I’ve always said I’d love three children, maybe even four and even though I have two beautiful little boys, and despite the stress and hard work that comes with it, I haven’t changed my mind. But we can’t agree. Firstly, let’s not take this as me saying I want a baby right now, I don’t. Myself and my health are a priority, and I’m currently in a good place after going through two births relatively quickly, and so I’d like to keep it that way for a while. But I’m not done.
Before I had kids, when I told anyone I wanted 3 or 4 kids, people used to respond with “oh, you won’t be saying that after you’ve had the first and/or second one.. trust me”. I hated that. I really did. I do. I always knew I would never stop at one. I’m one of four, my dad’s one of four, as is my mum, so I’ve got a rather big family and have just always thought I’d have one of my own.
It’s a discussion that’s been going on for the last three weeks and it all stemmed from a bad night we had with Teddy in France. He just wasn’t sleeping well at all, and still isn’t, for whatever reason. In the middle of the night, Jamie rolled over and declared, in a rather dozed state, that he doesn’t want anymore children. I totally dismissed it and had already told myself it was the sleep deprivation talking, because that horrible thing can make you do and say things – as I’m sure you know!
But after making a joke about it the next day, he turned round and with the most serious face and said “I meant it, I’m done”. I can not process this whatsoever and I can’t agree with it. We spoke about having children and we always said we’d go for more than a couple, and suddenly there’s a big shift in attitude. No subtle hints, so clues leading up to it. It just came out in the middle of the night and has been hanging over my head ever since.
He says “I want to get on with our lives”. He’s right of course, Toby is getting to the age where he will play on his own for periods of time, goes to nursery and he sleeps like an absolute dream. Teddy is almost walking, and will soon be playing independently, or with his brother, except he’s not sleeping that well. It’s not unusual for us to see most hours of the early morning. But that hasn’t put me off.
After two rounds of maternity leave, I’ve now returned to work in the form of running my own company, which is flexible and freelance, but equally requiring constant work when I have the time to spare, which I won’t have if we have another baby. Jamie is also running his own company which is seeing work more and more work coming in, and if we were to have another baby it would throw the focus away from us working and providing our existing family with everything we need. Not only that, we are planning a wedding for October this year, so we don’t have time for another baby just yet anyway.
Raising children is no easy feat, the baby and toddler years are a constant maelstrom but one I know I will want to revisit. We’re both 26 and even though we are still relatively young, I would like one more, and I don’t want there to be this huge age gap. Believe me, I don’t think I’d ever do a 20 month age gap again. I’d either make it quite a bit bigger, or quite a bit smaller. I’d like to wait until Ted was at least 2.5 before we have another baby so that Toby will be at school, and Ted at nursery a couple of days a week.
In all honesty, Jamie is speaking sense, but on the opposite page, I do not feel complete. I am literally inebriated over the thought of having a third child. I have visions of three children playing together in the house, I have visions of family photos which have five people in them and I have visions of just one more baby. Yet still we can’t agree.
I don’t want anyone to think I’m getting consumed with the thought of having a girl to balance out what will be, and in some ways already is, the male dominance in the house. I adore having my two boys, and if I had another I would be over the moon. It’s not necessarily a gender I crave, it’s a baby. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to admit I’d probably experience a little bit of gender disappointment, but I’d get over it quickly.
I think what’s putting Jamie off is that our two boys are such a handful at the moment and some days we feel we barely cope and the time out step is in constant use. I’m happy to admit, with the big black bags under my eyes, that it would be easier to stick to two, but an easy life is a boring life isn’t it? You can just about divide your attention between two children, but to split yourself three ways is almost unfathomable. How my mum and grandparents did 4, I will probably never know.
Admittedly, there are lots of pros to not having the third child. We wouldn’t need to buy a bigger car, we could buy tidy holiday packages since they only ever seem to offer them for the “perfect” family of 4. It’s all very convenient, but we live in a life of convenience and I just can’t help but think that while they are all benefits, it’s all just a bit boring, isn’t it?
However, there are also lots of cons. One of Jamie’s “what ifs” was wondering whether if it was a little girl, if she would be groomed on social media. I argued back that this could happen to our sons too. It’s worrying to think that after two healthy babies, what if the third baby wasn’t so healthy? Surely that’s a risk you take with every pregnancy, and the risk doesn’t lessen with age either. There are so many what ifs. But the worst what if for me would be, what if we were a family of five? What would it be like if we had a third baby? I don’t ever want to have to say what if about that. You only regret not having children, not having them in your life.
There have been a few times where I’ve thought so much about it and I just haven’t had time to prepare to not have a third. If you’d have told me Teddy would’ve been my last pregnancy, I might’ve been able to get used to the idea and really enjoy my pregnancy for what it was. I’d maybe have tried to eke out breastfeeding that little bit longer. I’d’ve tried to keep him my little baby for as long as possible. I just can’t believe that I’ll be denied that closure if we can’t agree on having a third.
There’s lots more I could say, but I’m aware this post is already quite lengthy. Have you ever been in the same situation where you couldn’t, or can’t agree on what to do about another baby. It might be you can’t agree on a fourth!