As a Mom of three, I always seem to get questions on how it was to transition to two or three children. I truly believe that every family situation is different due to the dynamics of the family. Personally, I experienced different emotions after having each of my three children. One significant factor is the spacing of your children. My children are spaced between almost 3 and 3 ½ years apart.
If I had to rank from how easy to hard it was to adjust to a new family member, I would rank as the easiest for me was from 1 to 2 and the hardest was from none to 1. As a background, I have always worked full-time since graduating college until present day. My largest struggle after having all three of my kids was having to adjust to being home every day for 12 weeks. I am so use to getting up and going, being constantly connected via e-mail, laptop, and cell phone, and not having a lot of downtime. Here is my story behind all three transitions:
From None to One:
Going from no children to one child was the hardest transition for me. I was 28 when my first born came into this world. It was a long difficult labor of over 20 hours. I then spent over 2 hours of pushing before they have to use the vacuum to deliver him. I was exhausted and never felt like I truly caught up on that missed sleep for about a month. There was quite an adjustment for me and my husband since we were used to not being at home, eating out a lot, and leaving without much preparation.
I struggled a lot early on with my son regarding breastfeeding. I put a lot of pressure on myself that I had to breastfeed and it was not happening for us. He was very colicky and there were days when I was not able to put him down. When my husband came home from work, we would eat dinner and then get in the car and go for ice cream. This is the only way I could get a break. I also spent the nightly hours from 7 pm to 9 pm walking circles around my living room with a screaming baby. I did not go out a lot since he was born in January and it was a very snowy, cold winter. After my first was born, I did not want to have any other children. I did not do well with the sleep deprivation and did not want to go through those first few months again. Well, after about a year, I decided that I did not want to have an only child and eventually after about 2 years, I desperately wanted another child!
From One to Two:
Going from one child to two children was the easiest transition for me. I was 31 when my second child came into this world. My first and second sons were 35 months apart. Before my second son was born, I had decided I was going to do a few things different than how I did it with my first since I struggled so much. First was the breastfeeding, if he didn’t take to it, I wasn’t going to overwhelm myself with guilt. My oldest son was a healthy, thriving 2 ½ year old who was mostly formula fed from 3 months to 12 months. Secondly, I was not going to stay in the house every day. I was going to ensure I got out at least once a day to get some fresh air and a new perspective (this was a challenge since #2 was due to come in December).
My deliveries with my first and second children were completely opposite experiences. The day my 2nd child was born, I woke up with labor pains and made it through most of the morning at home. My husband took me in at 1 pm, they broke my water, gave me my epidural and I delivered him at 4:20 pm after 20 minutes of pushing. I felt great right after delivery, like I could go home right then! I still remember saying to my husband, “wow that was easy”! Immediately after I delivered #2, I knew right then and there I was not done having children. I wanted to experience pregnancy and labor again and I wanted a third child.
I really do not remember any struggles with child #2; we got out of the house on the fairly regular basis going to story time and to the play area at the mall. He slept really well in his car seat carrier and we called him our “mobile baby”. He was a good sleeper and had no medical or health issues. Easy as pie, bring on #3.
From Two to Three:
The transition from two to three had its good points and bad points. Unfortunately, I had some other health issues going on during this transition time that it often made this change more difficult than it should have been. It was hard to believe, but my labor and delivery with #3 was easier than with #2. I was at 6 cm and barely in active labor. They broke my water and I delivered within an hour later with less than 10 minutes of pushing. The hardest part was there was no time for an epidural! My third was born 3 ½ years after my second child.
Having child number three was a complete joy for me for many reasons. First is the fact that we did not find out the sex of the baby until SHE was born! I had found out with both of my boys and this was by far the best surprise ever when the doctor told me it was a girl. In fact, I did not believe her and she had to take the baby back from the nurses to show me again! My baby girl was an AMAZING sleeper from the start. Yes it is true that some babies start out by sleeping 6 hours straight. She literally slept all day long and all night for the most part. She almost slept too much because I was bored at home! I told my husband I needed a hobby because I was so bored. I had never read so much in my life than during those first 3 months.
About a month after I had her, I started having extremely bad pains in my side and up my back in the evenings. They got so back that I could not lay flat and almost ended up in the emergency room one night. Turns out I had gall stones and the only cure is to have my gall bladder out. When my baby girl was 10 weeks old, I had to do outpatient surgery which left me out of commission completely for almost a week. This was a very difficult struggle for me to get back up and on me feet again.
Along with the medical issues, I was struggling with some awful feelings like this new baby was causing me to miss out on a lot of things with my boys. She was born in the middle of a HOT summer. The boys got to go swimming with their Dad and play with their friends. I was forced to miss out and stay home with the baby. I knew I hit a wall when I was crying constantly and kept thinking how different it would be if I did not have her. My Mom was my lifesaver. I called her one evening hysterically crying and she made me go to my doctor the very next day. I had developed post-partum depression and I needed treatment immediately. Once my doctor had diagnosed me and put me on proper medication, within weeks I was feeling my old self again. I highly encourage any new moms to seek medical help if they are just not feeling right after having a baby. The medication made a world of difference in my life and I am forever thankful for my Mom for the encouragement she gave me!
I believe everyone’s situations are different, but I wanted to give my perspective on my transitions from none to one to two to three kids.
How were your experiences when adding a new baby to your family?