Five is (not?) enough…

Fiala is six weeks old, almost seven.  When I was pregnant with her, I told my hubby, “If, in a year or two, I start itching to have another baby, remind me how difficult this pregnancy was.”  And, it was.  I’m 35, and my pregnancy with Fiala was the first time in my life where I really felt… well, not quite “old,” but at least that I was aging.  Things just didn’t work as well as they used to, and new problems kept cropping up.  It seemed as if my body was protesting being pregnant, like, “Haven’t we already done this, like, a lot of times before???  You sure you wanna do this???”  It was hard, and I was so glad when the pregnancy was over.  Not just because that meant I got to meet Fiala, but it just meant I didn’t have to be pregnant any more.

I already didn’t like being pregnant, even before this last pregnancy.  Some women adore it.  Not me.  Most women hate giving birth;  I think it’s fabulous, and can’t understand why anyone would not want to experience the birthing process to its fulness.  In fact, I had never met anyone like me, until recently, when I met a woman who, like me, LOVES giving birth, and hates being pregnant.  (She lives down the street, and she’s really sweet, and extremely nice, and Audrey loves her 4yo daughter…  I just wish she wasn’t Mormon.  There are a lot of fine, upstanding Mormon people and Mormon families;  my hubby’s immediate boss is Mormon, and it helps that someone above Martin understands both having a lot of kids, and prioritizing ministry, sometimes above work.  However, there’s just something deeper, at a core level, that I don’t think I’ll ever share with my new friend, nor her with me.  Bummer.)


While I was pregnant, there was also a deep part of me that was afraid that after Fiala was born, I’d look around and say, “Holy cr@p!  Five kids!!!  What was I thinking????”  There have been moments like that…  Like about a week and a half ago, my hubby was at Bible study, it was after dinner.  Fiala was sleeping, and I needed to put Audrey in the tub.  Usually, with five kids that share a bathroom, it’s, “HURRY UP!!!  There are FOUR PEOPLE waiting to take a shower!!  DON’T USE ALL THE HOT WATER!!!” but this time, I decided to let Audrey take a nice, long bath, which she adores.  I also needed to make a batch of rice milk for Audrey’s obligatory bedtime bottle, which, since she eats like a butterfly, is sometimes the only real protein she gets in a day.  The boys were all playing in the back yard.  So, I popped Audrey in the tub, and started a pan on the stove.  Now, I have rice-milk-making down to a science;  I typically make a batch about twice every three weeks.  It takes approximately 20 minutes, but I was able to pop in frequently and check on Audrey, as there’s only a span of about five of that where it’s really critical — when the rice flour is added to the boiling water, and you have to stir nonstop for several minutes.  Of course, at that exact moment, Audrey hollers, “MOM!  POOP!!”  At that same moment, Fiala woke up and started crying, hard.  Simultaneously, all three boys troop in from outside, all of them yelling/protesting/tattling/crying to varying degrees about some trauma.

So, I had five high-need kid-situations, PLUS a boiling pot of stuff on the stove, which I had to stir.

It was so bad that I just had to laugh.  It was like a comedy of errors.

However, most times aren’t like that.  In fact, there have been a great many times when I’ve thought, “It really isn’t hard with five.  I’m really enjoying this.”  Of course, it helps that Fiala is such a lovely little baby, all sweetness and cuddles.

Also, I’ve been having a hard time with thoughts like, “This will be my last nursing baby.”  Or, “This will be the last time we celebrate a one month birthday.”  In other words, poignant to the nth degree.  😦

I also keep thinking of a speech my mom gave when I was in the hospital.  I mentioned to some friends that were also visiting the new baby and me, “When we told my mom that this was our last baby, she said, ‘Yeah, right‘.”  I knew my mom was joking at the time, but what I didn’t know, and what she said then, was that what she meant was that ours was the best family she knew, and we were the best parents, and that she was so proud of both Martin and me, and loved us so dearly, that she wouldn’t be surprised if, in a couple of years, we decided to have another baby, and all the better that baby would be, and the world would be, to be in a family like ours.  My jaw dropped.  That was the nicest thing my mom — or perhaps anyone — has said about me, ever.  I didn’t even know she thought that.  What support, you know?

Then, the other night, Martin threw into conversation something like, “I’m not quite ready yet for #6.”  Implying that, perhaps, he would be ready sometime in the not-so-far future.  He’s done that a few times, actually.  Or said something like, “If we had #6, we really would need five bedrooms.”

I shared my waffling thoughts on the subject with a couple of friends at church, semi-jokingly, and I wish I could have captured their shocked faces.  “Oh, no!  Don’t think that!!!”

I don’t know.  Not that I have to decide right now…  And, not that I’m the only one who will, eventually, make that decision…  But I am surprised that I’m even thinking about #6.

The route my thoughts have take me is that either a) we will eventually have another baby,  or b) I’ll have to start training to be a doula or something.  Actually, the more I think about it, other than the schoolwork, for which I absolutely don’t have time, I would LOVE to become a certified midwife.  Another option might be that we become certified to be foster parents and take in only little ones.  There’s a couple at our church, about my parents’ age, and they have done that for years and years and years.  They’ve seriously taken in hundreds of babies in the last three decades or so.  It sounds both incredibly hard and incredibly rewarding.

God only knows what’ll happen.  I just want my hubby and me to be in unity, when/if it comes to an actual decision time.  🙂


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on December 8, 2008, in Babies, Birth, Christian Living, Family, Friendships, Funny Stuff, Introspective Musings, Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting, Pregnancy, The Dear Hubby, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’ve been pondering something very similar in the last few months…and praying for the same thing, just peace and a united front regardless of which path we take.
    I wish you so much peace and joy in whichever path you take too!

  2. Two friends of mine are considering training as midwives. They had good experiences with giving birth, and with breast-feeding, as though it has changed their entire lives. One of them told me that now the majority of women training to be midwives in Australia are mothers who were inspired by their experiences.

    You know, I sort of got a tiny vibe you might have a sixth child! I like your posts about this. I mean this in a positive way, that you are showing me what it is like to really *want* to have a child, and what it is to be a good mother. I’ve sometimes felt societal pressure on me to have another one, when I am so happy with Kiko and feel myself go into almost shock at the thought of being pregnant and giving birth again. I dread having to go through that again. I also get very bothered about silly things, even though I know I need to chill out. The situation you described with the rice milk would have turned me into a gibbering wreck (in fact, that scene is familiar, we seem to go through that every single day and I’m only dealing with one child!! What’s wrong with me?!) I must admit that when Kiko turned three, a big part of me was thinking: “Phew!”

    I often berate myself for not coping as well as I should, but, at the same time, I have seen mothers on drugs hitting their very small children in public, and other similar worrying sights (the last neighbourhood I lived in was not so good, and even around here you see some disturbing things). It puts things into perspective, I can tell you. I can be a good mammy to one but more than that would push me to my limits. You are a *very* good mummy, I admire you. Whatever decision you make, it will be a good one.

  3. First let me say that we will be having 6 in a 1100 sq ft home with only 3 bedrooms. It really helps me keep the clutter under control. But more rooms would be so nice. And since your husband is a home designer…..

    That is how I felt after having #5. I told people it was our last but husband said he didn’t think so. In my heart I didn’t think so either. But not so with this one. I have felt that this was the last from the very beginning. This has been physically (especially emotionally) the hardest pregnancy ever. I don’t think that I or my family can do this again.

    I will probably post on some of the emotional stuff after she is born.

  4. Wow–another thing in common. I also love giving birth and hate being pregnant! Not something you say above a whisper in the presence of other women–if at all, but I don’t suppose I’ll get any dirty looks here for opting out of the “I had the worst labor of all time” contest.

  5. Sara (formerly dancing boys mom)

    I didn’t know you had another baby. Late congratulations!!! I just stopped by to get your sugar cookie recipe to bake up some cookies for the kids. I hope things get easier with your crying baby. 😦 Had to laugh about the feeling old at 35 and pregnant. I feel the same way right now only I’m nigh on 40. I think my dh is already thinking of #6. I, personally, am thinking of hog-tying him and dragging him down to the doctor to have that little surgery.

    Oh, and I don’t think you’re a whiner, just really overwhelmed right now.

  6. I stumbled upon your website while trying to explain Latin derivatives to my 18yr old son. It has been well over 25 years since I have had to seriously think about those and I Googled “amo latin” and lo, surprisingly, what I remembered about the derivatives was correctly placed.

    I did enjoy reading the couple of entries that I read of yours. I had my eighth (and, sadly, probably my last) child October 27 of this year. My oldest will be 22 in January. I say sadly while apparently forgetting the near daily problems that existed while I was in my last month of pregnancy this time around. I fully understand the feeling your years concept and I very much feel a lot younger than I did while pregnant simply because the back pain is nil, the sciatic nerve trouble has vanished (which once left me stranded in the middle of the room with nothing to grab while the left leg refused to support me or be able to take a step) and I can cough without needing to tightly cross my legs and pray I won’t need to change my pants afterward. Needless to say, that last symptom was a problem in the last three pregnancies which all happened after 2005 so I think I spent the majority of the last three years pregnant. I neglected to list the ages of my children: Anthony 21, Jayden 18, Zanna 16, Richard 10, Matthew 6, Willow 2 (turned two May 29), Jeramy 1 (turned one Aug. 2) and Winter 1 month 3 weeks.

    I was born in Illinois (Danville) and lived in Ogden, Champaign and Westville (aside from other places outside of IL), have thought about homeschooling my children but it went no farther than that and now that we live in Waynetown, Indiana I am finding that the school system here is much better than the one we left, and I am a coffee lover (Millstone has caused me to think of Folgers, Maxwell House, etc. to be comparable to wet dog hair). I, too, love baseball but my husband says it is the most boring sport to watch. I think football is the longest (read that as most boring) sport to watch… what other sport can take 5 seconds left on the clock and manage to make it last over half an hour? Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t 10 degrees with 20 mph winds while sitting (does not encourage blood flow for warmth) on metal bleachers.

    My husband could not tolerate that most of my friends were male, and so I rarely talk to them anymore, opting instead to relish the few female friends I have made and that stayed with me over the years. My lone best friend has been in that position for almost 20 years.

    Well, I’m in need of a cup of coffee and Winter is due to wake very soon. Take care and God Bless you and your family.

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