I honestly, cross my heart, swear that I do not want any more babies, ever. Well at least not until grandkids and the benefit of them is that I get to skip the whole pregnancy, labour, birth and sleepless nights shenanigins. But when I stumble across pictures of my newborn sons I still feel a faint tug of the heartstrings when I realise I will never have another baby of my own.
I was searching for an email address today and found an old picture message I had sent just after the twins were born. It's a fuzzy snap of my babies, swaddled in their hospital blankets sleeping nose-to-nose in their see-through plastic crib. At 15-months it's a long time since those boys could sleep in a tiny crib, but seeing this picture took me right back to those otherworldly days spent in the cocoon of a hospital room, schedule dictated by feeding, check ups and gradually getting to know my two new sons.
After each birth their was a period spent in the bubble of new motherhood. Naturally it was more marked, and longer, with my first boy. The sheer horror of the birth followed by a painful adjustment to caring for my tiny boy kept me swaddled from reality for months, rather than days or weeks. My routine was sharpened by anxiety that I was getting things right, worrying that he was feeding enough, and why was he sleeping so little. My whole world shrank to a tight grip around my precious baby.
Of course things settle down, faster and faster the more children you have, but I still have a strange nostalgia for that post traumatic after birth period. When you are divorced from normality by the profundity of what has happened to you. When you are swaddled into a hospital routine yourself, and horrible as this might be, it also has a unique fascination. Nothing in your life has been or will be like it again. Any more trips to hospital are likely to be entirely of a negative nature, with no sprinkling of joy to give them that edge of ecstatic hysteria. I will never trail out of a hospital dragging foil helium balloons and a car seat filled with the rest of my life.
I wouldn't want to relive those day and I never want to deal with the physical and emotional demands of a newborn baby again, but those memories are etched, flashbulb bright, on my mind, and staring at that grainy, mobile phone snap of my boys, takes me right back beneath the blankets of my hospital bed, tiny boys draped delicately in my arms, like a crisp new page opening on a new chapter in my life.