The Joy of Pregnancy Number Four
I was never the broody type. Indeed in my twenties some of my friends started longing to settle down and have children, but this was never my plan, instead I was planning on a career and living in a rather self centered, soft focused world that revolved around doing as I pleased. This all changed when I fell pregnant with my first child, suddenly my world was filled with nappies and caring duties. I was a grown-up with real responsibilities and the shift in my priorities was immense. Eight years on and I’m expecting my fourth baby, even as I type these words I find it hard to believe.
I must say that the fourth pregnancy is significantly different to my first and so are other people’s reactions to it. With the announcement of being pregnant with my first child came gleeful congratulations and great interest in baby names and plans; although with the announcement of my first pregnancy has come sniping comments and unhelpful words such as ‘how will you cope with another one’, and ‘I think your mad to have another’. Indeed there are some possible downsides to having a large family such as having four children makes it harder, both financially and logistically, to do anything holiday-wise, but it’s not impossible, it will just take planning. Although, when we do head out as a family of six our even number will ensure that no one ends up left out for example when going on rides or travelling on trains etc.
Already with three young children there is more of everything: more toys, more after school activities, more mess, more noise, more interruptions, more dinners to cook, but then there is more laughter, more pictures to pin up and more hugs and kisses to go around. Yes, I do end up treading on Lego bricks and tripping over toys and I do seem to be on a treadmill from 7am until they go to bed and I finally flop into bed, but when they smile at me and tell me love me I realize and I’m given pictures they have drawn I know that I wouldn’t change a thing.
In just a few months time I will be a Mother-of-four: and this it seems is quite a statement as modern family sizes have decreased. In 1964 one in five families consisted of four or more children, by 2009 that figure had dropped to one in ten. Today , it’s more unusual to have four children and with the cost of living and increase in living standard expectations it’s seen as a luxury to have more than one or two children. As a result, people’s views on larger families have changed and there seems to be an attitude that four children is the preserve of only women who have lifestyle and money such as celebrities and those with super rich husbands.
As a working mum of three I have encountered my fair share of raised eyebrows and at times cutting comments, however, this pregnancy I have encountered what is best described as ‘a not altogether enthusiastic response’ to my condition. It’s been much less a tone of congratulations and more of a morbid concern coupled with impatient eye rolling and quite a bit of general tutting.
I may not be Posh Spice, Tanya Ramsay or Jules Oliver, but I’m not tired of reading ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’, or of singing nursery rhymes another round of breast feeding or another round of school plays or teething troubles.
I’m not squeamish about dirty nappies, sickness in the night or grazed knees and though I lament about the lack of relaxation time I always said I like to be busy. Whilst I worry about deadlines, marmalade entries and getting school uniforms ready, I still find time to make sure the children have there costumes ready for the school disco or play and if I managed to get a child-free moment and I filled in a job application for mother-of-four I think I’d rate as a fairly good candidate.
So, now I need to serve up home-made Eton Mess and help with homework tasks, before getting the school uniforms ready and watching a much promised children’s film , then I might get time to slot in a deadline, catch up with e-mails and who knows one day my husband and I might get a date night.