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Saturday 24 August 2019

Dear Mary: 'We're considering having a third baby. What is the right thing to do?'

Pregnancy stock
Pregnancy stock

I am writing for some advice on family life and a current daily dilemma. My husband and I have two young boys (aged three and nine months), both gorgeous, happy and healthy. We are very lucky to have them as I know only too well the troubles some people have trying to fall pregnant and with sick children. I am 38 and considering having a third child. It is weighing heavily on my mind as time is not on my side. My husband is happy with the two and thinks we should feel lucky they are healthy, and I agree.

He also thinks as I near 40 we have greater risks attached. He also thinks with two we have a better quality of life, more money, more time to spend with the children, more holiday options and, of course, more time for ourselves. I also agree with all of this. I do value time for ourselves and the thought of everything being a little less chaotic and enjoying family holidays more easily and of course being more affordable. We have space in our house, could afford it and do have good family support. I don't want to be one of these crazed mothers that doesn't have a second to herself and is cranky with the kids as they would all be very young. However I'm definitely broody for another one and would love to try for a girl (but to be clear I would be just as happy with a boy). I think of life years down the line with the children getting bigger and grown up and how it would be lovely to have them around. My husband says these days kids grow up and move to all different parts of the world so we may only see them once a year anyway! I know he will have a third if I tell him it's what I really want and he is a great father. How do you make the decision on something as important as this?

I'd hate to have regrets in later life if we don't have a third. I need to be happy with our decision either way.

Mary replies:  I can sense that you have a really happy household and that you really appreciate what you already have.

Last year a close friend of mine died very suddenly. She had just returned from an overseas trip which her husband had not wanted to take because he felt it was too expensive.

I remember asking her why she was going against his wishes and insisting on the holiday and she told me that she didn't want to be on her deathbed and have regrets.

If you feel you would truly regret not having a third child, and feel sure that having another child would not damage your very good relationship with your husband and that he would truly welcome another child, then why not go ahead and add to your family.

As with any pregnancy you would have to be prepared to accept whatever comes along with regard to illness etc, but that is a risk that anybody who tries for a pregnancy takes, and nowadays 38 is still quite young in terms of motherhood.

The only downside is that women who have children later rather than earlier tell me that the degree of tiredness that they feel, particularly when getting up for night feeds, is much worse than when they were in their twenties. Good luck with whatever you decide.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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