I was the eldest child of a big family and grew up with lots of pesky, younger brothers and sisters. I think it was this experience of younger children, particularly during my teenage years, that put me off having children of my own. When you’ve had younger siblings giggling behind the sofa when your boyfriend is round or making lots of noise while you are trying to revise for exams, you don’t tend to think of young children as endearing or desirable. The house always seemed full and chaotic and I didn’t always like that feeling.
In adulthood I firmly maintained that I wasn’t having any kids. Friends started to have children and I still wasn’t interested. I was quite happy with my decision. I got on well with the children of my friends, but I didn’t go out of my way to deliberately spend time with them. For many years I was content as I was and for a long time I saw no reason to change things.
I’m not sure what happened, maybe it was that biological clock that started ticking ever louder. Maybe I was curious to know what a child of mine would be like. Something changed in any case. So I decided that I would like to have a child, but I was already the wrong side of 35 (which wasn’t the best planning). Luckily my husband was amenable. He’d always said he was happy to have children and happy to not have children. So we got to work on baby-making. It took quite a while – about a year in total.
One early miscarriage and several months later, I had a very faint line on a pregnancy test. I couldn’t resist testing every day and gradually the line got a bit darker until it was in no doubt.
Happiness and relief were the dominant emotions. I had been worried that I’d left it too late and we’d just been referred for infertility tests. In fact, I’d had some blood tests done during the cycle when I got pregnant and my hormone levels had all been normal for that month at least. Maybe we just got lucky that month, maybe that was the only month it could have happened. We’d just been on holiday to Italy and I was feeling relaxed and happy. Who knows that might have helped.
It was very strange to announce my pregnancy, as I’d said for so long that I wouldn’t have any children. I think it came as a bit of a surprise to my families. My mother even asked me if I was happy about it. Looking back on things it would have been fun to do something more exciting in the way of a pregnancy announcement.
Now it’s difficult sometimes to imagine a time without my son. I certainly can’t imagine life without him. There’s no doubt in my mind that I made the right decision, even if I left it rather late to decide to be a mum.