5 reasons I’m glad I had a fourth baby five years after our last

Michaela Fox

I worked hard to persuade my husband that a fourth baby was a good idea. Truth be told, I had to convince him that the third was a good idea too. But she turned out rather well and I argued that the fourth would just “slot right in”. Still, he took a bit of convincing. “We are through the baby fog”, he reasoned. “Why go back to nappies and sleepless nights?” Life is so much easier now.” All valid points, and with a 7-year-old, 6-year-old and a 5-year-old (yes I had three in less than three years, and no I would not recommend it) we were entering the parenting “sweet spot”.

But I wasn’t ready for the sweet spot

It wasn’t that our family felt incomplete with three kids, I just felt it would be more complete with four. And I am nothing if not persuasive. So, after a fair degree of coaxing, hubby happily agreed (read: conceded defeat) and we added a 4th baby to our tribe. And though she didn’t get the memo about being chilled out (yep, that’s how I sold it to hubby) and despite her allergy to sleep (hmm…that one backfired too) there are so many ways she has enhanced our family. And I am not just talking about the expression lines on my face (or is that due to advanced maternal age?).

1. Love on steroids

Whether you add one, two, three or more babies to your life, each time is a joyous and loved up experience. There is nothing in life that delivers as much happiness as a newborn baby. They are utter miracles, every single one of them. From the moment you see those two lines on the pregnancy test to when you hold their warm, slippery, naked body to your chest, it’s a love affair like no other. And you know what they say? You never regret the babies you have (even the ones who are allergic to sleep,) only the ones you don’t.

2. Sisters united

Hands down the best thing about this experience is watching my older girls dote on their baby sister. Sharing the entire journey with them has been the most beautiful experience. Their excitement during the pregnancy was off the charts. And the moment they met their baby sister in the hospital will remain one of the happiest moment of my life. As soon as they locked eyes with her they fell in love. And the elation has not subsided. Every milestone is a family affair; her first smile, first crawl, first tooth, is celebrated with giggles of delight and wonder. No pangs of jealousy or displacement, they are besotted.  

3. Life lessons

Raising a tiny human being is hard work. It involves compromise and challenge every day. There are so many opportunities for learning through having a baby in the family. Not only are my girls learning about the female body, and how jaw-dropping amazing it is, they are taking a keen interest in health by learning what we consume has direct effects on our body (thanks reflux baby with dairy intolerance!). My girls don’t find milk spraying from my nipples weird, though admittedly they do find it funny. Rather they are learning about breastfeeding and biology through observation. They are also acquiring important life skills like responsibility, care, protection, patience and compromise.

4. Lightened load

Many hands make light work. Admittedly, when those hands are little, the labour feels a little heavy for the parents. But now that my older children are able to do more work, I find that I spend less time on certain jobs, and some I don’t even do anymore! We may have more work to do, but there are more hands to do it.

Each morning my girls sweep the floor for choking hazards like pieces of Lego or Sylvanian family objects. They are responsible for getting their own breakfast in the morning and they help fetch dummies and baby wipes constantly. They are also learning the importance of sharing and selflessness. They understand that when bubba is hungry everything else has to wait. Consequently, they are becoming more independent, resourceful and capable.

5. Play time

My children are blessed with playmates on tap. Given bubba demands a lot of my attention they look to themselves and each other for entertainment. Unstructured (and often unsupervised) play is prolific in our house. Our home is filled with creativity, projects, and imagination. They feed off of each other’s creativity, too, and yes it creates mess – so much MESS – but I’m pretty mess-tolerant these days. Like my laundry load it is out of control, but that’s another lesson and family rule:  you create it, you tidy it!

As for bubba, there is no shortage of entertainment and cuddles for her. She is stimulated from dawn to dusk, perhaps little over-stimulated at times. Why sleep when there’s so much fun going on?!

 

Michaela Fox is a freelance writer, blogger and mother of four. She muses on the ups and downs of motherhood on her blog Not Another Slippery Dip, and believes in ‘good-enough’ parenting. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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