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; 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.