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Even surveys seemed to confirm that three kids is the most stressful number of kids to have, so long story short, I was shit out of luck. I prepared myself for the worst and told myself to simply go with the flow and keep my expectations low (which, actually now that I think about it, pretty much describes my parenting philosophy in general).
But after my son was born and despite a few complications, such as my husband not really being able to take any time off of work and some crippling bouts of mastitis, I was pleasantly surprised to find that for me, going from two to three children was a piece of cake.
I mean, don't get me wrong, no baby is ever a piece of cake, but I can say with all honesty that for some reason the transition from two to three children was the easiest of all four of my children's births. I have four children, so I don't say this lightly.
Our third baby and first son really just felt like one day he appeared, we all shrugged our shoulders, and life kept swimming along.
One baby was a complete life upheaval, two kids was terrifying, mostly because I was a typical first-time mom petrified my oldest daughter would feel "left out" (looking back, all I can say is lololol), and the fourth baby, complete joy in our lives that she is (no sarcasm there, I really mean that), was also a stressful transition because there was just so much going on in life in general. In the words of the great Jim Gaffigan, if you want to imagine what having a fourth baby is like, just imagine you're drowning—and someone hands you a baby.
But No. 3 felt like a breeze to me. It wasn't a relaxing walk-through-a-meadow-with-the-sunshine-shining-gently breeze, but a manageable breeze.
I wasn't stressed, I knew what to expect without expecting too much (a key, I'm convinced, to parental happiness), and we had, dare I say it, actual fun. There just weren't any big major hiccups with my older two kids adjusting. I settled in very quickly to being the mom of three, and I didn't have any emotional or mental breakdowns like I did after both of my girls were born.
My energy levels were so much better with No. 3 than my other two. With my second, I remember it took me months before I felt like I could get through the day without a nap of some kind. With three in the mix, however, not only was a daily nap not even remotely realistic, but I just didn't feel like I needed it. Our third baby and first son really just felt like one day he appeared, we all shrugged our shoulders, and life kept swimming along.
I don't know, maybe our experience was completely out of the norm, but whenever I see a poor mother expecting her third baby with the swarms of doomsdayers surrounding her, rubbing their hands together hungrily as they greedily warn her off all the horror that is coming her way, I just want to take her hand, lead her away, and tell her that it's not that bad for everyone.