I have wanted a 3rd baby since The Monster was born on Christmas Eve 2010. He was afforded a much better treatment whilst in my belly and as a newborn than my little girl did. Partly because I had struggled with infertility with my daughter and even whilst pregnant I wouldn’t let myself get too excited about being pregnant in case something went wrong. Partly because I’d never had my own baby before so my head hadn’t attached Pickle the person to pickle the unborn baby. With the monster, I knew what kind of person he might be because his sister was right there, looking at me, chatting with me, making me laugh. Despite a few scares late on in the pregnancy (too much amniotic fluid, which can be an indicator of chromosomal problems) I felt more optimistic of my baby boy arriving.
photo courtesy of the Washington Post
My little girl had colic for 6 months of her life and screamed almost constantly. I really didn’t enjoy her as a baby. I was desperate for her to get to the next milestone, to talk, to walk, to be a person. My little boy got no such cajoling. I had Pickle to chat to and laugh with and The Monster was able to just be a baby and what a great baby he was. He slept well, fed well, never had any medical issues (no conjunctivitis, eczema, raging temperatures) and I was very very happy to cuddle him and enjoy his babydom.
In a way this was my biggest reason for wanting to have a 3rd. If another was like The Monster I would be very very happy, but of course, in life there are no guarantees. Never the less, I pined, I coo’d and I spent a lot of time thinking about how I would be a mother of 3. Who would get which bedroom, how I would juggle work, childcare, school. I carefully tucked away a few key baby toys, every piece of clothing, with the thought that there was a good chance they might get used again.
I did have infertility. I had IVF for Pickle. I then had secondary infertility that was probably caused by my inflammatory condition and I got pregnant a month after going on medication. For some reason in the last 2 years I have felt this is “my time” fertility wise. I just feel it wouldn’t be that difficult to get pregnant and after all those years of difficulty, every month that passed that I wasn’t trying to have another felt like a waste of an opportunity.
So 5 months ago hubby and I started talking about it. He was adamant. No. He was happy with two. He didn’t need anymore. I kept talking about it. He kept coming up with reasons why we shouldn’t. All the good reasons too. Money, cost of childcare, needing a new car, cost of holidays. I got the distinct impression this wasn’t going to happen. I dropped the subject and started the thought process to try and reconcile the decision with my overwhelming broodiness.
Then about a month ago I was doing a sort through of the children’s toys and started bagging up babies toys to give to charity. I said something like “It seems a shame to get rid of these, but I guess we’ll not need them” and he said something like “Well, I guess so. I suppose you never know”. *sharp intake of breathe* I then challenged him about it. He admitted he hadn’t meant it like that, that he hadn’t been thinking when he spoke, but that the very fact I had pounced on the way he’d said it, suggests I hadn’t worked it out. Communication about it was back on the agenda. So we talked A LOT. I posted this.
You know what though, all the talking in the world doesn’t guarantee that the decision will go your way.
We have decided to not try for a 3rd baby. Even typing this now is making me very very sad about it. However, I think in my heart of hearts that this is the right decision for us. There are financial worries to consider, the cost of a new car and the maternity leave and loss of earnings and then taking a few years to get back on track again with pensions, savings etc.. However there are also bigger issues that I just can’t ignore.
Firstly, my age. It feels I’m pushing the limits for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. That’s not me suggesting that anyone else of the same age or older is wrong. They have to do whatever is right for them and I do believe in a “fertility age” that isn’t reflective on your actual age. I also think that if I was talking about a 2nd, the age thing would be less of an issue for me. Having a 1st or 2nd now would be more important in the big scheme of things and I would worry about it, but just get on and deal with it. If, heaven forbid, I was to have a baby with any difficulties this has a HUGE bearing on my other two children and we are a family now, I can’t just think about myself. I am also not sure that my husband and I are cut out to deal with big challenges like that. I’m sure we would and hey, who knows, we may have surprised ourselves, but we struggle with the two perfectly healthy children we have, so I can’t think we would. My condition matters as well. I could have a massive flare up after delivery and my husband would need to sacrifice a lot to take on more of the work load, especially if I couldn’t walk or carry. My condition is very unpredictable and whilst I am experiences a dormant phase of it, that can change in a heartbeat.
Secondly, my children. For all of the reasons mentioned above and the fact they enjoy each other’s company. They each make the other one giggle A LOT. They love each other and I’m not sure how a 3rd will change the dynamics of that relationship. I’m not sure I am willing to risk it. At any rate, I’ve asked Pickle (nearly 5) on more than one occasion if she’d like another brother and sister. Most of the time she says “no”. Sometimes she umms and ahhhs about it and asks if she can just have a sister. It seems she’s not sure even if I could guarantee a sister. I know she’s only 5, but she is speaking from her gut and she’s knows what another sibling will do to her time with mummy and daddy. It’s all very valid.
Thirdly, our childcare arrangement. My husband is a partime stay at home Dad. He is perfectly happy with 2 children and therefore to push him until he agrees where he has the bulk of the childcare, just seems very unfair. Had we been in the position for me to be a full time Stay at Home Mum, then I think my argument would have been stronger, but I’m not and I’m unlikely to ever be because any other financial permutations of our arrangement doesn’t work, other than the one we are in at the moment. So unless he gets a permanent part in Eastenders or we win the lottery, his time with the number of children he can deal with, is a big reason.
Finally, our patience. I am not an earth mother and my husband wouldn’t say child rearing was his calling in life. We have got better patience and self control since having kids but we aren’t perfect and with a toddler who is now challenging due to his own frustrations and an emotional 5 year old and with everything else that goes with running a household and sharing the chores, inevitably we argue alot, tensions run high and some days are just very very hard. A third child will not make that easier and will probably add to it.
So there you have it. Done and dusted. I’m a mother of 2. It makes me very sad, but for all of the reasons above, I can’t truly be sure that having a third is the right thing for us to do. I need to move on now. Be happy, be grateful for my two really interesting, bright, healthy children and throw myself 100% into raising them to be amazing adults.
I have to move on.