Rebecca Eckler on Having Another Baby

Pity and Jealousy: The two reactions I usually get when people hear I had another baby


 

I usually get two reactions when people hear I had another baby. (Well, first, I get the obligatory congratulations.) But when you have a baby at my age (I got pregnant at 38 and had my son Holt come out at age 39) you get a very different reaction than when you announce you’re having or had a baby in your twenties (like I did my daughter.) The two reactions are either, “Oh my god. I could never got through raising another baby at my age,” or, “Oh my god, I so want another!”

Either people kind of pity me (“You were almost free! Now you have to go back and get out the high chair!”) Or they are actually jealous (“Can I please come over and hold your baby? I need a fix!”) In fact, because I had my second child pretty late (although not as late as the women we see on television who have babies in their 50s) many of my friends have started to fight with their husbands. And it’s all my fault.

One friend, who already has three children, came over to visit with her husband. Her husband LOVES babies, but of course he works very long hours so all the grunt work falls on my girlfriend. Still, he looked at my friend, his wife, holding my son and said to her, “Please, please, please can we have another?” He’s been bugging my girlfriend for months now to have another baby all because I did.

As well, my sister-in-law, who is only a couple years younger than me, really, really wants another baby. Actually, both my sister-in-laws want another baby and because they see that I had another one, and I’m really happy about it, I feel for my brothers, both who definitely don’t want another baby.

Then, when I was picking up my daughter from school, I ran into a mother who asked how my son was. “He’s amazing,” I gushed. She opened up to me that she was really sad that she couldn’t have another one, because her husband thinks two is enough. In her eyes though, she is still young enough, at age 40, to have another baby, and she would be right. She could indeed pop another one out.

One of my friends has one daughter in her last year of high school, and another one in university. She told me that one night her and her husband went out for their anniversary dinner and she said, “I’m not ready to be an empty nester.” They went home, did the deed, and had another baby.

On the other hand, I have friends who come over and my son will be in a cranky mood, or has just pooed, and I’ll have to change and calm him and, honestly, they can’t get out the door soon enough. They’ll invite me out and I’ll have to say, “Sorry. I have a baby. I can’t go out for dinner at 9 p.m.” They can, of course, because their kids are at least 10 years old and they don’t have to worry about getting up as early as I do or worry about having a hangover. (Having a hangover is bad anytime, but trust me, having a hangover and a newborn just do NOT mix.)

I honestly believe, because I had my son later in life, a lot of my friends or acquaintances are now thinking about having another. Or they are now convinced, if they had been thinking about it, that they don’t want another. In any case, I’m glad to be the tester for them, even if I am responsible for their fights over having another. Sorry about that.

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Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most well-known journalists. She has been a columnist with theNational Post, Canada's national newspaper, for five years, including a stint as a New York-based columnist and feature writer. She is the best-selling author of Knocked UpWiped!Toddlers Gone Wild, How to Raise a Boyfriend and The Lucky Sperm Club. Rebecca lives in Toronto with her fiancé and family. 

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