Audrey's comment on last week's blog got me thinking about celebrities. We often read in interviews that they don't make many new friends because it's hard to know if people really like them for who they are or just because they're famous. Audrey's engaged to a guy who wants her to have a baby. She's already got three and he's already got one. Count 'em—that's four kids they'll be bringing to their new marriage. She's 37 and he's 45. That's going to be a challenge.
At first, Audrey seemed keen on "giving" her fiancé another baby but now she's having second thoughts because he's putting the pressure on hard. Apparently, having this baby is really, really important to him. I'll bet she feels a bit like a celebrity. Does this guy want to marry her because she's such a darn good breeder or does he want to marry her no matter what? Audrey's wondering if she should get pregnant or not. Here's my answer: Not!
OK, I'm going to revise that: Not now. First of all, you're one lucky woman, Audrey. You already have three children with the possibility of one more (your fiance's son). You're also in the extremely fortunate position of being able to make a clear-eyed decision about whether you want to have another. You're not facing an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy like so many other women. You get to choose.
Somewhere between 25 and 50% of all babies result from unplanned pregnancies and while probably most of those babies turn out to be cherished and welcome once the shock wears off not all of them will. Not all of the planned babies will be cherished and welcome either. Some of these "planned parents" will end up thinking, "Gee, it seemed like such a good idea at the time but now there's all this responsibility and stuff."
Here are some really good reasons to plan another baby: You really, really, want one. You want that wonderful, magical, frightening, exhausting and expensive gift of raising a child again. You know you're a great parent and your children will be assets to the world. You've got more than enough love, money, time and energy and you want to share it with a child. You're responsible enough to give this child everything you've got and then some.
Here are some bad reasons to plan another child: To keep a guy. Because he wants you to. Because other people expect you to. Because you might as well. To save a marriage. C'mon Audrey, you've already raised one child almost to adulthood. You know what it takes. You also know you've still got two more of your own to finish raising. Do you have the time, health, energy and money to have one more? How about that stepson you're considering taking on? Do you have all the tools in your toolbox to make sure you're the best stepmother you can be? What about college for all these kids? Honey, I'm raising a big family myself and let me tell you, it's really hard. Kids aren't so expensive when they're little but their needs cost a lot more as they get older. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. Having a baby is a life sentence and should only be entered into with the purest of intentions. Every baby deserves that much.
I'm not so stuck behind my rose-colored glasses to think that's the way it is for every planned (or unplanned) pregnancy. People get pregnant for all kinds of reasons. I don't think pregnancy is just for married people though I think it's a lot easier on everyone if there are at least two parents involved and both of them are 100% committed to their child. I do think, however, that babies aren't accessories to be added to life just to make someone else happy. Sure they're pretty but let's get real here. They're people and they're hard work.
OK, now that I've come down all heavy on you here, Audrey, let me answer your question again. Should you get pregnant or not? Maybe. Maybe you and your fiancé have a little work to do before you're ready to make this decision. Maybe you need to be sure this is what you really, really want. What if you can't get pregnant? It's not as easy at 37 as it was when you were 29. Will your husband still be happy? You need to refine your motives for having a baby and find out it's a deal breaker before you move forward. Chances are if you get pregnant, you'll love this baby as much as your others and you and your fiancé will do a fine job raising him/her. But if you're feeling pressured to do something so life altering before you're even married, this might be a warning sign. Look both ways before you proceed.
Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it may be answered in a future blog post.
This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.