Baby number 5 is due in April and we are all very excited. It feels strange to be pregnant again – I guess after each baby I feel such relief that pregnancy is over and such a strong desire to never go through labour again, that being back in the same situation for the 5th time perhaps felt unlikely. However, my attitude whenever I get asked about having more children, has always been “never say never”, so I’ve always been open to the idea of having more. Also as a Catholic I understand and believe in the reasons to always be open to new life and to accept whatever God wills, and if that means a new baby even when we think we’re done, then so be it…
I have had these words rolling through my mind for months now, and I have debated whether to share them or not. I keep sitting at the laptop, I write one sentence, then I delete it and walk away again. But however much I dismiss the need to write these thoughts down, they always end up resurfacing, and I’m taking it that maybe there’s a reason for that, so I’m just going to bang it all out and see how it turns out!
Lance and I felt pretty content with our family of four children. But something started niggling at me that wouldn’t go away, and I don’t think I have ever felt quite so strongly that I was being asked by God to do something. It came upon me one day while I was sitting in mass and suddenly, when I looked at my life, I knew with a deep certainty that our family wasn’t yet complete and what we were being asked to do. We are fortunate enough to have the space, the finances and resources to have another baby; the only major inconvenience was the fact that we’d need a bigger car. Obviously there are many other inconveniences that follow another baby (less sleep, even less opportunities to go out together in the evenings, holidays become even more expensive etc.) but really, when I thought about it, what are those reasons in comparison to what we’d receive as a family through adding another one? Another child to bring more love and happiness, another sibling for the children to grow up with, another child to maybe bring us grandchildren in the future or, God willing, have a vocation. As we realised when we had Robin, another baby and the love that they bring, can never be a bad thing.
I prayed and prayed about it for months but the feeling never went away, so then came the time to talk to Lance. I guess you could say it took him a while to come round, and after an initial blank “No way! Are in you insane?”, I just left him quietly to mull it over for a month or so. In time I think he realised how serious I was, how much it meant to me and how small and insignificant his reasons were to not have another one (it definitely helps when you have a husband with faith and you can throw the “I think God is asking this of us” thing at him). Once he’d accepted those reasons as I had, he soon became as excited as I was. And we both know from experience that once the baby is here, as hard as it is, we will never regret that child coming into our lives. Though I can almost certainly imagine regretting not having it. And who knows – maybe this baby is destined for greatness?!
As mothers we are often torn between this desire for our children to grow up so they become a bit easier and take less of our time, but also wanting our children to stop growing and stay little and completely “ours”. I so look forward to the day when they all go to school together and I’m left to my own devises from 9-3pm, and yet at the same time the thought terrifies and saddens me. On the one hand I have the shocked, jaw-dropped reactions from friends to the news that we are having another baby, the comments like “you’re crazy!” or “you’re brave!”, while on the other I have people constantly telling me “appreciate them while they’re young – they grow up so quickly!”. When I think about the moments that bring me the most happiness and joy in my daily life, it is generally when Robin or Immie has come running across the room to hug me without prompting, they’ve said something hilarious (that only small children come out with), or I’ve sat on the sofa watching all four of them all dancing, or playing together. Through all the tears and tantrums that fill the rest of the day, these small happy moments make it worth it a million times over. Why do I want them to end so quickly? What is the rush to have them all in school – so that I can go back to work? As much as I miss working now and then and loved my career as an occupational therapist, I have never felt overly ambitious, and so appreciate never having to worry about work on top of family life. We are also lucky enough that we get by ok just on Lance’s salary. So work is certainly not an incentive! I am happy to accept the role of a homemaker and mother as the way I will make my small difference in the world – by trying to raise good, kind, Christian adults who can go and be warriors for Christ, and spread more goodness and love throughout the world. Motherhood is my vocation – it’s what I’m good at. Through all the days when I want to tear my hair out with boredom at the daily grind and monotony of it all, deep down I know I love it and I don’t ever want it to end.
So here we are now, 27 weeks down the line and just over 3 months to go until I pop. We had the grand sex reveal at 20 weeks and know we are having another boy (poor Immie!). As scared as I am by the incoming change to our lives yet again, I know that I have done it before and I can do it once more. There will certainly be more hardship and more sleepless nights but I know it will be worth it in the end. The only problem is when you’ve reached the home truths that I have realised, is when do you stop?!