Let’s put it out there and look at my situation as it is.
I am 34, and in four months, I will be 35.
I’ve had 3 children, they are soon to be 6, 4 and 2 years old. I’ve always thought that I would be happy with 3 kids, that I would be done having children after our third child.
Moreover, I did not enjoy being pregnant, especially since my last pregnancy was the toughest. I suffered many migraine episodes and couldn’t take any painkillers other than the generic paracetamol due to different medications may potentially affect our baby in utero. I’ve had more days off work during that pregnancy than my first two, and thankfully my boss was understanding and did not give me grief for missing work due to these episodes.
I could say that possibly, being pregnant 3 times in a span of the last five to six years has affected my work progression and limited some opportunities from me. Hence, there is a career factor to consider as well, as your career will definitely be affected by having children.
Another issue was that I have a fear of having children past the typical 35 years of age due to increased chances of miscarriages, chromosomal defects, and higher risk pregnancies for the mother. Again this was a guideline by doctors and not a strict cliff that women will fall over after they hit 35 years of age, but me being naturally fearful and prone to anxiety, I worried of the what-ifs and that was a reason I had my kids earlier. Even during my pregnancies for my three kids, I used to scrutinize their ultrasound scans during our visit to the doctor to check if there was any possibility of abnormality missed out. Frankly, it was not fun to be my gynecologist, they probably had to take on the role of being a therapist and doctor with patients like me who questioned them quite a few times on baby’s well-being and potential risks they may have missed out.
I’ve also had issues with the effects of pregnancy post-partum on my own body and struggled with body image. After my third child, my belly has never been the same and the dreaded mummy tummy made me appear four months pregnant even to this day. I admit I did not take care of my diet during pregnancy and I used being pregnant as a way to get away with over-eating, frankly eating anything I wanted and craved for without thinking of potential long-term consequences. It was a blow when one of my colleagues asked me if I was having twins while I was in my third trimester, so you can imagine how big I looked. Now I am still trying to resolve my weight back to pre-pregnancy. It is not easy and even though this is more of a vanity issue, it did affect my self-confidence.
However, the biggest issue for me is not being able to provide the same amount of care to my fourth child if we ever choose to have another baby. My husband and I have been fortunate to have parents who loved our kids and were willing to care for them while we pursue our careers and work, sometimes working late. We never had to worry about our kid’s emotional and physical well-being while we worked. However my in-laws are getting on in age, and they are not physically and mentally capable to take in another child under their wing, to have another one without considering this would be selfish and irresponsible on my part and I will not do so.
The alternatives are sending our fourth child for paid childcare, which is an option for many families, however, it would mean our fourth baby will not get the same care as her/his older siblings and it did not seem fair to the kid.
The last option was for me to be a homemaker and stop working, however, I wanted to work, it gives me drive and something to sink my teeth into. I did not want to become resentful for having more children if I were to stop working full time and regret the decision in years to come should I choose to go down that path.
And yet, after listing all my concerns for having another child, here I am, questioning myself am I really done with having more children.
It does not help that my biological clock is getting on and my window for having more children is limited. I have only a few more years of healthy childbearing.
Thinking of life 20 years down the road, would I regret my decisions now?
What do I want for my life and my family in the future, what does a lifetime appears to you, what is important?
Work accomplishments, more money, and status?
Or family and children, and a house filled with love and joy, and little people to nourish and bring up well. People to love and who love you back.
At this point, I am yet to make a decision. I am not able to conclude my dilemma, maybe a year from now, I would have made my choice and hopefully come to peace with whichever my decision will be.