Oh Baby. Or Not.

by Jennifer Sey


I want a baby. I am 41 years old and have two kids already. Ages 7 and 9. They can do most things for themselves these days including but not limited to: fixing their own breakfast (cereal), wiping their own butts (mostly), and putting themselves to bed, albeit past their bedtime. It’s not that things are easy. As all parents know, the hard stuff just changes as kids get older. When they’re babies it’s all about figuring out what’s causing the seemingly unprompted bawling. The surefire go to is always the boob. Whip it out, shove it in. Problem solved, mission accomplished.


By two or three years old it’s tantrums in the grocery store. Or at the park when it’s time to leave. At the top of the slide, he stomps his feet and refuses to come down. You might insist, you might scream and then you might bribe him down with sweets. But he knows what you’re up to. After downing the cookie, he grabs on to a bollard with heretofore unseen strength. And you are forced to drag him from the playground while he screams as if he were being tortured in a Turkish prison, under the glare of the hippie moms who negotiate these transitions far more calmly. At five, learning to read might cause frustration and book hurling. But at least everyone is sleeping through the night.


Of course, I’m told the hardest stuff of all is yet to come, during the fateful teenage years. Carousing, sneaking out, “experimenting” with everything from liquor to sex to
“I hate you!”. Knowing this tumult is not so far away, I take great solace in the next five peaceful years stretched before me. I’m in that sweet in between space smack dab in the middle of a child’s helplessness and his aggressive individuation. My kids are relatively independent but not rebellious. They like hanging out with mom but don’t need me to carry them, feed them, or console secret unspoken pains. The school yard has not yet divided into cool kids and nerds or Emos or whatever outcasts are called these days. They aren’t yet desperate to fit in, adopting new fashions or behaviors with the capricious whimsy once reserved for food. They like going to school, they don’t even mind homework. And I’m still able to help them with it, though I’ll admit I’ll be hitting my limits soon once we cross over from 4th grade division and percentages into middle school pre-algebra.


A mother of five that thought I was done at 4. In nursing school, working full-time I found I was unexpectedly pregnant at 40. My children range in age from 22 months-20 yrs old. Recently graduated from nursing and looking back 22 months ago, I wouldn't change a thing. I feel fullfilled, proud, accomplished. A need fullfilled that I had no idea needed to be fullfilled. And my husband couldn't be happier. I believe men become better caregivers with age. Going with your urge may not be the mistake you think it will be. You may be pleasantly suprised how it all works out. I am blessed!


i wouldn't sweat it if you're 31. you have plenty of time to decide. no?


This is why DH had a vasectomy after #2 was born; because I knew I'd feel the way you do, too, and because we valued Mother Earth too much to inflict more than 2 babies on it (Zero Population Growth).


Hi Jennifer. Great article. Let me know how that "waiting it out" works. I'm 33 with two boys, 2.5 and almost 5. For the past couple months, I've also been having intense, emotional urges for a third child. It makes no intellectual sense (cannot afford more child care, have a small--but cozy!--house, a fairly demanding job, a husband who is completely content with two healthy wonderful kids, and I went through PPD twice!!)... BUT, the urge remains! I am convinced it's biological, mixed with the challenge/experience/love-seeking you describe. I asked my mom if she had these feelings as her (3) babies grew older, and funny thing is, at 55 on the brink of menopause and with the youngest child at age 22, she said only in the past few years!

So, I think I'll wait this out too... Best of luck, in whatever fate rewards you with!!


Having just had a wild hormonal swing (and a 7-year-old) I too am starting to feel that the end of even choosing to have another child is rapidly closing.
It was a sudden jolt to the system, as it brought me back to the days of being 13; this adult female life began with wild hormonal swings.
I too will likely wait it out; but on the other hand, a friend adopted #2 past 40 so when the longing just doesn't end there are options.


Oh my goodness, I thought I was reading a letter from my own mind!! I feel like I am going through the exact same thing - last night I was ovulating and I couldn't help but try to convince my husband for "just one more" - even though in my brain I know I don't need "just one more." My two boys are plenty! The sad part is, I'm ten years younger than you and I hope this yearning doesn't get stronger...or I hope my husband will get snipped so there is no "what if..."!!!