This morning I woke up to my eldest son, four-year-old Yusuf, staring at me asking (for the second time in a month): Mommy, are you SURE there isn’t another baby in your tummy?
No Yusuf, there’s no baby in there.
Then how come your tummy is SOOOOO big?
I’m three months post-partum. I had a beautiful baby girl named Maysa. Her name means graceful and elegant and so far that’s what she’s shown us she is, especially in comparison to her big brothers! She was the surprise of a lifetime because we were convinced we had a boy in there based on statistics. There hasn’t been a girl born into my husband’s entire family in 13 years, so you can imagine the excitement! It’s been a slew of boys, including my first two children, Zeeshan – age three, and his inquisitive older brother Yusuf, as mentioned above.
I’ve had three kids in four years. I’m exhausted; mind, body and soul.
I intentionally chose to pop my kids out back to back and keep them close in age. Therefore, our house is chaos. The good news is that my husband and I have found humour in the chaos. Of the three of them, someone is always crying and someone is always pooing. Sometimes simultaneously.
The bad news is that I haven’t had a real conversation with my husband in three months, I don’t recognize myself when I look in the mirror and, because I am exclusively breastfeeding and plan to for one year, my social life has diminished as I just can’t get out as easily as I used to.
Because this is round three of pregnancy in our home, I prepared myself as best I could before she popped out. A few things I found helpful were to cook and freeze as much protein as possible. This way, on the days you have absolutely no energy, you take something out of the freezer and boil some rice or warm up some roti to go with it. It’s a much healthier alternative to eating out.
I organized everything I knew I would need for baby and had her things ready to go. I assigned each family member who said they wanted to help with a task for when baby arrived, from my father having food catered to our house the day baby came home to my mother taking my boys to the park everyday so they wouldn’t feel like second and third fiddle to baby.
One final piece of advice I gave myself was that my mental health was going to be my primary concern. The first time I gave birth, I had NO idea what to expect. No one ever does. I was learning to take care of a baby and working on losing my baby weight.
I never considered the emotional aspect of it all; the hormones, the sleepless nights, the difficulties of learning to nurse, the natural changes that occur in your relationship with your spouse.
The second time I gave birth was only 18 months after the first, so I had two babies to take care of and again, did not stop to check in with myself and see how I was feeling. I focused on my babies and my body. This time, I knew it was going to be different. A little older, a little wiser, I decided from the moment I went into labor that I wanted to feel like I was in control of myself.
I gave birth just as how I had envisioned for nine months, a natural birth with no epidural. Granted, 12 hours of the most intense pain I have ever felt in my life, but we got through it. I came home ready to care for baby while making sure my little boys were always included in every aspect of tending to their little sister. I stopped putting pressure on myself to look a certain way or plaster on a big smile when I’m feeling the exact opposite. The baby weight will be gone in time but my babies won’t be this small forever.
Our little party of five feels so perfect to me. I thank God every day for these little blessings. I had heard that the transition from two to three children is tough simply because you are now outnumbered. Sure, it’s sometimes a struggle, but well worth it in my opinion. I don’t know if it’s the addition of a third person in the family, or the fact that it’s a girl, but our family dynamic has changed.
I feel it more and more as each week goes by. There has been a slight shift in my sons. With a new baby around, they whisper more, are much gentler and beam with pride when they tell someone about their little sister.
I want to enjoy my children as much as I can for as long as they let me. I won’t lie though, I am looking forward to the day Yusuf exclaims that there really wasn’t ‘another’ baby in my belly after all.
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