almost to the day the same thing happened, requiring the same procedure (I don’t think I get particularly strong contractions). Second time around it felt particularly upsetting. What also became clear in the following months was that I was perimenopausal and had blood tests confirming this. So, a classic case of secondary infertility and hardly surprising given my age. As my GP very bluntly put it “Oh well, that’ll explain why your eggs aren’t very good.” Being presented with hard evidence that your body is physically ageing is deeply unpleasant.

    I briefly saw a fertility specialist who kindly suggested I was best off just letting nature take its course and seeing what happens unassisted. That was about four years ago and with fewer and fewer periods (last year I had three and bizarrely a couple more this year) my reproductive life is limping to a halt. I’m a youthful 48 and thankfully not a menopausal cliché – no need for HRT or any other medication.

    Being a mother of one keeps things simple on a practical level, although it is a very intense experience as your love and attention isn’t being shared between siblings. And perhaps I feel this more sharply having a daughter. What helps though is being able to work part time and generally on my own terms as a freelancer. I also find my work deeply satisfying and stimulating and my time management has never been better – because it has to be. What’s more, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more productive. As time goes by we can do so many fun and interesting things with our daughter as it’s just her – both practically and financially – and she probably has a lot more opportunities being an only child. Her teachers often make comments about her confidence, maturity, good behaviour and impressive vocabulary (and she’s the youngest in her year).

    At least people have stopped wondering if we’re going to have any more children, but it’s frustrating how society views one-child families. It’ll be great having this website helping to demonstrate just how normal we are and how our (only) children should ultimately benefit from this situation. (Just don’t get me started on ‘family’ tickets.)

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