Look at me, dipping my toe out of the newborn fog and back into blogging again. I apologise in advance if sections of this post don’t make sense, but it will either be because I’m typing one handed or because right now I struggle to think far beyond when the next bottle is due.
Baby number three is a month old now…how did that happen?! I’ve spent the last four weeks alternatively sitting immobile on the sofa gazing at the beautiful sleeping baby in my arms, or bouncing on the exercise ball trying to get him to stop crying, or plotting ways to kill Hubs as he dared to get 45 minutes more sleep than me. Baby boy is equal parts squishy newborn deliciousness and colicky all-nighter hard work, and I swing from thinking I’ve got this baby-wrangling thing down to wanting to hide in the cupboard under the stairs with a big bar of chocolate and a tranquiliser.
I’ve got to be honest, going from two kids to three has utterly floored me. The ten year age gap between my first two sons lured me into a false sense of security when I made the step from one kid to two – I wasn’t juggling two young children and at times even had an extra pair of willing hands to help. But adding a clingy baby to a household already ruled by a high maintenance, full-on four year old? Whole other ball game. A ball game at which I’m very much last-picked-for-the-team.
In the first few weeks of our baby’s arrival, I read posts by two separate bloggers who had also recently given birth. Both these women said the same thing – that their new addition fit perfectly into a little gap in their family which they hadn’t even known existed until their baby arrived to fill it. Beautiful. A lovely sentiment about completing a family with ease. It brought tears to my eyes both times I read it. But these weren’t blissful tears as I nodded in agreement at how wonderfully their words summed up my feelings. These were tears because how I felt couldn’t be further removed. Baby number three hasn’t fit into a little gap to complete our family. No. Right now it feels as if he’s burst right through it like a tornado.
I haven’t cooked a meal since I was pregnant and my house looks like it’s been robbed. The four year old is basically being raised by the iPad and the teenager has become a spare pair of arms to thrust a squealing baby into when a feed needs made up. Hubs is also under no illusions how much I hate his inability to whisper when I’m trying to sleep. The nursery run is always an hour late, I am fuelled by coffee and junk food, and I consider just showering an achievement. Dinner times are accompanied by the sound of baby cries bouncing off the dining room walls, and I’ve never watched so much shit daytime tv. I feel as if I’m barely functioning, and my hopes of a fun-packed summer holidays with my older boys whilst my newborn snuggled in the sling have evaporated faster than my breastmilk.
This isn’t to say I’m not enjoying our new wee bundle. He is incredible and I can’t get enough of his snuggles and velvety soft hair, watching him grow and change each day as I sit and gaze at him, filling my phone memory with pictures of his gorgeous little face. I love having him so much that I actually feel physical pain every time Hubs makes it very clear there will in no way be a baby number four, because if I had my way I’d be knocked up again already.
And so whilst having done the newborn thing twice before obviously hasn’t made third time around any easier, it has made me feel less guilty about not loving every single second. I’m feeling more hash-tag-stressed than hash-tag-blessed, but I’m totally fine admitting that. At least the kids are fed, and I’ve even managed to clean the bathroom a few times so we don’t need haz-mat suits just yet. The four year old is learning how not to be the centre of attention, the teen is in no rush to become a young parent, and Hubs has had a shag. Occasionally I’ll even remember to do my pelvic floor exercises, or eat a vegetable. None of that will make a nice Insta-brag, but we’re managing to keep things ticking over. I’m taking it all as a win.
I don’t do the soft-focus version of motherhood, so I shouldn’t have let those other bloggers’ descriptions of their newborns upset me. Blame hormones, blame my inability (again) to produce one of these mythical “easy” babies, or more accurately blame the insane pressure mums are under to hit the ground
running floating when a new baby makes an appearance, but I did have a few days under a dark cloud of not being enough. But as time goes on I’ve got my perspective back. Newborns are hard work, clingy newborns with other siblings demanding your love and attention are even harder work, especially when you throw anxiety and depression into the mix. If anyone expects me to glide through that with a serene smile on my face and not a single swear word in my vocabulary, then they’ll need to dose me up with Valium first.
Actually…that doesn’t sound like too bad an idea.