Broody Blues: When Is It Time To Stop Having Babies?

The strong, primal urge to have children can strike you when you least expect it; it’s a deep, emotional pull that can be completely illogical, irrational, inconvenient and indeed bordering on insanity, as in my case.

RELATED: Why Having Babies Later In Life Is Good For You

I’ve just turned 41; I have three-year-old and two-year-old daughters; I work part-time and our household is so chaotic and noisy I’m often half expecting to hear the sounds of glass shattering – none of these conditions are ideal in which to bring another life into this world.

And yet, I feel an intense, inexplicable desire to breed – it’s like my fertility clock has started tick, tick, ticking again as my body approaches the end of its peak reproductive capabilities. I’m yearning for a baby to the point that when I see a newborn in the street, I have to quell a strong desire to sniff that cute, little bundle of joy’s head; nothing would smell sweeter to me right now. This is far from ideal and fairly offensive, anti-social behaviour: “Er, excuse me? Can I please sniff your baby’s sweet head?” Ugh.

fertility, fertility clock, conception, parenting

And did I mention I already have both a preschooler and a toddler, born very close together? What am I thinking?! My head is overruling my heart on this one: my having another baby can’t and won’t happen – life is only just starting to get manageable as it is; my husband and I are finally starting to get seven-to-eight hours sleep nightly again and we have a happy, if hectic family life. Why would I want to ruin all that with another baby?!

Then there’s my fertility to think of: having a baby in your 40s can be very fraught. It is of course, thanks to the miracles of modern science, by no means impossible. But my husband and I have already endured the agony of two miscarriages and a down syndrome scare in our quest to have children later in life. It’d be way too much mental and emotional anguish to lose another child and/or suffer more pregnancy complications.

And then there are the long, sleepless nights to consider – my 45-year-old husband would happily go for another baby, but I’m not sure we’d survive it, to be honest – I think it would be very ageing and stressful. I’m sure, if it was to happen, I’d wake up one day, pregnant with our third child, with a giant patch of grey hair (no greys yet, touch wood).

And yet, despite all this, I am still longing for another baby; not even my boisterous and demanding two littlies can deter these irrepressible maternal urges. For having a baby is an experience like no other – one of life’s greatest gifts – a rollercoaster of emotions: giddy highs and the lowest of lows.

Interestingly, I never even felt this strong desire to have children until about six months before my wedding at age 36. I was extremely career-driven and rarely, if ever, got clucky. But now, perhaps because my husband and I have been blessed with two healthy and adorable children – so I know just how wondrous parenthood can be – it’s a heart pull that is starting to plague me.

fertility, fertility clock, conception, parenting, conceiving in your 40s

However, here is a fun fertility fact which, for me, is yet another reason to stop having kids: from your mid-40s, if you conceive naturally, you have a one in two chance of having twins. Can you believe it? Women’s bodies are amazing; this twin lottery is due to the fact that as we approach menopause, our hormones work harder to release an egg from our ovaries. And so the result is often two eggs being released during ovulation which can be fertilised and implanted in our uterus, resulting in non-identical twins. Eek.

Every baby is a blessing, but I’m way too tired to have another and, I like to think, wise enough to know when it’s time to stop. Now, if I can just overrule these utterly ridiculous broody blues…

What do you think? Have you experienced the broody blues? How did you know it was time to stop having babies?