For the last 8 months since I have had my third child, so many mothers have asked me to write a blog about having three children and what its like. Yes some are just making conversation, some are curious but I sometimes think its because they are sitting on the fence…two versus three. “Two makes more sense but oh wouldn’t three be so nice” I imagine they would say. “There’s two of us and two of them” is another common one I hear.
For the first 4 months at least I couldn’t even think about any work because I didn’t really get a chance to sit down, (even when I was breastfeeding) so that’s pretty telling. Having a newborn is a roller coaster and I just went for the ride. The last few months I have been thinking about what to say to those mothers but not really sure where to start.
Both my brother and my best friend are having their thirds in a matter of months. I couldn’t be more excited for them but still I was so reluctant to write a blog about having a third which is unusual for me. Normally if several mothers mention the same blog topic, I get writing. But I was hesitant because every family situation is so diverse in its make up and therefore everyone’s experience will be vastly different.
All I can write is about my experience with having a third and how MY family has been changed.
The practicality of having a third is somewhat a game changer. People are surprised when I tell them that but why wouldn’t it be? Any time you sub a new player in – the tactic changes. What I can say though is that going from 2-3 is so much easier than 1-2 because you already know how to juggle. Your brain is already a computer with too many tabs open and you have long ago accepted that you cannot control every situation. But at the end of the day there is still one more child to consider and whilst they don’t have their own play dates, parties or soccer games just yet, you need to consider where they will have their next feed or a little bit of uninterrupted sleep. Weekends aren’t a little busier, they are a lot busier. The washing load isn’t just a little bit bigger, it somehow doubles in size. I have found that with two children you spend a lot more family time whereas with three children you end up taking the “divide and conquer” approach a lot more. This has been a big change for our family. We learnt it the hard way.. Family outings at the beginning just weren’t working that well. In my head I wanted beautiful quality family time but in the end we were trying to fit several different schedules, wants and needs onto one. A few fights and a few more tears later we realised that family outings will happen again but right now if we wanted things to run more smoothly we should split our time up more often.
I used to lie awake at night when I was pregnant and worry about being so incredibly outnumbered, that they would somehow gang up on me. Maybe it is yet to come and maybe it will happen when they are teenagers but for now I kind of look forward to it. They seem to understand that they are a pack and that they are a strong force. Minutes after I held my daughter after giving birth I cradled her in my arms feeling like I had protected her enough to get her this far. My obstetrician said “three girls huh!” I then embarrassed my husband a little by replying “Well no one will F*** with the Abraham girls that’s for sure”. And it’s true, my worries of them ganging up on me have turned into something I’m proud of. You can only gang up on someone when you know that you are well looked after and that your back is always covered.
My oldest stepped up to the task of guiding the ducklings in a line safely across the road but I already knew that she would make a great big sister because she already was one. I also lay awake at night worrying that my second daughter was going to transform into the dreaded middle child and feel misplaced and disoriented. But I sat back and watched her discover her voice and puff her chest out a little and really be so honoured as her new role as a big sister.
The maths doesn’t add up but somehow our third baby has brought a new kind of calm to our family. One way or another she has slowed us down and has unified us and solidified us a family. Every morning, we are all excited to see her and one by one each child climbs into my bed as if there’s a big occasion happening. As they walk out of school their eyes search to lock eyes with her like they used to with me. Having their baby come to watch them play soccer or do gymnastics is a treat for them as if a talent scout is in the stands. I can’t help those mothers that are fence sitting decide. I can’t (and won’t) tell you what you what’s best for your family. But what I can tell you with absolute certainty is that watching my girls fall in love with their baby has been by far the most profound experience of my life.
Some of these photos are from Vicki Lauren Photography. https://www.vickilauren.com.au/