Something I Didn’t Expect to Happen After My Third Child Was Born

By Polly Conner

clay-9As we’ve welcomed each of my three kids into our family, each one has taught us new things about ourselves, parenting and raising children. With each child has come unexpected delights, challenges and emotions. Our third, Clayton, has proven to be no different.

I kind of thought that by the third kid, we’d know what we are in for. I was anticipating the challenges of the fourth trimester, well aware that my other children would have some sort of change in behavior, willing to be more flexible than ever with his eating and sleeping routine and mentally prepared for a very busy season of life.clay-low res-4

There was something that happened that I didn’t anticipate though.

Since we already had one boy and one girl AND unless there is a big “oops,” we are pretty darn sure this is our last kid, we decided to get a little crazy and not find out the gender. The anticipation was way fun and I didn’t mind all that much not knowing what it was until he was born.

Here’s what I didn’t expect though: When Clayton was born and things settled down a bit, I didn’t expect to mourn the loss of NOT having a girl. While I was more than thrilled to have another boy, I had not walked through the emotions of realizing that Adelyn would be my ONLY daughter. I hadn’t known how hard it would be to sort through and sell or give away all the girl clothes and blankets that had been in storage for five years. I had not closed the door in any way until we found out the gender and the act of doing this was way harder than I thought.clay-low res-3

I have no doubt that if we HAD had a girl, I would be walking through the same emotions over not having a boy.

In addition to not expecting to be sad over not having another girl, I didn’t realize how hard it would be to know this is our last child. 

These are the last newborn diapers we will buy.

When he outgrows the swaddle blankets, we are DONE with them.

When he outgrows the precious newborn outfits, we aren’t saving them.

When he graduates from the Moby Wrap to the Ergo, I will likely never wear a Moby Wrap again.

I feel like I was JUST collecting all of this baby gear, having my first baby shower, washing and prepping all the new baby stuff and now here I am just 5 years later getting rid of it all.clay-low res

I just didn’t expect it to be this hard. Life keeps moving and I very much look forward to the days when we are actually sleeping again but I also am now starting to believe the older people in my life when they tell me that the little years go by so fast. Long days, short years, right? I believe it now.

In short, I’m having issues with closure and I didn’t expect that at all. Five years ago, when I was such a hot mess of a new-mom, I would have never expected to be saddened by the baby season drawing to an end. Yet, here I am, on the other side of it sounding like every other mom out there telling the new moms, “It goes so fast…”

The good news is, there is so much ahead for our young family. We have so much to look forward to. School days, sports teams, vacations, new friends, new experiences and so much more. I’m so excited to see who these little people grow and evolve into. We see glimpses into their personality and interests now but it will be so rewarding and beautiful to see who God has created them to be in this world.clay-low res-2

While the door of newborn land and eventually infancy is slowly closing behind us, an even larger door is slowly opening up in front of us. I want to live in the moment–not mourning the past or fearing the future. I want to be HERE and not regret wanting to be somewhere else.

So in conclusion, I expected the transition from two kids to three to be hard. But, I didn’t expect it to be hard in this way. The journey of motherhood never ceases to surprise me.

Make sure to swing by other posts I’ve written on mothering and such. A few you might like are:

Seven Things I Swore I’d Never do as a Parent

What to Expect When Transitioning from One Kid to Two

Six Things I Will do Differently with My Second Child

A Word to The Struggling Mom

“Do You Sometimes Just Cry?”



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9 replies
  1. Laura says:

    As a mother of 10 you may think I cannot relate to these feelings, but I most certainly can!
    I remember thinking them from Baby #1 to #2 and from #2 to #3, and probably with the next few too. 🙂 It is a surreal feeling. I was also very worried about not loving the 2nd as much as the 1st, the 3rd as much as the 2nd, etc. I am here to attest that even though #10 was a HUGE surprise, the Lord expands a mother’s heart (and father’s) to love all that He has sent to you. I hug my almost 2-year-old and am in awe at the love that I have for her. A mother’s heart is a truly incredible thing. A word of ‘counsel’ from years of observation: If you are inclined AT ALL to have a fourth, I recommend it VERY highly (not right away, of course, you just had #3!!). I have MANY friends that have 3 and never seem to leave the frantic side of life behind. #4 has a way of making you stop and take inventory as husband and wife and as a family and decide what you REALLY want your family to be. I highly encourage prayer and couple-talks and talking to friends that have 4 or more before you REALLY decide that 3 is your magic number. Of course, it is between you and your husband and the Lord and really no one else. I just wanted to share my feelings with you about it. Your Clayton is a VERY handsome boy and you are a blessed woman to add him to your family. All children are a true gift from our Heavenly Father. Congratulations and thank you for being brave enough to share your feelings and thoughts on motherhood.

    • Polly says:

      10?! I mean, wow. You must have so much mommy wisdom to share. YOU should be the one blogging about these things! Thanks for your thoughts on more kids. I think my body was pretty much telling me that this was my last. Between the preterm labor and immense back pain, I think I’d have to be a glutton for pain and punishment to do it again. I’m not the young pup I used to be! I have heard that moms of 4 are less stressed than moms of 3 though. Your theory makes a lot of sense!

  2. Jennifer says:

    I could have written ever single word of this! The only difference is that we had two precious boys when we found out we were having our third boy (before the delivery room). As ashamed as I am now, I must admit it took several months of mourning to adjust. And then, I was totally thrown off guard by the mourning that took place as we got rid of everything with our third. But you know what I discovered? God continued to provide new season after new season that was full of fun and excitement. And He also taught me to savor the present moment. I’m forever grateful for all the lessons learned thorough the birth of our third son. Thanks so much for writing all this down in a great article!

  3. Lilly says:

    I’m an older mom,…much farther ahead on the journey than you are now,…and also have 3 children,…and even twin grandchildren now. I had a girl, a boy, and then the 3rd,…also another boy, like you. I also had that mourning you’re describing shortly after my last was born. I remember clearly one simple thing my own mom said to me when I was going through those feelings….that really helped me. It was that no matter how many children we had or would have (and we were also sure we were done at 3),…at some point,…one baby would be the last one, So ….there is a time for everything and it’s the right time and to savor that,….but that change is life….and life is change….and it’s good. That one simple idea helped me…..that at some point, no matter what—it’s the last baby. BUT….the wonderful things of parenthood ahead and the different stages of them growing up would also be precious….and they were. I hope this idea helps you too. Congrats on your children.

  4. Holli says:

    First let me just say, Oh Baby Clayton You ARE BEAUTIFUL!!! Welcome little one we are so glad you’ve come!

    You know what was interesting to me was that I went through what you described after my second but I also had a little mourning before both were born. I realized that it was the end of just the two of us. We were so so so excited to have a baby, but I knew that our first stage of being just us was about to change. And then one evening when I was very ready to give birth to my second the three of us were laying in bed together reading and I looked over at my husband and daughter and once again had a little moment of mourning the end of the three of us. I think it was surprising that I felt that way right before birth. I also knew Owen was our “baby” and so I nursed him forever and slept with him forever, oh wait he is almost 6 and came in our bed last night! Of course I couldn’t kick him out of bed because he’s the baby and one day he won’t want to snuggle his mama. I once heard a story on the news about how when asked the height of of their children, mother’s were within a 16th of an inch accuracy… except for the youngest, the mother’s guessed three inches too smalll!!!! I think our first born’s will need therapy because they are the experiment and we don’t know what we are doing (I just say sorry a lot) and my baby will need therapy because I think he’s still a baby and won’t let him grow up. I figure they will appreciate therapy more than college.

  5. Hickory Nut says:

    I went through all of this EXACTLY the same way after my third baby, and even though baby is now 3, I still have these feelings when preparing the rummage sale box. I think it’s God’s way of making sure we truly appreciate every moment with our children. Realizing time is precious is a great thing. It may hurt realizing how fast it goes by, but it’s also what reminds us to smell that blanket before packing it away, and not dread those diaper changes since there aren’t that many left. I’m not sure if all mothers feel this way when knowing they are not carrying any more babies, or if it has something to do with having 3, but either way I’m glad it occurred to me to take a step back and really enjoy the time with the “last.” And now that I see how busy we are with the older ones, and how expensive it’s getting, I’m finally starting to understand why God made 3 our number!!

    • Polly says:

      I think three is a good number as well. 🙂 Hard to imagine it being busier than life right now but I guess it’s a different kind of busy, right?