Apologies for the pun. I know it's absolutely dreadful, but I really struggle with witty, pithy, non-cheesy titles, so this is the tripe I end up with.
We have now arrived at the stage in which we are wondering whether we want to try for a sibling for P, or if I should just sew it all up and be happy with one. The Dude first broached this topic soon after P's first birthday, at which point my mind was so addled by depression, anxiety, and general malice toward children, that I kicked him in the crotch and punched his neck. The Dude, who at 36 is six years older than my fine, youthful self, started feeling his biological clock ticking before P was even born. He is convinced that if we wait too much longer to have a second child, his legs will fall off as he plays football with them, and his false teeth will slip out of his mouth when reading bedtime stories. I try not to mock his concerns, but I confess that I find they rank far below mine.
My primary worry was that I would have as much trouble adapting to a second child as I did the first. It is only in the past year that my unabashed love for P has grown exponentially, and I am terrified that it would take me two years to get to that point again with a second child. It's a horrible thing to admit, but due to what I assume were my own issues with depression in conjunction with something I can only compare to PTSD (obviously on a much smaller scale, but it's the closest approximation I can think of), I think it's really within this period that I've realised what P means to me.
I know that I have loved her since birth. Even though the first few months were the worst in my life, I knew I loved her even though I had trouble expressing it. I never felt the outpourings of boundless maternal love that other new mothers seemed to have, which is something I still feel guilty about. When I read of new mothers of babies, and even toddlers, getting pregnant again, I was not the least bit envious. Instead, I thought of how positively dreadful that situation would be for me. I had enough trouble coping with my one child.
I should add that none of this was related to P's behaviour. Though...spirited, she is the most marvellous, intelligent, and unintentionally hilarious child I could ever hope for. For whatever reason, I'm only now able to realise what that means to me. I love her more than I ever thought possible - to the point that I'm scared by the volume of adoration I have for her. It is immensely refreshing and liberating for me to finally acknowledge that I know I would do whatever was asked of me if it meant she would be happy. I could have said all of that before to superficially satisfy my own doubts, but it's only recently that I would know in my heart that I mean it.
Now instead of wondering if I am capable of being a mother again, I question whether I could cope with investing so much love for a second time. It's not a matter of thinking that I couldn't possibly love another child as much as I love P, but rather that my love for her is so all-consuming, so overwhelmingly maternal, that I don't know if I have the substance to multiply that by two. As is customary of me, my acknowledgment of my vast love for P manifests itself in anxiety. Worrying constantly about the health and wellbeing of two children? I'll need to find a host of GPs to prescribe all the medications that I would inevitably require.
I do know that my uterus is a fickle little madam, as I am now highly envious of pregnant women and new mothers. I went from not possibly wanting another child to suddenly having an incomprehensible desire to procreate. I always wondered if I would "just know" if/when the time was right, and it appears as if that cliche does actually apply.
However, don't run out and buy those Johnny Cash onesies just yet though kids. I've still got to see this anti-depressant thing out a bit more in order to be less crazy for any potential future children. The Dude is annoyed by this delay now that I'm finally keen to give it a go, but strangely enough I favour my sanity over the possible earlier arrival of a sibling for P. I also suspect that pregnancy will not be bestowed upon me with any rapidity.
So yes, this anti-maternal sort is getting all precious about babies. What insanity.