I’m from a big family, one of four, number 3 in the pecking order and loved having my sisters around me as playmates when I was younger and now as my best friends. I realise that this is a reasonably modern term for a big family, as back in the day, people would have up to 10 children (eeeeeeek) but I guess that was more survival of the fittest and unfortunately as we all know, not all of those children would survive. We are so blessed to live in the time that we do and I thank god every day that I live in a nice place and although I complain about being skint a lot of the time, I do realise that we do pretty well for ourselves and are very very lucky.
But today’s ‘norm’ seems to have slipped into that 2 child family. As soon as you get married people start asking “when will the baby come”? or, like in our case, once you’ve been together for a loooooong time and your boyfriend takes 10 years to propose, people stop asking about when will you get married and start asking about babies!
You generally get a year’s grace before the questions start again, “when will you give X a baby sister/brother”? “You won’t let them be an only child will you”? “You’ve got a boy/girl, surely you want one of the other too”?….. and on and on it goes until you do indeed produce another small person.
Then that’s it. The questions stop and “people” assume that you now have your perfect family. Obviously if you get 2 of the same sex you get the old “Are you disappointed?” “didn’t you want one of each?” I mean really who are these “people”? It really never ceases to amaze me how people feel so at ease making these very bold statements with a straight face!! (I am aware that gender disappointment is a real condition and I really feel for people that suffer) I would NEVER ask someone something like that.
Anyway, I digress. We are now expecting no 3! AND YES IT WAS PLANNED!!! Just to answer the question that I have been asked about 400 times since anyone found out. I mean, I don’t go into the whole ovulation sticks, having endometriosis and polycystic ovaries and the journeys to get pregnant with them, but just reply with a “yes it was” and then you get the “Wow, you are so brave” “how are you going to cope” “Aren’t you scared of having 3 children 4 and under” to the simple but pretty concise, “ I think you are crazy”
Being from a big family I always knew that I wanted a big family too, as does my husband. I love our girls so much and the relationship they have with each other is amazing. Having 2 of my own children has made me even more in awe of my mum, managing 4 small people!!! Why wouldn’t we want to add to our family?
But now at 30 weeks pregnant, all those questions have started going round and round in my head. Life is great but can be very tough at times, with sleep deprivation, (4.30am wake up anyone!) building renovation, working, money and our Eldest about to start school. We’ve just got rid of nappies from our house and can leave the children to play in the garden while I wash up without fear of them falling over and seriously injuring themselves. I’ve just started to wonder whether this may not have been the brightest of ideas and I am also incredibly cross at letting myself get to this point, because of other people.
So I’ve taken to the trusted internet and searched things like “third child, practicalities” “3 children, yes or no” “life with 3 children” and there are a lot of mixed reviews out there – not that this is a film, just a major life decision!! Essentially there are lots of people who are debating no 3. Toying with the idea of odd numbers, new cars, holidays, bedrooms, trying to get that gender that they didn’t get before. And people who have families with 3+ children who say that life is amazing/difficult/challenging/rewarding….
What I have concluded is that every family is different, every dynamic, every personality and situation, so therefore why am I trying to work out what it is going to be like for us now? Until this little person arrives we won’t know. I cannot wait to meet our new arrival and NO I couldn’t care less if it is a boy or a girl (and no we did not find out what we are having!) I am fully aware that these are going to be tough times while we work out our new routines and get to grips with being a family of 5. But I am also very excited about increasing our brood and watching my girls becoming big Sisters, one again, and one for the first time.
If we have a little girl, I worry that 3 will be a crowd, and would we have to have a 4th to even things out… but I don’t think now is the time to be thinking about that yet!!