Many people questioned our decision when we announced that we were having baby #3. People tend to be very vocal about other people’s parenting choices. “You’ll be outnumbered,” and “You won’t be able to fit in a booth at a restaurant anymore!” Were just a couple of the outlandish comments made. This is how it goes…when you have your first child, you have “the baby.” Then, when you have your second child, you have “the family.” But when you have your third,…you have “chaos” (and people think long and hard before inviting you and your brew to dinner).
I won’t lie, I had my reservations. After all, we already had two perfect, beautiful and intelligent daughters so I did wonder, “Are we being greedy?” This question really pressed me when we found out that we were expecting a third daughter…I mean, what are the odds that we could hit the jackpot again? (Later I realized how ridiculous this thought was since I am one of nine and we all have our own bit of awesome…but we will say it was the pregnancy speaking.)
There was also the question of finances. How can a couple of artists afford three children? Could we continue the family trips, music lessons, etc? And would we even have the time, because we will clearly have to work more? AND speaking of time…there was a 4 year difference between our last baby and this baby, so we had gotten pretty comfortable with our diaper free, “able to reason with” children! We’ve come so far and we would be starting all over!
Then, as my belly began to grow (and this happened quickly with the third), all those thoughts and concerns melted away. I was LOVING this pregnancy. It wasn’t my first rodeo I knew how to “wear the belly.” This meant I felt beautiful, confident and strong in my own skin. I also knew my bodies stages and limitations (and lack there of) so when I felt amazing at 7 months pregnant, I didn’t hesitate to bounce around Europe with my hubby for our 10 year anniversary. After all, this would be our last child-free (kinda) excursion for a while! We spent our days in museums and fine restaurants and I splurged on a very expensive outfit to bring her home in…knowing that she would live the rest of her days in hand-me-downs. My baby belly and I walked Paris, Rome and Athens like we owned it. And I did own it because I knew that these amazing little kicks and flutters would soon become just a memory, so I cherished them all!
The pregnancy was only the beginning. When our third daughter arrived, I soaked every ounce and moment of her in. I didn’t question my parenting decisions anymore. My husband never wondered if I was spoiling her by bringing her into bed with me. I didn’t feel the worry that I felt with my firstborn, nor the guilt that I felt with my second born (you know, that struggle between trying to find enough time for the new baby and helping a toddler adjust to the changes.) Our other two girls were now a bit older and they adored this live baby doll. When I needed alone time to nurse, they had each other to play with. When it was time to leave the house and I was changing and dressing baby, they could dress themselves, buckle their shoes and find their coats. And they loved being mini-mommies, eager to fetch burpy clothes and binkys! I could even shower in peace because the girls would dance in front of the swing as the baby rocked away, enjoying the show! I had HOURS of guilt free time to just gush over the new baby in my arms. It felt like the one-on-one experience of having a first but without the fears or loneliness that can be associated with those new mommy moments. I KNEW that this baby would soon sleep through the night and be walking and talking and joining in play with the other two. I even KNEW that my baby weight would eventually melt away, so I didn’t stress about that little extra fluff around the waist. I didn’t feel like I had to prove that I “hadn’t let myself go.”
With baby #3, I was a relaxed and happy mommy and my little girl became a relaxed and happy baby. My older daughters became more responsible. And my husband became an even more amazing father then I thought possible. He gushed over her every coo. He even proclaimed that she was his favorite! No, not because he loved HER more than the other two but because he loved the new baby experience with her more because it was full of joy, not fear. And our third little girl is incredible. I didn’t push a schedule or read a single book and she naturally became a great sleeper, great eater, and the smiliest little baby I’ve ever met. Her two big sisters adore and spoil her with love. And our lives are so much brighter now that she is here. Yes, our family of five may not fit in a booth or qualify for the “family package of four to Disney World,” but we are filled with love and life and wouldn’t have it any other way. And I finally have become the mom that I always wanted to be. With that said…I wonder what it feels like to have baby #4?!