Why Sydney mum ‘wants to cry’ over daughter’s first birthday

My baby girl has just turned one and every time I think about it, I want to cry.

Don’t get me wrong, her first birthday was a great celebration, but it wasn’t without a hint of sadness.

Because it’s very likely that she is going to be our last baby. No more baby bump, no more newborn phase and no more tiny onesies.

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My daughter’s first birthday was a great celebration, but not without a hint of sadness. (Supplied)

It also means no more births, no more breastfeeding battles and no more waking ten times a night. But of course where I’m standing now, I have rose-coloured glasses about how the first twelve months have played out.

To celebrate the milestone, like many parents, I made a reel of our year together from her birth to her first birthday, but in reflecting on the year that’s just gone, both her father and I found ourselves tearing up.

Not because it’s been one of the hardest years we’ve had (which it has) and not because we feel so incredibly lucky to have another child, but because we can’t help but feel sad about what her birthday actually means.

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Her birthday was somewhat bittersweet, knowing she will likely be our last baby. (Supplied)

No more babies in our lives.

It’s a subtle feeling of mourning that creeps in, that reminds us we aren’t going to have more children.

We tell ourselves it makes sense on so many levels – financially, mentally, emotionally, physically (I practically hobbled to the finish line of my last pregnancy).

Yet it doesn’t make the decision not to have any more any easier, in fact the mental gymnastics my brain is having sometimes makes me question if we are making a mistake.

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I’ve been blessed with two gorgeous kids, so it’s hard to know whether or not to add another to the mix. (Supplied)

Both my fiancé and I have always wanted three kids – but after meeting a little later in life, we now feel that after having two, perhaps we’re pushing our luck to try for a third.

I also don’t know if our tired brains can do it all over again with two toddlers in tow next time.

But then again people say it’s far easier to go from two kids to three than it is going from one to two… but is it really?

And the vicious cycle of thoughts continues.

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Since becoming a mum-of-two there are few things that have made me question having any more children. (Supplied/@minimoments.byvictoria)

I think a big part of the mental back and forth is that since becoming a mum of two, there’s a few things I’ve learnt, that no-one tells you before having a second child. 

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1. While there’s a huge influx of love that comes with the new arrival, there’s also a huge influx of mum guilt, now my time has to be shared evenly between both kids. From what I’m told, this doesn’t really go away until their adults – and even then it still somewhat lingers.

2. It’s hard not to get FOMO of the one-on-one time my partner gets to spend with our first-born. I missed out on trips to the zoo, bus rides into the city and adventures at the beach while I took care of a screaming baby who struggled to breastfeed.

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Breastfeeding was one of the hardest parts of motherhood for me. (Supplied)

3. Which gets me to my next point – breastfeeding is a b—h  – it didn’t come easily to me or either of my children, who both had tongue ties. It was difficult, it was painful, it was anxiety-inducing and there was very little support to fix the problem. This is one of the reasons I don’t think I could have a third, I don’t think I could go through it a third time. 

4. It’s almost impossible not to compare the two kids, from how they look, to how they act and when they hit different milestones. Ironically, my son’s strengths are my daughter’s weaknesses and vice versa. While my son started crawling at just five months, my daughter is still commando crawling around our home. But while he excelled quicker physically, my daughter is much quicker with her communication and is an amazing sleeper and eater, which my son is not. And while I know I shouldn’t be comparing, it’s hard not to when the first child really sets the benchmark for the second.

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It’s hard not to compare them when they are constantly side by side. (Supplied)

5. Your attention will forever be divided, which explains the extreme tiredness. While I know that this is what parenting is, it doesn’t mean I can’t whinge about it once in a while. Keeping both kids out of trouble is a relentless job, one that I wouldn’t change for the world, but I can’t even begin to imagine how much harder it would be throwing another baby into the mix. 

So while I might be hanging up the baby boots for good, I am thankful every day that I have been lucky enough to have children in the first place. 

Because the constant cuddles, adoring looks, hand-squeezes and funny phrases that come out of their mouths make the long nights, sore boobs, birth scars and extra grey hairs all worth it.

And I just don’t know if I want to risk changing all that, for one more.