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Sometimes I want a 5th kid, but I'm already 40.


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Ya know, I always said I wanted 5 kids. And then we had 4 in 7 years, and I was like, oh my gosh. I am so completely exhausted. And then we decided we could always wait a few years and think about it again. I got really reliable, long term birth control. I eventually said if I didn't make the decision before I turned 40 to have another, we would be absolutely done at 40. And, now, here I am reminiscing about how cute and cuddly our kids were as infants and toddlers.

I love being pregnant, I love giving birth, I love nursing. I'm not totally sure that having another baby would forever satisfy those desires. Our youngest is now 8. Our big kids are much more expensive now with braces, swim team, violin, and we are about to start adding teenagers to our car insurance policy. 

I do enjoy the perks of big kids. No one wakes me up at night anymore. I can go sit and chat with friends in a park instead of chasing a toddler everywhere. I don't have to be home to nurse a child to sleep at bedtime. 

And, yet. Sometimes I feel like there is still that 5th kid out there. 

Just, tell me I'm crazy...

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This is very true.  Every time I was dealing with "My mom is the village idiot and/or the evil slave master" from my teens I did have my baby boy to give me cuddles and think I was the greatest person

My first 5 kids were born when I was 26, 28, 30, 34, and 38. #5 was a surprise at age 38, but #6 at age 45 was a shock! LOL My oldest was starting college and here I was starting all over again. She's

I'll just say that my youngest sister was born two weeks before my mom's 45th birthday. I was sixteen and fell in love with that baby right from the start, even though I'd never really been a baby per

Have you started caring for elder dependents? Priced college/highly skilled labor training for your kids? Have you priced buying your own medical insurance if your spouse loses his job and doesn't get a new one immediately? What if you or your spouse has an significant medical issue pop up that requires some longer term treatment now that you're at the 40+ mark?

Those are things that tend to deter people from more children when they already have a few. They may not deter you, as every family is different, but I do notice some people are very surprised when they do start dealing with those things if they haven't thought about them before.

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I'll just say that my youngest sister was born two weeks before my mom's 45th birthday. I was sixteen and fell in love with that baby right from the start, even though I'd never really been a baby person before that. I'm personally very glad she was born.

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Teenagers and young adults can be very stressful. My kids haven’t even given me any major heartache or problems but car mishaps/relationship issues/academic struggles/job struggles/etc. can be ALOT. I just really had no idea what I was getting into when I had little kids. Little kids are hard and some things get easier...but some things get harder. 🙁 

I will say my youngest (who is 12...with siblings 17, 20, and 22) is an absolute ray of sunshine and has brought levity through the hardest times. But...she gets less of me in some significant ways because there isn’t a lot left. I thank God for her every day but I don’t wish I had another one. Sorry to be negative. 
 

Health issues with aging and the older generation are a real thing too.

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3 minutes ago, maize said:

I'll just say that my youngest sister was born two weeks before my mom's 45th birthday. I was sixteen and fell in love with that baby right from the start, even though I'd never really been a baby person before that. I'm personally very glad she was born.

I love this so much ❤️.  I had a late in life baby after my older kids were teens. I wish my oldest had been like that 😂, but, they all love her very much and are very glad she was born. But I have to say, teens and baby at the same time was HARD. They needed more from me than she did many times. It was exhausting. On the other hand, it has been great when things are hard with them to have the sweetness of a baby and then a toddler in the house. 

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4 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

Teenagers and young adults can be very stressful. My kids haven’t even given me any major heartache or problems but car mishaps/relationship issues/academic struggles/job struggles/etc. can be ALOT. I just really had no idea what I was getting into when I had little kids. Little kids are hard and some things get easier...but some things get harder. 🙁 

I will say my youngest (who is 12...with siblings 17, 20, and 22) is an absolute ray of sunshine and has brought levity through the hardest times. But...she gets less of me in some significant ways because there isn’t a lot left. I thank God for her every day but I don’t wish I had another one. Sorry to be negative. 
 

Health issues with aging and the older generation are a real thing too.

Quoting myself to add that in the last year  or two (I am 46) I find myself thinking I will be ready to be a grandmother. A couple years ago I couldn’t see that at all but now I think I will be all in for all things baby. So, theoretically it isn’t that long until the possibility of babies cycles back around again. I’ve surprised myself thinking I am ready to enjoy that. I couldn’t handle my own though! 

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There are many wonderful things about having a baby and having a large family.  But, If I could have a do-over I would have had my last much, much sooner.  He is 5.5yrs younger than his next sibling.   He definitely had a different childhood than his siblings.  He was in the car a lot more since I was transporting older kids to activities.   Every fall from the time he was 4 or 5 he dealt with loss of a sibling going off to college (it was very traumatic in a couple of instances).  He was very much an only by the time he was doing school and he was lonely.   I felt pretty burnt out with homeschooling by the time I started with him and he didn't get the best education from me.  We did put him in school at around 4th grade though.  

Yes, teaching him to drive in my 50s was not fun (my dh was in his late 50s early 60s).   I don't have elderly parents, but I do have grandkids I take care of.  So I feel like I never got a break.  He was 12 when his nephew was born and I started helping with babysitting.

On the plus side, he's been an excellent uncle and a great help for me.  He's been the fun uncle for his nephews and nieces.  He is a wonderful and caring young man.  It has extended the empty nest syndrom for me.  But, I can't help but look back and feel he was a little short-changed in his childhood.  

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I think I have written this exact post before. We had 4 kids in less than 6 years, took a break, youngest is now 8 and I am pushing 40. I got mostly the same answers as you. I think I have decided not to have a fifth. Having older kids is harder and more expensive than I expected, and I am also enjoying getting a little more of myself back. I still occasionally get really sad that we are done, but for me, I think I waited too long to have a fifth. I loved the baby/toddler/preschool/little kid stage and am really sad it is over.

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7 minutes ago, kand said:

I love this so much ❤️.  I had a late in life baby after my older kids were teens. I wish my oldest had been like that 😂, but, they all love her very much and are very glad she was born. But I have to say, teens and baby at the same time was HARD. They needed more from me than she did many times. It was exhausting. On the other hand, it has been great when things are hard with them to have the sweetness of a baby and then a toddler in the house. 

This is very true.  Every time I was dealing with "My mom is the village idiot and/or the evil slave master" from my teens I did have my baby boy to give me cuddles and think I was the greatest person in the world. 

 

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I'm 45 and if someone wanted to talk me into trying for a 5th kid, they probably wouldn't have much trouble (no one would, certainly not my husband!)....I had my youngest at 37, and it was my easiest pregnancy and birth. On the other hand, my 3rd and 4th are 7 years apart, and it's sometimes pretty tough on both me and my now almost 8 year old having that trailing sibling behind a pack of older kids. I'm sure a lot of it comes down to individual personality, but he demands a lot of attention from me because he doesn't have siblings close to his age and he has trouble relating to kids his own age a lot of times. I mean, I certainly don't regret having him (and I have more patience with him and more time to enjoy his childhood than when I was younger and had 3 preschoolers running around), but I can't pretend there aren't times when I don't stop and think about how much less complicated life would be right now if I just had my three relatively low maintenance teens. 

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Oh yes, I didn’t mention my dd losing her big siblings to college. She was 8 when the first one left, ten when the second one left. She will be 13 in the fall when she effectively becomes an only. This has been very hard for her. I do get sad when I realize how little of her life she had the siblings around. 🙁

I have always homeschooled and never thought I would send one to school but it might come to that. She is getting lonely. We are going to try a two day a week cottage school next year and hope that is enough. Things just are different. 

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3 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

But...she gets less of me in some significant ways because there isn’t a lot left. I thank God for her every day but I don’t wish I had another one.

Yep.  I'm 47 and my kids are 25, 23, and 15.  I have significantly less bandwidth right now as I'm probably perimenopausal. I've outsourced everything for her homeschooling.  Thank God for outsourcing as a back up when we need it!

Launching young adults is harder now-they can need help longer in this economy and having younger siblings in their teens at the same time is a serious challenge. 

My oldest's mental health issues showed up in her mid to late teens and it's taken years to get that under control.  It's very manageable now, but it was hard on everyone for so long. My husband has had ongoing depression issues that showed up around 40, which was 12 year ago, so that was in the mix too.  His issues are mostly resolved, but that took a long time.

Oh, and did I mention my husband's sister's 11 years of fighting breast cancer until she died three years ago at 47 with 12 and 16 year old kids who needed extended family to help care for them?

In late Feb. a disc in my neck ruptured and imaging revealed extensive cord compression, bone spurs, and osteoarthritis in my neck requiring neurovascular surgery and a year and a half recovery time.  MY neck.  I hike, camp, kayak and it turns out I have the spine of an old lady.  I had no idea until that day.

Right now we have parents across the country with major health issues and an irrational inability to admit they need help, so it's endless stress on our part.  And.. yeah. Elder care is a major issue. I have a single parent and a parent married to a step-parent, so that's 2 households instead of 1. His parents are 1 household-thank God! We've been doing some amount of elder care off and on since my grandparents needed help around 12 years ago because our parents don't have siblings or capable siblings. We helped care for people with dementia and leukemia for several years and we weren't even the primary caregivers-it was grueling.

That's why I preach Margin. I'm so glad we understood Margin before things got so intense. I seriously considered a 4th child adopted internationally (3rd was an international adoption) and I'm glad my husband talked me out of it because it would've been just.too.much. a few years later.

(She did say, "Tell me I'm crazy.")

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I really wanted a 6th.  But my 5th was really hard.  So was my first, but the 5 was hard and plus I had four others to take care of.  Another child in there was really hard too.  The baby didn't sleep, needed to be held until she was 4, and dh worked and traveled a lot.  Then our kids got into an activity that was 2.5 hours away.  We were doing it 3 days a week to start.  I was in a tunnel and couldn't see it getting any better.  So the time when I think we could have had a 6th passed me by.  Some days I am so sad that I didn't have that next kid.  I don't get to have a baby any more.  Every time my youngest gets older is really sad for me.  But then sometimes I am so glad that I don't have a younger kid.  Watching the moms of littles makes me tired.  I am glad I get to sleep.  Somedays are so taxing with the needs of 5 kids.  Like how could I have the time for another?  I felt like it was time for my oldest to have her needs met and focused on.  And yeah older kids are so expensive.  Having another means it takes away from the others.  

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57 minutes ago, staceyobu said:

Ya know, I always said I wanted 5 kids. And then we had 4 in 7 years, and I was like, oh my gosh. I am so completely exhausted. And then we decided we could always wait a few years and think about it again. I got really reliable, long term birth control. I eventually said if I didn't make the decision before I turned 40 to have another, we would be absolutely done at 40. And, now, here I am reminiscing about how cute and cuddly our kids were as infants and toddlers.

I love being pregnant, I love giving birth, I love nursing. I'm not totally sure that having another baby would forever satisfy those desires. Our youngest is now 8. Our big kids are much more expensive now with braces, swim team, violin, and we are about to start adding teenagers to our car insurance policy. 

I do enjoy the perks of big kids. No one wakes me up at night anymore. I can go sit and chat with friends in a park instead of chasing a toddler everywhere. I don't have to be home to nurse a child to sleep at bedtime. 

And, yet. Sometimes I feel like there is still that 5th kid out there. 

Just, tell me I'm crazy...

That baby will grow up too.  The littleness is such a temporary time. Maybe wait and love on grandkids?  
 

That said, I had my first kids (triplets at age 39).  It was all good and I had tons of energy for them.  As much as any young mom maybe.  But, I don’t have that level of energy now.  I have no desire to be on the go all the time and try new things like I did.  I’d rather just stay home.  Of course I can’t, I played with dd15 who’s trying to break in a new glove, and I went to see ds15 in his school play tonight and go for shakes afterward, but the energy is very different.

my little sister was born when my mom was 42 and I was 10. I am so glad to have a little sister! But she was almost like an only child.  My brother and I were off to college by the time she was 4 and 8.  My parents would bring a neighbor girl on vacation with them so my sister would have a playmate.  I could see my parents, while very happy to have her, were very worn out as well.  By the time she was a teen, I don’t know if they were tired or she was exhausting, but it was challenging.  But we all had a good relationship, and I know she was close with them. It was the three of them for many years.

Only you know. Good luck and peace with your decision.

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It is so hard to figure these things out sometimes.  I have 10, born in 17.5 years (exactly to the day!) with one stillbirth.  I have never actually felt done but my youngest is 6 and our first grandbaby is 4 months.   I would have taken more but they just didn't come.    Now I feel somewhat that it is too late.  My reasoning is that I was younger by 7 years due to the brother just older than me being killed in an accident.  I had a lovely childhood and my parents are amazing. But it *was* lonely.  I didn't have the same experience as my older 4 sisters who were very close together.   It wasn't that it was a bad experience. But it was different and I did feel that.  I have always said I wouldn't have a tail ender like that on purpose. But we don't use birth control so I always knew it could happen.  It just wasn't what I wanted.  What actually happened was a boy and a girl only 20 months apart and then no more babies.   It is so hard to not have babies but I am loving on my grandson and excited for this stage too.    

If I wanted a baby and it was still a biological possiblity, I would probably go for it.  I would also refrain from preventing a second just in case I could squeeze in one more for the two to grow up together.   I know I said I didn't want a gap like that on purpose and that is true.  But I know how strong my baby urge is and I wouldn't not have one if I could. 

Teens and young adults are harder in so many ways but I love the relationship we have too.  

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If you're conflicted, you shouldn't try for another child. It's unfortunate to regret not having one more child - but it'd be even worse to regret having that baby after all, wouldn't it? And there's a lot of room for potential regrets here, especially when you consider the increased chance of certain potentially serious disabilities in the child now that both parents are older.

And, you know, pretty soon you'll probably have grandkids. Or, if that doesn't happen, there are other ways to be involved with young children. Philanthropically, I mean.

Edited by Tanaqui
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4 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

If you're conflicted, you shouldn't try for another child.

Too funny, my response was going to be that OP should go for it if she's conflicted. I always believed I would regret not having another child than having another (so far I haven't been wrong in that belief). I can't imagine not having my post-40s kiddos and would gladly welcome more.

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56 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

Too funny, my response was going to be that OP should go for it if she's conflicted. I always believed I would regret not having another child than having another (so far I haven't been wrong in that belief). I can't imagine not having my post-40s kiddos and would gladly welcome more.

I have to agree here in that I think it’s far more likely someone would regret not having a child they wished they had than to regret an actual child they had. I think the latter is pretty darn rare, especially in people who made the choice on purpose (not saying it’s impossible, but I think the reverse would be FAR more common). 

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5 minutes ago, kand said:

I have to agree here in that I think it’s far more likely someone would regret not having a child they wished they had than to regret an actual child they had. I think the latter is pretty darn rare, especially in people who made the choice on purpose (not saying it’s impossible, but I think the reverse would be FAR more common). 

 

I certainly hope it's more common to regret not having children than having one or more of your children... but there's no way to state this definitively, is there? Because people don't usually talk about wishing they could turn back the clock and NOT have this child, or that child, or any of their children in fact. People would look askance if you did, especially if there's a chance your kid could hear.

Despite that, I personally know multiple people whose parents have outright admitted to them that they would've had fewer children if they'd realized what it'd be like - and while a couple of those people had parents who are just generally emotionally abusive, not all of them are in that situation. Some have very nice parents who just would've not had their first child, if they'd realized. Or not had their last child. Or not had any of the kids born before or after a certain age, or during a certain time in their life, or with certain conditions that could've been screened for and turned out to be really hard to care for.

If you're not conflicted, then that's fine. That's great! Do what you think is best, and have fun! But if you are, I really think it's better not to risk it. Even if it's only a 5% chance, or a 1% chance, that's awful for that one kid out of a hundred. I wouldn't want to risk doing that to a child, even if I figured I could fake it really well and they'd never know.

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We stopped at two, the second one born when I  was 37 and Husband was 43.

I'm glad we did so. The combination of young adult issues, elderly care issues and our own age means that having some leeway in our lives is key. I am also able to look forward to a new phase of my life: I  work full time and am starting another degree in January. 

 

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I’m 43 and have taken permanent measures, so I have the advantage of only talking about it in theory, lol.

Yes, there’s a part of me that wishes I would have gone for one or even two more. But I’m also very much enjoying having an enormous amount of freedom from care duties. Every one of my kids can cook, can wash clothes and dishes, can do a fair amount of school work independently, can socialize with their friends online without help, can play outside without any real supervision, and CAN WIPE THEIR OWN BUTTS.

If I need a nap, I can take one. If I need to run an errand, I can go alone. The majority of the time,  I can even use the bathroom without interruption.

I’m still open to the possibility of maybe doing foster care in the future but, at that point, I might not even want to be open to babies or toddlers. Or maybe just for respite for that age.

I still have friends having babies, so I’d be getting a decent fix if it were normal times. I do hope I get to squish some borrowed babies in the future.

My 5 kids span 12+ years with the biggest gap being only 3.5 years, but my oldest moved out of state a couple of years ago when the youngest was 7 or 8.  While those two love each other very much, it’s different. In my line up, if I had had another at 40, that one would have wound up being a de facto only child by the time they were 12/13/14ish. And here’s the thing - there’s nothing wrong with BEING an only child... but I don’t really know how to parent an only child! The concept terrifies me!

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I had my first kid at 41 and my second shortly before I turned 43.  Not the same situation of course, since I didn't already have older kids.

So I am 64 and have two college students in my life. Yes, I sometimes wish I had been younger when they'd been born but it didn't work out that way for me. I also wish I had had more, even at that age, but... menopause right after baby number two, so that didn't work out for me either.

You just have to decide and go for it, or not. Really you can't predict what life would be like with that last kid. I would discuss really carefully with my spouse and unless one feels a strong no, then...why not. The fact that the idea is crazy doesn't mean it's not a good one.

 

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10 hours ago, maize said:

I'll just say that my youngest sister was born two weeks before my mom's 45th birthday. I was sixteen and fell in love with that baby right from the start, even though I'd never really been a baby person before that. I'm personally very glad she was born.

I was almost 17 and my mom was 42 when my youngest sister was born.

I adored that baby.

Also, having a baby in the house when I was a teenager was phenomenal birth control, because I knew first hand I didn’t want one of those for a long time. 😂🤣

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7 hours ago, kand said:

I have to agree here in that I think it’s far more likely someone would regret not having a child they wished they had than to regret an actual child they had. I think the latter is pretty darn rare, especially in people who made the choice on purpose (not saying it’s impossible, but I think the reverse would be FAR more common). 

I think it's far more common to talk openly about regretting not having a child than it is to talk openly about regretting having a child.  The latter is becoming increasingly common, but probably not in the homeschooling world. Childless by choice discussion bring them out sometimes.  Those parents don't say they hate their kids, they say if they had to do it again they would not have had those children.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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I was the youngest of four, my parents were 40, my nearest sib was 8 years older.

I'm glad I exist but I wish I had been nearer in age to my siblings and had my parents longer.  They all loved me dearly but it is hard.  I have been surprised that the older I am the harder it is.

Edited by happi duck
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I am a caboose baby, and I would never have a caboose baby. 

It's just not the experience I want for my kids.  

But -- I feel like -- I got a puppy and I am satisfied!  So maybe not the same kind of thing, lol.  

I could just as easily say "here are all the nice things about being a caboose baby."  They are real things, too.  It's just -- not something I would choose.  

For something just recently -- we were cleaning out some items for a parent moving into assisted living, and one of my sisters was just going on and on about a wooden sled, how great it was, all the memories, being pulled on it, etc, etc.  

I didn't say anything about it at the time, but when I went home to my husband I told him -- nobody ever pulled me on that sled, I have no memory of it whatsoever, and the grandmother to whom's house my mom (apparently) pulled my sisters on the sled, is someone I never got to know because she died when I was so young.  

So -- whatever.  

It's not that it's a huge deal, it's absolutely not, but it is something where -- I have always known I would have kids while I was on the younger side and have them fairly close together, to the extent it could be within my control.  

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My two are 9 ½ years apart, so I can tell you that your kids would ADORE having another sibling. I'm not sure why 40 would be such a big line in the sand. Nuts, I'm 44 and have had fleeting what if thoughts. I'm taking something now that is supposedly magic for it. Never had that choice. But would I? Sure. 

Just my two cents, but live with no regrets. If you think you'd regret not trying, you should do it. 

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My first 5 kids were born when I was 26, 28, 30, 34, and 38. #5 was a surprise at age 38, but #6 at age 45 was a shock! LOL My oldest was starting college and here I was starting all over again. She's 1.5 now and quite simply - none of us know what on earth we would do without her ❤️

My 2 college DS's come home from college more frequently so she doesn't forget who they are. Oldest DS quarantined with us here at home instead of at college because he wanted to be with her and also keep her safe. 2nd DS comes home from classes and she is the first person he greets and plays with. My oldest DD, who was 15 when she was born, has received enough child development experience to open her own daycare. (By her choice - I do have to consciously make an effort to make sure that her role as a big sister and my role as the mom don't get mixed up ... for any of us.) She has a realistic and not a romanticized idea of what motherhood is really like. She loves her baby sister with a ferocity I didn't think was possible without actually being a mom.

Are there issues? Well, yeah. I'm tired. Perpetually. Raising teens and young adults and babies at the same time is hard and I feel like I'm burning the candle at both ends. I just don't have the physical energy to do the things with her I did with my older kids. @Lecka your post almost broke my heart. But I take comfort in the fact that I do things with her that I didn't do with my older kids either - like react to her tantrums with more patience and cuddle on the couch for no reason when the laundry needs folded because I have the perspective to know what's really important. My hormones are starting pre/peri menopause and that adds an extra wrinkle to things. I know I might need to help with older parents when she's still a toddler and/or young child. I know with 7 years between her and my next youngest that homeschooling might not be the best thing for either of us someday, although I hate to think about that possibility. I realize I'll be 63 when she graduates high school and almost certainly a grandmother.

I didn't choose her (because she was definitely a surprise!) but I'm sure glad God did.

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I won’t ever regret having my last 2 kids at ages 40 and 43. They are the light of my life. Although I was very healthy up to 2020, I had 3 life threatening conditions at one time, and am now looking at a 28% 5 year survival rate. 
 

In 5 years, my youngest will be 16 and my next youngest will be 19. I don’t want them to lose their mother at such young ages, so I’m doing everything in my power to fight. I’m thankful that all of my kids are so to close to each other even if there are 10 or 15 years between them. I know they will always take care of each other. 
 

I wouldn’t discourage anyone from having a baby or two later in life. 
 

I guess I’m just saying that I understood the risks of not having as many years with them as I would wish. I just really didn’t believe it would happen to me. 

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My 5th was born two weeks before I turned 41, and 7 years after his closest older siblings (twins). It was so easy because I had so much help. While I had teenagers and a baby, he was pretty flexible and never set himself on a schedule like the others had, so I didn't worry about messing up his schedule by taking him places. He's a joy, and I'm glad we have him.

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2 hours ago, Momto6inIN said:

My first 5 kids were born when I was 26, 28, 30, 34, and 38. #5 was a surprise at age 38, but #6 at age 45 was a shock! LOL My oldest was starting college and here I was starting all over again. She's 1.5 now and quite simply - none of us know what on earth we would do without her ❤️

My 2 college DS's come home from college more frequently so she doesn't forget who they are. Oldest DS quarantined with us here at home instead of at college because he wanted to be with her and also keep her safe. 2nd DS comes home from classes and she is the first person he greets and plays with. My oldest DD, who was 15 when she was born, has received enough child development experience to open her own daycare. (By her choice - I do have to consciously make an effort to make sure that her role as a big sister and my role as the mom don't get mixed up ... for any of us.) She has a realistic and not a romanticized idea of what motherhood is really like. She loves her baby sister with a ferocity I didn't think was possible without actually being a mom.

Are there issues? Well, yeah. I'm tired. Perpetually. Raising teens and young adults and babies at the same time is hard and I feel like I'm burning the candle at both ends. I just don't have the physical energy to do the things with her I did with my older kids. @Lecka your post almost broke my heart. But I take comfort in the fact that I do things with her that I didn't do with my older kids either - like react to her tantrums with more patience and cuddle on the couch for no reason when the laundry needs folded because I have the perspective to know what's really important. My hormones are starting pre/peri menopause and that adds an extra wrinkle to things. I know I might need to help with older parents when she's still a toddler and/or young child. I know with 7 years between her and my next youngest that homeschooling might not be the best thing for either of us someday, although I hate to think about that possibility. I realize I'll be 63 when she graduates high school and almost certainly a grandmother.

I didn't choose her (because she was definitely a surprise!) but I'm sure glad God did.

This is really my only complaint -- at any holidays or family gathering, all the memories shared do not include me, because they are always things my sisters remember doing together.  And they are not that interested in my memories, because they don't really know the same people or the things changed.  

I have a cousin my same age, and we remember the same things -- and I really, really like that.  I really, really like when I spend time with my aunt and uncle and cousin, and we talk about the past, and it is all things that I remember and was part of -- I just really, really like it.  A lot of it is just stuff like -- being in the backseat of the car together.  That is the kind of thing I don't share with my sisters, and I like that I share it with my cousin.

My parents remember the same things with me, too.

It is just -- I spend a lot of time hearing about my sisters and the cousins they grew up with, and they are all things/people that I either don't remember or really don't remember in the same way.  

It just gets old.  

I am very happy with everything I did, and I did do different things, I like that I had time with my parents, I like all those things.

It is just something where -- I would not do it.  

But it's not something where I think it is bad, at all.  It is just something where I want to make a different choice.  I want my kids to grow up together and remember the same childhood -- it is something I have always wanted.  

But it's not like this is some huge deal, something that comes up all the time, etc.  It is just something I would do differently.  

It is just my preference.  

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Oh my goodness, I don't know if this could possibly be an easy yes or no. It is so nuanced and, for each of us, so full of not knowing how it would be otherwise.

I had my last at 41, 4 years after the last of my first 3.  I am fully aware of some of the downsides.  I do feel sad that she did not have the little puppy like sibling group that my older did.  The main ring leader of the fun decided she was more grown up than she was and stopped coming up with games.  The next down didn't want to then be categorized with the "baby" so wouldn't play with her.  However, as a result, she and I are very close.  It was hard when she needed to talk with me all day long, but now she is more independent and I cherish the fact that she comes to me to chat and I am closer to her than I am to the others in some ways.  For so long, it was she and I as we took the others to activities and hung out or went to meet her friends at the park.  In some ways it is like having an only child, except she is not.

I don't think I've had less energy for her. I definitely cherished each moment of her babyhood and childhood bc I wasn't pulled in a million directions the same way I was with the ones born 2 years apart.  I arranged our school schedule so we had a light week every 5 weeks or so so that I could reset and make sure she got my time and attention.

She is not lonely, but I am very aware of making sure she sees her friends (and relaxed some social media rules now during covid.)  I don't know what we will do for high school, but am open to school.  She is very social and will be alone.  I do have a friend who says she could come over there to work some days, so that is another option. 

Parenting a toddler and teens is stretching.  Sometimes it was exhausting.  However, a simple relationship with a little one is/was often a relief after a grumpy teen.

There have been times I wondered if I made the right decision.  But there have been many times I am so glad that I did.  I am not a high energy person and didn't mean to have teens who were so busy in an area where there is no public transportation.  Circumstances dictated that letting them be very active was the right decision for us.  It was not my plan.  And often life doesn't go to plan--health issues, elderly issues, etc. change our lives in ways we couldn't see.  So I absolutely wouldn't have one if it takes all your margin all the time away, bc something may come to fill that margin and you don't want to start on the edge.

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@Momto6inIN  Honestly I would never bring it up, but other people are saying they liked having a much-younger sibling.

This is the case with me -- I was very loved as a child and my sisters loved to play with me, and would take me on outings, etc.  

Those are all really good things.  

It is still the case -- for me, personally, I have always wanted my kids to grow up together, and it is important to me.  I want them to all have the same memories.  

I just do feel left out sometimes, even as an adult.  

But it is truly not because of anything bad, and it's not something that is a problem, it is not something where I think I got anything less or worse, at all.  

It is just one of those things!  

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With regards to sibling togetherness, it doesn't necessarily happen even when siblings are close together. My five year old is frequently lonely, especially this year when she can't play as much with her neighborhood friends (there are two little girls her age who live nearby). She is surrounded by siblings but they are all boys and simply don't want to play the way she wants to play. Her closest sister is seven years older than her.

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I didn't read the responses, but I had my last at a few weeks shy of my 41st birthday. Now she's 3, and the other kids are ages 8, 10, and 21. I love having a wide family. And her little sweetnesses make up so much for the sass I get from her 10 yr old big sister who is hitting puberty hard. And being around her is good for the older ones, helps them stay young in some ways. 

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@Lecka

I didn't mean to make you feel bad! I appreciate your sincerity in talking about what it's like to be a caboose baby without the same shared memories with older siblings. Really!

I think we all second guess some of our parents' decisions, no matter how great they were as parents. I know I won't be exempt from that, from the oldest to the youngest to all of them in between.

It just hit me a little hard this morning that's all, wondering what my little caboose will feel like she missed someday.

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I just want to add, I wasn't just thinking about regretting a child, but also about the potential of regretting a miscarriage or an abortion. I don't know what the OP thinks about the latter and don't want to, but it is the case that as you get older you are more likely to have troubles with pregnancy or a fetus with certain congenital disabilities. Even if you're philosophically okay with abortion you probably would feel awful if you had to have an abortion of a wanted child for medical reasons, just the same as somebody who spontaneously miscarried would.

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I think we all second guess some of our parents' decisions, no matter how great they were as parents. I know I won't be exempt from that, from the oldest to the youngest to all of them in between.

 

Of course! Honestly, I'd think something was a little off about a family where none of the adult kids had any questions or complaints about Mom and Dad's choices!

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So I am the caboose baby, my mother especially has openly said she would not make that choice again.  That it was hard dealing with college drama, little kid stuff and retirement stuff all at the same time.  My parents were ready to be done with a big house and moved the 3 of us into a condo when I was 12.   

Your ages aren't so far apart but I honestly have almost no memories of living with my siblings.  I know stories but that's not the same.   I have no doubt my siblings adored me when I was little but as a got older their we're only occasional visits full of complaining about how spoiled I was.  I am not close with my siblings they way they are with each other. I feel more like they are aunts/uncles than siblings.

That being said we had a little accident and have a caboose baby of our own.  She is absolutely a joy and the kids adore her.  I am tempted to a have a fourth to keep her company.

 

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I would consider family health/age of mortality history seriously. Not that anybody has a guarantee of surviving or staying healthy till our kids are all grown, but I would prefer to minimize risk.

My mom is in her early 60s and has significant health issues (as did her father before her, died age 62 IIRC). Miss Caboose (who is young enough to be my daughter) just started college, and a middle needs child care help at times, while I (oldest) am very far away and seldom see them; nobody is in a position to assist and I'm hoping MC is not going to have to bear the weight of difficult things mostly alone.

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I have a caboose baby- my oldest 4 were born in 4.5 years, then I has a 5th one 3 years later.  She was the youngest for a long time!  Then came our surprise!  Kids are now 3 ..... 9... 13, 13, 16, and almost 18.  Some years are better than others, but I will say that my youngest is having a much different childhood  and sometimes it makes me sad.  She will not remember the oldest living at home.  All her cousins are the older kids ages, and while they play with her now, she won't remember.   She won't have the fun play dates they did- they are a tight-knit group - sharing birthdays, vacations, school (they HS too).   My memories with my cousins were so fun!  I'm sad she won't have that.  That said, we hope to travel (bc we put it off with all these kids but if we wait until this one is grown we will be old!).  I think she will get to be a fun aunt in her teens.  We are much more experienced as parents.  

Its a complicated question.   I think I would not choose to have a baby, but I would love one if one surprised me!  I'm just now 40, no plans of more.  I feel like I'm moving on to the next stage- my older ones are getting ready to leave,  driving, working.  My role in regards to them has changed.   I will say my 3 year old is my joy- I wish I named her middle name Joy, bc she just brightens our days.  She's everyone's baby- ours, grandparents on both sides, and even great grandparents!  Aunts and uncles all dote on her bc its been so long since we had a baby in our families.  She often feels left out,  too little to do fun things- and I find it hard to juggle toddler needs and big kid needs.  I'm not sure if she will homeschool or not- i will need to find a better support bc my big kids have friends and cousins.  Its weird in parent circles bc they either have kids the older kids ages, or her age- no one else spans the ages I do!  I often feel like I don't quite fit.

And whomever pointed out parent care- yes!  We are not there yet, but im sure by the time shes a teen we will be.  

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I have a 13 year old boy and a 4 year old girl. As you can see, large age difference. Not by design or desire. I come from a country of a billion people where "We two, ours two" is a slogan the government has posted everywhere from public transportation to private vehicles for hire. So most everyone has two. When I came here, I thought I wanted a lot of kids, so my idea of a lot was 4. 

But life does not always give us what we want. I had almost every thing that is birth related thrown at me. Secondary infertility, still birth, miscarriages, PPD, bed rest. So I cherish my two and mourn my baby lost. It has meant loss of so many things like career, money, dreams, but I would still go through all that again to have another, my body just cannot handle it. Not because babies are cute, but because my children are my greatest joy as well as my greatest teachers.

Not everyone who wants a "big" family can have one for whatever reason so if you can and want to, I will say with all my heart, go for it.

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I would never criticize someone else for having babies later or earlier than I think is ideal. I can relate, though, to thinking I wanted another kid or two soooooo much in my early forties. Dh is 8 years older than me and I was high risk, so he said no. And I was so sad about that for about five years. And then one day, just like nature flipped a switch, I was suddenly very glad I did not have any little babies/toddlers to raise. A couple of my friends had caboose babies and, instead of thinking, “Oh! I wish that would happen to me,” I now thought, “Whew! So glad that didn’t happen to me!” Of course I would love and adore a new child if one had come into our lives but, at about 45, I became ever so glad that phase was in the rear-view mirror. 

As an aside: I used to like watching the Duggar family on TV. In the earlier times, like when they had Johanna, I just thought it was so wonderful. That was even one of my favorite names, too, for a while. A little later, though, I think, “Oh, man, I can’t imagine having so many kids you still have to get all the way raised! And they are closing in on their fifties with, like, 12 kids to still get to adulthood. Just the thought of that is totally exhausting to me!” 

And then I got cancer, and there have been issues with aging parents and, boy am I glad I was not bringing up more little ones! I do not have the energy to raise a whole ‘nother kid. 

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6 hours ago, Lecka said:

@Momto6inIN  Honestly I would never bring it up, but other people are saying they liked having a much-younger sibling.

This is the case with me -- I was very loved as a child and my sisters loved to play with me, and would take me on outings, etc.  

Those are all really good things.  

It is still the case -- for me, personally, I have always wanted my kids to grow up together, and it is important to me.  I want them to all have the same memories.  

I just do feel left out sometimes, even as an adult.  

But it is truly not because of anything bad, and it's not something that is a problem, it is not something where I think I got anything less or worse, at all.  

It is just one of those things!  

This is my experience too.

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