What the 4th baby taught me….

What the 4th baby taught me……adapted and inspired from an article in Welcome Home Magazine.

Every child teaches you something new. My first baby taught me patience and delight, confusion and coordination. My second taught me perseverance. My third taught me that every baby is unique, that not everything comes painted in black and white, that lovely shades of gray exist in between. My fourth taught me that life is fragile, God is huge and can do great things if you trust in Him! 

With two children, it is easy to label them “easy” vs. “difficult” and “creative” vs. “academic.” The third and fourth babies peel away the labels, because opposites only have two sides, and suddenly there are four to cover, all with very unique qualities and traits.

The 3rd baby, my strong-willed one, taught me that even if I could strive to raise my children “perfectly,” they would still fall short and make mistakes. The 3rd baby taught me I could do everything “right,” even by my own standards, and still not have a perfect child. My third baby taught me how to re-parent all over again, with her ornery ways and temper tantrums.

 Avery 7 months

The 4th baby taught me to treasure baby things and baby ways. With children two and three, babyhood fled rapidly, scooted along for convenience’s sake.  17 month apart babies, and big sis in school, tend to create a survival of the fittest mentality.

I want the babyhood of my 4th to last forever. I want to cherish his sweet breath on my neck when I snuggle him, every sigh of contentment as I feed him, every face he makes when he is nursing that no one else will ever see, every grin and giggle, the joy I feel in my heart, when he turns at the sound of my voice, and the feeling I get, when only I can stop his incessant crying because I am mommy, and for now, I am his EVERYTHING.

But I know babyhood cannot last forever, I know that I will love each and every stage more than the last. I also know this fourth baby, is my final baby. I know there will be a day when my heart longs to hold another newborn in my arms. I know that I will have to deal with sadness, the first time he crawls away from me and discovers a whole new world out there. I know the Lord will have to help me be content with 4 in Heaven and 4 on earth, because that is His plan for me. And, if the 4th baby has taught me anything so far, its to slow down, to enjoy each moment, and to live in the present; for the moments in the present quickly move into the past with the last baby.

The third and fourth babies taught me that babies don’t need lots of toys and baby gear. Those babies have all the hand-me-down baby toys any child could imagine and still prefers his big brother and sisters to any toy.

The fourth baby taught me to let go of the little things that make me crazy, based on my own high standards for myself. The fourth baby taught me to come up with creative solutions instead of striving for perfection. Who has time to maintain a perfect home when you have 3 kids ages 3 and under?

The fourth baby taught me that fair doesn’t mean equal. When the fourth baby came, I realized fair means that each one gets what he needs, in turn if necessary, not just what they want.

The fourth baby taught me, that once again, love does not divide, it multiplies.

The fourth baby taught me that children aren’t meant to be raised one at a time. That a family works best as a group, not as individual members.

The fourth baby taught me that nothing is so inspiring as seeing kids give each other hugs, a big sister reading to “her” baby, a little brother grinning up at big brother, the third baby racing up to the 4th to give hugs after a nap, as if they are long-lost friends.

The fourth baby taught me that there’s always room for one more, no matter my time line, God’s ways are the perfect ways, and I could never have scripted such a life for myself. It is perfect for me, and a gift from the Creator Himself.

What has been precious about the fourth baby though, has been what the fourth baby has taught me, and what he taught the first three through the miracle of his birth:  To trust in God even when all seems lost, to accept your circumstances, and to allow God to use them to make you stronger, individually and as a family unit.
Baby 4 has 2 big sisters and a big brother that will help him discover and grow. He will learn that any of us will pick him up when he falls, read to him when he asks, play with him when he’s lonely, and show him the wonders of the world. He will also learn that he doesn’t always get what he wants, that he can’t hit siblings (even when they make him mad) or throw balls in the house.  That he must talk nicely to others if he wants them to talk nicely to him, and that Mommy gives out snacks, four at a time, so everyone can have one.
For me, the fourth baby has taught me to relax, enjoy everything those little monkey’s throw my way. They have taught me to just stop, and enjoy those little moments that mean the most!  I once heard that people stop having children too soon. It’s true. The first baby interrupts a life made for two. With the second, you realize raising two children is hard work! What no one tells you, is that those first two give you practice. By the third and fourth babies, experience tells you that nothing is impossible, that problems have solutions, that children will grow past many things–and that each new baby will teach you something you’ve never thought of before.

Making the decision to have a child–its momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

Your life will never be the same, and you know what…….

You wouldn’t want it to be!

 Seek the Lord about HIS plan for your life.  Ask HIM if He desires for you to continue to grow your family.  His plans are far better than our own, plans to give us hope and a future. {Jeremiah 29:11}

~T

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42 thoughts on “What the 4th baby taught me….

  1. Pingback: 4 Little Fergusons Top 20: #14 to 10 «

  2. I have so enjoyed reading this. So much resonated for me! I have literally just had a positive test today and am hoping it sticks for baby #4. Naturally, I’m a bit apprehensive but many people thought I was insane having a third and we manage fine. I knew I wasn’t done….and so a fourth will hopefully come along. I identified so much with your sense of loss when that last baby becomes a toddler, knowing it’ll be your last – and yet, like you, I love each different stage and I totally love seeing them all together. Some wise words here – thank you

  3. Pingback: debating the fourth child???? magical piece of writing from a lovely mum x

  4. Thank you so much for writing this! I am pregnant with my fourth and feeling a little overwhelmed! Your writing brought a tear to my eye and helped put things in perspective! God bless!

  5. Thank you for your beautiful and inspiring words. Had my third three months ago and am happy to read your thoughts on family.

  6. I actually just googled “should I have a fourth baby,” and this came up. My oldest is 5, and getting ready to go to kindergarten, my second is 3, and is a pistol, and my third is 14 months, the joy of my life, my mama’s boy. I’m pretty overwhelmed, yet content with my life as is, but I sometimes feel like there is a fourth little person just waiting to join our family. I’m so torn, as I hate being pregnant, my husband works a lot, and I have no family around to help out, but I’m so so sad that my baby is entering toddlerhood. I wish I could shrink him. I guess this is something I really need to keep praying about. :)

    • Erica- I just googled the same thing and found this article too! Obviously it’s been a while since your comment here, but I’d love to now what you decided?? Did you have a 4th??

      • Yes I would love to know also! Reading your comment Erika, was like reading my own thoughts! I have the exact same feelings. I love my little family of 3 (2 girls, 1 boy, ages 5,3,&20 months) but I don’t feel complete. When it comes down to having the 4th I freak out..is this what I really want?? So torn!

      • Nicole- so many days the idea consumes me, and I swear every sign points to baby! Then there’s days I have doubts whispered in my ear, but its never about want- just about ‘can we afford it’ or ‘can I handle it?’ My husband works a ton as well and I don’t have family help either- but that’s also nothing new! Lol I am a firm believer, and turn all my decisions over to God. I truly feel that what God has planned for us will be and to faithfully wait for clear answers. Just wish I knew what I was looking for!

  7. Amazing timeing! We are in the process of trying for our fourth, most days I am overcome with joy and peace when thinking about adding another, and then I have a few days of questioning myself.. “Are you sure” how do you know that you are done Tonya? You are such a wonderful mother. We need more children in this world who are raised in a Christian home with Christian boundaries.

    • You are just precious, thank you for that nice compliment! :) Tell you what, I always thought I’d have 4-6 kiddos, but I figured they’d be here on earth with me. I have 8 babies, I just haven’t seen 4 of them face to face yet. Each pregnancy got harder and harder until I was on bed rest for 6 1/2 months with #4, Paxton. I had a condition called Circumvallate Placenta. It can repeat itself with every consecutive pregnancy, and get worse overtime and increasing your odds of placental abruption. It was just time. We had peace in our hearts that we were done. I think when you know, you just know. :) God’s ways are not our ways, are they? Good thing we can trust HIS best for our lives. Blessings to you and yours as you try for your number 4!
      Hugs, T

  8. I cried all the way through this. It truly touched my heart and I felt as if I wrote it myself…relating so much. I have been blessed with three beautiful boys…ages 11 to 13 months. I so want one more child. Since there is such a large age gap between my children, I have questioned weather or not I was making a wise choice, but after much prayer and trusting in the Lord that he desires His best for our family, we are trying for our forth. Yes, I too think about how I will feel when I realize the forth will be my last, but I know above of all, I have everything I could have ever wanted, a loving husband and soon to be four miracles!! Thank you for sharing. Blessings:-)

  9. I just read your blog on “What the Fourth taught me” and I gotta tell you, I cried! My husband and I are currently praying about whether or not the Lord would have us have a fourth. We have 2 beautiful girls and an amazing boy and truly feel blessed. But are we done? I always thought I would have 4, but now in the midst of real life things like finances and housing space and will we be able to vacation comes to the forefront of a mind. I know the Lord is our provider and He will meet our needs, but I also wrestle with He gave us a brain to make wise choices. I have NO DOUBT that if we had a 4th we would never regret it, even if it means we vacation differently. We just desire to know the Lord’s will for our family. Thank you for sharing your story. I am seeking advice and the funny thing is, we are Ferguson’s too. So of course, your title, 4 Little Fergusons jumped out at me. Thank you again for your beautiful words!

  10. I found out a month ago I am preggers with (unplanned) #4…..scared to death and honestly depressed:( I have been reading story after story and yours was the first that made me feel like “it will be ok”. My husband is very supportive and also scared and feeling overwhelmed, can’t wait to share this with him. Thanks, x

  11. This post was so inspiring. Like some other readers, my husband and I are working through the decision to have a fourth. I feel that we go from a solid yes to an almost no within the same sentence. We are both anxious and scared , both feelings we never experienced in the decision to have the other 3. We have 3 boys: ages 9, 6, 4. We had always thought we would have 4children but our last blessing has been a bit of a challenge so our plan kept being put off as the task of having another was overwhelming. Now we have begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel and seem to be questioning this decision now more than ever. Do we want to start over? Do we have enough space, time, money etc. The same questions everyone has. I am a triathlete and finally felt back to myself and abilities…..this would put all that on hold again for another few years. I have battled with the fact that i know that is so selfish and a child is so much more than that…but we all know that experiencing that self worth is so satisfying. We have thought that perhaps we should cherish what we have and put our resources into our exsisting family , yet when saying that there is something in the back of the mind that is not settled with that answer. In search of more advice and insight I turned to ‘google’ and found your story. I read it, related with it, cried, and then emailed it to my husband. He then read it (I those that he would ignore it and think that I was crazy to be searching the internet for an answer to if we should have a fourth ) but he did read it and he too cried and was inspired. Thank you so much for the insight and thanks to the other readers and their posts as it is helpful to hear that our thoughts and fears are not alone.

  12. We are back and forth everyday! No room, no money, no time… But. We can’t help but feel that there is someone in there that needs to be here and of our family!

  13. That was such an amazing story. and thank you so much for sharing that with the world. We just had our 3rd and my wife is good with that number since she came from a small family. I often feel that someone is missing and that I will regret not having a 4th. I have no hope of having 5 since my wife will never go for that but there is some chance (though remote) that she would have a 4th so that is what I am grappling with. Why not have a fourth? well its mostly the concern about being too overwhelmed and biting off more than we can chew. The fear that it will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The second concern is finances. On the first concern I really shouldn’t worry about it since it will probably only be hard for a limited period of time and then we will have the rest of our lives to reap the benefits. Also, everyone thought we were crazy when we had 3 and things are working out pretty well thus far. On the second concern, we all say money isn’t everything so maybe its time we lived like it. Still unsure and my wife certainly isn’t. However, we have some time to figure it out as my 3rd is only 4 weeks old (lovely little girl after my two big boys 2.5 and 4.5). God bless you and your beautiful family. May we have the strength and courage to follow in your footsteps.

  14. Just had our 3rd 5 months ago and wondering if we should have a 4th. Sometimes I wish I knew Gods plan for us, atleast that way I could stop worrying!!! I love your post!!

    I have 3 under 5 and a fulltime nurse. Sometimes I wish i could be a stay at home mom, but since I’ve done it 3x I cant use that as an excuse. My husband is great and when I get overwhelmed with all the chaos in our home he always reassures me that its just the season our life is in. He looks at our kids and says to me they are perfect how could you not want more, and I agree. But when I start thinking about the finances, logistics, daycare costs and start to wonder if its the best idea or if we will be taking away from the kids we have to have more???

  15. I love this post! I am mommy to 5 ages 9 years to 12 months :) I feel like God lays it on our hearts to have a baby but sometimes the Enemy fills our minds with lies that we won’t have enough money or doubt that we can’t handle more children. Just remember children arr a blessing from the Lord and I have yet to meet a mother ( or father) who wished they’d had less children!
    I wholeheartedly agree that more babies help you lower those impossible standards and enjoy those tiny blessings :)

  16. This is soo inspirational. I have three boys myself, aged 7, 5 and almost 4. And until a few months ago I thought we were done with the babies and we are finally out of dipers, we actually sleep at night and all kids are off to nursery/preschool/school in the morning so I actually have a lot of time for myself (as I am a stay home mom). But lately I started thinking i want another one and just can’t decide for myself as all the practical issues come to mind. We travel abroad twice a year as both my and my husbands parents come from another country and we like to take our kids to both places. We like a certain way of life which we can support right now but will that be possible with number 4? We are moving to a new house which has 4 bedrooms so each of our three boys will get a room of their own (something I always wanted when I was a kid as I shared with my sister) and if we have another one things get out of balance again. On one hand my heart is really in for it, on the other hand all the practilities just dont let me rest. I am also thinking how will the other three take in a new child. They all like and need their attention and new baby will take up a lot of that. I have been obsessing with this for over 4 months now and still can’t decide. My husband thought we were done at three but is totally open for the fourth one. So how do we know if God has a fourth one for us? I’m really lost and confused. Your writing was very inspiring and its the second time I am reading it-when I read it about a month ago I was sure I wanted to have another one. But reading it today – I am not sure what is the right thing for us as a family. Our three boys are close in age and are basically a “small group” with common toys, friends and interests. Bringing a child that will have 4-5 years difference with the youngest one and about 8 years difference with the old one – how will that affect our family dynamics, i wonder? Lots of questions that no one can really answer for me. I realize that we will never regret having another one, but we might regret not going for it some years down the road. We are blessed with three wonderful boys and I feel a bit of a betrayal towards them as well wanting another one (are the three that I have not enough for me??) Well, hopefully I will be able to put things in the right perspective and figure this one out! Enjoy your family, you are very blessed!

    • Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts, this IS a big decision! I feel like the Lord moves slowly compared to our time frame, and speaks with peace to our hearts. If you have unrest about this, then I’d say let it go completely. The timing isn’t right to make this decision if you don’t have peace. If and when it’s time for your fourth, with no time frame or rush about the ages of the older 3, there will be a day you just know….one way or another…..what is right for your home and your family. We can Trust God for all areas of our lives, He can see what is best for us, because He sees the giant tapestry we are weaving from His persepective, we can only see the strings.
      Hope this helps, Hugs! T

      • You are so absolutely right about what you are saying! Thank you for listening and giving your input. Just saying (or writing actually) and sharing this with you was very relieving for me. I needed to get some input from somebody outside of our circle. Thank you so very much, I really appreciate you taking the time to actually think about our situation. I’m sure the time will come when I can see things right. You are truly special…

  17. Hi i typed into the search engine “i want a fourth baby” hoping for some help and reasoning, and i found your article and it completely touched me. I really have been longing for another baby. I have twin boy’s age 5 and a little girl age 1 tommorow they are amazing but it is so true what you say the boys were hard work and bad sleepers but it wasnt until we had our daughter i realised how much time i have to talk and be with her that everything didnt have to go by the book or by the clock. I did not want anymore after the boys and took a lobg time but it feels different somehow thus time. I have the dull ache in my heart and tummy but i have yet to tell my husband as i know i think he wouldnt want another :’(

  18. Normally I never comment on any blogs etc but on this I had to!
    My husband and I had our 3rd baby 5 months ago and are talking about a 4th. Not ASAP but somewhere in our future. He was hesitant and I was so sure of our family and decided to google “reasons to have a 4th child” because maybe I just love having my babies and maybe I’m being selfish to the other children. Anyway so this was one of the first few to come up so I clicked on it and was in awe. You said some of the stuff I felt and thought but didn’t really think. It just came natural I guess you could say. But reading this just gave me more confidence in myself and as a parent. It is so true about when you have the 3rd baby you learn it’s not just one or the other. That there are more choices and descriptions. Seriously, thank you so much.

  19. This is such a wonderful article and so very true! I have 3 girls, another baby on the way, and four babies in Heaven. This was a beautiful article. I have always felt that four was the number for our family. Then, after my last daughter, I had three miscarriages (I had had one before her), and it seemed that maybe just three was God’s plan. But, you are so right about His timing. Just when I was ready to accept that we were done and trying to make peace with that, God gave me my current pregnancy. I pray that he allows me the gift of raising this sweet little life here on earth, but I am simply continuing to try to trust in Him and His perfect plan for my life. Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful thoughts.

  20. i am thankful to have found this. I am weeks away from having my 4th boy, whose brothers are 11,8 and 5, I feel nuts having made the decision to have another one at all and am really doubting my capability to find time for all of them and not go insane! God gives us no more than we can handle, is my mantra! Thankyou for giving me a peek inside your heart, it makes me feel more confidant that even though everyday I think i am screwing up my kids they will survive me! God bless!

  21. I love your story! I cried through the whole thing! I have 3 kids (8 & 6 year old & 9 month old) I just found out two days ago that I am pregnant with #4! I don’t even know what to feel. Me and my husband have been together for 15 1/2 years and married for almost 11. Its been very hard. I cant believe im posting this, but I have no idea what else to do? He’s been in and out of jobs for past year. We can barely make it now, I can’t even possibly think of having another one. My parents are overwhelmed because they help us out alot. They pick up my kids from school and watch my little one while I work. They don’t feel like my husband has been a good husband and aren’t happy at all with him. The last thing I feel like I could do is bring another baby into the world for them to look after. I just don’t know what to do. I even thought the worst of I can’t handle it…we use protection, but I guess God still made it happen. I love my family and husband, but I don’t know what to do, we cant make ends meet now, and add another innocent baby into the mix! im devastated, confused, scared, overwhelmed! :( miserable! please any words of advice to help would be appreciated!
    thank you for sharing your story!

    • Oh man, that is so hard! Congratulations are still in order, even if you are overwhelmed. There are no accidental pregnancies, God always has a bigger plan in place, and there will be day you look back and cannot fathom life without baby number 4. Ours was the perfect piece to finish the puzzle of our family, he brought things to our home that we didn’t even know we were missing until he was born! :)

      Take it day by day, step by step, and seek your Heavenly Father. Are you involved in church? Ask Him to provide for your family and a steady job for your husband. Have you prayed about taking the leap and staying home full time? Would this force hubby to take seriously his role as provider for your home? Paying childcare for 4 is typically more expensive then just eating the cost and getting to be the one home with kiddos! :) When it comes to hubby, make sure you are his #1 cheerleader in life, for whatever we speak to them, they become. I am sure he feels the pressure of life, another mouth to feed and the disapproval of your parents.

      Isaiah 41:10 is my life verse and is very fitting here: “Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
      And
      Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

  22. Wow so today my husband and i were talking about having our fourth but just thinking about how crazy my days are now with 3 kids i was really thinking it over until i read this. I feel like this is God confirming to me that a 4th child is in his plans for me and my family i cried the whole time reading this because it is very true each child does teach something and we as mothers also change we are not the same mom with our first child then we are with our 3rd i can only imagine the blessings that God has instore for us by giving us our fourth child.

  23. Words cannot describe how you beautifully placed your words…I was looking up suggestions on google about having a fourth child, and it was as if GOD led me here…to your passage. You have taught me in more ways than one that life is beautiful….and of course you only live once. I truly believe that it was meant for me to have a large family….with a bond of love that cannot be taken away. Seeing that bright blossoming smile when they wake up in the morning to hearing them say “I love you”, before they lay down at night to sleep. Dreaming of everything that is wonderful. I thank you from the very depths of my heart for expressing yourself

  24. I just took a positive pregnant test… I am very very scared. I have three that are 4 and under… Your post made me cry from beginning to end. Because in my heart I know I have to trust God. Thank you so much for your post. I now know that it is in God’s plan for me to keep this baby!

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