Why I’m Scared To Have a Fourth Baby
Well, the word is out:
I am pregnant with my fourth baby.
And even as I type those words, I can't believe they are real, because I really, really did not want to be pregnant right now. There were many reasons why we were trying to delay having our fourth and final child. Although we both felt that our family wasn't quite complete, and knew that someday we would eventually have another baby, I still wasn't ready for that “someday” to become “today.”
I wanted to wait—the pure and simple reason being that I am tired after having three children in four years; I still haven't even lost the weight I gained from my third pregnancy. We are out of bedrooms in our house and have been hoping to build. I'm at the point where I wanted to really focus on my writing career after getting our three kids to the age where they are more independent. It's been amazing to, for the first time, sleep through the night and have kids who can all walk —two out of the three can dress themselves and (almost) use the potty alone.
I was almost to the point where I could feel like I could breathe again.
And then, of course, I found out that I was pregnant. I cried like it was my first. I just couldn't believe it—we had been trying so hard to avoid pregnancy at all costs. Did I mention we are going to Mexico in a few days?
The truth is that I am pretty much scared senseless to have a fourth baby.
I wasn't ready. I feel like I can't be ready, and at some level, I am throwing a mom-sized temper tantrum, stomping my foot and saying, “Why did this have to happen? Why can't I be one of those people who doesn't get pregnant? Why am I so stupid?”
I'm scared that I will be fat forever. I'm scared that my writing career, just starting to take off, will come to a halt. I'm scared that my relationship with my husband will be placed under some major strain. I'm scared that I can't handle the worry and stress that caring and loving a whole new person will bring. I'm scared that I can't be a good mother to four children. Who has four children these days, anyway?
Which brings me to my next fear …
Where did we get this notion that having more than 2.5 children is somehow a bad thing? That fertility and life is something that can be so easily controlled, manipulated, and only allowed under the most perfect of circumstances?
I'm scared of being seen as irresponsible by others. After one unplanned pregnancy—the one that started my journey into motherhood—to having another one just when I thought I was getting the hang of this motherhood thing feels like an embarrassment.
Deep down, I'm still trying to analyze just what it is that I'm worried about. Where did we get this notion that having more than 2.5 children is somehow a bad thing? That fertility and life is something that can be so easily controlled, manipulated, and only allowed under the most perfect of circumstances?
I know, eventually, I will realize that everything is going to be OK—that four will complete our family, and that it will be better this way— the way that my baby chose, rather than the way that I might have chosen. That life will be messy and chaotic for a little while, but it will also be an adventure.
And for the days I'm feeling particularly scared, it might help to remember that in five years, when all of my kids will be in school, I will only be 32. Maybe there's a bright side to all of this after all …
How many children do you have? Would you ever consider having four?