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Going for number 4 - family reacting badly

(21 Posts)
IlanaK Thu 13-Aug-09 14:53:15

We have decided to have another baby. We have three sons aged 8, 5 and 1. It is possible I am pregnant at the moment - waiting to see. I had to tell both my inlaws and my mother that we might have another baby (both for different reasons) and neither reacted well. My mother in law looked shocked and said "but what about your health?" and my mother said I was being selfish and should be happy with the three I have and did I want to be having babies for the rest of my life.

Now, I am a strong minded person and will go ahead regardless. But is this what I am going to encounter all the way along from people we tell once we are pregnant? I remember really enjoying telling people with the first three and don't want this to be a negative for what will definately be the last baby.

What were other people's experience of this?

CarmenSanDiego Thu 13-Aug-09 14:59:48

I dread this. I have nearly identical gaps to you and my youngest, ds is 7 months. I'd really like another one without too much of an age gap

But on my side of the family, I fear they'll complain both about my financial situation and my health (which isn't awful, but isn't perfect either)... and after ds was born and I was knackered breastfeeding and entertaining MIL, she went and said, "Well, you're not getting any younger are you." - at 30! So I don't look forward to a huge amount of support with dc4 if/when we go for it.

Realistically, I think people will come around to a fourth pregnancy. There is probably a mix of feelings going on from genuine worries about how your other children will cope and how you'll handle things financially, through to feeling a bit jealous that you're having more than they did... and perhaps also not really understanding why you want more than 2 anyway when it's not so much the done thing nowadays and was probably moving away from being the done thing for their generation.

Good luck with your pregnancy. I'm sure you'll have a gorgeous big family!

juuule Thu 13-Aug-09 15:02:11


People especially family shocked, surprised, concerned for us when anouncing no3,4 and 5.We found that most of the comments dried up after the 5th and turned into 'what are you not pregnant again yet' type comments, sometimes snide from people who didn't know us very well and sometimes with humour from people who did.

Regarding family I think it's mostly out of concern that they make these comments. Although sometimes some comments are unbelievably hurtful and inconsiderate for goodness knows what reason - probably thoughtlessness and mouths engaging before brains.
Just smile (or put them right if you feel strongly) and let them get on with it and you and your dp do what you have decided on for your family. You know your situation better than anyone else. As always listen to what people say, take the bits that are useful and discard the rest.

IlanaK Thu 13-Aug-09 15:12:45

Thank you both for replying. Yes, what my mother said was hurtful. My health is not ok, but I am getting older (37) and I am very overweight (but always have been). I cope well with the three I have and feel I could cope fine with a fourth. Pregnancies are aweful for me (severe spd - I did post a question about preventing it the other day but no-one answered). But it is a limited time (during the pregancy only and not after) that I suffer. A baby is for life, so it seems a small sacrifice to make.

The comment about being selfish was particularly bad. I wonder how it can be considered selfish? I have to give so much of myself to my children all the time (I home school them too) so surely it is not a selfish thing to have another?

CarmenSanDiego Thu 13-Aug-09 16:27:14

I think selfish is a poor choice of words. In her thinking, /perhaps/ she thinks you are risking your health when you need those resources for taking care of your existing children. Perhaps it may be something sillier than that - like she doesn't want to have to babysit for any more children.

I think you might need to have it out with your mum and find out what she meant and what her concerns are. The pregnancy is a reality so she needs to come to terms with it. MIL, I wouldn't worry so much about.

CarmenSanDiego Thu 13-Aug-09 16:27:16

I think selfish is a poor choice of words. In her thinking, /perhaps/ she thinks you are risking your health when you need those resources for taking care of your existing children. Perhaps it may be something sillier than that - like she doesn't want to have to babysit for any more children.

I think you might need to have it out with your mum and find out what she meant and what her concerns are. The pregnancy is a reality so she needs to come to terms with it. MIL, I wouldn't worry so much about.

juuule Thu 13-Aug-09 18:55:21

I think that the selfish comment comes from people not being able to comprehend how you could possibly give 4 children enough (of anything). Some people find it difficult and some people don't. Some of the ones who do could think it selfish to have more. But as long as you feel capable and able and are not burdening other people with the responsiblity then just bear in mind that they don't understand. Their perspective is different to yours and what might work for you they can't see working for them.

Also, I think that unless it's an accident, most children are the result of a little bit of selfishness on the parent's part. Having a baby isn't generally done for the good of the child or anyone else apart from the parents.wink

BottySpottom Thu 13-Aug-09 22:42:03

We are in the same situation but I am older than you. We too have 3 boys and I am absolutely dreading the 'are you doing it for a girl?' comments. We are not, at all. I love our boys and would be delighted with another boy or a girl. Neither sets of grandparents will be impressed at all and I am bracing myself to tell them.

IlanaK Fri 14-Aug-09 09:59:08

Oh yes - the trying for a girl comment. I had that a lot with the third pregnancy. People seemed to expect me to be disappointed that it was another boy. I dread that this time. I too would be more than happy with another boy, or a girl.

Ceolas Fri 14-Aug-09 10:12:19

Hi Ilana. I can sympathise. Our families were both OK when we announced pregnancy number 4, but we got a lot of negative comments from other people. I got to the stage where I just didn't mention it until it was obvious.

I am due number 5 tomorrow and it's been worse this time. Lots of "Are you mad?" type comments including a shrieked "OMG was it a mistake??!!" from one. Not sure I'll be testing juuule's theory though wink

I think you break some sort of threshold when you go above 3. People with 2 or 3 children cannot comprehend how you would possibly cope with more. But you will, if that's what you want.

On the health issues, I too am overweight. I have found this pregnancy very tiring but the last one was a breeze and I was a similar weight. I also had bad SPD with my 3rd pregnancy but it's not been a issue with pregnancies 4 or 5. Not sure why really.

Good luck with everything. As my neighbour (lovely 93 year old lady who had 10 children) said to me - you won't be asking anyone else to get up in the night with them, so just ignore the comments

sweetkitty Sat 15-Aug-09 23:15:21

Ilana - you could be me, I have a 5yo 3yo and 13mo and am TTC #4. All I get asked is "are you going to have more?" or "are you trying for a boy" hey if you have a boy and I have a girl want to swap wink I also have SPD but what you said about a small bit of suffering sums it up for me, I know it is going to be very hard, I hate being pregnant but will get through it and the thought of it being the last time will get me through, financially we are OK not wealthy but we won't starve.

My MIL died recently and I don't speak to my Mother we have no family support just DP and I really so it will be hard but we both love children and would adore a fourth.

Shall we come up with witty retorts to all the comments?

LovingtheSilverFox Sat 15-Aug-09 23:31:04

I have had similar shocked comments from people, and we aren't anywhere near trying from anymore yet. DD1 is 3 yo and DTs (both girls) are 8 months. I point out that we haven't definaetly said "no more" as yet and my Mum's eyebrows disappear to view the moon craters at close quarters. And friends all assume we would be trying for a boy. Errr no. Just another say 3 or 4 years. All we have said is that we aren't ruling out the possibility.

jellybeans Mon 17-Aug-09 12:13:04

My family reacted very badly to #5 and really upset me. It was because they were worried (I was high risk too) but I still feel they were mean to upset me so much when I was already pregnant. Still, they are great now #5 is here

Nemoandthefishes Mon 17-Aug-09 12:26:27

Go for it, family reacted badly to no.3 and no.4 for me but once they were here they have been loved, although MIL did tell me the yesterday not to be getting ideas about no.5 as she can see the 'look' in my eyes..pmsl
DD3[no.4] is a delight and I cant imagine ehr not being part of our clan. My gang are 5,3,2 and 9weeks and I absoultely love it!

BeBe2776 Mon 17-Aug-09 14:54:37

my gang will be 8, 3.5, and 2 when no 4 comes along and im really worried I wont be able to cope - have not told family yet as I know what their reaction will be so waiting until I literally have to, just hope all will be ok

lljkk Tue 18-Aug-09 06:55:41

MIL asked if I was "horrified" about Baby 4.

I've also had ppl say I was mad bcuz I had 3.
Worse, several ppl have implied that I can't handle a large family which explains DS2's behaviour (very boisterous, shouty, emotional, clumsy, speech delay, physically impulsive -- I view him as 100% boy but others label him "out of control" hmm).
I am far from perfect parent but I reckon DS2 is just very immature, he will outgrow those things, I can only moderate for now.
Early days, but DC4 seems to be quiet & introspective; will I get told he's too quiet bcuz he has too many older siblings holding him back? hmm
Honestly, there's no pleasing some ppl.

sweetkitty Thu 20-Aug-09 16:49:22

If you don't have one of each 3 years apart then you are obviously mad according to most people.

4andnotout Thu 20-Aug-09 16:53:27

I had the enjoyment of having my drug addled sil ring me berating me for getting myself pregnant (dp obviously has nothing to do with it hmm ) as dp has angina and apparently another mouth to feed would tip him over the edge. Funnily his dicky ticker hasn't stopped him gettin me pregnant 5 times in 5 years hmm grin

Anyway dd4 is now 9months and is fantastic, in fact all 4 (7,4 22m,9m) are

elvislives Thu 20-Aug-09 19:12:15

We got exactly the same reaction when we announced pregnancy no 4 so we told the gps it was an accident blush

Didn't tell anyone about no 5 until 24 weeks and all were delighted.

PacificDogwood Fri 21-Aug-09 21:32:20

Ilana, I worry about the exact same thing: I have just found out that I am expecting DS4 and am very happy and excited about it. I phoned by parents earlier to tell them... and was relieved when nobody answered the phone grin.
And when I think about having to tell work, I get palpitations...
I already had all the remarks about "going for a girl" when pregnant with DS3 so that can only get worse.

Ignoring people as best we can is probably best, but I know I struggle with that at times.

Hope you get to have exactly the family that you wish for. smile

Henrietta Fri 28-Aug-09 09:00:52

About the SPD get regular osteopath chechups. My sister had bad SPD (In a wheelchair by end) with no 2 managed to avoid with no 3 by seeing osteo - said well worth the money.

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