I read a lot of parenting articles and things before I had Edith and while I was pregnant. I read opinions about how it was horrendous to have 3 children, it was so impossibly difficult and I read opinions about how it was so much harder to go from 1 child to 2 than it was to increase the numbers. What I basically read was a mixture of Mother’s opinions, all who coped with what their new lives threw at them in different ways. That was it, and it got me thinking there are a few things that no one tells you about having three children, not the doom sayers or the happy go luckies.
So in all my only-had-a-tiny-bit-of-sleep, 8 cups of coffee, pre-lunch honesty I thought I’d tell you MY truths about baby number 3.
After the birth, it hurts. No really, it HURTS.
You wouldn’t think this would you? I mean, think back to baby number 1 and 2 and pretty much as soon as that head is born you are so smitten and delighted that the whole labour is (nearly) over, you don’t seem to feel any pain anymore. With baby number 3 that happens briefly, but from the research I’ve done and from talking to the midwives, all women suffer more with post birth pains after baby number 3. All of them. The more babies you have the longer that god awful intense period like pain is for a day or two. Thumbs down on that one.
You suddenly feel less tolerant of everything. EVERYTHING.
From your husband’s peaceful snoring to first time mums who seem to think they have no time at all and are sooo tired, you feel like you are on the shortest fuse there is. It’s a case of learning that you are not the only person who is tired or fed up and having a bad day. For the first few weeks you might feel like every time someone complains or is looking peaceful, you want to smack them up the head with a wet fish, but trust me this feeling will fade to being only on your moodiest days.
Your older children WILL grow up, but they will grow down too.
I’ve found that when you have multiple children your ‘eldest’ child seems to suddenly grow up somewhat. Reuben did it when Toby was born and Toby is suddenly talking much more, and trying to take his nappy off at every opportunity to be like Reuben – though he won’t use the potty. The other thing I have noticed is that your children might suddenly seem to grow up and age, but they also grow down. What I mean by that is that your children will suddenly start to use baby voices and babble, refuse to sleep at times, throw more temper tantrums and generally behave like naughty toddlers. I honestly believe this is because they see you being with baby 24/7 and they want to make sure that you haven’t forgotten them or decided you don’t love them as much. It’s normal, it passes and it requires A LOT of patience from you.
You will find some days horribly hard, but you won’t find sympathy.
Since having Edith I can’t count the amount of people who have said to me ‘Well, you wanted them so close together’ or ‘You wanted so many kids’! People seem to expect that you will be able to just get on with it, they forget that you have the same hormonal irrationality as you did when you had baby number one. It’s something that you can’t physically help and you may want to remind those closest to you that, although you did want three children and you (maybe like me) have them close together that doesn’t diminish your need to have your shitty day verified. A sympathetic cuppa and cuddle can go a long way – as can a reassurance that you are doing fine.
Some days you will dislike your children or the baby. You will whole heartedly regret them and then hate yourself for it.
Yep, I wrote that. I will hold my hands up and tell you that in the beginning, on some days, I HATED being with my children. That isn’t dramatic, it isn’t too strong a word, it’s fact. I would go to the bathroom and close the door in total darkness just to have a cry because I genuinely wanted to run from their beautiful little faces. I remember telling my mum that I wished I’d never had them, any of them, because they were horrible. Then I spent 20 minutes crying to my husband because I must be the worst person in the world, what kind of sick woman wishes she didn’t have the most precious things in her life? Who could feel that way towards a child of 2 or 3? The truth is, I could and you can. Every person I speak to feels that they went through this phase in the first few weeks of baby number 3’s lives, some even had it with baby number 2. It’s called being post natal, and if it continues for a length of time it could be post natal depression. You won’t be alone in the feeling and it WILL get better.
It IS easier than going from 1 to 2 children, but sometimes it is impossible to cope with alone.
Yes, it really is – provided you use your brain and cut yourself a break. You need to remember the shock that having a new baby was when you had baby number 2, you need to remember that you can do this. It was such a change to have to go from managing one schedule to managing 2 when I had Toby, but now I have Edith, its not so bad – I know what I’m doing, I’ve had to split myself for a few years now and its easier to spilt again. What I would say to any mummy to be of 3 kids is that you can’t expect to find it ‘easier’ every day. Some days it will be a nightmare – one child will run one way, the other will be kicking on the floor having a temper tantrum and the baby will be on your boob or the bottle. What do you do? Accept it and hope for a better day tomorrow!
So there you have it, those are the most honest things I can tell you about having a third child. You won’t always love it, you will find it hard but when the moments are rewarding they are 3 times more rewarding than you could every imagine. Honest.
I once told my in-laws that my children are lucky we aren’t animals, because I would have to eat my children for my survival😂 the looks on their faces!
My youngest is two now but I remember the early days well, sometimes I think I don’t know how I did it 2 toddlers still at home and a newborn but you just get on with it don’t you. I actually loved it x
I love it some days, hate it another – I find the stress of working from home often impacts the hate it side of things. I still wouldn’t change it though xx
ha ha so true and by the time you get to baby number 6 honestly you can imagine lol
Haha – I feel like 3 has broken me Emma! H x
Horribly hard days… it gets so much harder as your family expands, and defo no sympathy! I can relate to some of this xx
Thanks Kellie! H x
This is such a good post. I did things a little differently in that I went from one to three by having twins second time around but a lot of this still rings true. There were times when I resented the two needy newborns taking all my time away from my daughter. There were times when I found her really hard to deal with on top of the twins (there was a glue and glitter stilling on the carpet while I was feeding both the twins that I remember vividly, I was so annoyed).
Oh I can’t imagine Sarah! It’s so tough with a toddler, preschooler and newborn, never mind two newborns in the mix! H x
This is a great post – and a lot of this is how i felt about going from 1 to 2 – especially with the lack of sympathy. xx
Thanks Amanda – crazy isn’t it?! H x
But you wouldn’t change things for the world….
Kids are hard on times and it’s nice to see someone not sugar coating things for once 😉
Thanks Melissa, no sugar coating here. It is hard and wonderful in equal measures! H x
I love your honesty, especially about hating the kids on occasion. I’m sure you’re just saying what all mums think from time to time, we are only human and our patience is only so long! That’s why they are so cute though 🙂
Thanks Fiona – it is a blessing that they are so cute right? H x
I’ve only just had baby number one so 3 is in the far future for me, Crazy that it hurts more the third time around though.
I know you would think your body would get used to it 🙂 x
This was really interesting to read! & it will be really interesting to see if I can relate once my third baby arrives x
Haha – hope I haven’t worried you! It is wonderful, crazy and oh-so-perfect… some of the time! H x