Monday, 2 November 2015

How many children is too many?

It was only about 3 weeks after Noah was born that I started to have a very strange feeling.

There I was sitting on the sofa with a 3 week old baby in my arms, but somehow I still felt broody?! 

Maybe it's because when you have your second child, a lot of people ask the question "Will that be the last baby for you?" - I found myself hearing that question a lot and it definitely had me wondering about it,

As Noah grew out of his first size baby clothes, and I started to pack them away I couldn't help but feel desperately sad - when I'd done all of this with my first sons clothes I had a strong feeling that I'd be getting them back out again for a sibling at some point and so the sadness wasn't the same, but putting them away this time felt different - there was a question mark over whether we'd see them again. Whether I'd ever handle such tiny little baby clothes again.

I suppose the sadness itself was the greatest indicator that I wasn't done having children yet - that we wouldn't be stopping at 2.

Of course little did I know that we'd be going into the third pregnancy so quickly after that, and that a mere 3 weeks later I'd be falling pregnant again accidentally! 

Because of the shock of that pregnancy, Jon & I discussed the fact that this 3rd baby would be the last - I was so worried about going through a difficult hyperemesis pregnancy again with such a young baby to look after and I told anyone who would listen that Jon would definitely be getting "the snip" after this one was born and it would be the third and final baby for us!

But actually, this pregnancy has surprised me in more ways than one - I haven't suffered with hyperemesis as I did on the two previous, infact apart from tiredness I`ve felt overall really well - and maybe its that or maybe its just the memory of how I felt after Noah's birth, but it has me worried - WILL this be the final baby for us? Am I really ready to be so final about that yet?

I always imagined myself having four children. But with starting quite late and not having my first baby until 30, I thought I hadn't given myself enough time to have 4.

Our plan had been to have our third baby in about 3 years time, meaning there wouldn't really be time to squeeze in a fourth - but now that this baby has come along so much sooner than expected, we would actually be back on track to have a fourth baby in a few years time if we wanted to.

But the more I've thought about this, the more worried I've felt and the more negativity I've seemed to notice around larger families.

When I was still reeling with the shock of the 3rd pregnancy, I did a lot of internet searching for stories of mothers in similar situations to me with third babies very close to their second - I found an American blog which helped me to feel a lot more at ease about the whole thing as she discussed her experience of life with 3 children under 3 years old - but the comments shocked me.

So many people seemed to have something to say about the fact that she wanted a fourth child - so many people stating that the strain large families put on the earth is selfish, that parents who have more than 2 or 3 children can't fully commit themselves to focusing on each individual child.

I found this pretty shocking as within my own family there are many sets of 4 and 5 children family units, infact my own family unit of just 2 children is the only one - every one else has at least 3 or 4.

Is it really such a bad thing to have or want more than 3 children? Is it really anybody elses concern if that's the case?

I know that other people's opinions shouldn't concern me, but I've always been the kind of person who is very influenced by what others think.

I've already faced negativity from some very unexpected sources with this pregnancy - when I was admitted to hospital with complications at the very beginning and explaining the situation to the nurses and doctors there, I was met with some very cold and cruel responses...from a nurses "Do you not have a TV at home?!" to a Dr's "You had a baby 3 months ago and you're pregnant again?! Good one!"...I was pretty appalled at their lack of professionalism or even just lack of basic manners.

Is this something I could expect hear more of if we went to have a fourth child? Were those commenters right...would it be selfish of us to want more? Would it be unfair on our existing children?

I can't help but think that a family with more members is all the more full of love and activity, more children of course equal more work but also more joy surely?

I suppose we'll wait and see how life with 3 treats us before we make any final decisions, but as with every aspect of life as a parent - wouldn't it be so much nicer if people kept their opinions to themselves.

If you have a bigger family, did you face any negativity along the way? What are your thoughts on how many children people choose to have? As always, I'd love to hear from you!

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