Should we have baby #4?

About a month ago, my husband came to me out of the blue and said: ‘There are twelve full boxes of kids’ clothes in the garage. Do we want another baby? Because if not, we can get rid of them and clear out the space!’  My heart stopped.  One, it stopped because I realized my husband was actually agreeing to have a fourth child if I wanted to. (I loved him so much in that moment. Merci chéri!) Two, it stopped because I knew the time was coming when I would have to make that decision. And I really didn’t want to just then, because for me, it’s really not an easy decision to make.

But everyone – even people I don’t know – are pressuring me into at least thinking about it. It’s part of a long cascade of questions, like a series of dominoes: Do you have a boyfriend?  When are you getting married? Do you want children? Congratulations on your baby – when is the 2nd one coming? Are you having a 3rd? And literally at the hospital when I delivered Baby G, someone asked if we were planning a fourth! I laugh because sometimes I find myself asking these same questions to others and have to remind myself not to.

The Dreaded Statistics

So, why do I have to make that decision right now, you ask? Well, time is definitely working against me. I’ll be 42 this spring and as the months go by, so does my fertility. Did you know that women are born with over 400,000 viable eggs and by the time they are 40, only 3% of them are left?  And by that time, the remaining ones are pretty old and less healthy? And it’s scary to think about the increased risk of miscarriage, genetic disorders, gestational diabetes, placenta previa, among other risks. It’s a sad picture, I know, and I hate to think that I’m getting older, but it’s reality.

Why would I want another baby?

Now, understand that these are only statistics and chances are that I would have a healthy child! My grandmother had her last one at 42, my mother-in-law at 45, and many other friends are having healthy babies over 40. But I keep asking myself: Why do I, Sylvia, want another baby? Is it because I want to trick my mind – and others around me – into believing I’m still young(ish)? Nice try! Is my family incomplete? No. Do I need to prove something, and if so, what? Nope. Is it because I love being pregnant and want to experience giving birth one last time? I would love to do it all over again. And have a home birth this time? That would be amazing! Or do I want to cuddle a precious little newborn again and smell its gentle sweetness? Yes, definitely.

Moving on to the Next Stage

However, though my heart has been saying yes to another baby, as time goes by, my head is saying no. And recently, to my surprise, a tiny piece of my heart is starting to follow. For the first time since I embarked on the motherhood bandwagon five years ago, I am looking forward to moving on to the next stage. A stage where dirty diapers, sleepless nights and teething don’t exist. A stage when our family can start doing different types of activities together and not be separated while I stay home with a newborn. A stage where my husband and I can go out on more date nights. And, I am looking forward to spending more time on my work as a birth and postpartum doula and nurturing many other new families living the newborn experience. What revelations!

So for these reasons, Baby #4 may just not happen. I know that once the decision is final I will definitely mourn the fact that I will not have another baby. I’ll be sad that I didn’t start my family sooner and have five or six kids! And I will cry a lot of tears for the passing of my fertile youth. But, for now, we haven’t yet decided. And if by chance we do have another baby, I’ll just say it was meant to be and wait a few more years for all these feelings to resurface. And my hubby will just have to wait to take over the space in the garage! Just please, please, don’t ask me about Baby #5!



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