When is a good time to have a baby?

The simple answer? Never! But don't freak out. Let me explain. My husband and I worked hard all our adult lives. We both started work at 15, worked our way up, had good, well paying jobs even though neither of us went to uni.  We owned our own house and had an investment property for our retirement. We were together 10 years before we got married and only had £2k of debt for our car and credit card. We did everything by 'the book' so when it came to think about kids, we thought we would wait until the time was right.

After we got married the doctor told us it would take about two years before we would get pregnant as I'd been on the pill for over a decade. So I came off it thinking two years, that would be perfect. We can save up and pay off some debts, maybe upgrade the car. But after 6 weeks, in my tight, figure hugging, summer dress I noticed my stomach had started to swell. I remember my mum glancing at my belly and I thought, 'If she says I look pregnant I'll kill her, i'm just bloated because I'm due on' but when my husband had concerns too, I did a test (basically just to prove them wrong!) And what do you know, I'd gotten caught on my very first cycle! 👶🏻

Sounds like a fairy tale right? Happy couple, dream life, everything's rosy. Well you couldn't be more wrong. You see, I had left work 18 months before. In 2006 a work colleague followed me into the ladies toilets at our Christmas party, forced me over the sink and tried to rape me. Like most survivors I went into shock. I didn't phone the police, I didn't tell my family. I could barely process what had happened to me let alone say the words out loud. So, like most victims of sexual assault (both male and female) I got on with my life.

Until that man was promoted to my manager and the fear of him being in a position of such power, to be able to travel with team members on lonely late night trains or turn up at isolated stations on whim, no questions asked, where women worked alone was too much.  (I worked for a well known rail company at the time) So I spoke out and the pressure of keeping this secret for 18 months then having to tell my husband, my friends, family and colleagues (many of which took his side and called me a lying whore) caused me to have a massive break down. The management couldn't believe their new manager (a good family man) could be capable of such a terrible thing, so rather then face an enquiry, they forced me out of my job. (He later went on to attack another staff member in her hotel room at a company event and he was subsequently sacked)

All images protected by Copyright Claire Kristensen 2016

All images protected by Copyright Claire Kristensen 2016

At the time, I was too mentally ill with depression to fight such a big company and I was too ill for work. Then the economy crashed and we lost our investments, my £2k debts spiralled with late payment fees and bank charges. The work insurance we had 'just in case' paid out £500 instead of the £6k loss of earnings I was entitled to. I couldn't get government benefits despite having worked for over 10 years and payed a LOT of taxes during that time. We did everything by the book, we had contingency plans but we fell down the rabbit hole and just couldn't get enough traction to get back on our feet. The debt got sold to debt collects and the £2k debt quickly turned into £7k. And the most ironic thing of all. We actually had positive equity in our home despite the economic depression but because I was too ill to work, we couldn't remortgage to release the equity.

It took me nearly two years to get over my depression and for the economy to recover enough to find work. But as it turned out, the week I started my new job was the week I found out I was pregnant! The first few weeks were fine, I had no morning sickness (which is why I didn't think I was pregnant) but then one day I had a bleed, which was terrifying. Then I had another and another. Then it happened again at work. I told my boss I had to go, got my coat and jumped straight into a taxi trying not to cry in the back of the cab as I imaged the beautiful, tiny little spark of life slipping away from me. The taxi driver didn't help when he said,  'Don't worry love, my sister has miscarriages too' Yeah, nice one mate!

My husband met me at the emergency room with the same look of fear and anguish on his face. We sat and waited and hoped for hours before we were called in to be seen. All the time watching women coming and going, some heavily pregnant sobbing as they lived my worse nightmare. Some came out holding scan photo's with obvious relief on their faces. We finally went into the treatment room for the fourth time after reliving this nightmare after each bleed, it was horrible. When I told the midwife my boss wouldn't let me sit down and how I kept on having bleeds, her simple answer knocked the wind out of me. 'Whats more important' she said 'Your job or your baby?'

So I left my job and never looked back. My son is now 7 and I had a wonderfully safe pregnancy from that day forward. Sure during that time we had to go bankrupt, we lost our home and our investments and had to move into a beautiful house on a very rough council estate (like: drug bust, drive by shooting rough) but it was worth it. Because when you are faced with that moment of loosing something so precious as a child that you have grown out of your own love, nothing, nothing else in this world is more important.

I've had two other children since then and I am pregnant with number four as we speak. Not one of them has come at the right time (except of course that it was all part of the divine plan). Let me explain. After my eldest son I had postnatal depression (which I cured with vitamin D). I was talking to my husbands colleague about it and he said, 'Oh my wife had that',

'How long for?' I asked.

'Until she had our next baby',

'Well, how long was that?'

'Nine years' he replied!

(In my head) Are you fucking joking? I can't live like this for another day never mind years! So despite being bankrupt, going homeless, having no job and walking round with a mental fog in my head (which some days made it impossible to even get out of bed) we got pregnant with baby number two and she was born fourteen months months after my son was born. During her pregnancy I was trying to overcome the postnatal depression, find a house during the economic crash when the housing market was in the toilet (hence us having to take the lovely house in the rough area). I was also having to look after a very boisterous one year old whilst heavily pregnant.But you know what, despite it all, we were happy. Our baby's were safe. We came to realise that so long as we had a roof over our heads, a warm home, food on the table and enough electricity for the kids to watch Micky Mouse Playhouse, life was good. Some people were not so fortunate. After my daughter was born I decided i'd had enough of work for one lifetime (15 years working with the public is enough thank you very much) so after that I went to full time University with two kids under two!

In my first year when my daughter was 6 months old and my son was bang in the middle of the terrible twos, I found out my husband had a complete personality change. He went from being a loving caring supportive partner to a lying, cheating, arsehole. Which, for anyone who knows my husband is so completely out of character from the wonderful gentlemen I fell in love with. After a year of hell, we found out he was suffering from Postnatal Depression. (Yes Dads can get it too)

Fast forward two very stressful years and I managed to completed my qualification, saved my marriage and helped my husband conquer his depression. It was a very rough couple of years (I remember taking an online exam at one point with my son climbing all over my head!) We fought hard to save our marriage and I was determined to help my husband despite his best efforts to push me away. We finally started to make progress. My husband left his job and was finally able to heal. Our children grew into beautiful little people with their own quirks and personalities. The snow fell and the Sun shone, and I worked hard to find the silver lining wherever I could. And as life started to get good again, we got threw another curve ball. At Christmas 2015 I nearly died of Pneumonia.

Thanks to nearly loosing our eldest in those first pregnancy scares, we had decided family would come first so we engineered our careers around maximising our time at home so I was self employed and my husband was at full time uni. After the pneumonia nearly killed me (I was just 33 years old) I suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for six months afterwards. I cant explain how horrendous it is. Honestly even just going the toilet for a wee left me so exhausted that I would need a sleep. We had to move in with my Mum for a few weeks as I was too ill to look after our children. The doctor, God bless her, after a multitude of tests, finally prescribed me steroids which as it turns out not only boosted my body but it also boosted my fertility and we ended up pregnant with baby number three right bang in the middle of my husbands end of year exams!

Yes I know what your probably thinking, 'Well she couldn't have been that ill' wink wink. Yes, I was exhausted but when you nearly die making love to the person you'd thought you would never see again becomes a very precious thing for your soul and your broken heart. Because that's what happens when you nearly die. It breaks your heart wide open. When you think of how you'll never hold your children again, kiss their little faces or feel them cuddle into you at night. When you remember all the precious moments you had with your partner. All the times you saved each other, picked each other up when you stumbled, held each other when you were afraid, wiped away the tears of laughter, walked under the stars together and felt the world at your feet. Love is the most precious gift of all and when you think of suffering it's loss, of never being able to tell the people you love how much they have blessed your life, it's a very terrifying thing, worse the the fear of physically dying. Its the most frightening thing I have ever been through.

So whilst completely shocked, I was thrilled when I found out number three was on the way. But when you're a lightbearer nothing is ever easy, there are always lessons to be learned. So at my 12 week scan my son had a very raised NT. This is an indicator of Downs Syndrome and other physical defects. Long story short the hospital specialist convinced us he could be born severely disabled and asked us if would we terminate the pregnancy. At this point, we had no diagnosis, just a high rate of probability. So we had a Amniocentesis done (which actually, wasn't as bad as we thought) and  while we anxiously waited for the results and DNA tests we  had weeks of worry that we would have to basically kill our own baby. And all this worry was going on my husband had to complete his assignments and exams, I was still recovering from my illness and our little'uns were just 4 and 5 years old. I'd also suffered from chronic morning sickness and lost a stone in weight, which I really didn't have to spare after being so ill. (I was able to cure myself by changing my diet. Find out more here https://www.clairekristensen.com/new-products/how-to-cure-chronic-morning-sickness-hyperemesis-gravidarum)  Just prior to me getting pregnant my son had also been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder so we were trying to understand his condition and support his needs. It was a very scary and stressful couple of months to say the least.

As it turns out my second son was absolutely fine and he was born on Christmas Eve. Which brings me to baby number four. A few weeks ago my darling five year old daughter said, 'Mummy, I made a wish to my guardian angels to put a baby sister in your belly because I've got two brothers and I really want a baby sister.' Now, I'm not stupid. I'm an educated women. I didn't accidentally get knocked up four times. I had been told by my GP that because I have dizzy spells and migraines I'm at risk for a stroke so its not safe for me to go back on the pill. I had tried different forms of contraception in the past and non of them agreed with me. But we always said we would have four kids so it didn't bother me if I fell pregnant. I've been through a hell of a lot so I'm quite far along spiritually so I don't worry about things. I know I'll find a way to cope whatever the God Lord (Source/universe/higher self) decides to send me.  I know there is a divine plan for us all and a baby will turn up or not. It's all good.

Now my husband on the other hand, can be a bit of a stresshead. He was shocked when baby number three came along and was adamant that we couldn't cope with any more. We're emigrating to Canada you see. So we've given up our home, our car, most of our worldly belongings and are currently living with my mum so we can save up. Tonny is also in his final year of his Psychology degree so is right bang in the middle of his final year research project. But, as my wonderful mum always says, 'We make plans and the Gods laugh'. And, just to make matters even worse as it turns out the day I found out I was pregnant (Thank you Bella) was the same day I took my son out of school to start homeschooling him! And if that wasn't enough, I suffered from pregnancy exhaustion so have been pretty much useless at home for the best part of eight weeks and my business has been on hold while I find my son a new school (one of the benefits of being self employed: I can work when I want to or not)

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So you see. There really isn't ever a good time to have kids. Yes you will worry about money, or not having enough room in your house or not being able to cope, or needing a bigger car or a driving license. But honestly none of that matters. Yes a baby brings so much stress but that is tiny in comparison to how much love and light a child will bring into your life. You maybe pregnant now and thinking of terminating the pregnancy because you think the timing isn't right. Honestly it never will be. When you have to face the fear that someone or something may rob you of that tiny light you will fight with all your heart to keep that little spark of life glowing for just one more day.Trust that everything happens for a reason.You will learn and adapt and you will expand. There is never a perfect time for a baby if you think of it from a practical point of view. But honestly, there will never be a  better time to bring more love and joy into your life and in to your heart 💖