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Are You Happy, Mummy?

Noah has been asking me, “Are you happy, Mummy?” quite regularly, usually when he knows he has been naughty. He tries to turn on the charm, by giving me his best smile, before hugging me and saying, “I love you, mummy.” It’s so hard to stay angry with him, but I will tell him that I’m not happy, because he was naughty, and he promises to be a good boy.

Sometimes, he is playing and laughing with us, then suddenly stops to ask, “Are you happy, Mummy?” He beams with joy when I say that I’m happy, and I’ve come to realise that he is quite affected by my moods. That made me stop to think, “Am I happy?”

Since mid-January, I’ve been getting some regular “free time”, because Noah started N1. He’s usually with me 24/7, except when I ask my mum to help babysit him for a few hours every now and then, so both of us had to adjust to this new routine. He struggled initially, as did I, and many times, I wondered if I was doing the right thing by sending him to school. I missed having him with me, even though I got to have some me-time, and it honestly took me quite a while to get used to the idea of being alone for three hours every day.

I still feel weird not knowing what he does every single minute because I’m a control freak, but thankfully, Noah has been quite good at telling me what he does in school, which makes me very happy. Of course, he can’t quite differentiate between something that happened on that day itself, and something that occurred a week ago, so sometimes, I have to double-check with his teachers to get the full picture. I’m also very thankful that his teachers are so patient with me, often taking time out to have a short chat with me when I pick Noah up after school, and updating me on whatever issues he might have encountered in school.

I frequently toy with the idea of pulling him out of school, as I miss having the entire day to ourselves, and being able to bring him to the playground daily. Thankfully, he seems to be enjoying school now, so I just look forward to the holidays, when we get to spend a lot more time together. We’re also preparing to go for our next round of IVF, so it’s also good for me that Noah is in school for a few hours each day, so that I can get some rest too.

Deciding to go for another round of IVF wasn’t particularly easy, as I secretly harboured hopes of being able to conceive naturally. I don’t know why I allowed myself to hope that that was going to be possible, especially after the ordeal we went through to conceive Noah through IVF the first time round. Perhaps it was because everyone else around me was getting pregnant. Perhaps it was the stories of “a friend’s friend” who had the first kid via IVF and was able to conceive naturally the second (and sometimes third) time round. Perhaps.

I really wanted to be able to conceive naturally so that I could continue nursing Noah, but I recently realised that I was just postponing the inevitable, and stopped nursing Noah at 33 months, so that we could start on IVF again. I also really wanted God to answer our nightly prayers to give us another baby naturally, but when I came across my friend’s beautiful and timely post, I realised that we shouldn’t constrain God by asking for a “naturally conceived” baby. What difference does it make really, as long as we can have more children? The chances of a successful IVF procedure are about 30%. I dare you to say that Noah ISN’T a gift from God, because he is, especially after our four failed IUI attempts.

This desire to have more kids is something that weighs heavily on my mind, and I admit that it is something that makes me unhappy. I’m so very jealous of those who can conceive easily, even though I am fully aware that there are also many who are still struggling with infertility. I am often told to be “thankful that you (I) have one child”, but why does it make me feel as though I don’t have the right to want more children, just because we can’t conceive naturally? Are we lousier parents, just because we have to undergo fertility treatments? I’ve said this before, and I’m saying it again now. Nobody WANTS to go for IVF. We do it because we desperately want a child, to the extent that we are willing to put our bodies through multiple tests, injections, and other medical procedures, just for the privilege of being pregnant. This time round, I’ve had to undergo a sonohysterogram, and will be undergoing day surgery soon, to remove the endometrial polyps that were found as a result of the sonohysterogram. After that, barring further complications, our gynae will start us on the IVF cycle, which includes taking oral drugs, and goodness knows what else. Like I said, IVF isn’t something that people opt for on a whim.

We’re praying very hard that God will grant us with another successful round of IVF, because I don’t want the IVF procedures to interfere too much with my time with Noah. I don’t want him to feel neglected, or think that mummy doesn’t love him anymore because mummy wants another baby. After all, it won’t just be our lives that are affected, but his as well, and he is too young to fully understand what’s going on. I feel guilty that I have to take time to visit the doctor frequently during this process, instead of spending time with him, but I remind myself that I’m doing this for him too, because I want him to have at least one sibling.

There are days when Noah misbehaves so much that I question my sanity in going for IVF again, because I can’t even seem to manage one child. I get really angry when Noah refuses to eat his dinner properly, or ignores me when I ask him to do something. I snap at him, scold him, and put him in time-out, while he frowns at me, and tells ME to “go to the corner now”, as though I’m the one who has been naughty. Yet I’ve also realised that I do need to take some time to cool down during these moments, that the time-outs aren’t only for him, but also for me. He is quick to apologise when he knows that he’s in the wrong, and promises that he “will not do that again”, before asking, “Are you happy now?” It sounds sarcastic, but he’s honestly asking if I’m happy at that moment, because he truly wants me to be happy again.

So I guess the million dollar question now is, “Am I really happy?”

I cannot honestly say that I am 100% happy all the time, not with the thought of IVF and the possibility of failure looming like a huge cloud over me. I also get upset when Noah misbehaves, but I need to remember that he is only three years old, and lower my expectations of him. I try to pick my battles wisely, instead of insisting that he does every single thing my way, because he is his own person, and he should have an opinion of his own too. We have good and bad days, and I’m trying to focus on the good ones, so that I don’t drive myself crazy like when we were trying for Noah. It feels as though our lives are in limbo once again, but I pray that this is only temporary, and that things will go back to normal really soon.

I tell Noah frequently that “when Noah is happy, mummy is happy” and he loves repeating it to me, especially when he wants to know if I’m happy. He shyly tells me that he’s happy, and grins when I tell him that I’m happy because he’s happy. I love how he spontaneously puts his arms around my neck, and pulls me close to him for a tight hug. I love seeing his cheeky smile as he reaches for my face, looks me in the eye as he holds my face between his two hands, then plants a huge kiss on my lips. I love hearing him whisper, “I love you, mummy.” I love listening to his laughter, which hasn’t changed since he first laughed when he was a few months old. I love snuggling with him before he sleeps, and knowing that he sleeps best when he is nestled against me.

I love you more than you’ll ever know, sweetheart, and I hope you’ll always be happy, because when Noah is happy, mummy is happy too.

My baby boy and I


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