There are those who go about life with care and caution: considering all the options, weighing up the pros and cons, and making careful, rational decisions. So organised, considered and correct.
Like the main character, Macon, from Anne Tyler’s An Accidental Tourist, these folk plan out every inch of their existence, and usually even possess contingency plans and resources for all situations or occurrences that may arise.
Safe, measured, controlled.
For the record, I hated that book.
Others amongst us, by nature, tend to be more spontaneous. While they can be naïve and idealistic at times, they believe in taking risks in order to achieve goals, confident that whatever happens, they can handle it, one way or another.
There is a long term goal, but no set path to get there, and at times a sharp learning curve along the way.
This is me.
In 2013, at age 34, I had spent the last five years sharing my beloved children. I was sick to death of having to bid them farewell for half their lives, and of feeling like a part-time Mum. I dreaded them leaving every week, and literally counted the days until they returned. It is a feeling that I still have with my three older children even now. I miss them like crazy and feel like a huge part of me is missing when they aren’t with me. I have listened to friends describe the angst they feel at the prospect of even leaving their kids for something like school camp, or a sleepover at friends’. It is so far removed from the experience I have with shared parenting.
I craved another child, one that I never had to share with anyone.
My previous relationship had been terribly difficult and I had baulked at the prospect of bringing another child into what was, essentially, a complete mess. I couldn’t do it. Being one of four children myself, I loved the dynamic. I knew in my heart that I wasn’t finished having children, and I truly hated feeling constrained by fear and the judgement of others. I was getting older and had promised myself if I was having any more children, it would be before age 35, given the spike in the risk of genetic abnormalities in children conceived after this time.
Time was not my friend. I remember speaking to my mother on the phone about my feelings, and being stunned when she reiterated that she knew I had always wanted one more child. She hadn’t seemed shocked in the slightest that I was considering it.
Knowing full well that my years of fertility issues were likely to plague any real chance I had, I decided in a moment of weakness to ‘throw caution to the wind’ and to give it one ‘shot’. I made my appointment, and began the familiar process. As I left the Fertility Centre after having my IUI (intra-uterine insemination) procedure, I remember thinking I must be crazy to contemplate another child. I dismissed this feeling just as quickly however, knowing full well that the procedure had very little chance of working. I had spent ten years trying to fall pregnant using the far more successful in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and even then found falling pregnant difficult. One insemination using frozen sperm had a likelihood of less than ten per cent of working. Even less so because of my polycystic ovaries. It just wouldn’t happen.
Two days later, I felt those familiar feelings. I was pregnant.
I couldn’t believe it had worked. The reality of what lay ahead of me hit me immediately.
I sat on this knowledge for the next two weeks. There was not one doubt in my mind, so in contrast to every other cycle of treatment I had ever undergone, the two week wait afterwards was a breeze. I hadn’t truly entertained the prospect of the insemination working. I was in complete and utter denial. The reality was too frightening to dwell too much on, so I shut it out. I was at my sister’s place after a couple of weeks, when she convinced me to ‘face facts’ and do a pregnancy test. I did but I couldn’t look. My sister was wonderfully excited and congratulated me, while I simply burst into tears.
It was such a foreign feeling – to finally see the faint line I always prayed to see appear – only to feel so terrified and overwhelmed by it.
It was the judgement and having to justify my decision that I couldn’t wrap my head around. It took me until I was 20 weeks pregnant to share my news, other than with immediate family and close friends. If I hadn’t been ‘showing’ by then I am sure I would have waited longer. Happy as I was, I knew my sanity would be questioned by others. I had no ‘accident’ clause to hide behind: this was a deliberate decision.
I was going to be a single mother of four.
If anything, this made me all the more determined to succeed in giving my little darling a wonderful, happy life. I knew my little man was meant to be, and there is not a day that goes by that I regret my decision.
In fact, I consider it one of my best.
If you knew my Master C, you would too. He’s a four year old pocket rocket who is the most loving, empathetic little boy I know.
Photos credit: Karisma Photography