Moments after my second baby was born, still high on a powerful cocktail of endorphins and oxytocin. Elation and love from the birth I so wanted, at home surrounded by familiarity and family.

 

When can I do this again?

 

Not voiced though (only the crazed sounds of the hormones talking)

 

The smell of his head. I thought this was a myth, that a tiny baby's head has a particular smell. Until I missed the smell of a newborn head.

 

With my first baby, I smiled at the madness of mums of older babies, older children. They looked upon my tiny bundle, cosied up in my arms, wrapped tightly to my chest.

 

"Oh my ovaries"

 

"Oh I shouldn't hold him.. I'll want one".

 

Crazies.

 

Newborns, I thought then.. were wrinkly-old men-babies. Newborns were sleepless nights and spit-ups and where did my old life go? Surely, nobody really craved that particular chaos, the extreme sleep deprivation of those early days?

 

When I thought of becoming a mother for the second time, it wasn't that I wanted another newborn. It wasn't until we emerged from the haze of the first 18 months of the first baby that I could even think about it. Only then could I begin to imagine another boy, another child in our life. our family.

 

Skip forward to baby number 2.

 

Nine months after his birth, and at least once every week since his birth, I fantasise about another pregnancy, another baby.

 

A birth junkie.

 

But here's the thing. The practical side. Two kids are perfect. Two kids take up enough time, enough bedrooms, enough of my energy, steal enough of my sleep.

 

When would I ever get to do anything if there was a third?

 

Here's the thing. I turn 40 this year. 40 is too old for another kid. Except it's not, the midwife tells me sitting on the end of my bed, her 2-day postpartum lecture on birth control. I wouldn't have said there was a need for this lecture but who knows?

 

Three kids and you need to upgrade your car, your game. When would you ever sleep, get any work done? Does number 3 multiply the guilt or dilute it?

 

"Would you go again? Maybe try for a girl?"

 

I'd love to go again (say the hormones) but it's not about wanting a girl child. The hormones don't really care about the product of the process. Just go for it they say. You know you want to. Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

 

Shut up wicked hormones. Where are you going to be when I'm up at 2 am and 3 am and 5 am with a teething baby?

 

So I say " Oh I think two is busy enough"

 

My baby will soon be a boy, tomorrow walking and be talking and the next day talking back and walking out. I will soon be old, but my baby is undisputable evidence of my youth.

 

I admire pregnant bellies and remember mine fondly (conveniently forgetting about the pressure on the bladder and the morning sickness and the tiredness). I tell my mother I'd love to experience labour again and she (mother of 7 children) looks at me sceptically.

 

Crazy daughter.

 

Yup. It's the hormones mother. Mother hormones. Mother nature.

I'm a mum of two small boys and I write to make sense of this thing called motherhood. Former world traveller, in recent years I divide my time between the beaches, forests and hills of the Northwest and the cafes of Dublin 7.

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