How We Decided on Having a Third Child
So many of you have asked me this over on Instagram, and the caption limit there is my nemesis, so I thought I would share my thoughts on it here. It’s so nuanced and personal, but if you have a few minutes I'll share how WE decided, not how TO decide, so take from it what you will.
Also please note, I’m aware there are other factors that come into play that make these decisions so much harder than the following things I will write about. While I did experience two miscarriages to get to my beautiful rainbow baby, I understand many struggle with infertility, grueling pregnancies and more, these were just our reflections.
I'm a real planner, so I thought about being outnumbered and what outings would look like on my own. I went through the scenarios of daycare pick ups, school drop offs, and weekend hobbies (plus all those car seats). I have a supportive family, but not ones who can help at the drop of a hat, they work too, and my husbands family live in Australia. So I knew that the juggle would be mine alone during the week. I reminded myself however, people do it and so could I.
I used to wonder how I tackled two a year apart… but I did. It wasn’t easy, but when I look back I just see a mum who did her best (drowned at times), but her best was enough.
I thought about finances, people would tell me it wasn’t too different to having two…but for us it meant a bigger car, and for many a bigger house. More nannying costs, and cleaning costs (once a fortnight for the first 6 months was our non negotiable for my sanity and time). Bills keep going up, interest rates on the mortgage keep increasing, and while we are comfortable, we put a budget together to ensure we could still afford to do the things we want to do, like family holidays etc. Me working from home helps, but I knew it would be a juggle being self employed (and it is) right now I am typing this with my barnacle baby on me.
I asked myself why did I want this so much? Because initially we wanted to stop at two. Was it because I grew up in a family of 5? Was it because mother nature hardwires us to want more? Drew was adamant that two was enough, he was happy with "a boy and a girl, no need to change things”.. and honestly I worried that maybe it might ruin the dynamic, the age gap is bigger (I can confirm that’s actually a really sweet thing watching them dote on her). But after a year he was onboard. I don’t really know what changed his mind, maybe me bringing it up constantly wore him down (ha) but he did mention he was concerned about my mental health. I suffered pretty bad post natal anxiety, so this was another factor we had to think about too. I can confirm the anxiety has not returned to the same degree, and I now have the tools to help cope if it did.
I worried about the world, another child I needed to protect, the additional worry that comes with this kind of love. But I also know that this world is full of beautiful and kind people, there is so much wonder in it. I wanted to watch another beautiful soul grow, discover the worlds magic, add to it. I wanted to play a part in that, and grow alongside her too.
I thought about 'me time'... I put all of me into motherhood, but motherhood is not all of me. I was really just starting to get that back the past couple of years. I could leave the house without a million things, Drew could easily look after the kids if I wanted to see some friends, I wasn't breastfeeding, they were sleeping through (even if it was in our bed).. things were becoming easier again. Did we really want to go back?! But I also thought, back is not a bad thing, it’s hard but there are so many pockets of beauty in this season too. I have slowed down a lot more with my third, I’m noticing things more, enjoying more.. it’s honestly going so fast this time too. We’re already settling in to the new dynamic, and I know that pieces of me will come back as her littleness fades (the trade).
We were worried about sleep, with two a year apart we felt like we were up for 2 years straight. It was hard, torture actually, and honestly we wondered how we would cope. But we are, and it’s easier. Maybe we’re used to it? I will say though, my husband can fall into a nice deep sleep where I think my one eye will always remain permanently open since having kids.
We communicated more about sleep this time too, we knew we wanted to take the responsive approach, we knew what to expect to some extent. Making a plan on what the nights looked like in terms of nappy changes (him) and other wakes/ feedings (me) just made it easier. We knew this time around these conversations were more important than nursery décor (not that Drew ever cared about nursery décor)
I thought about my son, he is neurodiverse, and some days it feels like I have to give so so much to him. I did wonder, did I have more to give? More time, more attention, more of myself? But we have come so far, he's just turned 5 and I have watched him absolutely flourish, nothing would stop me being there for him, nothing. He is such a tender and loving soul, and the love and care he has for his baby sister is just everything.
I wondered how on some days I would cope when I felt like I was already at capacity. But I didn’t want to make the decision based purely on some hard days, it wasn’t always my reality, and things were evolving daily. I could see another ruddy face giggling with us in the kitchen, I could see another set of dimpled hands clapping to music in the car.
We thought about how busy we already were, my career, his career, the craziness, the overstimulation. We don’t exactly thrive in mess (and there's already more of that and she's not even moving yet), but we do love our beautiful chaos. One thing I truly have managed to do so far is let certain things go. It’s not who I am, but it is who I want to be. I am so aware of this one life I have right now while they’re this little.
I also kept certain things we could have sold a long time ago, deep down I guess I knew my family wasn’t complete, and after considering all of the above for a year and still wanting another, we decided we’d go for it. I think there will always be some type of sadness knowing you’ll never sniff that newborn head again (unless you creep on your friends babies which I intend to)… but we know 100% that we are done now, and that feels good.
I do think when people say, ‘just do it’, they don’t consider that some people may already be at their capacity, they may not have the same village or finances, they may not want to look ahead to the “full dinner table”, and instead focus on the now and their mental health. The now is just as important, and being present as a mother is difficult at the best of times. You need to do what feels right for you, and your other kids.
I didn’t write this for you to come out all of a sudden knowing your decision, trust me I have read all the blogs, the pros and cons and none of them really helped. They talked about your heart being fuller as a pro, and how the world is set up for a family of four as a con.
We’re only 7 weeks in, I am no expert, but I will say this is the easiest of transitions (missing my older two initially was very hard, and I have written about this a bit on Instagram), but things are shifting already. They say you’ll never regret the child you have, but it’s not about that. For us it was about space, physically and metaphorically. The one we began to make in our home and minds, the one that hung in the air after every conversation about it, the one in my heart I couldn’t shake, and she’s filled it so perfectly.