4Th baby....go for It or No?

Updated on October 09, 2013
K.R. asks from Fort Collins, CO
24 answers

Hi all. I have three lovely little children. Two boys 4 and 6, and a 2 1/2 year old girl. My husband and I have had wonderful experiences raising all of them. We've had all the usual ups and downs of babyhood, toddlerhood etc, but overall it has been pure joy and we absolutely love being parents. We felt very satisfied after our little girl, and for the past few years have even toyed with the idea of doing something permanent so we didn't have to worry about birth control. Now that my daughter is older, and more independent (and sweet and adorable as can be), and her brothers are about to both be in school full-time and are well behaved as well....the thought creeps in that we might want to add to the brood! We are financially stable, have a nice home in a good neighborhood, have a great support network of family and friends nearby, and we are still fairly young (early to mid 30's). The drawbacks that I see are that pregnancy and recovery after birth will be harder as I am older, we both work full-time (from home with thankfully very flexible schedules), so childcare and time with baby are a concern, and we have a lot of hobbies that we are just on the cusp of being able to start enjoying more as a family - hiking/biking/camping/traveling/sports. And I don't want to spread myself too thin with my sweet kiddos. But I do love the thought of another blonde little head in the family, and I'm having a hard time imagining closing the door on this amazing chapter of our lives. My husband feels similarly to me, but I have a feeling it would take some serious convincing to actually move forward with planning for another child. I'm not even sure I want to. I'm kind of conflicted. Does anyone have any personal experience in adding to the family after three and/or after a bit of a break from having kids? I mean we are out of diapers, my kids hold my hand in parking lots and don't run away, or put small toys in their mouth, or require breastfeeding or 30 lb diaper bags for every outing lol. Do I start over??

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So What Happened?

Haha - I'm laughing at all these firm NO answers!! I particularly like that you shared your experience Shelly! I hadn't really done the math to think I would be 51 with a child still living at home. That is not entirely appealing. But I want a big family. My husband comes from a family of 5 and our bond is all so strong, and we have so much fun together. I just have one brother who lives overseas and it is a much quieter family. We all adore each other, but it's small. I do worry tremendously about being too busy with activities. Already we are involved in soccer, baseball, dance and basketball. Whew! Thanks for the input. Please keep the personal experiences coming. I like those more than just the "no" responses.

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answers from Miami on

I'm getting ready to start having to pay two college educations at the same time. My answer is no...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Ha I started at 30 and quit at 36. I really was done after #3 but both of us hesitated... my husband first, then me when I was going to go in for the spaying.
Then there were complications so I didnt get it done. I find myself wistfully thinking that now the kids are getting older. I wouldn't mind a 4th slipping in. I think its my mortality, and fear of loneliness kicking in now that my almost 3 year old is in pre-school full time.

Like you we are financially set, and doing fine. We can have one but really do you NEED one or just missing the baby stuff?

I totally dont care if I am 50 and have a kid in my house. My kids can live with me if they have to till they die. I will always help them get their wings, but I dont stop being a parent after x number of years.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I think it's perfectly fine for you to have as many children as you want. Most of my friends have at least 4 and I do have some my age that are part of 10 or more kid families.

Kids make life worth everything and if you want another little one then go for it!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Norfolk on

3 kids is enough.
They'll be involved in school activities and you'll be running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.
That's 3 kids to put through college, 3 weddings and who knows how many grand kids.
Every baby weakens your pelvic floor and there are more issues as you age and every baby makes it's own set of stretch marks.
There's no need to give in to nostalgia.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

KNOW the difference between you/Hubby, just being in love with the "idea" of having more kids, or ACTUALLY, wanting, more kids.
The ideal, versus the reality.

And, every child/baby is different.
And it will not always be easy.

When kids gets older, it gets busier. And more expensive too.
And each kid, will have their own schedules/activities etc.
As a kid gets older, it gets busier.
Your children are still very young.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Another baby would spread you thinner, and also your family. There are pluses and minuses to any decision, and only you and your husband (and perhaps your children) can decide just where your priorities lie.

However, I would like to put in a good word for the environment. Overpopulation, climate changes, pollution, resource depletion, and social strain are all real and present, and more babies means more stress and pollution and fewer resources for all the rest.

Because I had these concerns when I came of age in the '60's, and since the evidence has grown exponentially in the half-century since (something young moms haven't been around long enough to notice), I stopped with one child, for the good of all children, everywhere. Once you're firm about a decision and devote yourself to it, the alternatives become less distracting, and those unsettling "what-ifs" fade.

Whatever you decide, I hope it feels right for your family.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have 4 children. They are spread apart in age. I had a girl then 6 years later a boy. 15 months after that another boy. We thought we were done. I was 28. 5 years later the feelings you are talking about were racing around and around in my head. I was finally done with diaper bags and bottles. We could leave the house without losing the car with all kinds of baby paraphernalia. Kids were in school. I could leave them with my daughter for short amounts of time. We got rid of all baby stuff. And very promptly got pregnant. I love my son. But all those things you question were there. I was older (33) and we were involved in cheerleading for my daughter, soccer all three of the others. Baseball for my older son, school music stuff. My patience level was not the same as earlier children. It was harder. We had to lug baby stuff to all those events and or pay a sitter. Now fastforward 18 years. The older three are done with college, 2 are married we have 3 grandchildren. And we are still facing putting one more through college. I'm 51 and I'm exhausted. Not sure if that helps you lol.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Roanoke on

I was listening to NPR the other day and learned that their are 100,000 children in the American foster care system that are currently up for adoption. Many of them are not wanted because they are older children. Because the foster care system is overflowing, some of these children have to sleep in rooms of public buildings or in juvenile detention centers (even though they haven't committed a crime).

I say if you have the energy, desire and resources for a 4th child, take care of a child that is already here--one that desperately needs love and care-- rather than bringing more children into the world.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

My friend went for a 4th and had twins so she has 5 kids under 6. The twins turn 1 soon and she seems to be doing okay (she is very mellow!!!) but it's good to keep that possibility in mind. Also may end up having special needs child, just be ready for whatever if you are going to go for it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Only you and your husband can answer this question. I think that once you have your last baby you kind of know it's going to be your last baby. Then you just switch over to holding other people's babies and giving them back. lol Also remember that each child is totally different in personality and interests so the next 1 might give you a run for your money.

One of my really good friends had a little boy. Calm, thoughtful, sweet little man. They were so taken by him that they decided their one and done would be two. They had a beautiful little girl who was hyper, loud, and full of joy that could not be contained in her little body. A whirlwind of activity from birth. While her parents love her to death her mom has often said that if she had been their first child she would have been the only child.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If I was your age, I'd have two more. GO FOR IT!

Btw, I'm 41. Who cares about being in your early 50s and having kids at home. Seriously, folks, most of us will live to 100. Even with kids at home till 62, that's tons of time to travel, etc.

Btw, my current baby is the ideal! The reality is better than any reality I could have imagined. Life really is too short to not really go for things, and to let fear and negatives control joy. If you can afford more kids, and you feel that pull, GO FOR IT. No regrets, life is too short.

Also, I do think you know when you are done. After my third, I feel done. It feels different.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

You do start over, because when you are 70 you will regret it for the rest of your life not having had that child and wondering about him/her.

We have 5 tiny ones.
You seem to be worried about the baby stage (and all the fun that entails with diapers, etc.) :) But you know what? That flies by. Then you have a little person to watch grow. Your family hobbies can wait a year. A year (or two) is NOTHING. They become toddlers overnight, almost. And 3 isn't a good # because it's odd. :) 4 and they'd all have a partner for rides at the fair.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I don't think anyone that had the fourth child would tell you they regret it, although I didn't read the answers.

but many people chose to stop for valid reasons like you mentioned. In fact all the reasons you mentioned, being out of the baby stage, not having as much time to devote to the baby stage or your older children while dealing w a baby, your hobbies, the long haul of how old you will be once they are raised, cost of college etc etc etc., the chance of having a special needs child, the changed dynamics of the family are all extremely valid reasons not to.

the reasons people are saying yes have another, are all " oooohh I love babies and "I" WANT TO" seem very emotion driven and not logic driven. sometimes are emotions are so powerful that we do just WANT TO, but if you are conflicted I would err on the side of logic,

Enjoy the wonderful family you have, don't feel pressure from other people to have 4, it's becoming so trendy now, that I really feel a lot of people just think that they need to have that many to either delay the mother returning to work ( I know not in your case, but def my sils) or fix a marriage that is starting to fade instead of just working on the couples relationship the wife decides to get pregnant, which drives a wedge further between the wife and hubs.

sorry to be so negative but I think you would know if it was the absolute right thing to do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I haven't read any of the responses, but I'll share my experience. I have two boys (4 & 7), and I always thought I would have 4 kids. I loved the idea of 2 boys and 2 girls. I had my oldest when I was 34 (almost 35) and my youngest when I was 37. I mention that, because you are definitely not too old to have a baby. You might feel like it once in awhile in the middle of the night or when you're chasing one of them :-) But if you are in your mid 30's, you're still very young. I'm 41 now, so I've made piece with the fact that my family is complete.

I've heard many people say that once you have 3, adding another is not nearly the adjustment it once was. I would try to talk to parents of 4 or more kids. But I would also really talk to your husband and make sure he is interested as well.

And if you want to go hiking and camping, buy a backpack. We used to use the backpack just to take walks around the block. Bring baby along. It's good for them to get out of the house!



answers from Denver on

Yes - I highly recommend 4! I wish I could have 5...



answers from Colorado Springs on

Sure! You know what's involved. You're not starting over. You're taking up where you left off.

Please realize that you're reading a response from a woman who would have been happy to have twelve children. Actually, I had four, and I'm thankful I wasn't deterred by the nay-sayers.

Our niece had three lovely girls, and some ten years later she found herself expecting again. She had a fourth lovely girl, and they couldn't be more pleased. Her big sisters (one is in college now) were thrilled. That littlest one has been to more sports activities and school shows than any other ten four-year-olds put together, I think, and she actually has been in one in her sisters' school theater productions (appropriately enough, she was a munchkin). She has a life of her own, too, and is very spunky. Everybody's thankful for her.

My own parents started their family later in life than most adults did at that time, and yes, they were paying for college instead of going on cruises until they retired. Did they regret it? No way! They always said their children were the best things that happened to them, next to marrying one another.



answers from Colorado Springs on

I have 4, ages 11, 14, 16, and 19. My youngest is an absolute delight, and I could not imagine life without him in it. By the way, I'm 51, and he's still in middle school. I have no wish to hurry this phase along AT ALL, and my older two can help drive him around -- so handy. When he was 5 and in the I.C.U. for two weeks, I was devastated, and thankful God chose to spare his life. The teenage years have hit me pretty hard. I was not a rebellious teen, but my 3 oldest were. In fact, my 3rd one, the 14-y-o, is still there. This has caused me so much heartache, and this, along with my marriage crumbling, were issues I never saw coming. We were also financially comfortable and had a big enough house and lots of love. But would I change the course of my life if I could have foreseen the future? Probably not. I vote yes, and if you have #4, may yours be as dear to you as my little guy is to me. Blessings!



answers from Houston on

I also have three 6, 4, and 2. My youngest just potty trained. I kept going back and forth on whether I wanted to be pregnant again and the sleepless nights, nursing, devided attention, etc. My kids are so busy with activities and while my husband makes a good income I worried about the cost. My husband is not a worry wart like myself and would have as many as I wanted. We have decided to try for another at the end of this year. The way I think about it is sure we will be busy but the years will fly by and I will miss these days. Children are a blessing and family is the most important thing. We can afford it, have a decent size house, good marriage and a lot of love. Everything else will work itself out, you know? I don't want to regret it.


answers from New Orleans on

I was 35 when I had my third and I was like 'No way baby!' at even the mention of 'trying for the girl' :). But if I would have been younger, I would have totally gone for round four. By the time I had my third I was pretty overweight and my second was only 22 months. Plus I did feel every one of my 35 yrs on the planet during that pregnancy. You sound like you are a bit younger than me and that you are probably at a healthy weight bc you guys are all out doorsy etc :). I vote to go for it :)



answers from Fort Collins on

We had our 3, each two years apart. We were both open to a fourth, but weren't immediately ready to go for #4 or to take steps to officially close that chapter of our lives. So, we gave it time. Deep down, I expected that the longer we were out of the baby / diaper stage, the more difficult it would be to "go back". Instead, the older our kids get, the more we enjoy them...so much so that all of the "negatives" of going back through the baby stage seemed more and more worth it to us. So, we "went for it" and welcomed our 4th this summer - 5 years after having our third. I'm just a few months into this, so can't give you a long-term perspective, but I will share my experience with you. I realize everyone's is / will be different, but hopefully it is helpful to you as you sit where I was not so long ago!

First, I'm not sure that having a child is ever a rational or logical decision, and we've all read the articles on the cost of raising a child. I'm also not sure there is anything wrong with doing something for emotional reasons - especially when those emotions are so positive. Having your third was probably no more rational or logical than having a fourth would be. So you probably already know where you fall on this point.

Like you, I was worried about how my body would handle pregnancy a fourth time around, especially since I'd be over 35. I honestly did not feel let down by my body and the pregnancy really wasn't any different because I was older. I feel fortunate to have had a full term pregnancy without complications. I had a natural, drug free birth right around my due date. I didn't get stretch marks with my first 3 or with my 4th. Guess this really is just genetics. I gained about the same amount of weight I did with previous pregnancies (actually less than with my 3rd). I've lost the pregnancy weight at the same rate, or faster, than I did with previous babies. (I haven't had time to exercise, but I haven't had time to sit around either!!! ;-) Because I am over 35, we did the genetic testing / screening offered to us. We feel grateful and fortunate to have a healthy baby. We also realized going into it that anytime you have a baby, there are risks. And, some of those risks are greater the older you are. No one can weigh those risks for you.

As for the practical, day to day aspects now that I am mom to four...

Having a baby is easy this time around.
When you go for a fourth after a few extra years with your first three, you have perspective. This means the difficult aspects of child (baby) rearing will have less impact on you, because you know it is all temporary. And the special moments and milestones will mean that much more. Remember the lady that approached you when your kids were tiny and told you to enjoy every moment, it goes TOO fast, before you know it they'll be grown? It's like you are that lady, with the benefit of that perspective, and the unique opportunity to enjoy those moments once more. Waiting those extra years before having the 4th means I don't have a toddler to care for at the same time, so I have more patience than I probably did with my second and third. I feel better able to enjoy my time with baby, with my older kids in school and me knowing how fleeting this time is.

That said- we are a very active family with children involved in many sports and activities. Doing all of the older kids' stuff while having an infant is *hard*. We do not have the local family support you speak of, so it may not be as challenging for you. For me, the sleep deprivation, diaper changes, nursing, etc honestly don't phase me...but running around like crazy in the midst of all that is just tough. No doubt about it. And I struggle with trying to be at everything / there for everyone without completely depleting myself. Heaven forbid the kids think Mommy stopped supporting them / attending their activities because baby showed up.

Not that they would - seeing them with their baby brother is the most amazing thing and they have such love and compassion for the little guy. Not an ounce of resentment (yet?). But, my tired, guilt-ridden mommy brain worries about it regardless, and I try to do so much more than the "typical" mom with a newborn ever would. That falls on me, not the kids, and I own that. The infant stuff will pass all too quickly - but juggling the needs of four children will not. I will have to be o.k. with not always being able to "do it all". As a mom that already has three children...you probably will too. :-)

Lastly, adding a little one to your brood of 5, especially with the first 3 being a bit older, is pretty darn great. A mother with 6 once said it is like you are teaching your older kids to be fantastic parents to your grandbabies, and it is true. So far, we have no sibling rivalry around baby #4. It is more like it is THEIR baby too. They want to hold baby. They want to soothe baby. They want their time with baby. They are so proud of baby and they love baby SO much! They really are as helpful as they could possibly be. So, I am spread thin and may not have quite as much time to give as I did with baby #1...but with the love and attention from siblings, I feel sure baby#4 is getting so much more.

Best of luck to you with your decision.



answers from Boston on

I say no unless u both really want it. U are at a great place now, run with the wind!



answers from Salt Lake City on

We just had our fourth and last child. My husband and I always wanted four from before we got married. My husband grew up with three and, being sandwiched in between his sisters, has always felt like the third wheel. We never wanted just three because of that. Three is a crowd in our experience. We also wanted that added dimension of a big family. Adding just one more child adds three more relationships between your children (the fourth child's relationship with each of his/her siblings). At least that's how we viewed it. I think your kids would be so grateful for that one more sibling, even if it makes life a little busier for you. I don't think you would ever regret it! Good luck with your decision!



answers from Los Angeles on

Our last one was a surprise. And has turned out to be the best thing that happened to us. Each child has been a joy and tremendous source of happiness.

My advice is to have another one. With three, a fourth will fit right in and be no bother at al. As far as being 51 when your last one moves out, that is a big "So What!"

I was 55 when my last turned 18. Its just another date on the time line. Unless you have plans on doing something special before you are 51, why is 51 a momentous road block. At 51 you aren't going to be physically handicapped so you can't take care of them (he or she). You aren't likely to die or retire at 51 so what is the big deal with 51? But at 51 you will be ready enough to be thinking abut retirement and if you are lucky you will have grand kids that you will be planning to go and see.

Have another child to love and hold and dream about with future grandkids. You will be so glad you did and have so many days of regrets if you don't.

Good luck to you and yours.



answers from Austin on

Heck, yeah!

My first 3 were born within 4 years.... August '82, April '84, and August '86..... at that point, we decided we needed to take a break!

Then, a few years later, it just felt right.... we wanted to add another to our family....

We did, and he was born November 1991... so there was quite a break between them all. (I was 25 when the first was born, and 34 when the last was born.)

Yes, there were frustrating times, but overall, it was WELL worth it...... and with my other 3 being a bit older, it was really neat seeing how THEY helped care for him.

At your age/baby gap, I don't see it as "starting over" ... it is just a continuation of what you began earlier!

Five or so years after #4 was born, we finally decided to do something permanent, and I had my tubes tied... at that point, we felt that we didn't want to add any more.

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