Why I’m Scared To Have a Fourth Baby

Image via Big D2112/Flickr
Image via Big D2112/Flickr

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.”

{ MORE: Remember When I Wasn't Pregnant? }

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. 

{ MORE: Why Having More Kids Might Make Your Life Easier }

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? 

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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?

What do you think?

Why I’m Scared To Have a Fourth Baby

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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38 comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    I’m also wondering how this worked out for you, I just took a test and found out we are also expecting our fourth. Same situation as knowing we wanted another and love them close in age, but we want to move out of state and financially, this is going to prove extremely difficult now, if at all possible.

  2. nosheena says:

    I love this post I am in the exact same position I cried and smiled as I read this please post more as you go through this fourth pregnancy

  3. For 8 years, my son was my only one and even though my husband and I were really trying for a second, it took us a long time, finally after my son’s 8th bday I surprisingly found out I was pregnant. My husband and I were very happy since we had been awaiting for this precious baby for quite some time, however 4 weeks 3 days into the pregnancy I had my first u/s only to find out I’m having twins!. At first it was a shock, we could not believe it, we were barely ready for a second child and now we had to adjust all of our expectations and prepare for two instead of one. We feel blessed (after the big shock of course) but wont be trying for a 4th for the next 7-8 years again!

  4. Jessica says:

    I was scared at first not to get enough sleep not to have time for all of them . Maybe thats what might scare you. Been afraid of thinking that you migth not giveto them enough attention. But its possible. You can do it. You have went this far keep goin you will become a even more better writer

  5. Tonya says:

    Hee Hee. It’s okay and you will be a great mom even in your 30’s. I am 43 with two grown children and I am pregnant again with an unexpected baby and I am due next month! It was a huge shocker but there are advantages to being an older mom too. Just enjoy your family and spend all of the time together that you can. 🙂

  6. Jessica says:

    Iam 27yr old and have 7kids 4go to school fulltime and 3 stay at home there age 4yrs, 2yrs,1yr . When i was 26yrslike old with my 6thdad baby i found out i was pregnant my baby at the time was 6months and i thougth how did this happen . How could i been so uncareful. But i started to just think that all will be ok. That i can do this. Just think about when youre baby get to be in youre arms that there no more beautiful feeling than knowing hes or shes youre baby and not care about what people say when its not nice. Kids grow fast sometimes it dont seem like it. But before you know it they be goin to college or getting married. You are great mom

  7. Andrea says:

    I am pregnant with my fifth at age 35. We knew our family was not yet complete, but weren’t really planning on when to complete it. I completely trust in the Lord’s timing. He’s knows us better than anyone else and knows what we as individuals and families need at certain times in our lives. Embrace the challenge and see what you can learn about yourself. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Briansmommy says:

    Remember how much you love your child that came from your first unplanned pregnancy and in many ways, all the good that has resulted from that first unplanned pregnancy. Keep that in mind when you think about this unplanned pregnancy. And remember, God has a plan for everything. Want to make God laugh, tell him your plans! So He’s got a plan for this unplanned pregnancy. And, hey, at least you’re married for this unplanned pregnancy – so you don’t have that aspect coming into play. Not saying it makes it less scary, just one less thing to think about.

  9. Stacy says:

    It will get easier, you will loose the weight. About 4 1/2 years ago, my husband and I decides to try to have a child together. We would be adding to my 1 from my previous marriage and his 3. At the time I was 34. Due to medical issues I had to go to a fertility clinic for intrauterine insemination (IUI). The doctor was hoping for success, but to everyone’s surprise, triplets on our first try. We were told we would have a better chance at winning the lottery than having multiples, especially at my age. I was terrified!! How will I care for myself and the 2 children that were living in our home at the time. Fortunately for me they were much older, 10 and 14. I taught them to cook, do laundry and other things that I would not be able to do on bed rest. Then I was worried about the babies, being born premature and the other problems associated with being a multiple and a premie. I followed doctors orders, asked for help when it was needed and now today I have 3 almost 4 year olds, that are thankfully healthy. I eventually after about 14 months fit back to my pre pregnancy clothes, financially things are super tight, but they have what they need. I’m blessed with the fact I did not have to return to work after their birth, (the coat of daycare was a huge factor). I never thought in a million years that I would be stay at home mom with 4 kids, but here I am and loving it.

  10. Timothy says:

    I just had my 4th son november 25 th 2013. all my boys are unplanned birth control and condom pregnancies. With my first i had high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.i also passed out a few times .anf fell. he was born at 36 wks. my second i didn’t have problems with but still fell a lot. my 3rd i had low blood pressure. had him at 37 wks after falling out of a travel trailer and having to walk to my now husband’s parents.he stopped breathing on us and was in the nicu for awhile. my 4th went well and as i expected had him early too. he was biggest and healtheast. all my boys i felt the same as everyone else here.was scared, embarrassed of what people thought but now i don’t care what theythink. U see bfor gettin pregnant with my 1st i was in a bad wreck so i had to have a lot of help for the first ,3yrs. I finally decided i wasnt goin to live like that anymore. i was determined to raise him myself. In 2008 i had my second. his father is no longer in our lives. until 2011 we were homeless stayin with friends when we could. then i met my 3rd sons dad. he helped us out and bfor i knew it i was pregnant agian. whe he was born his dad was working for a carnival so he wasn’t there to see him born. i did it all on my own agian.. after that i stayed on my own til he was out of the hospital. we ended up staying with the neighbors. they have 17 kids. i know wow. i married their oldest a month later. I’m no longer with him. the man I’m with now has kept a steady roof over our heads and has taken my kids in as his own. now we have a son together. with all my kids and his we have 7 total. all boys except 1. miracles happen all the time and I’ve got 8 in my life now.

  11. Ashley says:

    Exactly my thoughts–you took the words right out of my mouth. Bravo at relate-able writing.

  12. Tabitha says:

    I wish I had your youth! I’m 38, and had my second child 4 months ago. She was unplanned, unlike our first, who we had to pursue fertility treatment for. I was very upset when I found out about #2. I feel like I’m getting too old to have babies, and with my lifelong fertility problems, I never expected to conceive again. But 8 months after baby #1, there I was knocked up and trying to figure out how to explain it to my parents, who, incidentally, weren’t happy that I had the first one. Not only do I have the sense that I’m playing Russian roulette with my children’s genetics at this age, but I worry about their father and I living to see their important moments… graduation from high school and college, marriage, etc. And you want to talk about tired? When you get to be my age? Let me know if you could keep doing this newborn up all night, toddler up at 6:30 in the morning and going all day thing! 🙂

  13. I can say I know what you are going through you are not alone. My husband and I Have 17 year age difference between the two of us so we started our family really p early. And in 2000 started out family with a sweet little girl, then another little girl in 2002 and another in 2004 all of which were planned. All three in school and every much independent we took our first family vacation to Florida to my home state and to surprise my grandma. Little did we know the surprise was on us when two weeks after we got home I found that we brought home suvenar but we would not get to meet him/her for 9 months. I was freaked out. I just go a job the first one ever with benifits and all. Took me two weeks after knowing to tell my husband. Ate was high and I prayed that the lord take this baby away. Horrible I know. I found a group called the pregnancy life line and began going there once a week and that helped a lot. It was not until I started feeling the baby move and my older kids feeling the baby move that I finally came to turns with having another baby. I had complications through out the pregnancy but we made it OK. The baby decided to come 3 weeks early, my grandma was hoping to be here when the baby was born but she did not make it. On 11-11-12 our fourth baby girl Tessa Jean was born, one day shy of being 1 month old my grandma passed away while her visiting, I was able to get one photo of the two of them together. The same day of my grandma’s funeral my 10 and my family rushed to the hospital where she had to have surgery. It has been by far the Hardee’s and most stressful time of my life was not until a few months after I looked into my new Bjorn’s eyes as she smiled at me and I realized she was here for a reason to help me through these hard times. She has since then been the highlight of our lives. Now a year later I Have my sweet 1 year old a 9, 11, and 13 year old and I’m 33. But I would not change a thing. Things happen for a reason we usually don’t find out until later and sometimes never do. You just have to live with faith and take it ones day at a time. I pray you have found peace and are able to enjoy the mirical you have been bleated with.

  14. heather says:

    I completely understand the way you are feeling… I am pregnant with my fifth child! I felt the same way as you do now, with my third AND fourth child. The primary feeling was embarrassment that people felt I was being irresponsible. When in fact, my body does not work with birth control, and every pregnancy (except this one) was a birth control pregnancy. Keep your head up!! It’s always worth it in the long run <3

    • Hi Heather, You are so right — babies end up being totally worth it. Thank you for taking the time to share your personal story, and for giving a bit of support and encouragement to Chaunie.

  15. brittany says:

    I always wanted four kids not this soon though. I am 29 yrs old I have a 8yr old, 5 yr old and a 14 month old. I am also pregnant with twins. I am due july 1. I am freaking out as well seeing I now need to buy a bigger car and more baby items.I completely understand your worries and concerns. I had the exact same. You are not alone.

  16. Kristen says:

    I understand completely. I’ve always wanted four kids but really thought we were done after three girls. I had pre-eclampsia with the second, had an emergency c-section with her, then developed high blood pressure a couple of years later. I had started giving away the baby clothes and being content with three. We were out of rooms, like you, though the two younger ones shared by choice. I was looking forward to the youngest going to school & having time to myself finally to work in that novel I’ve been sitting on forever. Then lo & behold, I’m pregnant. I’m ten years older than you so I had more risks; my blood pressure, I developed yet another blood clot (three out of four now), developed pre-eclampsia again & had to deliver early again (my third was the only one to make it to 38wks but all were healthy, even the 36-weeker, thank God). Having a third c-section was the easiest part. Of course I wouldn’t trade any of my girls for anything. We still worry about the finances, college, weddings etc, but for now I’ll settle for getting the laundry put away and being more patient.

    • Kristen says:

      Sidebar: girls are 16, 11, 9 & almost 4. I had trouble getting pregnant after the first then lost one at 19 weeks. After going through so much to finally have another baby, have her come just short of 36 weeks, not be able to use hormones for birth control because of blood clots, I figured I wouldn’t be able to have another so I chose not to worry about it. And that’s how I ended up with four.

  17. Elana says:

    I actually just had my fourth. I have twins who are 4 1/2, a daughter who just turned 3 and now a 4 month old. It’s very difficult, but not impossible. Only one of my twins is fully potty trained, and my 3-yr-old has barely started. It can be a struggle, but my kids are very close because they are close in age. It’s a delight to watch them play together. And the girls dote on the littlest one and even want to help. And you’re not stupid. You were trying to prevent, and it didn’t work. That’s not stupidity at all. I know you can do it!

  18. Chris says:

    I agree with Amy completely. This baby is a gift from God. Sometimes he throws us surprises, but that is because it is a part of his plan not ours. Enjoy this gift and don’t let the views of others dictate your happiness. It is not irresponsible to bring a baby into a loving family, in fact it is the most responsible thing we can do as parents.

  19. Colleen says:

    My husband and I have been married for 3 years and have a beautiful little one year old boy and another baby on the way. I always say I want 2, maybe 3, but I’m open to whatever number the god and goddess bless up with.

  20. Aubrey says:

    I have 3 myself, tried to have my tubes tied after #2 by myself but the dr wouldn’t do it as I was only 21. Then I met my hubby who took on my 2 boys, and all my animals! When I found out I was pregnant I knew I was gonna get the ‘what the hell were you thinking! oh yeah, you weren’t’ even though I was married. I just flat told my family that it was my body, my family and my choice, and if they didn’t like it they could go to hell. My boys are now 12, 9 and the baby will be 2 in Feb. I did get my tubes tied after the baby as 3 little boys is more than enough for me and our small home. I’ll be 30 next month and I’m happy. Yeah, I wanted at least one little girl, but the roll of the dice said no 🙂

  21. Jess_Wil11 says:

    I don’t know how much I can help because I’m only working on Baby #2 ( hopefully, if it’s a boy, we will be finished). But, I truly can’t understand how you feel, but I can see pregnancy as starting over again. No matter how many times we go through this life-changing experience, it is what it is, life-changing, but for the better. I believe that you are a wonderful mother and you and your family will grow close. There are always financial burdens and other issues related to extending a family, but in the long run, it’s all worth it! Prayers for you and your new journey!

  22. Amy says:

    God gave you this baby to love and raise. You re not irresponsible. That baby is a gift. I have 7. 2 girls and 5 boys. 17, 12, 9, 6, 4,3,and 1. So I know all too well your feelings. I have tried to explain I am letting God use my womb. For selfish people out there they don’t understand why you would want more than the “normal” two. It’s more to love. This baby will bless all of you. You’ll see. Everything will be fine. If you are happy don’t let the negativity from the outside world bother you or get you down. Prayers are for you tonight my girl

  23. Amy says:

    Hi,
    I can certainly relate to your post. I’m a 33 year old mom of 5 boys. My husband and I had been married 3 years when found out I was pregnant with surprise #1. I was 23 at the time. Sadly, I lost that sweet baby. A year and a half later I gave birth to our first son, Eli who is our only planned pregnancy. Eli was just 6 months old when I found that we would have surprise #2, Cohen. They are almost 13 months apart. Two years later I gave birth to surprise #3, Micah. I had three boys ages three, two, and newborn. Micah was 3 months old when lo and behold, I was having Cobey, surprise #4. Micah and Cobey are less than a year apart. 3 Years later I gave birth to surprise #5, Kasen. He completed our family.

    I worried about what people would think and still I am on the receiving end of lots of interesting looks and comments (generally harmless) and they bothered me for a while. It usually has something to do with me having my hands full or something about not believing we don’t have a girl. While I would have loved to have a girl and sometimes my heart still aches for that mother-daughter relationship, I know that God has a plan and a purpose for my life and the lives of my boys. There are days that are difficult, there are days I don’t want to get out of bed, there are some very busy days, and there are a lot of days that I am exhausted. There are also many wonderful days.

    So at those times when people make comments or give me pity looks, I put a smile on my face and remember that I am so very blessed and that for every difficulty, the wonderful outweighs it by far, I do have enough love for each of my boys, and good can be found in my failures and faults.

    Prayers for your family!

  24. Jennifer says:

    Just wait for the first smile. You’ll know it was all in His timing and feel peace. I’m snuggling with my number 4 now; his smiles and giggles make it all okay.

  25. Anni says:

    I have four kids of my own & wouldn’t trade them for the world. I can definitely relate to the whole shell shocked thing. My oldest two are now 18 & 13. Some years after my second child I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian disease. I was told I would never have any more & was extremely lucky that I had been able to have those two. I was fine with that plus my marriage was coming apart & knew a violent household was bad for any kid. The summer of 09 I got really sixpck & after lots of tests found out I was pregnant. very pregnant my second daughter was born a month premie the next day. When I went to tie my tubes a year later found baby #4. So now I have an 18 13 4 & 3 year-old

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