Hi Guys! I’m Rosie, I am Mummy to 15 month old Ziggy, I live with my wife Rose and together we make YouTube videos – I love to put it all out there on the internet! People often ask me what we make videos about and I tell them 'everything' – there’s nothing I can’t talk about, so here I am tackling the topic of baby number two...
This question. We’re told not to ask it. Social media these days has been amazing at teaching people how to shut down nosy, intrusive questions, and informing how not to ask them in the first place. I remember reading several articles on ‘what not to say to someone who’s lost a baby’. I think the subject of children has become so tricky, because it’s tangled up in so many societal pressures, politics and, obviously, emotions. People have become educated, they understand that conceiving a child isn’t a given for everybody, or something that’s wanted by everybody, and no one can make assumptions.
And yet, it’s still such a valid and important question, when asked with no agenda. Naively, I always thought the debate was between having children at all, or deciding not to. I thought that once you took the plunge to have a child, that was that. And now, from the other side of the fence, sat writing with my 18 month old in nursery, I realise, not only is it not that simple, but deciding whether to have another one is possibly a harder decision than choosing to have our first.
"The subject of children has become tricky"
Statistically, more and more people are choosing to be child free, with a study in 2021 by the Pew Research Center stating that 44% of non parents ages 18-49 say it’s unlikely they’ll ever have children, and 73% millennials agreeing that the freedom that comes with not having children brings them happiness.
In England and Wales, The Guardian reported that more than half (50.1%) of women born in 1990 were without a child when they turned 30 in 2020, the first generation to do so, making this a record number of child free women at 30. Although, I was born in 1990, and I was also child free on my 30th birthday…but things quickly changed.
From a glance at the statistics and the world around me, it appears to me that we are finally beginning to make educated choices, and ignoring the expectations of others. (On the flip side, I also can’t ignore the cost of living crisis, multiple strikes over low living wages that could and probably are contributing to this.) Browsing through threads on online forums, people aren’t rushing into anything. I come from a large, messy, dysfunctional family, and to this I say: Good. I deeply, deeply respect how carefully it appears that people are weighing up this decision.
And here we are, weighing up our own; do we want another one?
"We both wanted to experience pregnancy and birth"
Our situation is slightly unique, in that I am one of two women, and we both wanted to experience pregnancy and birth. But I believe the general fears and longing for a second child are the same; how would our lives change? How would our child’s life change? Would we be more confident, better parents second time around? Or would we just be more stressed, stretched, and less able to be present with each child? Can we afford it? How can you predict and plan for a second when each child is an individual with their own unique set of challenges and needs?
Plus, for my wife Rose and I, this would not only be a completely new child but a completely new pregnancy and biological mother, everything will be different. The original plan was for us to share the same sperm donor and to each carry a child, but Rose experienced a miscarriage with her first pregnancy and after my pregnancy attempts (resulting in our son Ziggy) we are running out of sperm, meaning that Rose would probably need to have IVF this time around (we previously used IUI) and, potentially, may even need to change donors.
If she got pregnant, this time around would be contrasting, whereas as I got to chill on the sofa and rest during my morning sickness, she’d already be looking after a child. Our son Ziggy didn’t have a single illness until he started nursery at 1, baby number two would be exposed to all kinds of germs from their older brother. But we’d also already have a supply of baby clothes, a cot, toys, bottles and experience. We wouldn’t be googling every tiny thing, we’ve navigated the milestones before, so what if they come early or late?
"Although we can fret, we can also imagine how wonderful it would be"
And what if we stayed the same? Perhaps, in my situation, this isn’t my call, although I do believe these decisions should be made as a family. If Rose wants to carry a child, I would never allow my fears and anxieties to hold her back. Because, although we can sit here and worry and fret about the problems another child (or children!) can bring, we can also imagine how wonderful it might be. Introducing the new siblings, how the children might play together, laugh and hold hands with one another. The problem is, we can’t predict the future, no one knows how it’s going to be, what you’re going to get, how it might turn out.
I think all we can do is go with the facts and our guts, weigh it up and consider, and isn’t that exactly how we make all decisions in life, big and small?
My heart says this: I’m terrified! Scared of the change, scared for the lack of sleep, scared because I’ve experienced post partum depression and wouldn’t wish it on anyone, least of all my wife. But I’m excited, excited for the extra joy and love, for the new adventure, for the next round of first smiles and rolls and crawls and steps. I think life is what you make it, as long as you make it for you and your family, and for nobody else.
So, do we want another one? We do…we’re scared, but we do.