I have one child, who is 7. He's an amazing, busy boy and I am finally adjusting to parenting and still being me, not having to be a cookie cutter mama who wears sensible clothes and doesn't swear. I'm not saying I'm a badass, but I like fashion, philosophy, relationships. I like me today. I'm happy with my life.
The second child thing.....well, there was a fleeting thought from both of us, usually at different times, and not strong enough to do anything about it. So, I thought the factory must be closed, the shop is shut....the assembly line produced one boy and said "that's it!". I made my peace with it, and also made an appointment to have my tubes tied.
That appointment was on Monday, but I'm not going through with it. I'm not, because at the eleventh hour, at the last possible moment, a teeny miracle has occurred inside of me and I'm somehow pregnant at 37. Not something I envisaged.
I was shocked but thrilled, in a state of disbelief. Over Christmas and New Year, the reality has sunk in and I've figured out I'm scared. Why? Well, not long after I had Alex, a double decker bus of Post Natal Depression drove through my life and the lives of all of those around me. I wanted to hard to do it right, that I sucked all the joy and life out of being a parent. I was terrified of something happening to him. And that fear took on a life of its own, mainly because I wouldn't, or couldn't, admit what I was going through. I became severely depressed. I suffered what is known as a nervous breakdown. It's not as much fun as it sounds. It involves hospital stays, suicide attempts, overdoses, ECT (shock therapy), multiple medication changes, and intense strain on the lives of those around me as they helped me pick up the pieces of my shattered psyche.
I finished my last hospital stay when Alex was 9 months old, and started trying to pretend to be his mother. I felt suicidal and desperate each day, for most of the day, and had to learn how to fake it til I made it. And eventually I made it, the fog cleared, I found a great psychiatrist and started repairing myself.
And I was pretty happy with the job that God and I had done, until my biggest fear loomed large. A baby. A pregnancy. The fear. For a long time I tried to deny that I was afraid of this baby. I told everyone "It'll be different this time - I'm older and more together. It won't happen again".
But I'm still a little afraid. And do you know what helps? Admitting that I'm afraid. That's something that I never did the first time around. I said "I'm fine" for so long, until I wasn't fine. My fears and feelings only have power over me if I keep them secret. They say in twelve step programs that you're only as sick as the secrets you keep, and that's so true.
The more I say "I'm afraid", the less power that fear has over me. The more I talk to professionals and put things in place to help me work through why I'm afraid, the better I feel. The more I see that my feelings are not facts and they can only hurt me if I let them.....the better and stronger I feel. Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today. Not denial. Denial is what makes me sick. Acceptance, makes me better.