When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, my family and friends were delighted. My husband and I were over the moon. We had a few years of marriage under our collective belt and it felt like we were in the right place to start a family. The pregnancy was reasonably straightforward apart from a 22-week bout of morning sickness, and resulted in a (if I do say so myself) a gorgeous baby girl.
Discovering I was pregnant with my second child was slightly more daunting. How would I cope with two children? With an age gap of just 22 short months, were we insane to try and bring up two under-2s in one house? Again, family and friends were delighted for us, and of course, everyone else in our social circle had either just produced a second or was baking a second or were at the stage of contemplating a second. After a slightly more complicated birth, another girl was produced from my womb (quite literally lifted out, triumphantly urinating on the surgeon as he held her up).
Like several of our friends, a second child meant a house move. We’d outgrown our wee cottage and acquired an actual house. With an upstairs. It had no floors, nor a kitchen, nor a functioning bathroom, but this was all rectified in good time.
After all the renovation work had been completed on the house, my husband and I started discussions on a third child. Being one of three siblings, myself, I had always imagined three children, but the reality of it all seemed more terrifying than the three children in my imagination. For example, when I pictured my second child before she was born, she certainly wasn’t this stubborn, rageful yet clown-like daughter. In real life, her grin is bigger but her temper is wilder.
There are so many other considerations when planning a third child. What would we do about a car? There are so few cars on the market that fit three carseats across the back. Who knew? Where were we going to physically put these children? We have three bedrooms currently but had been planning a loft conversion. Should plans be ramped up for that or could we make do with the space we have for now? Will future holidays be a nightmare with most companies catering for those sensible families of four? Can we even afford a third child? Babies aren’t particularly costly, especially when you have hand-me-downs from two older siblings, but what happens when they’re teens and need endless amounts of cash for school trips/driving lessons/sports gear/tuition fees?
Never ones to get bogged down in mere practicalities and in the knowledge that I was already a geriatric mother (such a flattering term)and time was no longer on our side, contraception was thrown to the wind.
Seeing the second pink line slowly emerge, was unnerving. I’d used the same brand of test with my other children and I remember feeling delight, triumph and pride. This time, I felt slightly scared. It wasn’t that I didn’t want a third child but the theoretical debating about the impracticalities of an extra child were beginning to hit home. Plus there would be no more wine to fuel the discussions!
Telling people this time round was different. I had to tell my sister when I was only around 5 weeks’ due to having to refuse a strong gin. This refusal may as well have been a siren blaring “I am pregnant”. She firstly looked at me in disbelief. And then she laughed at me. Not with me but AT me. As if I was insane. As if I had made the most ridiculous decision of my life. My brother-in-law looked at us in sympathy as if it must have been a mistake. They have two children; a girl and a boy. Neither could fathom wanting to expand their brood and certainly not on purpose.
Friends were split. Half were excited for us and revealed that they also had vague plans for a third, which helped us feel slightly more ‘normal’; whereas the other half fell in to the “Rather You Than Me” camp.
Telling our existing children was fun. Our eldest daughter is four and My eldest daughter is embracing the idea with enthusiasm. In fact, role play in her nursery class is now all about babies. I was informed by her teacher, that my daughter spent most days with a teddy shoved up her jumper, rubbing her back. Even the headmaster has been involved in mopping her brow when the weight of the baby has become to much for her to manage. She’d like to name the baby Xyla if it’s a girl or Bobby if it’s a boy. We may no be involving her in the decision.
In an antidote to her sister’s unbridled excitement, my 2-year-old daughter is in utter denial. Conversations generally follow the same pattern:
Me: Are you excited about the baby in Mummy’s tummy?
Younger daughter: No.
Me: Would you like to talk to the baby?
Me: Would you like a sister or a brother?
I can’t decide if she has any inkling as to what’s happening or if she’s going to get the shock of her you life when this baby finally emerges. I’m sure she’s just having me on.
At the time of writing, I am a smidge off 38 weeks’ pregnant and the proverbial faeces are starting to get real. We are as organised as any third time parents can be: the newborn and 0-3 month clothes are washed and sorted but not a single bottle has been sterilised. The trusty travel system has been given a wipe down. I have not overdosed on raspberry leaf tea or evening primrose oil and no pineapple has passed my lips. I will not torture myself with inedibly hot curries. One lesson I have learned is that a baby will come when it’s ready, unless you need intervention.
The thought of a third baby is as equally terrifying as it is exciting but there’s no going back now. Bring it on...