Tuesday, January 19, 2016

To The Family Considering a 4th Child

So, you've managed three and you're now considering a fourth?  People will look at you in shock and confusion in this society where three is already considered a large brood.

In 2011, I went to a conference with a really fun person I'd met in the blogging world.  She had three and I was pregnant with my 3rd.  At the first dinner, I looked at the women to my left who's name was Rachel, accompanied with a small child in a high chair and I asked brightly, so is she your first?  After all, this lovely women looked really young.  She said, oh no, she's my 7th!  I quite nearly fell off my chair in shock.  Then a missionary visited our table who had 6 kids and another popular blogger who did most of the evening studies had 6 and by the end my friend and I were like, wow, I guess we have small broods!

The following year, I found three to be completely overwhelming.  We lived in Florida at the time with no family support so when my oldest, who was 4 at the time, broke her arm, we had to ask my husband's mom to fly in to help for 2 weeks while we managed her care along with our two year old and our baby who was only 4 months old at the time.  We had many things go wrong that year, the baby was diagnosed with failure to thrive, our 4 year old had trouble adjusting to pre-school, my husband broke his hand, our 2 year old fell off a bench and split his chin open, my anxiety felt off the charts - it was a crazy year!

So how did we manage to go from 3 to 4?

Well, for us family support was important, so in 2014 we moved our small brood to Hagerstown, MD where I'd grown up.  We then attended the church I grew up in which had a number of families with 4 and 5 kids so it started to feel normal to add just one more.  We also waited until the youngest had just turned 2 to get pregnant so while she still wasn't potty trained, she was at least walking, talking, able to dress herself and communicate on many levels.  This helped us feel like we only had one baby to care for and I wasn't trying to hold the two year old in stores like I had with my prior three pregnancies where the  kids were only 2 years apart at birth.  By the time we had Evie, our Violette was about to turn 3 years old.  This made a huge difference in the babies first year because it really felt like we only had one baby.  The three older kids were in a solid routine of meals, baths, school for the two oldest and we had a good schedule that kept us sane.  We also thankfully had no family emergencies that year.

So my only advise is to go for #4 when you feel good and ready.  Don't let anyone talk you out of a child if you really want one and have the means to care for that child.  Children are such a wonderful blessing and the joy we see while watching the older ones care for the baby is priceless.  They cheer over her every accomplishment, every dance, every smile.  Yes they still trip over her and make her cry but they also learn from their mistakes and take more care around her.

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