I learned several important lessons from my third baby, and whether you’re expecting your first, third, or 20th baby, these are things I wish I could tell every expecting mom.
I’ve been blogging for 4 years now, and two of my most popular posts continue to be 7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Baby and 7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My Second Baby.
From these posts, I’ve received numerous messages along the lines of, “I thought I was the only one!” and “I’m about to have my first/second baby, and this helped me so much!”
And those sentiments are exactly why I do what I do. Why I openly share my struggles and pull back the curtain of my experiences on the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Now it’s time for my third (and likely final) installation in the series. As of the writing of this post, I am one year out from having had my third baby.
And while I’ve titled the post “7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My Third Baby” to keep in line with my previous posts, to be honest it’s a bit of a misnomer.
It really should be called “7 Things I Learned From My Third Baby,” and whether you’re expecting your third or your first (or your 20th!), these are things I wish I could tell every single expecting mom.
Read on and be encouraged, and then let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My Third Baby
1. Everyone’s experience is different
Soooo many people warned me that three kids would be crazy hard. It felt like at least once a week, someone was telling us how tough it would be. (It was actually so discouraging, it inspired me to write this blog post.)
And I completely understand why, for many parents, three was the most difficult transition. It definitely adds a whole ‘nother level of challenge to an already demanding game.
But as it turns out, the third baby was not my most difficult transition. Not by a long shot. It was actually my easiest.
There are several reasons for this, which I’ll touch on in later points, and I’m not saying that all those other people were wrong.
My point is simply that everyone’s experience is different. So listen to others’ stories (even mine!) with a grain of salt, and ultimately… do whatever God has called you to do.
2. You get better (or more comfortable, anyway) with experience
When I think back to how I was as a brand-new mom with my very first baby, it makes me chuckle. Oh my, I didn’t know what in the world I was doing. And I. was. terrified!
Fast forward to my third baby, and what a difference in those newborn days! I was so much more comfortable and self-assured, and I handled everything — from her constant fussiness to her nursing strikes — so much better.
As with anything in life, motherhood definitely gets better with experience.
3. What God calls you to do, He will equip you to do
As I said above, I was really nervous about adding a third child. But I knew in the very core of my being that we weren’t done having kids. So we obeyed God’s leading, trusting that He would give us what we needed for the job.
And boy, has He! I’m not a naturally patient or calm or strong person. I get very easily overwhelmed and exhausted. But day after day, I have experienced His infusions of grace and strength.
On my own, I’m not sure I could handle three kids (or even one, if I’m honest!). But through His strength, I can do anything He’s called me to do.
4. Time moves more quickly
Holy smokes. Parents with older children have been telling us from Day 1 how brief these child-rearing years are. What they didn’t tell us, however, was that time moves more quickly with each kid you have!
I can’t believe how swiftly this past year passed. I feel like I blinked and it was gone!
That’s why, even though I know all of us “in the trenches” mommas roll our eyes and grit our teeth when seasoned mothers tell us to “soak up every moment,” that is, in fact, exactly what I’m trying to do.
Sure, I don’t looove every moment (crying? sleepless nights? dirty diapers?), but I can find the nuggets of joy in the middle of them. Time goes so quickly; I don’t want to waste any of it wishing it away.
5. Slowing down makes all the difference
If I could impart only one lesson to mommas-to-be, it would be this one. This is — hands-down, sure thing, 100% guaranteed — the biggest reason baby #3 was my easiest transition. I FINALLY learned to sloooowwww down during the infant months.
I thought I learned it after my first baby (it’s one of the lessons in 7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Baby). And I learned it a little bit more after my second baby. But it wasn’t until this third and final baby that I finally got it. I mean really got it.
Looking back at my second postpartum period, I spent most of my time being frustrated that the baby wasn’t fitting into my plans and my timeline. Which sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.
And I’m willing to bet many other moms have felt the same pressure to do, do do; be, be, be; perform, push, produce. Which, when you have a newborn baby, leads to crazy stress and frustration. And (in my case, anyway) a lot of regret.
I swore to myself I wouldn’t be like that the third time around, and I wasn’t. I took my time, let some things go, reminded myself that it was temporary… and relished every single day with my baby.
Related Post: 10 Keys to a Smoother Transition After a New Baby
And it was magical. It was as different from my other postpartum periods as night is from day. And I so, so wish I could go back and do things differently knowing what I know now — that slowing down makes all the difference.
6. Watching an older big sibling is beautiful
One of my favorite things about having a second child was watching my oldest become a big brother. But you know what was even better than that? Watching him become an even bigger big brother.
Related Post: How We Prepared Our Toddler for the New Baby
He was 2 ½ when his brother was born, and while I don’t regret the spacing in the slightest, it was a whole different ball game when his sister came along when he was nearly 5. He’s protective and doting to her, and thoughtful and helpful to me.
What a joy it has been to watch him step into his role as head chick in our little brood.
7. There’s a lot more chaos, but there’s also more opportunities for joy
The final lesson I’ve learned over the past year with three kids is that yes, there is a whole lot more chaos (something that, as an HSP I don’t always handle well). But there are also so many more opportunities for joy.
The chaos can be managed, and the exhausting days will fade, but the joy? The joy will be with me forever.
SHARE WITH US: Which of these lessons did you find most helpful? Or which ones have you had to learn in your own experience? Share them in the comments below!
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Share your thoughts!