The Second

I want to have another child. 

For so long I’ve wanted to write those words. This post has been an internal struggle for months– maybe even a year now– but each time I start to fill up another blank page, I find myself pressing ‘delete.’ I am forcing myself to keep going this time, if only to be rid of this feeling that these words are trapped inside me and I’m the only one who knows the pain they cause.

the-missing-piece-2-1162255-1280x960
For most couples, having a second child is an expected part of life. But, when your first child was the miracle, it seems as though you’re not allowed to ask for another. Only if the first came easily is it acceptable to hurt over the absence of a second. But long before Ross was born I ached over this child too. All along I have carried the hope of having another, each day it weighs down my thoughts, but I never feel the freedom to express it. I know what the general reaction will be because I’ve already started to receive it– that I am being ungrateful, maybe even selfish. That I should consider my family already complete. That I should just accept this additional loss as the fate of my own infertility and move on. That I am asking too much.

Over the last 18 months, I have carefully packed away each outgrown baby item, knowing that no child of mine is likely to use them again, yet still praying with everything in me that I am somehow wrong. The odds are stacked so highly against us, but I can’t bring myself to let go of this last tiny ember of hope. I can’t imagine selling or giving anything away, so the baby stuff piles up in storage instead, untouched and gathering dust.

As Ross continues to grow, strangers seem to feel more entitled in asking when we are having a second child. The first time it happened Ross was barely 4-months-old and not even sitting up on his own yet. Now that he’s an active toddler we are being questioned with increasing frequency, and each time it hits me like a very familiar punch to the stomach. “You have to give him a little brother or sister. You just have to give him a sibling!” insisted a woman at the baggage check-in no less than three times as we traveled home from Thanksgiving. “And he’ll become spoiled without one anyway, you know,” she added with a smile. We get questions often enough now that I know there is never an easy answer, but the few times I’ve dared to be honest I am generally encouraged to “just adopt” (we can’t) before finally receiving the unsolicited advice that I should just be happy with one. Any response other than a fake smile makes everyone uncomfortable, and so again, I remain silent.

For the record, I am happy. Ross has taught me how to enjoy life again, something that once seemed like such an impossibility. He has shown me the beauty in a million little things, and I love seeing the world fresh through his eyes. Wanting another child doesn’t take away how grateful I am for him. This is a pain that is completely separate; it involves the piece that is still missing from our lives and our family, not the piece we were able to find. I know that there is meant to be another child and my fear is that I will never know that person. After all, who would be missing from your family if there was only ever one child?

Yet, even in the best of circumstances, I am always aware that there is still only one road left for us to travel– and the cost is exorbitant, the risks high. Frankly, I was far more naive when we started the surrogacy process for Ross in June 2014 than I am now, and it terrifies me to know what could be ahead of us. Having been down this road before means nothing in terms of what we can expect; each time is so different. And even if we had the ability to begin tomorrow, the soonest we’d be able to have a child is at least two years away. Two years of invasive testing, endless appointments, expensive lawyers, confusing contracts, and the pain of knowing that we are missing out on experiences we can never get back.

Again, we find ourselves at a strange standstill as we watch other families who had babies around the time Ross was born already expecting another or having welcomed a younger sibling. Everyone else seems to be making plans or feels content in knowing their family is complete. In contrast, we can do nothing. In place of options and choices, we are staring at a dead end.

I wish we had wanted to stop at one; it would be so much easier. We’d be done, I’d have surgery to get rid of it all, and I could finally move on from this phase of my life that so often revolves around my reproductive organs. It has been so many years that I don’t even remember what it was like not to think about my fertility, and I am tired of fighting for it.

But it’s that tiny —what if?— that haunts me.

familypic

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “The Second

  1. Praying for and with you as you work through the feelings that are real.
    May He who knows the plans He has for you open or close doors.
    Sending love and a big hug,

    Like

  2. Long time no chat!! Right there with you, fighting every urge to want another baby, telling myself that I’m ok with one as we never thought we’d have her. But. Deep down, had I a choice, were I able to *just* pop out another, of course I would be already pregnant by now. UGH.
    Of course feel free to say no but can I ask why you can’t look at adoption? I only really ask as that’s an avenue we’re now thinking of looking into…

    Like

    1. Hello! I’ve actually been thinking of you guys recently. Can you believe we are well on our way to having two-year-olds? It seems so surreal. And yeah, I have done the same with trying to convince myself, but the truth is that I’d actually love more than just a second child, I want a third too. 😞 We’ve always wanted a bigger family.

      In answer to your question, we actually pursued the adoption route a few years ago after not being able to find a family member/friend willing and able to carry but before we thought we’d have the ability to go through an agency, mostly because of the cost of surrogacy in the US when you need help being matched with someone. It was pretty short-lived though because we found out that my complicated health issues and history mean that we are not good candidates for agencies placing children. We would be interested in adoption but it would essentially need to be done privately, with someone basically offering us a child, and although that did come up as an option briefly in the last year, it ultimately fell through. At this point, it would probably be pretty unlikely to come together at all.

      I know before your SIL offered you were going through an agency over there… is that something you’d still consider? Of course, I know it would still be an extremely tough road, but I just wondered how you felt about it now that you’ve been through the surrogacy process. We could cut the cost down significantly by finding our own carrier (the agency was more expensive than anything else in the ENTIRE process!! 😳), but it would basically mean searching the internet for someone at this point and although some people have had great experiences that way, I am still terrified of everything that could go wrong. Surrogacy is already risky enough. Besides matching, what do the agencies in the U.K. do during the process? I’m assuming the surros are already screened by the time you’d meet them?

      Can I also just say how nice it is to talk to someone who gets it? I feel so alone, even in the infertility world, because it is so different to have to get a third person involved in having a child.

      I hope you and not-so-little J are doing well and enjoying this summer. ❤️

      Like

  3. Your writing is always so heartbreakingly honest. It hurts to read, but in a beautiful “I can’t stop” way. I can’t personally relate to fertility struggles, as I’ve only carried one child of my own + two surrogates. I didn’t try for another of my own. I can relate to some of the frustration of EVERYONE thinking they have a right to voice an opinion about your family size. My daughter is 11 and I would be rich if I had a dollar for every comment, many of them judgemental and harsh, on how she shouldn’t be an only child. What right does society have to decide that? How do they know I didn’t try for years unsuccessfully? Ugh. People should mind their own business or only comment how cute your baby is and how fabulous you look. 💙

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s