How Many?

When I found out I was expecting Jessica, it was a big shock. We already had three children. We weren’t trying to conceive, in fact we were actively taking measures against conceiving! I hadn’t been feeling well for a few weeks. My cycle had been so irregular for about a year previous to this, that I didn’t take a pregnancy test. I’d done eight the month before, so it seemed pointless buying any more. I’d been getting sharp twinges in my abdomen and felt tired all the time. Kevin made me go to the doctor, where I explained how I’d been feeling. I stated quite firmly that there was no way I could be pregnant…

The very next day, whilst ironing our holiday clothes, I felt a sudden wave of nausea swoop over me. I couldn’t fathom where it had come from. I wasn’t hungry, nor had I eaten too much for lunch. As I sat down to alleviate the dizziness that had accompanied the queasy feeling, my mind wandered back to the previous weekend. My mother-in-law had been round for dinner, and we’d had a glass of wine each. I thought about how, although it was a nice wine, I really hadn’t enjoyed it much. I then thought about how my boobs had been tingly-sore, and how (had it been following a regular four week cycle) my period was late. Everything added up, but I just couldn’t be…could I?

I switched off the iron and bundled my kids into the car. We drove to the nearest pharmacy, where I bought yet another home pregnancy test. Ten minutes later we were back home, the kids were busy munching on biscuits, and I was sitting on the loo, staring in disbelief at the two pink lines that indicated the beginnings of Jessica.

It took about a week for it to sink in, although I think it only took a few days for Kevin. We were never anything but delighted, but it had just taken us by complete surprise. One of the biggest reasons it took me longer to get to grips with it was the thought of people’s reactions. When I was pregnant with Keira someone actually asked me “Do you two not own a TV?” People had been badgering me since she’d arrived with “How long until the next one?” and “Not thinking about number four yet?” Like I was nothing more than a baby machine, squeezing out as many as possible. Like it was anyone’s business but mine and Kevin’s! I steeled myself for the smug ” I knew you’d have another one!” and “So much for stopping at three!” comments that would undoubtedly be made. Then I exhaled and let it wash over me. If it made people feel better about themselves to make such comments, then that was up to them. Nobody was going to dull our joy.

Thankfully, most people seemed excited for us, although I still felt like we had to explain ourselves to some, as though we’d done something wrong! Since we’d given away all our baby things after Keira was finished with them, we had to start from scratch again. Family and friends were very generous though, giving us items that they no longer needed.

We decided not to find out the sex of the baby. We’d found out when having both Andrew and Keira, but didn’t when having Julia. We thought it would be lovely to have a surprise again, seeing as she really was a surprise! Of course we had the usual “What are you hoping for?” to which my answer was always “a baby.” It really didn’t matter to us either way. Why would it? We knew Andrew wanted a brother, so that it would even things up a bit. The girls wanted a sister…because it meant they would get bunk beds!

We had a boy’s name picked out quite early on, which made me wonder if we were indeed having a boy. We’d struggled with boys names for all three previous pregnancies, but had loads of girls names. This time round we couldn’t settle on any one girl’s name though. We didn’t tell anyone the names we had picked out, simply because we didn’t want anyone potentially ruining them for us, as had happened when we were expecting Keira.

It was exciting not knowing the sex of our baby. As we didn’t have space for a nursery, we didn’t need to bother with girly/boyish/gender neutral colour schemes. When it was time to go to the hospital we were both looking forward to the moment when we would find out whether we had a son or a daughter. When Julia was born, Kevin was first to see that she was a girl. He squeezed my arm and said excitedly “We have a daughter, we have a daughter!” It was such a beautiful moment. Not just it’s a girl but a daughter. He was the one to tell me when Jessica arrived too. As she was placed gently in my arms, I just looked at her and thought “Of course! Of course you’re a daughter! You couldn’t have been anyone else!” Although I’d been convinced for so long that we were having a boy, those thoughts just melted away. She was Jessica. We looked at her and knew that was her name.

We’ve agreed that Jessica is our last baby. Our four children are wonderful little human beings, but we’re pretty much at our limit. There’s no way we could squeeze any more in our house without doing some extension work! Plus I’m not sure my body could handle carrying another baby around for nine months! It was harder near the end of the fourth pregnancy. If money and space weren’t an issue, and if my body could stand the strain, it’s possible we may have decided to have another. You never know – what’s for you won’t go by you. After the shock of finding out about Jessica, nothing would surprise me now. If anyone else did come along, he/she would be as loved and as wanted as the rest.

And in case you’re wondering – the girls did indeed get their bunk beds!

11 thoughts on “How Many?

  1. I heard the TV comment too. My current pregnancy and last two were complete surprises. I will have three boys and a girl, and we’ll be bursting at the seams of our house. It will all work out though. We haven’t confirmed any plans to actively prevent any more children at this time. Having suffered infertility and pregnancy loss, it’s very hard to make a permanent decision.
    I agree that finances and space would leave me more open to the idea of more children. My age and pregnancy complications have to be considered too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We haven’t sorted any permanent prevention either. It’s a hard thing to do, no matter how much you’ve made up your mind.

      I’d imagine a loss and other complications would make the decision even harder. Wishing you all the best with your current pregnancy!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I am the eldest of four. I have been blessed with two although I did want more. My great grandmother reportedly had 21 children although only 17 have been found by a family researcher.
    You have a beautiful family ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful post. I have 5 children and when I told my work colleagues I’m expecting again, one of them actually called me a d head. As a nurse, I see loads of people every day and I too got all the, don’t you know what’s causing it, don’t you have a tv, etc etc, every single day. It broke my heart that people could be so rude.
    But now we have baby Eden who is one (our fourth daughter) and we couldn’t be happier.
    Children are such a personal matter, how many to have and when to have them.
    I really loved you post of this, and it really struck a chord with me.
    You have a beautiful family

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know what makes people think that they have any right to comment or be so rude. I almost felt like I was expected to apologise for being pregnant again!

      The apprehension took a bit of the excitement out of telling people, as it was like we had to whisper it. Luckily most people seemed happy for us – whatever was said behind closed doors is their business!

      Thanks so much for reading and for your lovely comments. Its nice to know I’m not alone in these experiences, although it would be nicer if people would just mind their own business when it comes to such a personal matter, wouldn’t it! X

      Like

      1. Yes it would be helpful if they minded their own business. It can cause a lot of hurt. My husband and I tried for a long time to have a child of our own together but it never worked out for us. It didn’t help when people kept asking if I was expecting yet etc… (my two children are from my first marriage).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. People just don’t think. It’s as though a pregnancy (or lack of) transcends common courtesy. Most of the time people mean well, but sometimes it’s just downright rudeness.

        Liked by 1 person

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