“What is it like to have three kids?”
“What is middle child syndrome?”
“How much more expensive is three kids vs two?”
“What is better an SUV or a van?”
I had confidence that being pregnant with a three year old and 21 month old was manageable and focused my hormone induced anxiety on thinking about the first three months after giving birth. It was in the moments when my daughter was crying and my son was screaming for milk that the fear of sleep depervation plus a crying baby during this type of episode hit me. It is so easy to imagine myself as the breastfeeding zombie trying to give extra love to my two most likely jealous/territorial toddlers when I will be my most drained. I stare into space imagining that I am a ball of silly puddy that has been rolled flat and pulled until torn and that is the fear of days to come. None of this has happened yet I am only 33 weeks pregnant but in my mind it seems so real. Of course I also imagine the love and joy that a new child will bring but if you are a parent you know the ratio of sentimental moments vs real life.
It wasn’t until I was about 30 weeks pregnant that I realized life was already different and more difficult. The truth is hormones make me impatient at times and kind of a drama queen. The other day my son was crying for Thomas the Train but stopped because I began to cry. He looked at me very confused and said “Mommies don’t cry. Stop that.” In a split second I went from pathetic to hysterical and began to laugh wiping tears from my face. My son looked at me like an alien, some strange extraterrestrial, not his mother. He quickly repeated “Mommies don’t cry so don’t do that mommy.” My daughter just sat on the couch with her index finger in her mouth completely confused.
Being pregnant while caring for toddlers is like being closterphoic in an elevator. What makes the situation worse is the articles that internet cookies have placed on my Facebook news feed about how being a mother of many is so easy for some women. I read an article by one woman who said she NEVER got stressed just slightly frustrated with her children and could not understand mothers who got stressed. She is a mother of FIVE. I felt shame, like there was something wrong with me. I wanted to be a fly on her wall and see how she handled the challenges of motherhood. Another part of me (the part that felt the need to self protect apparently) thought “If I was a fly on her wall I bet I would find out she isn’t as perfect as she writes herself to be. There is no way with five kids that she doesn’t get overwhelmed ever.”
Don’t get me wrong I have my stuff together 80% of the time and 90% before I was pregnant but never 100% of the time. Maybe these woman get some type of motherhood microchip implanted that gifts them with complete calmness and the ability to be all knowing. Anything is possible considering you can get a debit card implanted in your wrist and cell phones are in watches, right? However when I gave birth the catalog for this great invention was not mailed to my address and if it was I probably couldn’t afford it, at least not from what I read it takes to provide for three kids.
People have asked me “What is it like to be eight months pregnant with two little ones to run after?” Always with a big smile I reply “This is the first pregnancy I have gotten braxton hicks contractions daily and I think it is from all the activity. Any day now and I am sure I’ll know what it is like to have a newborn with two toddlers.” Looking at me confused most people respond “Well yea…that is going to happen.” Apparently pregnancy has also made me think my conversations have more comedic value than they really do.
So what is the point of this article? Was it meant to help or was it just a rant? To all mothers who are pregnant and also caring for one or more small children I wanted you to hear it from someone who understands your right now that you are not alone. All those thoughts that you dare not say aloud in fear of parental judgement I have said across the internet. Being pregnant and caring for toddlers is hard and messy and tiring and crazy and you’re doing great! Stop judging yourself and stop fearing tomorrow for it will have enough trouble of its own.
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Who is the Author?
Hi, My name is Cher B. and homemaking is my passion because it is how I serve the people I love. The Sticky Apron is a blog all about bible based homemaking, messy motherhood, and navy wife life. Through articles, tips, tricks, and how to’s I share my experiences hoping to encourage others. Check us out at www.thestickyapron.com