*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Having a big family and dedicating yourself to looking after kids and making family meals can be very fulfilling while seeing everyone around you happy.
However, is there any point in time when you should avoid adding new members to the family, or is a child a blessing at any age?
My aunt's friend, Cara, is reconsidering the issue, even though it's been 11 years since she and her husband had a baby. They thought they were done as they have four kids, teenagers who will soon be headed to college.
Cara's husband doesn't feel the same way, though. Not anymore.
"Maybe it's because they're all so grown up, and we don't spend much time with them anymore. But he definitely feels that a baby would make our family complete and add the things we're missing right now," Cara said.
The mom of 4 is unsure if the timing is the best since she's 45, and she called her sisters, her mom, and friends to check in with them.
The decision isn't an easy one since the other kids need to be on board too.
"I couldn't take such a step without knowing all my kids are happy with a new sibling," Car said.
Her sisters' answers were a bit discouraging, as they all felt it was too late to have a baby.
However, her mom believes a child would bring joy at any age.
"So what if you're 45? I was 47 when I had your youngest sister and couldn't be happier to look after the baby and be friends with moms of all ages," she said.
Anthon, Cara's husband, thinks having a baby would make them feel younger.
"It will give us more energy, and Cara won't feel down when it's time to let the others go to college," he said.
As they were pondering the decision, their kids also added their take on it in a family talk.
"Why not, mom? I'd love to help out with bottles, and I can do the dishes if you need me to," Andrea, their eldest daughter, said.
"Maybe you want to think about it some more. Do we all need to be awake every night? It's nice to have the house quiet to read and make music," Nathan, their teen son, felt about it.
"Go for it; I want to train the kid to play football," Noah, their youngest son, said.
"Yes, absolutely. Love baby giggles and will help you with the bottles," Zia, their second daughter, thought.
Do you think a baby would take away the pressure of an empty nest when the other kids leave once they graduate from high school and start college?