When my second was around 18 months old, I had this gut feeling that I was meant to have a third child and I couldn’t shake it. It was strange because it took me forever to want to have a second. I wasn’t ready until my first was almost 3 years old to want to get pregnant again, but for some reason, the idea of having a third child just felt right to me. My husband, however, was on another page. When I expressed my desire to get pregnant again, he adamantly disagreed and wouldn’t budge on the subject. He told everyone who would listen that my second was our last and even put on his to-do list to get a vasectomy – to my dismay. My heart was breaking, but I understood. I started to google things like “Should you have a third child”, even though I know that made no sense. I also realized that focusing on getting pregnant again was also my way of avoiding the sadness I felt when I thought about never having another baby, but nevertheless, the feeling persisted for years.
One month, after I finally came to terms with being done having children, in an effort to move on for real, I gave away all of my maternity and baby stuff. I felt pretty good about the decision. Yet, I suppose a higher power had another plan for me, and we were in for a big surprise when I missed my period that same month and found out that I was indeed pregnant. The emotions ran high; I had to re calibrate myself into accepting that there would actually be a third baby, after so recently mourning that I would never have another child, and my husband seemed actually excited (for my benefit?) but I think we were both mostly in shock. It was a hard adjustment, to my surprise, and I had mixed feelings. Lots of changes would have to be made once the baby came. I would most likely have to quit my job that I really liked and give up our blissful 8 hour nights of sleep. We had 3 bedrooms, and our car only fit 2 kids. We had just entered a new phase of independence with our then 6 and 3 year old. It was going to take some getting used to.
The 9 months of pregnancy were super hard for me, but I ate well, exercised a lot and tried to nap as much as possible with two other kids (read: barely), but when the time came to finally have the baby, I was still in denial.
Fast forward to 5 months later, and I am in complete amazement with how much having this baby has changed us as a family. Moving from one-on-one to zone defense when handling the kids has really affected how my husband and I parent and what we worry about day to day (much less). My 7 year old has really stepped up and helps with taking care of her younger brothers on regular basis. She has taken on more chores and responsibility around the house and really seems to enjoy having a purpose bigger than herself. Also, because I have to deal with the baby more often, my 4 year old learned how to do more things for himself and I realized that I was picking up the slack and doing more than I should for him. He now is so much more independent and mature and is proud of himself for accomplishing daily tasks alone. I’m not trying to downplay the difficulty another baby adds, and how hard it is to not be sleeping and then having to take care of 3 kids, but I really believe that all three kids will and are benefiting from the addition to our family. Siblings are challenging, but ultimately great teachers and friends.
Having a third kid has taught me to worry less and be present more, led me to find Love and Logic parenting and to start this blog. The change in the way I think about my kids is so much healthier now. And I shouldn’t downplay the joy that my third child is. I can’t imagine not having him in the world. He has truly made us better people and a happier family. So if you’re on the fence about having a third, know that it comes with sacrifices, but also know that you and your kids will get a much needed refocusing on what is important in life. It’s totally worth it!