It’s 2am. She’s wide awake. I know I’m in this for the long haul. She’s not going back to sleep. This will involve us going downstairs and playing until she’s sleepy and I can start the process of rocking her to sleep. I have to get up at 6:30am. I have back to back meetings. Will we be lucky tonight and be back in bed by 4am? I purposely don’t look at the clock. When my alarm goes off a couple of hours later I feel like I’ve been asleep for two minutes. I feel tired. I feel bloody old.
Lately I’ve been giving serious consideration to the idea of having another child, now that the hideousness of child birth is but a lingering memory (only took 14 months) and our breast feeding fiasco, sorry journey, is behind us (I loved it really but MAN was that hard work). There’s a big part of me that wants her to have a brother or sister but I honestly don’t know if I can go through this again.
Here is where my head is at:
Age: I’m 36 (nearly 37). How old is too old for another baby? I know that women have babies into their late forties now but I’m talking in terms of energy levels. You can’t deny that you start to feel tired much more quickly as those years tick by. I had Willow when I was 35. Should I have decided to have children younger when I had more energy or was I right to wait and get a bit of life experience under my belt? I think that by waiting a little longer I have some smidges of wisdom that I hope to pass on to her and any future child we might have (although god knows this is a VERY different world to the one I grew up in). I spent my twenties travelling and hanging out at music festivals. In my early thirties I built my career. I’m glad I can set an example for Willow so that she will grow up knowing that she too has the right to make her own life choices about when she starts a family.
Experience: I think the prospect of having another baby is a bit more daunting now I truly know the impact it has on your life. Gone is the naïve first time pregnant lady with her dreams of strapping the child onto her back and heading off round the world whipping her boob out on demand and having a thoroughly jolly time. In reality I was ‘crying hysterically at dropping my breast pad in the toilet’ lady who quite frequently had to be peeled off the ceiling by various friends and family. On the flip side experience could work in our favour as we will be much more prepared on a practical level (we’ve kept all Willow’s baby ‘stuff’ which is probably quite telling in itself about our thoughts on having more children. Children? Plural? Hang on a second….) We would also be slightly less blind sided by the sleep deprivation, colic and cracked nipples (not so much the latter for Anthony).
Finances: As much as it pains me to say it we would have to think very carefully about if we can afford another baby right now. Our budget is worked out to the penny. We certainly can’t afford two lots of nursery fees so if we do decide to go for it we really should wait until Willow is three when we get help with childcare costs. The last thing I want is for us to be distracted and worried about money when we should be soaking in the bliss of having a newborn in the house (time does really make you forget the reality doesn’t it?)
The existing child. She. Never. Stops. It’s a hundred miles an hour from the moment she wakes (at 5am) to the moment she goes to bed. She’s a little clever clogs and needs constant stimulation or starts rioting. How on earth would I be able to care for two at the same time? I’d be outnumbered and outwitted at every turn. How to you stop a toddler undressing and putting her clothes in the kitchen bin while breastfeeding a new born? (Maybe you don’t?)
A while back I read read Little Love and Sunshine’s awesome blog ‘To the Thirty Something Mums’ https://littlesloveandsunshine.com/2016/07/05/to-the-thirtysomething-mums/ so I revisited it while writing this post. It gave me some perspective and a little bit of hope. Yes, we’re tired, no we’re not wafty, nubile twenty somethings anymore but this too shall pass. One day we will be rested and be able to look back on these hectic days and realise how wonderful it actually all is.
Am I overthinking it? Should I take advice from Nike and ‘just do it’? I’d love to hear about your experiences of the reality of having baby number two (and don’t hold back on my account).