why did you decide to have a fourth baby?

The syntocin drip had been administered and I was breathing through the first of many intense, productive contractions when my midwife suggested that perhaps this was the final time I would experience labour. When the contraction eased I said to her: “No, we’ll have one more.”

I said it in the depths of labour so I couldn’t really backtrack, could I?

Of course I could! But not once have I thought that three children was it for me. Daniel and I have always talked about having four kids and it never crossed our minds that we would stop at three.

But there’s more to it than that. And as I try to conjure the words to describe the feeling I admit that it all seems very esoteric;Β it felt like there was a baby waiting for us, waiting patiently to join the family and fill the final chair at our old wooden table. And I felt its presence very strongly in the months leading up to conception; all I could think about was falling pregnant and growing our fourth baby into being.

We kept our news quiet for a good few months and as I succumbed to the exhaustion of the first trimester I started to consider that perhaps people wouldn’t respond with joy and delight. I expected judgement and lots of it. I presumed that people would wonder why on earth we would consciously choose to grow our family despite the fact that we work freelance and rent (my own insecurities playing a big part there). But I had also heard from a lot of big families that once you announce the fourth, fifth, sixth pregnancies, joy starts to dwindle and people start to question.

Thankfully we have only received pure happiness (and a fair bit of happy shock) in response. I’m still bumping into people who haven’t heard and who exclaim with wide eyes at my belly and refer to me as “Supermum” (please don’t give me that title).

To be honest, deciding to have a third baby was far harder than saying yes to a fourth (an experience shared by many, it seems). It feels like we’ve reached a certain level of chaos and that one more baby won’t make a huge difference. I’m washing for five already, I might as well wash for six! Another bowl of spaghetti bolognese isn’t a big deal and we’ve got all the baby essentials we could ever need.

The one thing that I was wary of, when thinking and planning for this baby, was the age gaps. I didn’t want more than a ten-year gap between Che and the baby because, looking forward, I didn’t think that having a teenager and a toddler would be a great idea (for my patience or my emotions). Of course, if it was to eventuate that way we would carry on but “ideally”, the ten year gap would be good. Che will be three-months off turning 10 when the baby arrives.

There’s a big part of me that is intent on relishing every stage of this pregnancy because I know that it will probably be my last. And yet I find that very, very hard to admit.

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Showing 17 comments
  • Saskia
    Reply

    And you are also very blessed you are physically able to have your desired number four! Congratulations Jodi xoxo

  • Michelle
    Reply

    I felt this kind thing knowing I wanted 3, when most people seem to stop at 2. I know very well that feeling that there is a baby waiting for you. There is a bigger gap between my 2nd and 3rd than there is between 1 and 2 because I wasn’t ready to do it all again but I always knew I would be one day and that we weren’t done at 2. I no longer feel that. We are complete. Though that hasn’t stopped me intensly grieving over the knowledge that I will never be pregnant or go through labour again. That makes me so so sad.

  • Reannon
    Reply

    I’m the eldest of 6 so I always said 2 kids would be it for me, no way did I want the chaos of a big family. I had my babies young & loved knowing I’d grow with them, loved knowing I was sacrificing my youth & carefree days to wrangle little people, loved knowing that by the time we were 40 our boys would be able to care for themselves & we could go have grown up adventures. I NEVER expected to have more children let alone have them at 34 & 35!! Our eldest was 13 & our then youngest was 10 when our 3rd baby was born, the fourth joining us a mere 12 months & 11 days later. Is it ideal? No. But that’s how our family turned out. Do I have moments where I wished I’d had them all together? Yes, quite often because I’m now teaching our eldest to drive while toilet training our youngest. It’s HARD! But it’s also joyful & fun. Often my husband & I will laugh at how we do things the wrong way round, how if we’d had all the kids closer together we’d probably have ended up with 6 kids because the largeness, the chaos & the fun that 4 kids bring is amazing & if only we were 10 years younger we’d have had the time ( & energy ) for more. Me, the girl who only ever wanted 2 kids can see a life as a mother of 6 but life as a mother of 4 is more than I ever expected. It’s joy.

    • spark
      Reply

      This is the most reaffirming and heart warming thing I have read all day!

      • Reannon
        Reply

        Thank you!

  • Leticia Robles Soneira
    Reply

    I am aware that people tend to be so judgemental, but why on Earth someone would know your family better than you do? I am the eldest of three beautiful girls, although my parents always dreamt with a family of four (‘la vida viene como viene’ (life comes as it comes), doesn’t it?). If you want four, go for it. If you want five, go for it. And so on. You are the one who knows what’s the best for YOUR family. And for me, families are sacred, no one should judge you for your decision.

    I read your blog since your 11th post (I ‘e-meet’ you a looong time ago) and I always loved your honesty, but I think this is the first time I comment.

    Best wishes from Spain,

    Leticia

  • Marine
    Reply

    I am pregnant with a 4th child and I feel exactly the same.
    I wrote it (but in french… not sure you’ll be interested πŸ˜… The link is in my comment signature) on my blog and explained the same questions, the same fears, the same feelings (and the same negative reactions… that start when we decided to make a 3rd kid!)
    People often say we’re “brave”… we answer “no, we are just very lucky!”

    Universal questions!

  • Elizabeth
    Reply

    So sweet! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, as I know lots of moms (and dads) ponder this question. It’s nice to hear someone elses’ thoughts and wonders even if they are different than mine. Infertility is our struggle, so I’m hopeful that we will get the opportunity to choose to have another baby/more babies, but who knows what that number will be! Best to you in your last trimester!

  • Julie
    Reply

    these words really touched a part of my heart: “it felt like there was a baby waiting for us, waiting patiently to join the family and fill the final chair at our old wooden table. And I felt its presence very strongly in the months leading up to conception; all I could think about was falling pregnant and growing our fourth baby into being.” listening to our hearts is important. nothing but joy and best wishes from me.

  • Alex
    Reply

    I have 3; my youngest is just shy of 2. I’ve been feeling the pang of decision coming- so do we go for a fourth? Can we afford it? We have a house to build, but CAN we afford it? I can’t rationalise it… it hurts to say no.. my sister has just announced her third pregnancy.. I’m so happy for her but so wistful at the same time. My oldest is 9 currently.

  • Jess
    Reply

    I’ve only two children (3 & 15 months) but I already feel exactly as you do about baby number three (and four, if I’m honest). I don’t think it’s a feeling you can properly articulate. Some people get it, others struggle to. I’m glad you’ve only received pure happiness in response to your news though, that’s exactly as it should be. No doubt this baby already knows how loved he/she is.

  • Ariella
    Reply

    When we announced our third we got a lot of negativity, which I found absurd having grown up in a very religious community where families had 10-12 children. We’re in the thick of the first year right now, figuring out sleeping arrangements and newly emerging personalities from everyone. But I feel that same presence of a fourth baby. I haven’t slept properly in months and my only goal for today was not to yell (accomplished!), so the idea of the fourth sometimes scares me. But I also feel like she’s waiting for us. For now I’m trying to be present and enjoy, and we’ll see what happens later on. Either way, this will be my last of everything with this child, and that’s worth my focus too.

    • Em
      Reply

      We also received a lot of negativity announcing our third pregnancy, particularly as we had ‘one of each’. It really surprised me!

      I note you refer to your fourth as ‘she’ and it got me wondering whether one has a preference for a particular gender once you get to #3 or #4 -either to ‘balance’ existing genders or to experience a different gender to the others? I’m just curious to know other’s thoughts?

      • Jodi
        Reply

        I have a very strong inkling as to the sex of this baby but for now I’m keeping it to myself πŸ˜‰ x

      • Ariella
        Reply

        I didn’t realize that I’d written it! Our three are all girls so I’m somewhat in the habit of referring to all babies as female, I guess. I would love to have a boy, but mostly for my husband which is not something I ever thought I’d say. I love having daughters and I think there’s something lovely about all the little things you get to share with them, and Id be happy for him to have that with a son. But other than that I’d be very happy with a girl or boy. Also worth noting, I thought each of my girls were boys the entire pregnancy haha

  • Em
    Reply

    Thank you for this lovely post. I also have the same yearning for a fourth child and felt even as my last baby was born that I really wasn’t done and our family was not complete. I feel that empty space at the table and constantly daydream about our fourth baby. However, sadly, my husband does not feel the same way and feels he, and we, are at capacity both emotionally and financially. It is a very challenging time for us as a couple.

    Wishing you all the best.

  • Lauren
    Reply

    I remember when my brother in law and his wife announced they were pregnant with their 4th (which was before we knew about our first) I was overjoyed for them (I’m one of 5, so big families make sense to me) and I remember my sister in law saying thanks for being happy about it…some people haven’t been πŸ™ I’d love to have 4, but we lost our first at 32 weeks and I’m pregnant for the third time…I don’t think mentally I could cope with a fourth pregnancy. You are very blessed!!

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