As soon as strangers found out that my growing belly was our third child, they shared their thoughts. “Was it planned?” “You have your hands full!” “You’re obviously done having children right?” are all things I frequently heard when they were compelled to talk to me about my children. When I was pregnant with my first, I quickly learned that strangers have #nofilter when they talk to you about your family planning, pregnancy and what their beliefs are on raising children. While I waited for my gestational diabetes bloodwork I had two conversations- one with an older woman telling me that I was clearly pregnant with twins because I looked too large to be 28 weeks pregnant with one and another conversation with with a gay couple about how I HAVE to breastfeed and should have a natural birth. Some people may have been infuriated by these conversation but I chose to laugh about their absurd opinions. Years later I still find them amusing.
It’s funny, when I was pregnant people would look at me and smile sweetly and ask, “is it your first?” When I was out without my other children. When I would reply, “third” people would look at me like I was insane and their tone quickly changed. It also happens when I am out with one of my older kids and the baby, so I only have two kids with me, “two is the perfect number” I’ve heard over and over again. When I reply that I have a third at home they stammer something and walk away.
Instead of turning this post into a rant to the most recent person who asked me whether or not my third child was planned, I want to highlight the three perfect reasons why this third baby is everything our family needed and why we are all SO very happy we have her.
She makes us the happiest and it’s contagious.
When I first found out I was pregnant, it was a few days after our son was diagnosed with epilepsy. I was overwhelmed and scared at the notion of having another, but this babe gave us all the hope and happiness we needed as we begun navigating her brother’s battle with epilepsy. She made all of our lives a little brighter and gave us something to look forward to.
Once she arrived, she continued to brighten our lives because she is happiest out of all of our children. When she was born she didn’t cry. I panicked, wondering if she was breathing, alert, and if something was wrong. They told me she was perfect and nothing was wrong, some kids are born not crying. I argued, my other two screamed from the moment they could, are you sure nothing is wrong? They assured me she was fine. Months later, that’s still her personality. She takes it all in and is so alert and content it soothes my soul. One look at her sweet little face makes me breath a little calmer and makes me appreciate this crazy life with three kids. She does the same for her siblings, whose face light up as soon as they see her. She adores them just as much and squeals with delight the moment she sees them.
She makes me enjoy parenting more than I ever could imagine.
With our first baby, I was so worried I was doing it all wrong. I would read books, talk to other parents, get ideas from BabyCenter, and then be convinced that if she wasn’t doing exactly as described I needed to do something to make her do it. I worried so much about everything and didn’t relieve that babies are people too, with strong personalities and priorities of their own. Once I started respecting each of my children as a person and stopped expecting that they should follow a certain behavior, I started becoming a better parent.
With our second, I was stuck in the blur of having two kids under two. It was hard. So very, very hard. My husband had a demanding schedule and as their sole caretaker from dawn (or earlier) until bedtime, I didn’t sit down until I went to bed. I had zero help around the house because of his long hours. I wiped faces, sang songs on repeat, made breakfast, lunch, dinner, and did it all again the next day. I was on autopilot and did what I needed to to survive.
With the baby, I am realizing just how quickly these months pass you by and how all of the housework and piles of laundry can wait. I know my house won’t be a giant mess forever and the baby gear that looks enormous in our family room will be outgrown in just a few short months, and most of it is already packed up. My husband has since switched jobs and is able to help me with the kids and house much more than he used to, but I still don’t sit down until I go to bed. I realize she has her own schedule for life and we will let her lead and I won’t worry about the milestones or what other x month old babies are doing. I’ll let her be little and enjoy it.
She brings out the best in her siblings.
Seeing your children play, laugh and have fun together is one of the things I love about being a Mom. Our oldest has this innate ability to lead, which I think is due to the fact she’s so used to having her little brother around and she’s insistent that she will teach her sister everything there is to know about life. She’s constantly making sure she’s not doing things she shouldn’t and she keeps a careful eye on her when I ask her to watch her if I leave the room. She has started to read her books and explains things in such five year old detail I need to start recording the conversations. It’s actually amazing having a five year difference between your kids because the oldest is truly a great help!
Our son switched into Daddy mode when the baby was born and refers to her as “his baby.” He asks people if they’d like to see her and explains why she has tiny, little fingers and toes and how she is growing teeth. He shows them how he tickles her and how hard she laughs when he makes funny noises. He has never shown an ounce of jealousy and he has been her protector from day one. The other day he accidentally made her cry and he showed empathy when he had tears in his eyes and asked if this made him a bad brother. I assured him it didn’t and that she still loved him, and he was happy with that.
Our lives wouldn’t be nearly as bright if it wasn’t for our third and I am so very grateful she’s ours. Someone would be missing if she didn’t join us and our family feels complete now that she has arrived. After having two kids I had a conversation with a wise soul who explained that she’d never known anyone who regretted having more children, but she had met people that regretted not having more. I couldn’t agree more, #threeisperfectforme !