from the blog.

Next Time

“You should really have another one, a girl next time, he’s so pretty”

I smiled as I heard these words slip from my mother’s mouth as she rocked my son. He was only 2 months old. Still wrinkly and soft with that newborn smell and here we were, talking about next time.

Next time, it’s a phrase that terrifies me.

“Maybe next time you can do it un-medicated,” my best friend said when I expressed my sadness about not having the birth I planned.

“Next time you’ll know what to look for, “the doctor said after he revised O’s tongue tie, the simple procedure that saved our breastfeeding relationship.

“With two, you won’t be able to afford daycare, next time you can stay home from work.” This one came from my dad when I called him in tears on my way home from my first day back to work.

The common theme here is that next time will be better/easier or possible.  But what if there is no next time? What if this is the only shot we’ve got? I’m going to make the best of it.

I try not to dwell on next time too much. I live in the moment with my son. The son that took so long to show up. I watch him with wonder as he learns each little new skill, knowing that this might be the only “first” I’ll ever see. I bask in his giggles; melt under his gaze, my heart swells as he reaches for me. My husband jokes that he’ll still be in our room when he’s 13. I’ve commented that I’ll wean him when his first girlfriend asks me to. I can’t let it go, this might be my only chance and I’m holding on to every single piece of it.

Maybe there will be a next time. Maybe we’ll get lucky again and I’ll get to experience a whole new set of firsts. Maybe I’ll struggle less with feeling happy. Maybe I won’t need to be reassured #jinxesarentreal every week or more. Maybe I won’t have complications; maybe I’ll get the un-medicated birth I planned on. Maybe I’ll go to the classes this time, or finish a nursery or have a perfect latch right out of the chute. Maybe I won’t miss the first time my second one gets in a swimming pool. But that is a lot of maybes, isn’t it?

I’d be lying if I didn’t think about next time with fondness. But I try not to live there. I’m forever grateful that I have this time. Not everyone has this chance; I know that all too well.

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13 Comments

  1. I totally understand this. My twitter handle is Firstsarelasts as for so many years I felt the first were the lasts and almost certainly would remain that way. I do have my second now, he’s two weeks, and I’m sad theses firsts are going to be lasts, I’m lapping up every moment, night feeds and all! Xx

  2. I spent a lot of time at my family reunion this weekend telling people that we were lucky to have THIS ONE every time the topic of “the next one” came up.

    “But what if there is no next time? What if this is the only shot we’ve got? I’m going to make the best of it.” This is a huge source of anxiety for me. I feel so much pressure to get everything “right” since there’s a good chance we don’t have a next time. And by everything I mean everything from making the right decisions to embracing every moment to living in the now, and all that cliche stuff. It’s tough, for sure.

    1. I agree with you here! Not doing the “right” stuff scares me too. Like am I reading to him enough (no, because he grabs the books and tries to eat them so I give up), am I doing food the “right” way (according to some, no because I didn’t fully wait until 6 months). I’ve come to the conclusion there is no winning when it comes to any of this.

  3. Yes. Without the first who finally survived I would never have known the depth of love I now do. And without that knowledge I would never have had the courage to persevere and finally – after much sacrifice and loss – experience a next time. Even at 20 months I cried and cried to stop comfort nursing #1 to chase that next time so I hear you about not wanting to give up any of the precious here and now and your husband’s jokes about putting a stop to co-sleeping in the teen years. May you keep enjoying what you have and whatever lies ahead.

    1. Oh man, I don’t even want to think about weaning just to try.. it breaks my heart to think about! It’s a whirlwind of emotions isn’t it?

  4. I am pretty sure that I yelled #jinxesarentreal the loudest. Partly, I think it is just so unfair to put all of the blame on ourselves if something goes wrong after we even think something positive or embrace a glimmer of hope. But I totally get it. As someone that will definitely not have a next time – this made my heart ache – something so well written tends to touch the heart the most though. <3

  5. Love this! Yesterday I had a lady tell me how I can reuse cloth diapers for the next one. I doubt she caught onto the look on my face as we don’t know if we will get to have a next one. If only the world understood…

    1. I was “bragging” about selling all Oliver’s baby clothes the other day and someone said “you should hang on to those just in case”

      I wanted to respond, “Oh, we don’t like little dogs so no need” But it probably would have been taken wrong anyway! 😛

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