Saturday, 23 June 2007

Thoughts on a Maiden Aunt

I have no idea where "Aunt Flo" got her ridiculous name, in truth, it took me approximately 2 years on EB to work out what AF was an acronym for, and then at least a few months after that to try and get the connection between "Flo" and "period". And when I did get it I scrunched my face up with an expression like this trying to work out why on Earth people didn't just say "period" - like it is something so embarrassing it needs a twee euphemism.

I have decided however, that the reason it was given such a stupid name, is because someone out there like me has Great Aunts. You know, those sorts of Aunts that ask intrusive and unwanted questions, that leave you feeling disgruntled and bitter and frankly like lying down with a cool flannel and a Bex. But instead you have to grit your teeth, smile politely and pretend like nothing is the matter.

Great Aunt Flo is being particularly irritating this month. It's not helped by the horrible head cold, but it's more than that. I had forgotten the pointless grinding pelvic pain and the sensation of wanting to throw up on an emty stomach. Had also forgotten how expensive it is when she visits. Between the painkillers and the products and the extra washing it's a royal pain in the a*se (excuse the pun).

The other thing that is bothering me about the erstwhile return of the relative that no one wants, is that it is a symbol of return to fertility. A gigantic crimson flag that is reminding me that it is possible for me to get pregnant again. And quite frankly THAT is a terrifying prospect. 2 weeks ago when I felt the twinge-y crampy pains low down on the right, I said to DH "it feels like I'm ovulating", and being as good ol' Flo turned up 2 weeks later, it's a safe bet that I was right. Ovulating means that my body is producing ripe eggs again, all ready to be fertilised and implant into the squishy lining of my uterus.

Previously, the thought of that miraculous event has been something that has given me a little thrill of excitement. The "I may not want to get pregnant right now, but if it happens it happens... and won't it be exciting!!". Now the idea of those teensy eggs being released each month makes me want to hyperventilate. I do not want to get pregnant right now. I don't think I want to get pregnant again ever. Period. Full stop.

I am in a good place right now, we have our lovely, balanced little family, I am merely 18 months away from completing my degree and getting my First Real Job ™. I am feeling really good at the moment about the idea of not having any more children. I am so very excited about the idea of moving onto the next phase with the girls, and getting to enjoy them as little people without having to worry about the minutiae of life with a baby.

It's not all selfish. While a lot of the reasons are economic (how many holidays do you see that are 2 adults and 2 children??), and related to wanting to go on overseas holidays and buy a house in the near future etc. The most compelling reasons aren't anything to do with money.

The Elfling is developing the most amazing personality. I can have conversations with her, and read her stories and conspire with her to catch fairies in the forest. She is getting to the stage where we can (usually) reason with words and I'm watching her explode at the moment with the understanding of what letters are and what they mean. I can't wait to do this again with the Monkey, but what I'm looking forward to more is watching the two of them grow up as sisters.

With just 2 children birth order comes into play, but there is less competition for our attention. I know that love expands and grows to cover your children, a concept I never truly realised before I had the Monkey, but time is still finite. And for me, with the career I"ve chosen, I'm even more acutely aware of it. People point out Dr Fiona Wood to me all the time as someone who had 6 children, and while I'm very happy for her and sure her children have never gone without, I just don't think *I* can do it. I want to. I want to believe that I could have the 4 children I always wanted and make each and every one of them think that they were loved and wanted and had all the attention from us that they would wish - but I am very sure that I can't.

And while I used to get a bit of a pang about that, at the moment I'm fine. Excited for other people having children, a bit of whimsy when I see a beautiful pregnant woman or teensy tiny newborn sure. But for myself, the idea of hanging my uterus up seems like a bit of a relief somehow. I'm sure I will change my mind again, and will have an existential crisis about turning 26 later this year (26 means late twenties and therefore the slide down to THIRTY) and moan about the fact that I'm too young to be this old. But right now I'm happy. Well will be when Great Aunt Florence finally leaves anyway... (though now that I know she's back I will anxiously await her return every month or will kill our budget with HPTs)

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