At 38 years old should we have another baby?
Hi, can you please give advice I’d like to ask you how do you know if you should have another baby? I’m 38, have no help other than my husband and do attachment parenting so we’re very tired and don’t have time for each other. We have a 3.5-year-old and 11-month-old…. I just wonder if we’ll regret not having a 3rd and not trying to see if we could have a boy. thanks!
Pros and Cons
Old Faithful: The List
Thanks for sharing this important question. Have you used the decision-making technique of sitting down with your husband and making the list of pros and cons of having your third child? That is a good place to start – by doing this you will be able to clarify your thoughts together and reason through what might at times seem like an emotional roller coaster. Take a few weeks to add to the list.
One item you might be tempted to put on the “pro” side of your list is having the possibility of that third child being a boy. Well, that would be a perk, but in our experience, it’s not a good reason to go for #3. But it’s a good reason to try for a boy knowing you would be happy with either a boy or another girl. And if you feel called to be parents of three then the challenges will seem more bearable. Your heart grows with each pregnancy, as you learned having your second baby. And just like the adjustment period of going from one child to two took time, going from two to three will also take time – and in a new and different way.
Knowing how important her siblings are to each other now that they are grown, our daughter Hayden, after debating this issue for a while, came to realize that when there are only two children, what if they wind up not getting along as adults. Having the third one means the kids are more likely to have life-long allies.
Focus on Your Health
Maternal age is not an issue. You can focus on being your most healthy self as you prepare to become pregnant again: incorporating movement into your daily routine, eating nutritionally dense foods, managing your stress levels – all the good tips on this journey to pre-pregnancy health can be found in our book, The Healthy Pregnancy Book. Once you have your husband on board (if he is open to the idea of having a third child), he can be part of the project, encouraging and supporting you to be your healthiest both prenatally and pre-pregnancy. The best way he can support you, of course, is to join you in either getting healthy or moving your health status up and notch or two. You will for sure have more energy for pregnancy and parenting three.
Find Your Tribe
Now, since you say your husband is your only support currently, I assume you mean neither of your families live close by. That is often the case for parents with young children. You can look for other ways to build your tribe. Join a MOPS group, see if your area has a La Leche League toddler group, find or start a stroller fitness class, arrange for childcare swapping with a friend, and check out church or synagogue groups.
Mommy Down Time
Have a designated time each week (even if it’s just one hour) where dad has fun time with the kids, and you get some down time. Even if you decide to remain a two-child family, finding ways to make your parenting more fun and less stressful will be well worth the trouble. And then you may find it easier to make the leap from having two to having three. And what a happy outcome that would be, even if it winds up being three girls!
Written By: Martha Sears, RN
Martha is the mother of Dr. Bill’s eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her eight children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter). Martha speaks frequently at national parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today’s mothers with their changing lifestyles. Martha is able to connect with both full-time, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers because she herself has experienced both styles of parenting. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a “professional mother” and one of her favorite quips when someone voices their concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: “The world needs my children.”