To Baby Or Not To Baby

When our beautiful Edie Mae came along

For a moment I thought our family might be complete

But after not very long

I started to wonder

Could we

Should we

Have one more baby?

Edie is now almost 16 months old

And I am still asking the question

Every single day

Having another baby

Is always on my mind

It is really hard to describe

But I want to try

As SO many people message me on Instagram

About being broody

And how you truly know when your family is complete

So this post is me trying to share my feelings about babies

And me

And our family

Age

In one month and two days I will be 42 years of age

My first reason for thinking we should not have another baby

Is thinking that I am too old to be a mummy again

Except this year so many people I know who are my age

Are having babies

First babies, third babies, fourth

Lots of older women are having babies

And though I am old

David is four years younger than me

And I am quite a young 42 year old

My post 40 health check gave me a heart age of 35

I am in fairly good health

My main concern is that I do have weak core muscles

And I have a bad lower left back

I am not on any medication

And I am quite active

Not sporty

But busily active

I think another pregnancy would possible be harder

But I think it would be okay

Two years ago about to turn 40

I fell pregnant with Edie

And not much has changed since with me since then

I do think about what it would be like to be 52 with a ten year old

But I will be 50 when Edie is 10

And really

What is two years?

Siblings

Everyday I wonder if having another baby is fair on our living children

Next year if we were to have a baby

Esther and William would be 9

Bea would be 5 and Edie 2

Would they want a new baby in their lives at these ages?

They all adore Edie

They play so well with her

And she has brought so much joy and laughter into our lives

The first two years with a new baby

Are unrelenting hard work

There is no doubt about it

A new baby impacts on every aspect of family life

And affects every relationship

But on the whole in a positive way

By the time a new baby is at the delightful age that Edie is now

The children would be 10, 6 and 3

When I look at the numbers they make sense to me

10, 6, 3 and 1

12, 8, 5 and 3

16, 12, 9 and 7

20, 16, 13 and 11

They are not crazy age gaps

Are they?

Large Family Logistics

There are logistical considerations with another baby

We can fit one more child in our current car

But it would leave us no room at all for buggies and baggage

We would most likely need a bigger car

Or a specialist car seat arrangement

Flying abroad would not really be an option

We would be committing to all our holidays being in UK

Or taking European road trips

To be honest we have been talking about making this commitment

If we got a dog

So I am sure we could make it for a baby

Money

There is also our finances to consider

One more mouth to feed is not an issue

But one more set of dance classes

Music lessons

University fees

It soon all mounts up

Mother Risks and Baby Health

There are implications of my age to consider

Risks for me and for baby

What if the baby dies?

What if the baby is premature?

What if the baby has special needs?

These are all genuine concerns

They have been with all our babies

I was 33 when Esther and William were born

Almost 34

I have always been an older mum

I was post 40 with Edie

I know the risks

And yet …

It does not stop me wanting a baby

Other People

I worry that other people will judge us

I worry that people will think we are greedy

Think we should count our blessings

And be happy with the children that we have

I worry that people would not be sympathetic

If we were to fall pregnant

And things did go wrong

Other people are a worry

The Gap

I do wonder

Not often

But I definitely do wonder

If it is not A baby I want

But my baby

Our baby

Our forever baby

Our Matilda Mae

Am I trying to fill a gap that can never be filled?

the gap

The Future

Why do I want another baby?

Because I am a mummy

This is what I do

It is what I am good at

I love being pregnant

I know there would be tough days

I love breastfeeding

I cannot imagine never doing those things again

Because we are already a large family

I see us our family living in a mild state of creative chaos

I see a large house with a rambling adventure garden

Filled with fun and laughter

I see our shabby furniture with teens and tweens

Draped over it

Reading books

Crafting

Making animations

I can see us sharing stories by the fire

Playing board games round the table

Having parties

Family feasts

I want to have a home that children bring their friends to

And the friends never want to leave

I want my children to have a band of siblings

All with a fierce bond

And a sense of belonging

I want them to always have each other

To look out for one another

I want to have a busy noisy life

We are never going to have a flash house

With clean sparkling furniture

We are all a little mad here

A little muddled and haphazard

But we are already all of those things

One more of us can only add goodness

I know that a new baby will be hard

At times it would be very hard on all of us

But another child would be a beautiful gift for all of us

For now and the future

We would be like The Weasley’s I imagine

With all the eccentricities of the wizarding family

And ALL the magic

large family

Why Not?

So why the hesitation?

Why do I not want a baby?

Because they might die

And that would be so terrible

For all of us

Because I might die

David might die

Because no one can guarantee tomorrow

Because no one can tell me

It is okay to go ahead and have a baby

Everything will be okay

Because no one can tell me it will be alright

And Yet?

I am still asking the question

Every single day

Could we

Should we

Have one more baby?

17 thoughts on “To Baby Or Not To Baby

  1. The dilemma must be so much more difficult when you’re not sure if it is Matilda Mae you are trying to get back rather than just wanting another baby. I did used to wonder about having another one, but the decision was made for me really due to circumstances. I hope you manage to make the right decision for you, whatever that is.
    Nat.x

  2. No one can answer the question except for you, Jennie.

    There’s going with your head but your heart cries out or vice versa.
    I think having read a post previously when you wer coming to terms with not having any more and now, just a short while later you’re questioning yourself again, answers your own question.
    For me, broodiness really did go on its own. I’m still in love with newborns and love babies but I don’t want any more of my own.
    You love pregnancy and having babies, you can accommodate another child, your children are well-behaved, sensible, loving children and would adapt.

    For me, I thought my family was complete after three. I’d had bad pregnancies, miscarriages and my dream for four was too much to consider going through it again. Then I got broody, my husband had survived cancer a year earlier and the broodiness came from nowhere. I asked myself the same questions – what if something happens to me, what if the cancer comes back for my husband?
    But I knew I’d still want that little extra part of him. We were already HEing and I knew a baby could fit in, that we could adapt. We had to change the car. We had to buy new because I’d sold much of the baby equipment, but none of that mattered. Every pregnancy carries a risk. There’s always a risk of something going wrong and you’ve had an especially tough time with pregnancies. If you’re considering going through it again despite all you’ve been through, you must have strong broody feelings.

    I’m so glad that we had our youngest son. It wasn’t easy. I had a miscarriage first and my pregnancy was difficult but the joy of having grown our family made everything okay. He has autism but I still would rather have him with autism than not had him at all.
    I’m slightly older than you and my children are much older but I agree that it’s not unusual at all to have a baby at 42. Incidentally, the age difference between my eldest and youngest is 9 years, then 6.5, then 4.5, so more of an age gap than you would have.
    If you were prepared to make sacrifices for a dog….

    Anyway, I think it’s a case of follow your heart. Whatever you and David decide will be worth trying. The only advice I’d offer is not to ever worry what other people think. It’s your life, not theirs. If you’re at peace with any decisions you make, they have no need to judge or pass comment. Ignore those who do and surround yourself with those who support you.

    I think you’re so brave for talking about this. Whatever you decide, good luck. xxx

  3. Hi Jennie,

    Love this post – such a hard decision! My view on it is that you guys suit being a big family, and what’s 4 to 5?!

    My only consideration would be the health risks for the baby – down syndrome and other genetic conditions are more likely when older. I would think about whether you would keep the baby in those circumstances? If probably not, it could be quite upsetting to go through. Would you consider using your existing embryos? Then you’d know they are healthy?

    A close friend of mine had her final baby at 45, using remaining embryos from IVF 10 years earlier. They were coming to the end of their viability and she made the decision to transfer them and if it was meant to be, it would! And it did :)

    Good luck – I wish I’d grown up in a big chaotic family like yours x

  4. I am 48. My youngest is 11. Teenage years are so, so, so much harder than the baby days. I am exceptionally glad that I listed to my head, and not my heart, and Master 11 was our last. Because at 48, dealing with teenagers and a pre-teen, I am truly grateful that I am not older.

    My Mum was also an older Mum. First at child at 33, last at 41. She and my youngest sibling, both, always still wish Mum was younger when her last baby arrived.

  5. Only you know the answer to your question but here are some thoughts from a bystander.

    I’ve probably said this before… but never underestimate all the work (along with the expense) that is involved in guiding one’s children out into the world, just when you think your influence might be tailing off: GCSEs, driving test, university applications, A-levels, gap year, career advice, post-graduate training, life partners… the list is endless.

    Also, another baby might put off (permanently?) the travelling abroad that William is so keen to do.

    In your Twin Update you refer to the extra help both he and Esther may need going forward. This would be all the more difficult to provide with another baby to care for.

    • Parenting is for life … believe me knowing what mine and David’s parents have been through as our parents I am under no illusion that the coming years are going to be easy x I have the most awesome best friend who has a 17 year old son so again an honest to window to what lies ahead x A baby becomes a child, a tween, a teen, a grown up … it is why decisions like this are not made in a snap x

  6. Please don’t think I’m being rude or too personal, but I wonder if you are one of those women who can never feel content without a baby in the house? If that is so, is your depression likely to flare up if you set your heart on another baby and it doesn’t happen? Whereas it wouldn’t be quite so difficult if the decision was yours, and not natures? You’ve mentioned in the past that the twins were conceived by ivf, Tilda was a natural conception, but not how the others were conceived. That is no one else’s business, but may be relevant to the likelihood of you conceiving, and if ivf is involved could impact on your ability to concentrate on W E B and E and their needs. It also stands to reason that the more children, the less attention you can give to each. You said how difficult it was for Bea to bond with Edie, after having been breast fed and sharing your bed almost until Edie was born. She must have found being “replaced” as your baby very difficult, and although Edie seems much more laid back, it could happen again. I’m only saying these things because you were very open about your difficulties. In your article you paint an idealised picture of family life in years to come, which would be wonderful if only life was always like that! But we all know teenagers can be every bit as difficult as toddlers, with tantrums and difficult behaviour, particularly if they are frustrated by medical or emotional problems. Any decision can only be yours and Davids, but I think its important not to let rose tinted glasses cloud your judgement (a mixed metaphor there!) Don’t let your desire for another baby become the thing that takes over your life. Losing Tilda was the most dreadful thing that could happen, and if, without being conscious of it, you’re trying to fill that awful void, the longing for another baby will never go. Tilda will never be forgotten, but new babies cannot fill her place. You have four living children who with their varying needs demand all your time and attention. Maybe that is enough? If any of this offends or upsets you, I’m truly sorry, that was never my intention. At the end of the day, other peoples opinions are only opinions. It’s up to you! xxx

    • Thank you for such a comprehensive comment.
      I hope it will help others battling the same decision as I know so many that are.
      One of the main reasons for writing my blog is to vocalise things other do not in the hope that it might help others in similar situations.
      I think I should clarify that Esther and William are our only IVF babies. Tilda, Bea and Edie were all naturally conceived. I did miscarry twice between babies. Our family life is beautifully chaotic, it is not easy and I am under no illusions that it will ever be so but we are a tight family unit and have faced more in recent years than many people do in a lifetime. We may never have another baby but my goodness if we do I know that they will not fill Tilda’s place, Bea hasn’t, Edie hasn’t, no one ever could because she is my daughter as much as the others. Our children cannot be replaced. This is really truly not something I need explaining to me. Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts so honestly.

      • I absolutely realise that Tilda can never be replaced, and I think I didn’t phrase that as I intended. I meant that as you have that great hole in your heart that can never be filled, however many other babies you had, that hole would always be there. Of course you know that, and I’m sorry if my clumsy words upset you. I would never try and tell you something that you know all too painfully yourself. My sincere apologies.

  7. It’s so hard listening to heart and head and working out at what point they match up. I would desperately love another baby but the reality of my toddler and ex preemie 7 yo who has some additional needs is a difficult dynamic and as much as I wish otherwise, a third little person would just not be right now or possibly ever. I hope you find your answer after soul searching with yourself and David! Every family is different and it is such such a personal choice. I’m sure Tilda is watching and will help guide you with whatever you decide to do x

  8. Gareth has now had his vasectomy and I’m still a little broody, right up until the morning of his op I was half jokingly asking him to cancel. For us in the end it was a practical decision and not about room in the house, car or lives but the “what if x y z happens?” Having another baby would take me away from the others for a period of time and I feel they need me to be fully present, especially with Home ed. The risk of having another child with disabilities worries me too, not that I wouldn’t love them the same, but the fact that Arthur was in hospital as a newborn for a couple of weeks so I wasn’t at home with the others and then he needs more of my time and attention. He has regular hospital appointments that we need to get to which means taking them all along. We would manage another, of course we would, but it feels like being the best I can be for these. I also realised that I’m always going to be sad about no more children, I love having a house full, but I’m always going to have to do those last moments eventually, eventually I need to get my head around them and deal with the sadness of it. It’s hard, I’d love for you and I both to have lots more, but it feels like age is against us. Much love from a mama who knows a little of what you’re going through. Xx

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