If I’m absolutely honest, the title of this post is totally misleading – the truth is, I do want another baby! I am just one of those mothers who will always want ‘just one more….’ I constantly get asked if I’m going to have any more and even though it makes me sad, in my heart I know I won’t. Well, I’m pretty sure I won’t. Well, maybe just one……. You see? I can’t even convince myself!
I know we are all different, and I’m not judging anyone at all here, but I have no idea how some women stop at one, or two and they are just certain that their family is complete. I know I am not exactly the norm having seven kids and people think it’s seriously weird but honestly, I don’t understand why! So many times I’ve heard people respond to the ‘will you have any more?’ question with ‘Oh god, no! Definitely not! No chance!’ That’s never been me. In some ways I’d love to have that certainty that I’m done. Sure I’ve said I won’t have any more. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve said ‘no, this really will be the last one’ (and the reply has been ‘yeah, but you said that last time….and the time before that….and actually the time before that…’) But I have never meant I didn’t want anymore.
I just don’t understand how people stop. Admittedly having kids is bloody hard work, but it’s also incredibly awesome and nothing else in life comes close. Yet no one else seems to get it, everyone else seems happy to stop at a ‘normal’ amount of kids (except for the amazing Sue Radford, mum of 20, I’m pretty sure she gets where I’m coming from!)
This post is hopefully going to remind me why I really don’t want another one (did I mention yet that I actually do??) so here is my list of reasons why I should stop at seven.
1. I’m too old. Of all the reasons not to have another baby, in truth this is the only one that really stops me. I’m now 43 and while I have never had any problems getting pregnant at any age, or any age related issues when pregnant maybe that wouldn’t be the case next time. It just feels like I would be pushing my luck and although I conceived a year ago without a problem that doesn’t mean it would happen again.
2. The assumption we were trying for a boy would probably really annoy me. Since Luna was born, I have been quite shocked by the number of total strangers who after seeing Sienna and Freya have peered into the pram and asked ‘is it a boy?’ about Luna, then been openly disappointed for us when we have said ‘no a little girl’ and asked ‘will you just keep going till you get a boy?’ Er, rude! And no thanks, our girls are perfect and more of the same would be just as equally amazing as a boy. No disappointment here. If one of the girls had been a boy I know I would definitely still be wanting another.
3. Being pregnant. Pregnancy is tough for me these days. Partly due to the fact that I’ve put my body through several pregnancies already and partly due to the fact that life is busy running around after all the kids, I feel like it would be really hard work to be pregnant again. I know I am lucky that things generally go pretty smoothly and I only suffer from general pregnancy so called ‘niggles’ but the tiredness, the back pain, the swollen feet, the heartburn, the breathlessness, the joint pain ….they are all things that I barely suffered with at all as I breezed through my first pregnancies but they have become increasingly an issue in my more recent pregnancies. If I’m honest, I really didn’t enjoy my last pregnancy at all (although I really hate to admit that) and (apart from about a fortnight in the middle when I felt almost normal) I felt pretty rough the whole way through.
4. The labour. I naively assumed that giving birth to number 7 would be as calm and easy as babies 5 and 6. Although giving birth is never actually ‘easy’ of course, I was so proud of myself in previous births, particularly having Freya – even though I was induced it was quick, smooth, calm, quiet and I only had a few puffs on gas and air – everything you hope for, basically. With Luna, it was the opposite, frantic, long, excruciating, noisy. As I was totally off my face on gas and air and meptid the memories of labour are pretty hazy (though I think that’s probably a good thing!) but it definitely wasn’t my finest hour. I was begging for an epidural and was pushing for a long time (very narrowly avoiding intervention) before she was finally here. Although of course she was worth every single second, the thought of having to repeat it is not a pleasant one.
5. The weight gain. With my previous pregnancies I gained little weight except for my bump and lost it easily afterwards but this hasn’t been the case with babies 6 and 7 (43 year old me bloody hates 17 year old me who was easily back in her size 8 jeans less than a week after giving birth and didn’t realise this wasn’t the case for everyone!!) I am currently two stone over my ideal weight and struggling to lose any. Although I try not to dwell on it and give myself a break (as my body has grown seven actual humans and is therefore bloody amazing) I don’t feel comfortable with how I look. Another pregnancy would only add to that. News flash, saying ‘oh my god your huge!!’ is just rude, even if you say it to a pregnant woman! I honestly believe I should have a medal for smiling politely through all the comments about how enormous I was, when the temptation to just slap them and blame pregnancy hormones was very strong.
6. I’m going to be a grandma! In case you didn’t know my eldest daughter Jess is having a baby. So maybe I can stop having babies of my own and just enjoy my little grandson who is due any day now.
7. Sleep. Well, mainly the fact that I currently get a decent night’s sleep every night and that would be very unlikely to continue if we had another baby. I’m still amazed that Luna has followed in Freya’s footsteps sleepwise and has slept through almost from the start. When I was pregnant with Luna I was fully prepared for endless sleepless nights as I was sure I wouldn’t get another baby who slept! I have had years of sleep deprivation in the past and I know how it takes its toll on every aspect of life so I don’t take sleep for granted and I am so grateful that my girls sleep so well. I am definitely a better mum and a nicer person after a full nights sleep and with life already full on I’m not sure how well I would cope on no sleep with another baby added into the mix.
8. The cost! Although babies themselves don’t cost that much, (especially as I’m breastfeeding and we kept all of Freya’s clothes and baby equipment) they soon grow and it is undeniable that a big family is super expensive. Food, clothes, childcare, trips out, Christmas and birthday presents, treats, holidays etc they would obviously all cost more and though I don’t really like to say ‘we can’t afford another’ as I’m sure we could make it work, it would have an impact.
9. This might be stating the obvious but seven is already a lot of kids! Obviously the four older ones don’t need the same amount of practical care that the three younger ones do but they still need support in various ways and it’s certainly true that you never stop worrying about them however old they are. I already think sometimes that I am spread too thin between them all and it is a juggle providing a listening ear and advice to the older ones on things like uni, careers, relationships, friends, finances while simultaneously breastfeeding Luna, potty training Freya and helping Sienna with homework! As with most things, some times are tougher than others. Im writing this post on the back of the past couple of weeks which have been really lovely with all the kids so I’ve probably got my rose-tinted glasses on just now, which explains the broodiness! I know there have been plenty of other weeks when it’s been a struggle and almost impossible to be what everyone needs and another baby would only add to that feeling.
10. If we have baby number 8 Dave is determined to call it Henry (or Henrietta) as in Henry the Eighth!! Which is probably enough reason in itself not to have another baby (not that I have anything against the name Henry, I actually really like it, it’s just the whole Henry the Eighth scenario that I object to!)