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Typically, I'm drawn to articles about older mothers who rejoice in their decision to have another baby. It's something I think about often. When I haven't slept for days and one of my children is screaming bloody murder because they are ill, I think, "Thank goodness, I only have two." And then, when the sun is shining and they are giggling outside in a park, I think, "What's the big deal? Three would be a piece of cake!"
There is nothing rational about it. The abstract nature of another baby inevitably boils down to "How will we fit another car seat in the car?" or "Can I seriously cope with even less sleep?" But parents know the decision is more often about finding a beloved tiny cardigan that fell behind the couch. Or wrapping your arms around a new niece or nephew and thinking, "Oh, I want to give you a new playmate." Or, maybe even a romantic evening, one glass of wine too far. It happens.
This weekend, Emma Cook wrote an article in The Guardian called, 'The wrong side of 45 - and I've got a toddler.' It was such a warm and honest portrayal of family life, I found myself daydreaming my afternoon away on baby names. (NOT Cadel. But, that's another story.)
According to the article, Emma Cook has seen all kinds of benefits including:
- The older children develop a nurturing side. "[Evie] is protective and playful, buying her clothes and selecting matching outfits. We've seen another side to Louis too, more nurturing and indulgent."
- You see your children become a "gang" as she puts it. A close knit group of siblings is an ideal for me.
- Her husband "finds it more relentless, he says, but is more appreciative of the bits he forgot first time around; the moments of intimacy rocking a small baby to sleep, their physicality, the way their arms cling to the back of your neck..."
- Wonderful time alone with the new baby. "I've appreciated the mutually exclusive time during school hours; it's rather like having an only child."
- "People were more sympathetic earlier on – my muscle-stretched middle-age body yielded to pregnancy within days of the creeping blue line of my pregnancy test, so much so that by week 10 commuters were happily offering me their seat on the tube."
Cook says that contrary to what she'd hoped, maturity has not made her the calmer, more confident parent she wanted to be. She had the worst morning sickness of her three pregnancies and a complicated birth brought home to her what a real risk it was. But, she wouldn't change her decision. And, the thing she was the most worried about - the "yawning age gap" between her children - has been the best part of it all. "This mid-life baby will be lucky enough to have two older siblings she can fight and compete with but also turn to for advice, love and support – with her exhausted aging parents, good thing too."
What do you think? Is late motherhood irresponsible or ideal?
You can read more from Stacie at Mama Lewis and the Amazing Adventures of the Half-Brained Baby. Or, read my other post contemplating having another baby as an older mom:
Images by Stacie Lewis
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.