I have two children. I may have already talked to you about them. One girl, one boy. We replaced ourselves perfectly.
I had always thought that two was the perfect number of children. One for each adult to look after. The family fits well in a car, with extra room for one friend. Perfect for a three bedroom house, or providing a convenient spare room in a four bedroom..
I was 32 when Rich and I married. Shortly after we moved from New Zealand to London to further our life experience, our careers, and to have children. We wanted to give our kids the opportunity to live in another country in their future lives, unemcumbered by the burden of visas.
I fell pregnant with Amelia when I was 34, and gave birth to her just after my 35th birthday. I was painfully aware of my age, had seen all the charts showing the increase in risk factors during pregnancy for women over 35. So we didn’t want to mess around getting pregnant again.
I never went back on contraception after having Amelia, and fell pregnant when she was 6 months old. I remember being on holiday in Crete not long after, being so happy and excited about this New being we were bringing into the world.
That one didn’t last. I miscarried at around the 8 week mark. I can hardly remember the details now, just that there was a lot of blood, then nothing. We were staying at a friend’s parents house, they were very English, and I had to pretend to be the perfect guest whilst going through the emotional agony of losing my second child. Watching the blood go down the toilet and wondering which part was my baby.
When we went back to London the visit to A&E confirmed what we already knew. I said to the doctor “well, there was clearly something wrong, so it’s for the best”. She said “I’m sorry, that’s not necessarily true. We don’t know why people miscarry”. She needed to work on her bedside manner.
4 months later, I fell pregnant with Oliver. My beautful son, who I have adored since the moment he arrived.
But I still mourn the one I lost. I’m crying while I’m writing this. I know the statistics for miscarriage. I know many friends and family members who have lost children of their own, often in far more harrowing circumstances than mine. It doesn’t stop me from missing, with all my heart, the one that I never got to meet. The one who has never hugged me, called me Mummy, who I didn’t see grow up into a beautiful little human.
I am thankful for the two we’ve had. My children are growing so fast and I love them more than life itself. I’m one of the lucky ones in that respect. There’s no guarantee that we would have tried for Oliver had our middle child survived. I can’t bear to think of that.
But I can’t help but think that two is not quite the perfect number of children. Perfect would be to have all three.
ROAST KUMARA, CARROT AND MISO SOUP
700g carrots, peeled and ends cut off
1 large onion, skin still on, cut into quarters
2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
1/3 cup miso paste
1 tablespoon grated Ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
6 rashers bacon cooked until very crisp, sour cream
- Preheat oven to 200C
- Place kumara, carrots and onion in a roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour.
- Remove vegetables from oven and allow to cool until you’re able to handle. Scrap the flesh from the kumara skins into a large soup pot using a spoon. Cut the ends off the onions, remove the skins and add to the pot with the carrots. Discard the kumara and onion skins.
- Mix the miso paste into a smooth thin paste with a 1/3 cup stock. Add to the pot with remaining stock, and ginger.
- Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes.
- Turn off heat. Add sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and extra pepper to taste.
- Using a blender, stick blender or food processor, blend the soup until very smooth, being careful not to burn yourself.
- Serve, garnished with bacon and sour cream if desired.