Hey guys, Mamahood Expose continues with Katie from Hems For Her writing about her choice to have one child.  When I read this piece I was very moved, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.  Katie’s vulnerability and honesty is beautiful, and I appreciate her sharing this so much!
I slept through the most important text
and phone call of my best friend’s life. When I awoke from the midday nap, I
had a missed call, a voicemail, and a text message. The message was attached to
a cell phone snapshot of a positive pregnancy test, and before I could be happy
for her, I was relieved that it wasn’t me.
My entire life I planned to have two
kids, separated by just a couple of years, just like me and my sister. It was going
to be the perfect little nuclear family. When I started dating my high school
boyfriend (and now husband of eight years), he, very early in the relationship,
told me he had his first-born son’s name already selected. Sean Logan. It rolled nicely off the tongue. “Why Sean Logan?” I
asked already imagining what our child would look like. He was incredulous,
“Ummm, Sean after the best James Bond, Sean Connery, and Logan because that’s
Wolverine’s real name.” Ah, the mind of a 17-year-old male virgin.
Fast-forward ten years, and we begin to
plan in earnest for our family. I started tracking my cycle and taking my folic
acid, and then, on the very first try, it happened- I got pregnant! It wasn’t a
great pregnancy. I didn’t glow; I broke out (everywhere). I was nauseated all
the time. I had terribly heartburn and worse hemorrhoids. I once bought myself
a whole ice cream cake as a reward for finally being able to insert a hemorrhoidal
suppository where the sun don’t shine. I was riddled with anxiety- the kind that
affects both your sleep and your bowels. But I was happy. I was having a baby!
One down, one to go.

When we found out we were having a boy
(still Sean Logan after ten years), we excitedly decorated a nursery and begin
stocking up on dinosaur and sports-themed onesies. My labor, while drawn out
over 12 hours, was a positive experience and I was thrilled when I finally
pushed Sean out into the world we had prepared for him. But then something
strange happened. They had to make me hold him. Here he was perfect and
beautiful and all mine, and I didn’t even want to hold him. I know much has
been written about mother-infant bonding, but this was more than that. This was
terrifying. I had to take two tests to get my driver’s license as a teen, but
they were just going to let me take this tiny creature home. I didn’t even know
how to change a diaper and now I’m in charge of his well-being. Bad idea.

Nights were the worst. I was severely
sleep-deprived, nursing around the clock, and documenting every poop, pee and breastfeed
fastidiously in a notebook I carried around at all times. I was insane. I knew
all about post-partum depression. I was already on Zoloft. But I was not
functioning. If the poop wasn’t the creamy mustard-colored as indicated in What to Expect, I started looking up
what terrible diseases must by lurking within my beautiful infant. I even
packed up a dirty diaper in a Ziploc bag and rushed him to the pediatrician
once. She pulled my mother and husband aside and sweetly suggested they hide my
One night I convinced myself I had a
blood clot in my right leg and death was imminent. I cried the entire trip to
the emergency room convinced I would never return home to my son, but relieved
because he’d probably be better off without me. After hours in the ER, a full
physical and an ultrasound of my leg, my doctor diagnosed me with a leg cramp
and prescribed “sleep.” When I would try to sleep, I had aural hallucinations.
I would hear my baby crying in my dreams. I would bolt out of bed, heart
pounding, to check his breathing. Days when I was alone with him, he stayed in
a diaper and nothing more. I was too scared to pull a onesie over his big melon
head and floppy neck. 
He cried. And cried. And cried. For the
first three months it seemed like he never stopped crying. What was I doing
wrong? Back to the books (I found them hidden behind the television). He was
going to die I just knew it. One day I could do nothing to soothe him. I was
alone and it wasn’t even lunch time. I cried. Finally, desperate and feeling
like I might be losing my mind, I called my husband and told him, “I am putting
in my ear plugs and getting in the shower. Sean will be in his crib. I am
staying in the shower until you come home. I can’t take it anymore.” He rushed
I never wanted to hurt my child. I loved
him more than life itself. I only wanted him to be safe and healthy. I wanted
to stop feeling crazy. I wanted to run away and never come back because I knew
he would be better off without me. I increased my Zoloft. Time passed. He slept
longer at night. I slept longer. I went back to work. He went to daycare. I
begin to be able to enjoy being a mom and having a son. I still wanted to rush
him to the pediatrician anytime he presented with a fever or the sniffles, but
my husband was able to calm me down.

People began asking, “When are you going
to have the next one?”; “Don’t you want to give Sean a baby sister?”; “It’s
about time for another one, don’t you think?” I tried to brush the question off
with vague answers and knowing smiles, but deep down I already knew I was ever
going to have another child.  I had no
desire to have another child. One and I was done. I never ever ever wanted to
go through the hell that was a newborn baby again.
They said, “Oh, you’ll forget the pain.
You’ll forget the sleepless nights. Just wait till you hold someone else’s
baby, then those ovaries will start aching.” I don’t want to hold other
people’s babies. And I can promise you I will never forget the sleepless nights
and the insanity that consumed my life.
Within a year of Sean’s birth I wanted
my husband to have a vasectomy, but he gently refused- not so much out of penis
fear, but because he hoped I would change my mind. I waited and smiled
obligingly at infants that didn’t belong to me. I congratulated people with
they announced the “good news”. I tried to avoid telling them about my personal
experience since it was a little too real. Expectant mothers don’t want to hear
about how I pretty much lost my mind and have spent years begging my husband to
sever his vas deferens. They want to hear about how wonderful having a baby,
not about night terrors and crying in the shower. They want rainbows and
butterflies and I can’t give them that. So I choose to stay quiet and nod when
appropriate and smile when necessary.
Over the summer, I chose to have a
Mirena IUD inserted. This means I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant
until 2016. I will be 35 years old. Sean will be 9 years old. As I lay on the
table, my legs in stirrups, I thought to myself, “This is it. I will never have
another baby. I will never feel that flutter of life within my womb. I will
never labor for hours. Sean will never have a little brother of sister.” And I
felt just fine about it. I can always change my mind. The IUD could be taken
out in five minutes. I could start tracking my ovulation again. But I don’t
want to. Why is there something wrong with that?

I have been told I am selfish for not
wanting to have another child. I have been told it’s unfair to deny Sean a
sibling. I have been told only children are awful children. I have been told
the second one is easier than the first. I am still pestered all the time,
“Isn’t it about time you had another baby, Katie?”
Before I was scared to tell them the
truth. That having a child made me crazy (or crazier than I was before). That
the idea of a newborn in the house fills me with such dread I physically feel
sick. That I couldn’t emotionally handle another child. I didn’t want to tell
them these things because they judge and cluck their tongues at me like
something is wrong with me. For a long time, this made me feel like a terrible
mom or less of a woman.
Now I just tell them, “Nope! One and

Are you a Mama with  a story to tell?  
Send in your submission to joanna.haughton{at}hotmail{dot}com.