“When can we have a baby?”. “Please can we have a baby?” “Can we call the baby Tess?”. “Mummy’s got a baby in her tummy”. “When I’m a big brother ….”
Not a day goes by when my 5 year old doesn’t check to see if I’ve got a baby in my tummy. And to be fair, after over indulging throughout the Christmas period, I sometimes do look pregnant! My son tells everyone I’m having a baby!
Joking aside, it is very upsetting not to be able to give my son the one thing he wants more than anything in the world. And the words he used shortly after starting full time school last year still haunt me: “we are not a proper family”.
We are amongst the 1 in 4 single parent families living in the UK. Our little family unit is “PROPER”. We both have an overwhelming desire to increase our family but it is just not going to happen biologically. Will the longing to carry another baby ever leave me? The yearning to have the miracle of life growing inside of me once again is so strong.
“You are lucky you have a child”. This is very true but it does not stop me grieving for what I want. What I want for my son. Given the choice I would have a whole brood of children. And although I do have choices they are not compatible with childbearing.
Shortly before my Chemotherapy started for Breast Cancer, I attended a fertility appointment where I was given various options available for a single person like myself. Options I would never have thought about before. My referral came too late though and I began my life saving treatment plan without looking back.
In recent months I have been researching my particular hormone driven cancer and future pregnancy outcomes. I have spoken with my Oncology team and Fertility specialists. I am on Endocrine Therapy for the next couple of years but all teams are happy for me to have a medication break should I try to get pregnant. But it all comes down to this: I fought so hard to be alive for Rory. For my son to have his mummy. To see him through all of his incredible milestones. Pregnancy will have its risks and these risks I cannot take.
We are so lucky to have support from Single Parent groups and Single Parent friends where we ‘normalise’ our family type. Never again will my son have to think we are not a proper family. I may not be able to give my little boy a baby brother or sister, but what I can give him is a family unit full of love, respect, kindness and adventure!
Not having another child is a decision I have to make peace with. It is very difficult, but I know, one way or the other, I am destined to have a house full of children. We will have our dream one day.