And then there were three …

So, you want to have your babies in a hurry and get it over with. You heard from friends and distant relatives that it will be far better to do the deed, wait a couple of months, then do the deed again. But how prepared are you for what is about to come?

Old farmers believed you had to sow while the soil was good. With endometriosis, maternal age in pregnancy and other birthing related complications, it makes sense to have children while you are able to do so. And while there is sound reasoning in having children in quick succession, there are things to consider before getting onto this rollercoaster. Let’s look at the reality of it.

You get out of the blocks in a mad dash, have tons of sex in as many positions as possible just to make doubly sure the wheels have been set in motion. You’re elated when you discover that baby number one is on the way. You enjoy the last few months of freedom, not fully aware of what is heading your way. The baby arrives. Life is good.

Like most couples, you push through the nightmares of breastfeeding, wade through the swamp of dirty nappies and get lost in the maze of bad advice. One day you look at each other and say, “We’ve got this!” You think you are coping well enough, so you give your partner those sexy eyes, blow kisses across the table and wait for the returning nod of approval. Soon number two is on the way.

“You are on a cloud and you believe nothing can derail you, but this is all about to change. This time things will be different.”

Things become daunting as the due date approaches. You start realising that you might have bitten off more than you can chew but you go through the rigmarole again, a little bit wiser this time around. Getting used to two kids is still a challenge, though. In order to adjust, you change your game plan by splitting up. Each parent takes a child, which makes it more manageable. But somehow you know that your needs have just become a distant second. Nevertheless, when that baby grabs your finger for the first time, your worries and fears temporarily dissipate.

Pretty soon you are back on top of things and, whenever both kids are sleeping, also on top of each other to make another baby. It feels like you are running a marathon – and you are leading the pack! You are on a cloud and you believe nothing can derail you, but this is all about to change. This time things will be different. The news of baby number three hits you firmly in the gut and it takes all the air out of your lungs.

Financial implications, two toddlers loudly becoming their own unique selves, moody parents and severe sleeplessness become the norm. There is almost no social interaction with anyone during the first couple of weeks and this slowly gets the better of you. No matter how strong you are, three babies in nappies will wear you down.

You don’t recognise the sad reflection in the mirror. There is no “me” time. Shaving becomes a weekly exercise, if you are lucky. You miss deadlines, show up late for work and alienate your dearest friends. You imagine people whispering behind cupped hands when you enter the building with your horde. It feels like you are in danger of becoming a baby factory.

To make matters worse, you firmly believe that your life partner, your most trusted relationship ally, has become your enemy overnight. Of course, this isn’t true, but petty disagreements can convince you of anything negative. The children seem to roam the house freely while you’re trying your best to be in control. Washing clothes and dishes become loathsome tasks. Even if you evenly distribute duties between the two of you, you still won’t get to everything. Since they are now a number greater than the two who had made them, you suddenly feel outnumbered and outplayed.

You resolve to do whatever you need to do to get through this. You are not coping well – and that is okay. Eventually, you will get beyond the difficult time. It might be hard to see, but in the long run, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

As a friend explained it once, the single most positive thing to remember is: The Day of Lasts. The last day you mowed your own lawn. The last day you changed a nappy. The last day you looked for a dummy under the couch. The last day you bought formula or washed a teat. The last day you needed to get a babysitter. The last day you were able to pick up your baby and give them butterfly kisses all over. And it is this one that makes you appreciate the present difficulties so much more.

Also read:

Anthill 26: Twins
Lessons for a new mom from a mom of four