Singular; adjective, just one person or thing.

‘Do you just have the one?’, an innocent enough question that never fails to make my eyes sting and my face do this thing where it feels like parts of it are paralysed while I compose myself to answer that, ‘Yes, I have just the one child’. I feel disappointed in myself that every time I respond I mirror the ‘just’, but know that for some reason dropping it would be just enough to give away the upset in my answer.

DSC01636one

Bean is by no means ‘just’; she is one, a complete, a whole. I have never heard anyone ask if someone has ‘Just the two?’.

My answer is normally followed by flippant questions along the lines of, ‘One enough to put you off then…?’, when the truth of it is I would give almost anything to have another child.

Having Bean was the event that took away my ability to have another one. I had no idea of the depth of the love I would feel for this little human until she arrived, and then two days later had the ability to feel that love for another baby taken away. I bled profusely and had my life saved by the removal of my uterus.

So it is not only the ‘just’ that makes my eyes sting almost five years later, it’s the inability to detach it from the trauma and loss that is the reason I have one child. It’s the fact the stinging in my eyes proceeds the image of my baby, fast asleep, being pushed out of the way in her cot as the crash team responded to me. It’s the way the increased frequency of my blinks to hold back the tears invariably coincides with an image of the bright theatre light directly above me that I looked at while totally convinced the strangers around me were the last people I would hear speak. I simultaneously wanted them to anaesthetise me, so they could try to make it all better, but also take me back to the people I loved so I didn’t feel alone. After a failed attempt to surgically stop the bleeding while preserving my uterus and copious amounts of blood being transfused through numerous lines, every part of my being thought my baby and I would not see each other again. Perhaps my prior working in the hospital I was now a patient in was not helping any potential for some blissful ignorance of the severity of the situation.

I had assumed that by now the various pre-cursers for the frozen stinging face would have stopped being associated with such vivid images, but it turns out some things do not appear to fade. I know now these images will cease as quickly as they flash before my eyes, but I do not think I can expect they will ever become more distant in my mind. They are just not like other memories; these ones seem like they are etched on the inside of my eyelids at times, stubbornly refusing to be blinked away.

They do however serve to remind me that I am very fortunate to be a part of my ‘just’ one’s life, and for that perhaps I should be grateful. I appreciate the new phases of her life in a way I would not be so acutely aware of as being the only time I will see them, and once I put the bittersweet in that aside I can see the positives.

My ‘just’ one often refers to her Grandmother’s Labrador as her brother, but maybe life is too short to worry about that. And maybe most dogs are better than most humans anyway.

Perhaps one day someone will carry a baby for me and perhaps I should be able to verbalise the truth of my feelings to people more easily so as to stop the stinging in its tracks, but until then I will focus on what there is to be grateful for.

Commonly used language may refer to Bean as ‘just’, but to me she is my complete.

img_0466-2

Advertisements

49 thoughts on “Singular; adjective, just one person or thing.

  1. This is brilliant Amy. I found it a really compelling read – your honesty is a little harrowing as you paint such a vivid picture of what must have been so terrifying. From all that you have shared about Bean, it is wholly apparent that she is could never be a ‘just’.

    People can be so thoughtless sometimes – and I have no idea why they need to comment about other people’s reproduction. I can assure you it works both ways – ‘Another one? That’s a bit greedy.’ I mean WTF all round!

    You’ve made me remember the lady who once exclaimed to my Uncle – ‘You’re so lucky to be able to park in a disabled spot!’ He smoothly replied, ‘Well if you too could lose a leg to cancer!’

    Keep writing. I look forward to reading more. xx

    Like

    1. Thanks Laura, I have previously been put off; feeling I should make things fit together and that is a tad daunting and most likely lengthy! I think this is perfect for me, short musings stemming from something discrete. Thanks for your kind words, I really appreciate them xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh, my heart was in my mouth reading this. Such an evocative piece of writing.

    I truly wish people would think before they speak. My toddler was crying in the street a few weeks ago – overtired. An elderly couple walked past and told me it was because she “wants a little brother or sister to play with.” I was still bleeding from a miscarriage – I had to feign a chuckle. They weren’t to know, of course. But I understand the pain that can be caused by an offhand comment from a stranger – it truly hurts.

    xx

    Like

  3. I am sorry to read your sad news. Like you say, people don’t mean any upset by some comments I am sure, but it doesn’t mean they are not sometimes upsetting (particularly if you are taken off guard by them). All the best for the future, Amy xx

    Like

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience, so beautifully put. I’d like to encourage you to answer people honestly, when they ask, if you can. Might a simple ‘yes unfortunately I lost my uterus shortly after she was born’ maybe? It’s the truth, they chose to ask. It might be hard to answer, but it would reduce the taboo around this kind of issue, and also make those thoughtless / nosey / judgy people think again next time.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Such an emotional post about the feelings you must regularly experience. People, in general, always feel the need to comment and make conversation but sometimes those comments are thoughtless and hurtful. My husband and I have four children – aged 20, 18, 16 and 9. They are all loved, were all planned and they all have the same parents. However, I am forever asked if the youngest was an accident or whether I am in a different relationship, when the truth is that we had a gap before trying for a fourth child and, having made the decision to go for it, I suffered two miscarriages before my youngest was conceived. For me, the miscarriages will always be in the back of my mind but I focus on the fact that my youngest wouldn’t have come into being if I hadn’t miscarried. The truth is, it is nobody’s business why there is a gap, but when asked, instead of answering with words to that effect, I feel the need to explain why there is the gap. I hope you can find a way to manage these comments so they don’t drive a dagger through you every time xx

    Like

    1. People clearly mean no harm when they ask questions, but it is hard to answer as you feel sometimes isn’t it? I am sorry to read of your reasons for the gap in your children’s ages, but it is nice to see the focus on the positive with your youngest 🙂 xx

      Like

  6. Thank you. My beautiful son is 9 now and I still have moments I could scream that its just him. It feels worse too to have disappointed him by being an ‘only’. And I didn’t even share your trauma. People are so thoughtless about the ‘just one’ question … my friends with 2 can’t believe anyone even asks, but it becomes so normal to fend off when you do only have one. Sorry, talking drivel but I wanted to thank you. Hang on in there. Bean is perfect – you got it right first time!

    Like

  7. After a devastating diagnosis of a second pregnancy we didn’t continue with it and due to age we have one beautiful amazing five year old son and no chance of another baby now. Many many ignorant thoughtless comments have come my way sadly over the last two years one that sticks in my mind is at a friends sons birthday party a mother of 5 told me when I said I had one son, ” I never understand when people have been thru it once why wouldn’t they have more children?! ” not possibly thinking some couples mite have been thru heartbreaking decisions and the pain for years afterwards smug parents of more than one are sometimes hard to bear.
    So I look at my amazing son who makes me laugh every day and will always be grateful for my one child.

    Like

  8. Such a beautifully written piece, and very brave. I hate the ‘just’ or the ‘only.’ I understand people don’t mean anything insensitive but I think unless you have been affected as you have, or there is a lot of uncertainty over being able to have another child, you don’t realise how such questions or comments can sting.

    anyway, it sounds very much like there is no ‘just’ at all about Bean x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautifully written article!
    People often don’t mean badly what they say, not always realising it can hurt people.
    I also have ,,just,, one. Second pregnancy sadly ended with a miscarriage, and massive anxiety stopping us from trying again.
    Wish you all the best xx

    Like

  10. Your post touched a nerve with me. Thank you for being brave enough to write it. I feel the pain of not being able to give me daughter a sibling everyday. I wonder when the pain will ever fade…will I have to live with it forever? My daughter is amazing, I’m so grateful for having the chance to be a Mum at all…but people’s judgments of having an only child have been the bane of my life. Having multiple children is easy for some & not for others. It’s as simple as that. I don’t judge others, so I wish people wouldn’t judge me.

    Like

  11. Such an honest post which has left me in tears… My daughter was prem due to my medical issues and is now 2.5 and the comments of ‘you need to have another now’ just makes feel sad – if only it was so straightforward, but she’s likely going to be my ‘only’ one. My bestest little pal.
    X

    Like

  12. I have one child too and she is our world. We went through 7 rounds of IVF and at the age of 42 I became a mummy. I dread meeting other mums who have young children. Is she your only one? Do you think you will have another. Those questions used to hurt a lot, my LO is growing up into a wonderful girl and I am so blessed to be her mum

    Best wishes

    Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Beautiful. People forget that life isn’t as straightforward for everyone as it is for them sometimes, I think. Our little girl may well be an only child (even though we would love more) and that breaks my heart, but to us she is “just” everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’d never realised before but people say “have you just got the one?” to me as well. I’ve never thought anything negative was meant by it.

    I can understand how deeply painful this must be and Ill definitely be mindful of never saying it like this to anyone else because you just don’t know.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Sending you and your daughter lots of love xx

    Like

  15. I am a Mummy to “just” one amazing, crazy, kind and funny little boy. I would love to have more children but I know if I did it would be at expense of my husband mental health, he suffers from depression and I know that the stress of another baby would put him over the edge 😦 It breaks my heart not being able to give my son little brother or sister but I know it would really wouldn’t be fair on my loving husband who is really great daddy.

    Like

  16. Lovely piece. I have one daughter who is still very young but I don’t know if I want another after having a stillborn baby before her. I spent the whole of my pregnancy never quite believing that she would be born and I am so thankful for her. I know the chances of something bad happening again are small but I wasn’t scared to try again the last time because it would only have been us that went through the pain, I couldn’t imagine going through something like that again with my daughter here now…who knows if we will but one child is a blessing and more than some people ever haven and are never “just” one child.

    Like

  17. Thank you for this post. I’m also slowly coming to terms with having ‘just’ one. I was diagnosed with breast cancer when my daughter was two and all the treatment I had to have has put paid to another baby. Sometimes i’m fine with it, sometimes I’m not. I feel very lucky to still be here tho.

    Like

  18. I have one beautiful 9 year old daughter. We had her late, after many years trying, and a bit of a traumatic birth (although nothing as dramatic as yours). I have lost count of the thoughtless things said. One lady even said I was cruel to have ‘just one’ child … Stunningly rude and unkind. Even today the lady at the beauty counter asked if I just had the one! It just made me smile today. I used to worry about E not having siblings and there was a phase where she asked if she could but can honestly say that now she doesn’t and we couldn’t be happier. She has lots of friends and activities , she is so friendly to everyone and particularly children she doesn’t know (on holidays etc.) confident, kind. We also know quite a lot of only children and they are also similar. It’s what you do with them that counts, your attitude as well, you can do a whole lot more with one child and they can still have very special close times with cousins, god children and friends children. We have pets too which she loves. Anyway, if I could give one piece of advice it would be to not waste a moment feeling sad about having one or wishing you could have more , you will miss out/cloud that precious time with your child. Xx

    Like

    1. Thank you for your beautiful words. You are not alone my friend. My little 5 year old boy my ‘just’ one and I can relate to the frustration of being asked the same questions as yourself.

      Complicated birth with him and a few miscarriages after means that he is going to be my little man, my little gorgeous man forever.

      I’m so grateful that I have him.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. You write with such tenderness and have described your experience so well. I’m so sorry you had such a traumatic birth. I’m slightly different. I also “just” have the one child for very different reasons and can absolutely relate to the annoyance over being asked. I’ve been called selfish because both my husband and son would like to add to our family but on balance, since I am likely to need a wheelchair if I fall pregnant again and possibly permanently, I felt not having another to be the right decision for us. It’s sad that society makes us feel as though we have to explain or justify our choices, particularly when, like yourself, one doesn’t actually have a choice.

    Like

    1. Thank you for your lovely comments about my writing. It is sad to read your reason for not having another child despite wanting to add to your family – these comments really are an eye opener to the many reasons for people having one child xx

      Like

  20. I’ve fallen upon your post by accident (or who knows maybe for a reason). I know exactly how you feel as I had the exact same experience 13 years ago. I too spent years (7 in total) having to explain that I had ‘just’ the one. You write about it so well and it brings the memories all back. BUT you mentioned the words maybe someone else will carry another child for me. This is how we have our second bean in our life now! An angel lady took away all our pain!! If I can help at all then please look me up. x

    Liked by 2 people

  21. What a beautiful post and it warms the heart to know we are not alone and just how many devoted loving mummies out there. I am an only child and this thoughtless unintentional intrusive attitude is something that, as the child, I’ve never been privy to, neither has my own mother ever touched on. I’ve grown up with quite a lot of friends who are also only children. As an adult looking back I had a wonderful childhood and perhaps on odd occasion asked or wanted a sibling but I honestly don’t ever recall feeling a sense of longing or that I was missing out, so please please be assured that in the eyes of your child, with the love they have in abundance and full dedication of your love and attention, they really won’t miss a thing. I have developed incredibly strong and lasting friendships and am a sociable and loving, loyal person so even in adulthood I actually wanted just one child and never ever thought for a second it was being selfish, in fact quite the opposite, that I could give this one precious child everything and more.
    It is of course very personal and very emotional but just wanted to try and offer some perspective from another angle.
    Sending love x

    Liked by 2 people

  22. What you have wrote is the exact discription what I went throug. I can completely relate to your post. Twice they said they will remove my womb because of the amount of blood I lost in 2 days, 7 litres in total thankfully they didn’t remove my womb. I am petrified having another baby the memories and trauma is still there.

    Like

  23. Your post really resonated with me, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I was lucky enough to have a little boy and then suffered from secondary infertility. In some ways, it is harder when you have one already, as friends were announcing their second, then third and sometimes fourth pregancies. Each time, it would hurt me, but they never knew how much. I ended up having IVF which was unsuccessful and two exploratory ops but they just said I was unlikely to conceive naturally. It contributed to the break up of my marriage. A few years later and with a new partner, a miracle happened and I fell pregnant. Then devastation – I suffered an eptopic pregnancy and had to have emergency surgery. It happened at the exact moment my SIL was giving birth to her second child. Weird. Anyway, I have never really talked to anyone about it and I am so appreciative that you have been brave enough to share your story. If I had a quid for every time someone has said to me “Oh is he your only one?” I would be rich by now. Sometimes I would say “Yes he is but not through choice” just to make people realise. My only boy is now 19 and he is wonderful. Your family is perfect just as it is.

    Like

  24. What a lovely, honest post. Thank you for sharing it! I hate when people assume they know what is going on or feel they have the right to comment on your family. X#stayclassymama

    Like

  25. You should never feel ashamed or disappointed that you “only” have 1 child I am grateful every day that we have a beautiful son who makes me laugh all the time. People who make thoughtless pointless comments should be called out for their ignorant questions why would you question someone about their reproductive system? It’s bizarre and certainly uncalled for. Xx

    Like

  26. Oh my darling, crying reading this. I hate the fact that others (despite innocently often asking) feel they have the right to question others’ choices and in many cases-those that didn’t choose how many children they have. I am so sorry for the trauma, sending you so much love xx

    Like

    1. Thank you for the love and, again, sorry to have made you cry. Much of the time it is totally innocent in terms of questions asked, but it has taken me a long time to develop some coping mechanisms to deal with caught-off-guard question asking. Thank you for taking the time to read my post, Amy x

      Like

  27. This is absolutely beautiful. I am so sorry for what you went through and I imagine it is an incredibly emotional thing to write about. There is no ‘just’ when you have a happy and healthy family – it’s complete, wonderful, joyous. I’m not sure why people are always so keen to ask about another baby – since my son has been 3 months old people are always asking when the next one is coming. What if I had fertility problems or just simply did not want another child? It’s not something that should be casually asked. #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I’m so sorry to hear about your very traumatic birth, I can only imagine what that must have felt like. I am always careful about speaking to other mums about their children and how many they have or how many they want to have. You never know what has happened or what someone has gone through. You sound like a very strong woman and you daughter is beautiful. Sometimes things are just meant to be, it sounds like you have an amazing family. : ) Thank you for your honesty and sharing with #StayClassyMama.

    Like

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