21 things to remember before having another baby

…and why you’ll do it anyway.

having more kidsToday the Illiterate household is tired. A deep, aching tired. It’s an ache that comes from weeks of layering fatigue on top of tiredness on top of sleeplessness on top of exhaustion. We are not unique. All parents go through this at some point, many are going through it now and for those about to say to themselves “it’s funny, I’ve never experienced it” you are either delusional, truly blessed or about to get a really, really big surprise.

If you had told me before kids that this is how I was going to feel, I would have accused you of being a drama queen, of embellishing the truth for pity (I’m quite happy to get some by the way, ideally in the form of baked goods) or not knowing the right way to raise kids (you got to love the wisdom of the child-less, would-be parent).

Once you have a child though, you get it. Which is the weird bit because once you’ve experienced long term sleep deprivation, you would think that you’d happily never do it again. But, statistics say otherwise. The 5 million (ish) families in Australia have an average of 1.9 kids each. This means that more of us have two than have one and some of us have three, or four or whole minivans full of them.

So how does this happen? How do rational, sensible grown ups decide to “do it” (pun slightly intended) again. Well it all starts with the conversation that my wife and I had last night, that starts with “could you do it again” and finishes with… snoring.  Ok so Barry White moments with very young kids are rare but that’s not the point. The point is the conversation just before the snoring was seriously about potential timing, and sleeping arrangements and where the extra toys/clothes/baby paraphernalia would go. Even while struggling to stay awake at the rock n roll time of 9pm, we were seriously talking about more kids!!!

We hadn’t even got to the stage of carefree, kids-and-lives-under-control and were embarking on a hypothetical “what if we had some more” conversation? How could this happen when rationally, there’s so many reasons to avoid further procreation at all costs?  As an experiment I put the following list together in less than 5 minutes (and I type slow)…

10 rational things to remember before having another baby

  1. Your chid will not care that it’s winter and you need to get out of bed to make up a bottle or breastfeed at 1am, 4am and 6am
  2. Your child will also not care that today is a weekend, that you haven’t slept in for months or that today you have a really important presentation/meeting/interview
  3. American breakfast television, Hills Song, Infomercials and other television you get to watch when dealing with point 2.
  4. Each consecutive child you have puts you a few more years from buying a two door vehicle
  5. That pain in your neck when you wake up at 4am in the armchair after patting your child to sleep 3 hours ago
  6.  A newborns ability to initiate DEFCON 5 by deciding to breathe a little quieter for a few minutes
  7. The fact that breastfeeding for many is like being given a room full of Ikea furniture in kit form, without instructions or an allen key and being told you have 15 minutes to put it all together. Oh… and there’s a kid screaming at you the whole time you are trying to do it.
  8. The banshee like screams of a tired/hungry/in-need-of-changing child in the confined environment of a car, on a freeway, more than a few hours from home.
  9. Sleeping does happen but at all the wrong times. Like being up from their first morning sleep before 9am or just as you pull the car up in front of your house
  10. Hearing other people talk about going to see a movie. And hating them.

Why, in the face of all this “evidence” do we keep on going back for more? Well the answer could lie in the next list

10 other things to remember before having another baby

  1. When they fall asleep in your arms
  2. …and the look on their face when they’re asleep… in your arms
  3. When they cling on to your finger when your feeding them
  4. …and when they finish feeding, look at you, milk drunk and content
  5. Their first smile, laugh, giggle…
  6. …first roll over, crawl, stand and steps
  7. When you leave for work one morning and they lean in and kiss you first
  8. …and hold on to you as tight as they can because you’re their hero
  9. When you get to see your whole world is 25% bigger but infinitely better
  10. …and see the world all over again from a totally new perspective
  11. …and did I mention the falling to sleep in your arms?

I suspect that the answer does not reside in rational reason, but in the emotional, irrational world where the strongest argument is defeated by a smile, and countered by a cuddle.

How about you? How long would your “not” list take to assemble and would you/did you have more kids anyway? What’s your best reason not to have more kids and the reason you did? What’s stopping you having even more?

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Sharing my Tuesday with Jess over at  EssentiallyJess.com for I Blog on Tuesday

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37 Responses to 21 things to remember before having another baby

  1. Karen Reid says:

    I stopped after the 1st one because there was no way I could go through it all again. I have huge respect for those that decide to have more children

  2. Emily says:

    My NOT list would be huge at the moment. Huge.
    My OTHER list would have just one thing on it. Love. Encompassing everything you’ve written and more. And it would win.

    (That’s vomit-inducing levels of corniness, but it’s true.)

  3. Kristy says:

    It’s so funny as my hubby and I are at this exact point in our lives, two boys nearly 6 and nearly 2, and we or more so I wsnt to try for a girl. Sometimes its just that feeling that your not finished, I worry about my time with the children I have, but then I think about how I loved having 2 siblings, especially as we got older. All limbs crossed I will finally have some pink in my.house. And thank you for another great read…love it!

  4. Kassey says:

    Oh I know! Almost 12 months in and I’m a yo-yo of to do or not to do. Obviously the really tired hard days are not days and then I forget and I’m all for it.
    Bloody kids

  5. Liv says:

    Your blog is refreshing, i’ll be back again.
    But in answer to your question, we have four and somedays i’m dead set over it and other days i’m as clucky as a hen….so we’ll see…never say never.
    Your first list is so fleeting (at the time it’s excruciating and seems to never end- believe me, i’m living it : 10y.o, 9y.o, 5y.o and 2y.o) but the love that oozes from list 2 lasts a lifetime.
    Go for it: procreate. Siblings are THE BEST GIFT you can give your child/ren
    Liv x

    • Kevin says:

      Thanks Liv and thanks for stopping by. I’m surprised amount of people with more than two kids that have been commenting tonight! Seems like you lot are on to something

  6. Teagan says:

    Currently 32 weeks with bub #3 and my other two are 3 1/2years n 22 months …. Why all soo close ??? When I get my body n routine back I don’t want to to be thinking about doing it again… If that makes sense … All over at once … We want 4 kids cos we are crazy country youth pastors 😛

  7. Jodie says:

    We have four over here. We have 5yrs5mths, 4yrs6mths, 2yrs3mths and a 8wk old.
    My chant over the weekend was “I love my kids, I love my kids”. But I wouldn’t swap the late nights, broken sleep or early mornings, throw in the tantrums and vomit, for the world. But can honestly say I am done now.

  8. Hi, between me & my wife we have 7 delightful children/monsters! G1 (12), Twins B&G (9yrs), G3 (8yrs), G4 (6yrs), B2 (4yrs), & B4 (12mths). Whilst we can no longer have anymore kids i can honestly say that’s a good thing! I have never been so flat out in my life i do not think we could possibly deal with yet another…
    P.S. We drive a Toyota Hiace Commuter… Lol

  9. Oh Kev, I gotta say, this post has really struck a nerve with me tonight. Im sitting here just about to go to bed with that scratchy-eyed feeling you only get after having cried your eyes out. I’ve written a really emo post for tomorrow about the fact that I basically had a mini-meltdown this afternoon and hid myself in the bathroom and cried for half an hour, wondering what the fuck I was thinking getting myself knocked up again when I am barely coping with the crying toddler I have, how the hell am I gonna cope when there is a crying newborn added in to the mix as well! I suspect the pregnancy hormones and being at the tail end of things is making it all seem a lot harder than it needs to be too, combined with the sleep deprivation that pregnancy and a suddenly not-sleeping toddler brings.

    But reading this post, and reading list number 2, has definitely given me a lift, it’s reminded me of why we wanted to do it all over again and why, even though right now I feel like the world is gonna end in a few weeks, this will only last for such a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things and that those things on list number 2 really do make it all worth it in the end.

    I think I almost need to type up that list and blow it up and stick it on the fridge!

    Thanks Kev! xxx

  10. Casey says:

    As a first time mummy to a cheeky 6 month old little man, I’m already thinking about the next one – and have been since 6 months ago. The sleepy smiles are to die for. The slobbered filled open mouth kisses and endless gnawing on ANYTHING on my face while he teeths….I love it all. And did I mention he’s been sleeping through the night without a feed since 5 weeks old and had a 13 1/2 hour sleep last night…. 🙂

  11. Marie says:

    Our biggest NOT is because of money- can I give two children the same experiences and education that I could give one? Then I remember the sacrifices my parents made so that they could have more than one, and how I didn’t care that we couldn’t do the fancy things, and I know it’s worth it. Less stuff, more love- my new motto.

  12. Lisa says:

    We have four children, and by far the biggest adjustment was going from one kid to two. After two, it was a breeze. We knew what we were doing, our kids were awesome little people and there might have been less money in the house but there was far more love, and in the end, which is more important?

  13. Karen says:

    Hi. I’m a mum of 6 beautiful children. 13,11,9,7,2 & 1! I never thought I’d ever “feel done” like I’ve heard other mums say. I love being pregnant. Love giving birth. Love babies and every step from there. Love being a stay at home mum. Am blessed with a husband who works hard in an awesome job that provides for all our needs. But I now know we are “done”! This little big family is complete. Looking forward to: sleep (haven’t slept a night thru in 2 yrs), graduations, first loves, jobs, weddings, grand babies, my body back, weekends away WITHOUT KIDS, family holidays WITHOUT prams, portacots, nappies! Etc.
    But I must say this is the best time of my life. 37 and 6 kids! Well done me!
    I feel for the women who can’t have children and desperately want them.
    Proud Mumma and wife.

  14. Zanni Louise says:

    Beautiful words Kevin. I am so tired too. At this time of the morning after having about 4 hours of broken sleep I would say I am over it. But strangely thinking of maybe having another child?? I think evolution primes us to want to procreate. There are actual hormones released designed to make us to forget hot painful labour is. How sneaky is that?

  15. Wise words! Hubby & I have 5 between us aged 13, 11, 9, 8 & 23 months & this has been our dilemma of late.. Do we stop here or go for baby #6 {iv personally had 2, so I think I would like a third} but I think I need to first get these guys into a sense of normality first, as we are exhausted & run off our feet already. But most definitely wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. 🙂

  16. Kel says:

    That is so sweet! We have 2 girls, the eldest is 4.5 and the youngest 7 months. #1 had colic so bad she didn’t rest for more than 15 minutes at a time for the first 10 weeks of her life. And we still went back again. But we are all done, even though a part of me would get knocked up tomorrow, we are content with 2 and it makes every moment with the second bittersweet because it’s the last time we will experience it all.
    Awesome blog! Visiting from IBOT

  17. We had dinner with some, currently single and child-free, people in their mid-twenties last week who were seriously talking about the idea of getting “the chop” now as a guaranteed form of contraception. It came up, in part, because my husband had mentioned that we’d just had our fourth full nights’ in 8 months…they couldn’t understand when we said that the sleep deprivation and confusion and ALL THAT were temporary in the scheme of things and, ultimately, worth it.
    Anyway, here’s the reason we’re pulling up stumps at 3 kids… It’s definitely about the cars 😉

  18. Me says:

    LOL – my “I think I will kill myself if you dare mention having another child” was enough to stop A thinking of any more !!! I know he would have liked more but realistically – it was never going to happen. We had decided on two, had one and stopped at one – probably one of the best decisions (along with moving to Australia) that we ever made !
    Now she has just turned 21, A and I have heaps of time for ourselves – we love it (well we would if we actually lived in the same town but that is a minor inconvenience) because we get to plan lovely holidays doing exactly what we want when we want how we want without having to fit in naps and children’s routines.
    Up until recently I felt guilty because of the free time I have now that A works away from home and K pretty much does her own thing but then I realised that I have earned the time to myself and I AM LOVING IT !!!
    Have the best day and know that, this too shall pass and one day you will be in my situation – and loving it !

  19. Glad to see your lists are equal 🙂 great call on the breastfeeding part! I found it was the hardest skill I’ve ever learnt in life. Pfft – moves are way over-priced – DVD’s, lounge room comfort and fridge close by wins every time (showing my age)

  20. Number 7, breastfeeding, had me in tears of laughter! Well done Mr Illiterate – we stopped at two, factory closed, administrators called in – reason? there are lots of them, my sanity is the first reason, our bank balance the second, it is very cute when they fall asleep in your arms but my mind can’t help fast forwarding twenty odd years and seeing one of my boys walking down stairs and joining us for breakfast….with his girlfriend :O
    Josefa from #teamIBOT

  21. #1 slept in 15 minute blocks for the first 18 months. By then I’d had baby #2… and I was hooked anyway. So I had another 3 🙂

    MC x

  22. Sam says:

    Doesn’t have to be a newborn for #6. My 2.5yr old is a loud sleeper. The other morning I went in and I couldn’t hear anything, then I checked her breathing. Couldn’t see anything. Started to panic and shook her, she grunted and snuggled deeper under the covers LOL. She was just in a deep sleep and NOT impressed that Mummy tried to wake her

  23. Umm – couldn’t have said it better (except that birthing three kids is hard on the old under carriage – over sharing? sorry)
    I’ve written about this heaps Kev, and I will tell anyone who has ovaries hurting for a third child to come and speak to me!! They are gorgeous but a McMission. GREAT POST xxx Em

  24. And this is why I’m so glad I forgot to plan any of my children… or the logic would have outweighed the amazing life, love, wonder and hope I have for these awesome little people… err army. 😉

  25. Alicia says:

    Wonderful post, was nodding profusely with a knowing smile at the first list and smiling and almost a tear at the second. They are at their most beautiful when they are asleep 😉

  26. Wendy Parks says:

    I would have another baby, for all those reasons you mention…if we could just get pregnant 😦

  27. Caz says:

    I have four. Only 18 months between the first two. We were so dementedly in love with our first, who wouldn’t sleep except if she was on me for the first 12 months and she could scream non stop for 8 hours straight, that we started trying when she was 9 months old! Crazy. Then our second was a shocking sleeper again but again he was so unbelievably adorable we thought we had to do it again. Then number three was so cute and funny and adorable we thought how could we not go again?! My husband would keep going but four is my limit. I want to still be able to share myself around and four is stretching it. They grow so fast, and that ‘difficult’ sleep deprived phase (which I have experienced with all four) is such a short time in hindsight. They are so precious and priceless. I feel blessed to be able to have them.

  28. I am about to experience baby number one next month so no need for lists at this stage, but for the moment the plan is to have 3 if we are lucky enough to get pregnant again.

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