What was I worried about?!! Life with baby #3 – Alexandra – has been so lovely so far! After a miscarriage in early 2011 I became quite fearful of having another baby, mainly because I didn’t think I could cope with a third child. Don’t get me wrong, having a new born baby is hard work and the lack of sleep is a killer but I was really worried about just how I would cope with baby number three but so far she’s been my easiest baby! (Partly because she’s my third – I know what I’m doing!)
My first baby, a boy, was a fairly easy going baby & toddler and he slept really well but being the first baby I had the usual feeling of not knowing what I was doing and it’s generally pretty stressful, I think, with number one.
My second baby, a girl, was more tricky. She has always been a light sleeper and in the first four months was a catnapper by day – which I found very frustrating. Both she and my boy both slept through the night from 8 weeks but when she cat napped during the day it meant I couldn’t get a decent break 7am til 11pm everyday – that’s a really long time to be ‘on’ without a break and with a 3 ½ year old wanting your attention. It got to me so much that by the time she was three months old I had developed post-natal depression. It was really bad for a month before I sought help and then I got advice on how I could improve my daughter’s sleeping habits. It turned out to be as simple as trying to keep her awake longer after a feed! (You’d think I could have thought of that myself but when you’re so tired and emotional the ability to think rationally goes out the window!) She quickly developed a more ‘normal’ sleep pattern and I quickly began to feel a lot better. The week it all improved was also the week I discovered I had been accepted into university for 2010. So then I had something to look forward to for myself. . . .and life went on.
So, now my new baby has arrived, and even though I’ve been sick twice in the 6 weeks since she was born and we’ve had a four day stint in the children’s hospital when she had Bronchiolitis, life is relatively good. She sleeps pretty well, feeds pretty well, and my two older children keep themselves amused more easily than a 3 ½ yr old boy with no one to play with. I have to admit though that being a little older now I find the mornings tough. Most nights I get 4 or 5 hours sleep and then I’m busy all day looking after 2 other children, a large house, all the finance & paperwork, not to mention living in a new city with only my brother and sister in law for support (but live 40min drive away) and no friends.
I admit I have help 2 days a week during school hours with a wonderful babysitter who keeps my 4yr old occupied. Recently she also started preschool two days a week but this is a bit of an emotional ordeal as she is very clingy with me and very shy. The reason I’ve kept the babysitter on is to give me enough of a break each week in order to prevent post-natal depression developing again and so far it is working! I’m an introvert and I find young children with their incessant talking and noise quite a challenge. So the total cost of preschool + a babysitter is very expensive but if it is keeping our household relatively peaceful and happy then my DH and I feel it is worth it. It just means we’ve cut back on other spending. My older daughter will start school in Feb 2015 so it’s only another 16 months until our childcare costs will start to reduce again with only one baby left ‘at home’ as it were. Even once Alexandra is 3 months old I will still keep these childcare arrangements as I’ll have to revise my Italian studies before starting back at uni again in March. On top of that we’re also house hunting, so yes, I need the help!
So that’s how life with a third baby is working for me. I feel more confident in my ability to manage three children from now on but I know I could not do it without help. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” really rings true for me, although the ‘village’ is a little more spread out these days!