Go Ahead, Have a Third Kid

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Three boys in airplane seats working on projects.

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Aren’t they sweet?! Oh be still my heart. These are my three sons. Well, my three sons before the rest of the FishKids arrived.

In case you’ve ever wondered, our eldest was 3 1/2 when our second child was born. We’d had the miscarriages; we hadn’t planned on a big gap. Our third son was born a mere 19 months later.

When I was pregnant with our third, I was warned about how difficult everything would be.

  • Oh my! How are you going to handle two babies?
  • Oh my! Three is just so, so hard.
  • Oh my! You’ll have your hands full.

You know what? They were wrong. Having a third baby, even a third so close in age to his older brother, was not so, so hard. In fact, it was much, much easier than I expected it to be. (Especially once I got that double stroller!)

Fish and I have talked about this over and over since then. Three is not harder than two. Quite the contrary, we thought the transition from one child to two children was the hardest transition of them all, even after a year of miscarriage and wanting that second child so much.

Having two was sooooooooooo very hard.

I thought I would die. And I think families with two experience that rough transition and they assume that having a third will be that much harder. I think some might even stop there out of fear.

That wasn’t the case for us. I’m so glad we pushed past the hard of having two children to see that having three really wasn’t all that harder.

You see, my theory is that when you have one child, one parent can be hands free if he or she chooses. With two, either one parent has his hands full or you’re both occupied. It took way more effort to transition to two kids than it did to three, four, five, six.

(After three, you’re already on zone defense, so it doesn’t matter.)

I say this not to convince you to have a large family or even to say that you should have a third baby. I know many families desiring more children and for a number of reasons, they cannot.

But, if you’re on the fence, if you’re wanting to grow your family but feel swayed by the populace to stop at two, I say go ahead. Have a third.

We’re sure glad we did.

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  1. I can so relate to this post…. I have a 3.5 year old and a 20month old. I found the transition from #1 to #2 to be very tricky especially in the early days. Now I feel like I have turned a corner with my youngest walking, talking and sleeping through the night…. I feel torn as I am longing for a third.
    My husband and I feel blessed to have had even 1 child as I am now 43 (he is 41). We met later in life but to our absolute pleasure fell pregnant immediately. I feel an urgency to making a decision on a third due to my age. My age does not concern me for managing the pregnancy, pregnancy risks and physically handling the baby but the years later on when I will be a relatively older mother.
    I love my family so much and feel I could be selfish in wanting/risking more. My husband and I feel if we were 10yrs younger, there would be no question about #3. He is happy with #2 but if I want #3 then we will. We both come from families of 3.
    How do I even make up my mind? Is this just normal maternal feelings?

  2. Wow how amazing to hear so many stories of heroic moms and families! Thanks for this post, you couldn’t have described my feelings better about being on the fence about a third child. I thought something must have been wrong with me when I felt that transitioning from 1 to 2 was so, so hard. I told my husband several times after our younger one was born (she is now 15 months and so adorable!), that I will never have any more biological babies, maybe adopted ones, but not biological. I think the way it changes my body from early pregnancy to even a year after giving birth is so challenging for me personally. The nausea and constant feeling of illness was bearable when pregnant with my first, but when there’s an older child (or several) to take care of while feeling sick for months is not something I can fathom, plus the tiredness after the nausea subsides – how do you and other moms deal with that?? I felt so guilty and felt like I neglected my older one even before his baby sister was born!! So for me, it’s not just the newborn stage that scares me, it’s the entire pregnancy stage! But anyway, your post has really encouraged me to just let it go and consider it. Besides, when the baby turns into a toddler, there needs to be another baby in the home again, hahaha πŸ™‚

    1. You bring up lots of good questions. Those early years are definitely challenging. I will say that God gives you amnesia a little, for better or for worse. Those aren’t the memories I carry around with me. Hopefully my kids dono’t either.

      If my husband were younger (he was 46 when our last baby was born; he’s 50 now), we would have had more. My baby will be five this summer, so it is bittersweet that there isn’t “another baby” as you say. πŸ™‚

  3. I was really hesitant about having #3 but we felt it was what God wanted for our family so we went for it. Imagine my surprise (and moments of sheer terror) when it turned out to be #3, 4 & 5! After the triplets having another was a no-brainer – life couldn’t get much more chaotic than it already was. My oldest turned 4 1/2 the week after #6 was born. Having so many young kids is extremely difficult but they’re also my greatest joy. I get so much delight from watching them play together and take care of each other!

    1. Wow! What an amazing surprise! I’m guessing that story is making folks quake in their boots. lol.

  4. I agree. The second one was so much harder. Our third is 8 weeks old now, and really I feel like it is much easier this time.

  5. I found going from 2 to 3 wasn’t bad at all. It was 3-4 for me. But my kids are 2yrs, 11mos and 12 mos apart. Perhaps the 3 under 2 was what got me for awhile there lol. Now they’re all best buds! That first year was brutal though.

  6. Okay so I’m 33 and mom of DS aged 14 this year and DD aged 9 this year and for fours years have been confused about #3 had a miscarraige last year but I’m still deciding now once again helpppppppp

    1. That’s a hard place to be in. I can only say that I don’t regret any time we added to our family.

  7. I just stumbled on this post and have to tell you I loved it!! I am the mom of five children. Our first three are all 18 months apart and it had it’s difficulties (the third had colic) but you know what, it was fantastic! They are 20, 18.5, and 17 now and they are all best friends. Our last two are here primarily due to our older children’s requests. So, we also have a darling two year old and a nine month old. They are the joy of the house!! God is so good to let us experience this all over again and we are thankful beyond words!

  8. My 3rd just turned 2 years old and I am finally beginning to feel “normal” again. Our kids are spaced similar to yours. 3 yrs between the first two and 18 mos between 2 and 3. My 2nd baby was super easy and I thought, no prob. I’ve got this motherhood thing down (my 1st is a handful). But 3 kids has knocked me off my feet. So much so that I really wonder if we will have more. I use to think that I’d love to have at least 5 kids. My 3rd wasn’t a hard baby, but it was just too much for me. My husband works on Wall Street so we never see him. And we live in a 1 bedroom apt in manhattan. So that may have a lot to do with the stress. (But we know several families that do it well with 5-7 children.) I’m hoping and praying we can make the change to an “easier” lifestyle (2 bedrooms and a small yard sound so dreamy). I’d love to try and have more sweet little ones.

  9. I enjoyed this post and reading the comments. Our third (we have an almost-4y/o girl and a 25 m/o boy, plus our third who is a boy) is almost 3 months.

    Going to two was difficult, but I think this transition was harder. I finally feel like we’re getting into a rhythm, but I definitely don’t get done everything I’d like to (dusting, vacuuming…sleeping? ;))

    But, as hard as this mothering gig is, I’m up for another when/if the Lord so blesses us (so far, breastfeeding has kept my fertility from returning until around my babies’ first birthdays). Each one is such a unique & precious gift.

  10. I have 3 kids 5,4, and 18 months. The hardest one bring home for us was one. Because EVERYTHING changed! For my bring home #2 was easy… my first two are 13 months apart. I was already in that baby mode so it wasn’t really any different. #3 was a bit different just because my husband is gone a lot so it was just another adjustment to how I got things done. Now I really want another one… then I think how in the world would I do it (not so much the baby part but the pregnancy… I have bad pregnancies!) But I am sure it will happen…. πŸ™‚

  11. I have a 2 year old, a 4 year old and another due in just 9 weeks! So glad to hear it’s not that bad!!! Thank you!!!!

  12. I was just thinking this same thing the other day! I agree with some of the commenters that it probably has a lot to do with the personality of the child, but I found that going from 2 to 3 was WAY easier than going from 1 to 2. (For reference, my boys are currently 4.5, 2.5 and 7 months.) I think much of the reason 1-2 was harder for us is that my second son has been the most challenging of the three (thus far) – he went from being a colicky baby to a screaming toddler without missing a beat.

    Our first son was very mellow and even tempered until about 18 months, so we were utterly unprepared for the stress of having a baby that screamed all the time with no discernible cause. I was dead set on wanting 3 kids, and my husband thought I was insane for wanting another even in the midst of #2’s screaming, but our third son has been the happiest, jolliest little ray of sunshine. I heard so many horror stories about how the third kid was the hardest, thank you for putting out a different perspective!

  13. I completely agree! Going from one to two was the most difficult thing I experienced so far as a mom. I felt so guilty not being able to play with my older one, who, before the new baby come into the picture, had my undivided attention. When the 3rd one came (all mine are 2 yrs apart), I didn’t feel so bad because they had each other to keep company. Having more children also help the kids learn patience and compassion….they have to help, wait, and love on their brothers & sisters.

  14. Thank you for this. Just what I need to hear right now. It is so much harder transitioning to 2 kids than I thought. It’s going we’ll, but it just had me questioning things. We originally wanted a big family (at least 4 kids), but this had me thinking. Thanks for the encouragement!

  15. I know you’ve shared you story regarding your multiple miscarriages, so I know this post wasn’t meant to make anyone feel bad. I so wish I could get past the fear and try again, but I feel so stuck. When we got pregnant the second time we found out we were expecting twins, so we were consumed with what the transition from 1 to 3 would be like. My son was stillborn and his twin sister will be 5 in May. I spent 5 weeks on hospital bedrest and my daughter was 7 weeks early, My oldest will be 9 next month. Needless to say our transition was nothing like I expected. After such a difficult ordeal we’ve been hesitant to say the least, to try again. I always thought we’d have 2 kids since we got a late start, but after finding out we were having twins we opened our hearts and minds to being a family of 5. There’s such an empty place in my heart and home these days. I feel like our indecision regarding attempting pregnancy after a loss may have decided for us. At 43 I’m not sure trying again is in the cards for us, but I really wish we could have another child.

    1. Oh, Danielle, you’ve had such a rough go of it. I wish I could reach out and hug you. Or better, had some answers. All I can say is just pray, pray, pray that God would show you what He wants for your family. I know that your loss must still hurt.

      I’m sorry that the post brought up those sad emotions. Blessings to you!

  16. Good to know! Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed with the two we have (age 3 and 1.5). We want more in the family, but we often worry with finances and time commitment and all that. Thanks for the encouragement.

    1. Well, since I have six, of course, I’m going to say go for it. I don’t think it’s that much more expensive to have more kids. We’ve never thought we needed a bigger house or anything, we’ve just folding kids in. (Of course, if we were going to move anyway, we looked for the biggest for the money, but I’m not convinced that the costs go up exponentially. It depends on expectations and lifestyle, I suppose.

  17. When I was reading the article, I was relieve, but then I started reading the posts and got worried again. I have a 3 year old, a 15 month old, and I’m 20 weeks pregnant. My two first babies are girls and they get alon very well most of the time. Now we are expecting baby boy and it is hard to imagine how it is going to be. With baby#1 I had a hard time so with #2 we had a babysitter coming 3 hours in the morning so I could sleep a little bit. That really help! The tradition between 1 and 2 has been hard so wmy husband and I, besides freaking out, are trying to plan the things we need to do so the transition between 2 and 3 is not so hard. We wanted all the kids close in age so they have been plan but we know is going to be crazy for the following 3 years… at least. My husband is a big planner and I have been learning to do it which is hard and it is hard to keep up with everything when you have two little ones wanting all your attention all the time. Any advise on what things we can plan to avoid making the tradition harder?

    1. Life is crazy no matter how many kids you have. πŸ™‚ I think be prepared for hard, plan for it, and then be pleasantly surprised if it’s better than you thought. Just don’t be scared, either way. God is crafting your family!

  18. My third delivery was TWINS! I agree the transition from 1 to 2 was harder than 2 to 4 in my case. Heck, I even had that 5th one.

  19. Thanks for the post! I’m due with my third next month, so it’s nice to have a little encouragement. πŸ™‚

  20. I found that number 3 slid into the family dynamic very easily. I was really surprised. When I was pregnant with #4 I had some one tell me that it takes a year to adjust to #4. I thought they were nuts. #3 had fit in so nicely how could #4 not! About halfway through that 1st yr of being a mum of 4 and not having anything together, I remembered what my friend said. Just after the 1 year mark I did notice that life had settled down and we were doing great.

    I love seeing how different family dynamics work. Have your heart open and don’t have any set in stone opinions.

  21. My experience was that going from 1 to 2 was the easiest. Going from 2 to 3 for me was EXTREMELY hard! I had a 3 1/2 year difference between #2 and #3. It was difficult for me to get back in that baby mode again. I also felt really bad for my two older boys. We had gotten so use to just my huband and I and the two of them. We would pick up and go everywhere with them, we had it down perfect. During the last few months of my pregnancy with #3 and the first few months as a newborn, I felt extremely left out of my everyday life with my older boys. I was often left at home with the baby and missed out on things. I also wanted the time back I had to myself in the evenings (selfish I know, but it is how I felt). I battled a bad case of post partum depression (I also had to have my gall bladder removed when my daughter was 11 weeks old). My daughter (yes a girl, finally) is now 6 months old and I finally feel like we are a normal family again, just the 5 of us. I say mothers of 4 children, must be amazing, i could never do it. 3 is my limit!

    1. We are living parallel lives, but my third is my third boy, and I feel the same way. I love my children dearly, but I do miss out on the excitement they have when they run off on the weekends to do things with daddy. I also wish I just had a little time to get anything done…other than dishes! Thank you for this comment.

  22. again i agree with you jess!!having 7 children, the junp from 1 to 2 was…well hideous!!!number 3 is so easy(and any more you have after that!!:)i tell people that all the time!!

  23. My first was an easy baby, his brother was born 11 months later. Then, longing for a girl, we tried for another one. My third-a girl is 18 months apart than my 2nd. I was thinking that my family is complete, hubby wants more. 18 months later my 4th, a girl, was born. Now I am 8 weeks pregnant with number 5. It does get easier. My house is always noisy…lol

  24. Thanks for this post! I’m due with our third in July and I’ve been worried! My SD is 6 and my son is 18 months, so I think they’ll both be good ages for #3. πŸ™‚

  25. Aww, don’t tell me that, #2 is coming on the 29th! πŸ˜‰ we have been told by a couple friends that you don’t become a “real parent” until you have two, haha. I am looking forward to it though. My son is almost 28 months and I know he will be great with his baby sister!

  26. Going from one to two was no big deal at all for me. Going from two to three was VERY challenging. I think the experience for everyone is probably different, but I heard a lot of three is easy etc and it made me feel like a huge failure when it wasn’t the case. My oldest wasn’t quite four years old when my third son was born. The first two were 19months apart and the next one was 16months later. At the time my 16month old had JUST started walking the week prior. It was tough times. Now they are 4,2,&1 and it is getting easier by the day as they grow.

  27. For me. going from 0 to 1 was a huge shock. And I was the most shocked that it WAS a shock. I used to work at an orphanage in Romania, and often was responsible for 6-9 babies at once, I thought I was a pro at the whole Mommy thing! Did I ever learn a few things! It’s very different to work a shift, versus being on duty 24/7.

    Going from 1 to 2 was also huge, but I had some PPD to deal with as well.

    #3 and #4 have been a breeze. I am so blessed!

  28. I wholeheartedly agree! I am a mama of a 3 year old, a 1 1/2 half year old, and a 4 month old, and being a mommy to 3- 3 and under is not as hard as I expected it to be, or as hard as other people think it is. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us.

  29. For me, going from one to two didn’t seem that hard, even though they were only sixteen and a half months apart. My third was three years later and to this day I’d say that was my hardest and biggest adjustment. My two older ones were 3 and 4 by then, and it just seemed all of them still demanded alot of attention. I only had one more after that, and my fourth was easier. Although I didn’t feel finished, I never had any more, but I felt like any more after that wouldn’t have been a big adjustment.

  30. We were having two kids. Period. God smiled down on us and gave us a gift, a “surprise” baby 5 years after #2 was born. We didn’t own one baby thing. They were all sold when #2 quit using them (remember, we were only having 2). My oldest son was almost nine and son #2 was 5 when baby girl came. I felt a little overwhelmed at first but quickly adjusted. Life with three was great. The boys had each other and as adults get along great. Baby girl was the best gift I’ve ever received. Big brothers are still protective of her. I was blessed with three good babies that slept more than they were awake. For me, I would do it again in a heartbeat and probably would add the 4th that I always wanted (DH made a trip to the doctor when baby girl was 1 so that wasn’t going to happen).

  31. So many different experiences! I have 9 children – the first 7 in 9 years – and I wouldn’t trade or change for anything. I think the first is the most life changing, then if they are close in age the second is when you learn to multi-task like a pro. I think the 3rd (once again when they are close) is the hardest because if you go anywhere alone it is so difficult. By 4 you have a big kid helper ;o) after that is so much easier – I promise. Even when they all were home and in sports etc it wasn’t too terribly tough because lots of help. I would absolutely encourage everyone to expand their family if possible – the rewards ALWAYS outweigh any negatives. Great post.

  32. I raised two that are 18months apart all on my own. I had always wanted four. When I turned forty I met a man with two we now have four. Funny how life works out!

  33. 0-1 was definelty a hard transition for me. I do think it had a lot to do with my circumstances though — being newly married and only 18 years old. My daughter will be almost 4 by the time our second is born. this pregnancy was very much desired and longed for and i can’t wait to see how my daughter interacts with the baby. i’m thankful she’s been potty trained and sleeping in a bed for while,, although i’m sure it’ll be hard since i’ve been out of the newborn stage for a while. hoping my hubby will eventually agree to a # 3 ;).

  34. We tried a long time for a third child without success, and we were coming to realize that our family might already be complete. It turned out that God had bigger plans for us than we had for ourselves. I became pregnant with twins and they are six months old today! Our hands are full and so are our hearts!

  35. Ha! I have to say (rather ashamedly) that zero to one was the hardest for me- even though I wanted a baby SOOOOOO badly and endured two losses before him. I was utterly unprepared for a colicky demanding infant. Number 2 seemed easy in comparison and number three is bliss!

  36. I totally agree – going from one to two was our toughest transition. One thing that compounded it was that #2 was a high needs kid. From that point on, it was all easy!! πŸ™‚

  37. It’s different for everyone but one was cake for me. I was back to pre-baby weight in a flash and I was totally living my life my way with my own little buddy. She went where I went, we ate together, life was super easy and moreso, it was still Mine. Then I had a second, and for me, it was way more to balance. This time, I had a boy. I struggled with my weight. It took awhile to get out of sweats because I was SO very busy chasing them. I couldn’t get my groove down. Nothing but crayons in my pancakes and diapers on the floor. I was a hot mess at first! I had a friend who had 3 then 4 with great ease and she confided that having 2 was also super challenging for her and that have 3 and 4 was waaay easier (again, for her). I’ve always wondered. We’re happy and have gotten a nice routine now as a family of 4 but I’ll always wonder about life with just one more. Maybe.

  38. I have to say that I thought that baby three was the hardest baby that I brought home. I had just potty trained number two when I found out I was pregnant with number 3, and it was like starting over again. Of course, baby four was a breeze after having the first three πŸ™‚

  39. What a reassuring post! We’re expecting Baby 3 in about eight weeks and everyone I know with three has said it was a much harder transition than from 1 to 2. It’s nice to hear another perspective. My biggest concern is what someone above mentioned – the need to referee the older two while dealing with a baby. My kiddos will be 4.5 and 2.5 when baby arrives and it seems like I spend a huge amount of time mediating between them. Not sure how to do that while also dealing with a newborn!

  40. I totally agree. For me two was the hardest transition as well. And now I’ve got 5! I would have stopped there but I’m so glad we didn’t.

    I have a friend with ten kid (yikes πŸ˜‰ ) and she said there is always one transition that is hardest. She’s seen it in all her friends and experienced it herself but she said most of the time, like you said, if you get over the fear and do what your heart desires deep down you’ll find it was an isolated challenge and doesn’t necessarily mean your life is down hill from number fill-in-the-blank. πŸ™‚

    Glad you’re enjoying your three! What fun I had with just three boys. Lots of memories to make!

    1. We actually have six: four boys and two girls. But, I know many folks stop at two out of fear and intimidation and I wanted to encourage people that three is really good, too.

      1. Very cool! I’m so glad you shared. I sure could have used it back at the 2/3 transition. πŸ™‚ We’re going on 7, 2 through adoption. Crazy adventurous life I would have never imagined or had if I’d given in to fear.

  41. I am in total agreement with you! I am mom to 5 kids and I can tell you that by far the toughest was bringing number 2 home! Number 3, 4, and 5, bringing them in to the family and the routine was a breeze in comparison. For me I that I put way too much pressure on myself when I brought number 2 home. I was so worried about not letting my oldest feel displaced, while at the same time trying to meet the needs of my newborn…I literally drove myself crazy trying to make everything perfect! By the time the 3rd baby came along I had learned to not only be patient with myself, but also that my children are very resilient, so making them wait 10 minutes for a drink while I finish nursing their baby sister was not going to hurt them at all. By number 5, I hardly even noticed there was one more! Love this post! πŸ™‚

  42. i agree! when i found out we were expecting the third i FREAKED, even though getting the first took years. i was already older than i thought i should be, plus the oldest was already 10. but know what? they are awesome together and apart! and even though it is hard to be outnumbered and sometimes it is exhausting keepingup with three boys, i am so glad we had the third. so glad that i was i was young enough for a fourth! but i am blessed and grateful where we are.

  43. Were you in Southern Indiana listening to my conversation last night? Hahaha! I was just talking to my mom about how difficult the transition to a family of four has been for me. I think I had the idea that life would just go back to what it was before our son was born 6 months ago. But we are looking forward to what the Lord has in store. And that just might include a third child to love. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Here is a quote from one of my favorite poems.
    “No longer forward nor behind, I look in hope or fear; But grateful, take the good I find, The best of now and here.

    β€” John Greenleaf Whittier

      1. I often refer to this on the “hard” days. There is always something to be grateful for, even dirty diapers!

  44. One thing I thought was great when my third was born was that I felt like an expert of sorts. I wasn’t worried about all of the unknowns. I knew how to do it and was able to really enjoy him.

  45. Definitely agree! Going from 1 to 2 was harder than going from 2 to 3. I remember trying to get the newborn to sleep long enough in the carrier so I could get my older child to sleep and it never failed that he would want to nurse. After I learned how to juggle it all, it was easier the next time. It did help that my third was a sweet, placid baby who thrived on routine and was sleeping through the night at 9 weeks. πŸ˜‰

  46. I have to chime in to say: remember that every family situation is very different and it’s all a matter of perspective. It’s good to hear that folks have an easy transition to the third child, because for us it’s INCREDIBLY difficult. My third is only 2 months, and I’m sure things will get easier as all the little guys get older, but at this point it’s been beyond hard for us. So many things go into the mix: how the older ones sleep at night; how many are in school; the parent’s ability to handle sleep (or lack thereof!), stress and discipline; the amount of help from family & friends; etc. I don’t mean to discourage others from having 3+ kids. However, I thought it would be much easier than it’s turning out to be.

    1. I suspect that having a 2 month old is a huge factor in that equation. My humble opinon is that a newborn is tough no matter what the other circumstances are. Add in some other complications, and you’re bound to feel some stress! I have so many fond memories of newborn days, but I’m always so relieved to move beyond them! πŸ™‚

      A Mom of 4, my baby being 10 months.

    2. I think you’re absolutely right. (We’ve been discussing it in the comments.) So many of these things are determined by personalities, finances, family health, so many other circumstances. I guess my general purpose in posting was that we shouldn’t be afraid to grow a family — at least not out of fear. The benefits far outweigh the hardships. We just gotta be brave to face the hardships.

  47. I fall squarely on the opposite opinion! My first two are 15 months apart, and it was a breeze. My oldest was 34 months when #3 was born, and that was SO much harder. They boys are now 3 1/2, 2, and 7 months, and I’m just now starting to feel on top of things again. Wouldn’t change a thing, but it’s been a challenge!

  48. Well my experience was much the same as yours – but I can see the other side – I think it’s hardest when you shift stages – if you have your first and second 13 months apart, well, you’re in baby zone – no biggie – if you have your third five years after your second – well you’re already in ‘school kid’ zone and going back to baby zone must be more difficult – depends where you’re at kwim?

    But I applaud the sentiment – don’t let other people discourage you and tell you horror stories about ANYTHING that sounds appealing to you – their experience or lack thereof shouldn’t affect your choice!

    1. Yes, I can see the shift in stages, too. My first was potty trained when #2 was born, that may have contributed to how hard it all was. Like others have said, I was already in baby mode when 3, 4, etc arrived.

  49. Uh, thanks for upping my anxiety significantly. We are expecting our second child and I’ve heard that’s an easier transition than from one to two. Now I’m really scared… :-/

      1. My transition from one to two was quite easy. My first born was very high-maintenance, colicky, and we found out later – allergic to both milk AND soy. My husband changed jobs – to 2nd shift – so I spent many nights sleeping with the baby strapped to me in the carrier wedged on the sofa so I didn’t roll on her. It took us 18 months of trying to get pregnant to have our first so we tried again right away to have another and God blessed us with her sister, born almost exactly 13 months later. She was SUCH an easy baby – slept through the night the first night home, no allergy issues, easy-going and happy all of the time. Also, having gone through so much the first time I was feeling much more confident of what I could do – that alone helped a lot.

    1. DON’T be scared. I think lots of commenters have shared varying perspectives. I think one of the themes in all of it has been expectations. I think when I had my second, I thought I knew it all. I was sorely disappointed. When I had my third, I expected it to be super hard, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought.

      Others have made really good points about why they think their experience was similar or different, but I think they all boil down to expectations. Having one, two, three, four — all of them are “hard” because you have to reach outside yourself and put others first, you have to give when you don’t think there’s anything left. That is motherhood, really.

      And it’s all good. It’s just not easy.

      Every age and stage is challenging and when you fold in multiple personalities (ie multiple people) it becomes a really interesting mix. But, it’s all good.

      Please don’t be scared. God has crafted your family for this time, hand picking these little souls to perfectly fit you and your husband. God makes no mistakes. He’s the one ultimately building your family.

  50. Thank you for this! I have a 3.5 year old and a just-turned 1 year old. DH wants more. The thought makes me break out in a cold sweat. LOL I’m still so overwhelmed but reading this post gave me hope that it won’t always be that way. Going from 1 to 2 was incredibly hard especially since we have no extended family around to lend a hand. We’re thinking about waiting to try for #3 until my youngest is 18 months so, hopefully, my oldest will be a bit more independent by then!

    1. We moved away from family when #3 was 18 months and I was pregnant with #4. It can be hard, but at the same time, we grew close as a family unit and got our sealegs for parenting without relatives interfering.

  51. Ha! We went for a third child and ended up with a third and fourth! Twins were definitely a surprise.

  52. Hi! I’ve never commented before but thought I would chime in, too. For me, going from 0 to 1 child was a bit traumatizing…she was high maintenance and I really had no idea what I was doing…lol. But she was such a joy, too. But I knew I wanted to wait at least 2-3 years before having another one. I tried to get pregnant after she turned 2 but it wouldn’t happen until 8 months later and my 2nd, my son, was born almost exactly 3 years apart from his sister. Adding #2 wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be but I think it’s mainly because he is such an easy going and laid back baby. I am on the fence about adding a third now. My daughter is 4 and my son is 15 months. I would have to have a third c-section, so I’m just not sure I want to do it again! But there are many days I long for another and to have a bigger family! Thanks for the post, I just keep praying about it!

  53. We have three kids close in age {they were all born in a 3 1/2-year timespan}. Going from one to two wasn’t difficult for us, but going from two to three – whoa, that kicked my butt! I can remember being so exhausted that I was constantly fighting to keep my eyes open. Looking back, the baby/toddler years are somewhat of a blur to me! Life is less tiring now that they’re older {14, 12, and 10}. We love having three and we love having them close in age because they are great buddies πŸ™‚

  54. I have to say I expected this to be my experience…and it wasn’t.

    #1 and #2 are under 18 months apart. #2 and #3 are almost 25 months apart. I thought surely adding a third kid would be easy. It wasn’t. (Not that I regret it!!) The older two were still both so young and they both needed so much from me. My oldest was only 3 1/2 when #3 was born! Plus it was just a really difficult time for our family because my husband was having health issues and was unable to help me much, which I’m sure played a big role. It was a much harder transition than I had expected.

    NOW it is so much easier. They are now 5, 3 1/2, and almost 1 1/2. They all play nicely together (most of the time). The youngest “grew up” a bit faster than the other two did because he wanted to be like his big brother and sister. He walked sooner, cut back on nursing sooner, wanted to sit in a “big boy chair” at the table and feed himself sooner. He has talked sooner too! Now I have three “kids” and they entertain each other so well that I am able to get quite a bit done even when I am alone with all three, and the older two are starting to be more helpful than a drain, especially my 5-year-old. Many of my friends with younger/fewer kids are amazed at what I can get done!

    So, it might be hard initially, depending on the kids’ ages and the family situation. But I definitely think it’s worth it.

    I actually think it’s worth it so much that I’m due with #4 in +/- 7 weeks! The timing on #4 was totally a God thing but I think it will be great. #3 and #4 will be just 19 months apart, but I have done this very close age gap before. I know I can do it again. AND I have a 5-year-old who can help me this time, who loves babies and really takes pride in “being Mommy’s big helper” around the house. And my husband’s health issues are mostly resolved too so I have more coming from him. I think we’ll do just fine. πŸ™‚

    1. It’s so great to hear the different experiences and the circumstances behind them. Evidence that God builds our families in mysterious ways. Blessings on the new one!

    2. For us, 3 was the big transition! 2 was even easier than 1, since our just turned 2 year old was thrilled to spend some of her time “playing” with baby while Mommy got bits of housework done, but with number 3 my thyroid conked out and as a 4 year old and 2 year old and baby all need different things – all at the same time – for about 3 months there I was wiped out!! Now it’s just fun again though! πŸ˜€

  55. As I lay here nursing my third, I could not agree more! He’ll be one in a few weeks, and I was just thinking this morning about how much joy and ease he has brought to our family! And he’s sooooo easy.

  56. Thanks Jessica, I SOOOO agree! Going from 1 to 2 was the hardest for us. 2 to 3 was no problem, 3 to 4, what a joy and now we’re going from 4 to 5. I’m 32 weeks and I have to say this has been the easiest pregnancy and such an all around joyous time! I have so many little hands willing and wanting to help! I think that no matter what your family size, with the right attitude and with God’s provision, it can be a joy and blessing πŸ™‚

  57. Oh my, I could have written this post word for word! I always say that the transition from one to two was the hardest. Once you go from two to three, you’re already exhausted all the time so it doesn’t matter!! My three boys keep me super busy but their beautiful souls are totally worth it. A friend told me a few weeks ago that “three is the new two!”

  58. So true! We have 3 boys and I’m so glad I talked my husband into having 3. In fact, I would’ve had a couple more, but three was his limit. And that’s okay because having three is sooo good!

  59. we stopped at two, and they were not quite 14 months apart when #2 came along. it was hard, but only because #2 came during my husband’s 16-month deployment! i fondly remember our double stroller. i couldn’t have surrvived without it!

    1. At first I thought I could stick was the single stroller when they were that close together. Ha! What a fool! It was sooooooooo necessary. We still have it ten years later. Definitely got our money’s worth on that.

  60. I really enjoyed the article and comments. My two little girls are 17 months apart. My baby is just two and a half months old… and frankly its has seemed kinda a nightmare. My baby was terribly colicly, screaming for hours, we finally figured out she is allergic to milk protein, and wow, what a difference. At the same time I was switching from nursing to Nutramigen to make sure that was the problem, we were hit with a BAD round of flu. So I had a fussy, baby, a very irritable toddler and sick myself and still trying to pump. (I didn’t want to dry up my milk only to discover the formula wasn’t the answer) It was Not Funny and I really thought maybe I was not going to survive πŸ™‚ Now we are pretty much over the flu and baby is much, much better. I might eventually consider a third:) Actually probably will just need a little time and a few whole nights of sleep!

    1. You have had a go of it. Don’t make any decisions until you’re all well. πŸ˜‰

  61. I never experienced going from 1 to 2, as my only two kids are twins. I’m on the fence about going for a third because I’m just now starting to regain my sanity (they recently turned 2). I could do the first year again, but the second year nearly killed me. Two babies is hard. Two toddlers is like… really hard. Thinking about throwing a pregnancy and then a newborn into the mix is really unappealing right now. But I go back and forth. Maybe in another year or so.

    1. I have heard that there are special crowns in Heaven for moms of twins. πŸ™‚ It took me two years to bounce back with each kid, so I’m sure twins is that much more exciting. I had a boss once who had had three sets of twins and one singleton. That poor singleton was so left out.

    2. I have 4.5 year old twin girls & a 6 month old son. Betsy, I would say to give it time. 2 Two year olds are hard, but 3 year olds are much better (4 year olds are really fun!). Baby #3 was a surprise but we were always on the fence about wanting another. We are so glad he surprised us!!! A singleton is SO EASY compared to twins – from pregnancy, recovery, & taking care of him is so much easier! Give it another year, the twins will be potty trained, more independent, playing together more. If you want to have a 3rd just know it will be easier than it was with the twins.

  62. I just had my 2nd, 7 months ago, she is the easiest baby, my first I like to say is “high-maintenance”. Number 2 has been easy in comparison, she sleeps (first one still fights at age 3). After having the second baby I want a third already, but I’m also terrified to have a third. For me I want to wait a little while, I have very difficult pregnancies and my girls are 2 1/2 years apart so I can see them being great friends in the future and I think having another baby so close now, my high maintenance daughter will not have anyone to play with, which we both need, lol.

    1. Our four boys are spaced across 7 years. They’ve all played nicely — when they want to. I think you’ll be good no matter what.

  63. What a great post! It was just the pick me up I needed after spending the evening reorganizing my two kids’ baby clothes and longing for a third. My frugal side desperately needs another child to get use out of them! And my nurturing side just wants another beautiful child to love. I have PCOS and we have been trying for # 3 for two years and sometimes I feel like giving up. It’s amazing how posts like this come along when you need them!

    1. Have hope! I have Pcos. And the 5 yr gap between kids 2 and 3 to go with it. Low carbs., exercise and metformin helped bring babies 3 and 4. It will happen for you too.

  64. Haha! That’s my husband’s answer when we get the inevitable “how do you do it with 5?” He says “we just had to switch from a man defense to a zone”. πŸ™‚ I agree with you though. #2 was hard. #5 was no big deal. πŸ™‚

  65. We just had our 3rd 8 weeks ago, and I can testify, 2 to 3 was a breeze compared to 1 to 2. I was not at all prepared for that transition, nobody warned us! But after a month,things settled and it was like we had been doing it all along. Can’t wait to find out what the transition from 3 to 4 will be like somewhere down the road πŸ™‚

  66. I love this! We just had our third in August and wow, what a sweetie! This kid is not discouraging me from having more babies, that’s for sure. He’s a happy, smiley, joy-filled little guy. And while we knew we wanted more kids, we really did not plan on having another one so soon! My oldest was 3 when he was born and my second was 18 months. When I found out we were expecting, all I could do was laugh. I decided then that this year would be both the most fun and the most challenging, simply because of our kids’ ages.

    I would recommend that everyone plan a surprise baby if they can. =)

    1. I liked the surprises the best because then if it was hard, I didn’t feel like I had made a bad decision. I knew that one was God ordained. (They are ALL God-ordained, but it seems the surprises are moreso.)

  67. I love large families and was the youngest of six, but I will have to disagree. I found that having a third was much, much more difficult — keep in mind that as of now my third child is only three months old. My second child was a breeze. My older two kids are three and five and seem so independent that I’m having to get used to having another child that is in diapers, can’t feed himself, can’t walk, etc. Also, when I only had two, I didn’t have to play referee between the other two children like I’m doing now, half the time while nursing the infant while I walk.

    Perhaps I blame the difficulty of child number three on the timing in our family. My husband started his own business a little more than a year ago and I work part-time from home. When child number two came my husband didn’t bring his job home and although I was teaching piano lessons, the time commitment for my work isn’t nearly what it is now.

    In essence, I think that every woman and family is different as to what child will be the most difficult and how they adjust to their growing family. I love my little baby and I’m so grateful that we’ve had three so far, but I definitely found that number three was the hardest for me.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience! I imagine that there are probably a multitude of different perspectives, especially as children’s ages, dispositions, and spacing is concerned as well as what’s going on for Mom and Dad.

      I hope I don’t sound dogmatic in the post. I just want folks not to be scared to go beyond the standard two kids — if they feel so inclined.

    2. I always have trouble with each new baby to adjusting everything when the baby is small. After the baby is a year old, things start to get easier again.

      I have 7; my oldest just runed 11 last month. It’s the same thing with each new one, but then things work themselves into a new routine again and things get easier. Give it about 9 months πŸ™‚ Having a new little one changes everything every time!